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Author Topic: Struggling With Reconciling Paganism and Christianity  (Read 10364 times)

Castus

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Re: Struggling With Reconciling Paganism and Christianity
« Reply #60 on: February 11, 2016, 03:11:02 pm »
Quote from: sionnachdearg;186462
I did read it all the way through and can sympathize. Because of the Greek and Roman influence to capture and write down the history, Christianity was able to create rich resources with well recorded rituals and beliefs whereas many of the pagan religions lost so much of their tradition because many of the pagan religions did not preserve their rituals and beliefs in writing. But I recently read a book which i mentioned in another post that might fit this thread better. John O'Donohue wrote a beautiful book called Aman Cara A Book of Celtic Wisdom. He was a Catholic priest but the book seemed a beautiful blend of the Irish pre-Christian beliefs with Christianity. There was a beautiful harmony to the two beliefs as he presented it in the book. I would really like to know if anyone else has read the book and has any thoughts on the way he presented the two views in harmony.

Native Americans have also blended the two or at least in many cases force to accept the one then found a way to blend the two in a harmony that works for them.

 
Just noting here that O'Donohue left the priesthood years before his death.
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Re: Struggling With Reconciling Paganism and Christianity
« Reply #61 on: February 12, 2016, 12:28:59 am »
Quote from: Castus;186496
Just noting here that O'Donohue left the priesthood years before his death.

 
It is true he left the priesthood but it was not because of a disappointment with the Catholic Church but apparently something about differences with a Bishop appointed to where was located. We was still a priest during the develop of his book Anum Cara. It was also possible that he wanted to to spend more time with his writing but that was not the official reason he gave. In either case he loved the Catholic Religion but also was fascinated with spiritual history of Ireland and blended these beliefs in this books.

Despite the fact he left the priesthood what did you think of his books? To me he shows there is a way to blend the christian and pre-christian beliefs with a degree of harmony. I would like to know your perspective or from anyone else.

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Re: Struggling With Reconciling Paganism and Christianity
« Reply #62 on: February 12, 2016, 12:43:36 pm »
Quote from: sionnachdearg;186512
It was also possible that he wanted to to spend more time with his writing but that was not the official reason he gave.

Just FYI, the priesthood isn't like a job, it's not something you retire from to focus on other things. You might stop doing pastoral work but "I left the priesthood to turn my side hustle into a full time job" isn't really a thing. It generally indicates some kind of fundamental difference with Church teaching, either on a personal (like falling in love and no longer wanting to be celebate, or the major differences of theology with a bishop I've seen mentioned for John O'Donohue) or a philosophical level.
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Re: Struggling With Reconciling Paganism and Christianity
« Reply #63 on: February 12, 2016, 01:34:51 pm »
Quote from: Jack;186534
It generally indicates some kind of fundamental difference with Church teaching, either on a personal (like falling in love and no longer wanting to be celebate, or the major differences of theology with a bishop I've seen mentioned for John O'Donohue) or a philosophical level.

 
This. And generally if your particular issue is with a single bishop, there are other solutions. (A request to be moved to another diocese, a request to be moved to a position where you don't need to interact with that bishop, a request to focus on things that are a larger national focus rather than diocesan. Lots of options.)

People generally don't resign from the priesthood without it being a significant, longstanding agreement that can't be resolved another way, in other words.
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Re: Struggling With Reconciling Paganism and Christianity
« Reply #64 on: February 12, 2016, 08:11:47 pm »
Quote from: sionnachdearg;186512
Despite the fact he left the priesthood what did you think of his books? To me he shows there is a way to blend the christian and pre-christian beliefs with a degree of harmony. I would like to know your perspective or from anyone else.


I've never actually read any of them, but I would be highly suspicious of whether they represent authentic Catholic theology.
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Re: Struggling With Reconciling Paganism and Christianity
« Reply #65 on: February 12, 2016, 09:35:35 pm »
Quote from: Jack;186534
Just FYI, the priesthood isn't like a job, it's not something you retire from to focus on other things. You might stop doing pastoral work but "I left the priesthood to turn my side hustle into a full time job" isn't really a thing. It generally indicates some kind of fundamental difference with Church teaching, either on a personal (like falling in love and no longer wanting to be celebate, or the major differences of theology with a bishop I've seen mentioned for John O'Donohue) or a philosophical level.

 
"I left the priesthood to turn my side hustle into a full time job" is pure gold and I would like to award you all the internets.
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Re: Struggling With Reconciling Paganism and Christianity
« Reply #66 on: February 13, 2016, 12:34:57 am »
Quote from: Allaya;186555
"I left the priesthood to turn my side hustle into a full time job" is pure gold and I would like to award you all the internets.

 
Can you tell I've been reading a lot of freelancer blogs? They start to sound like mad libs after a while.

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Re: Struggling With Reconciling Paganism and Christianity
« Reply #67 on: February 13, 2016, 12:52:36 pm »
Quote from: Castus;186553
I've never actually read any of them, but I would be highly suspicious of whether they represent authentic Catholic theology.

 
Why? If you leave the priesthood does that means you cannot understand authentic Catholic theology? I am not sure how you can make that statement without knowing the person. When I said that the was an issue about a bishop and he wanted to work more on his writhing, these were from some superficial articles in which his leaving was just a very minor aspect of the articles. I do not know his absolute reasons, maybe he had reasonable  reasons that we don't know but I am still waiting to hear from someone who is familiar with his writing to comment about how is approach fits in with the thread itself.  I am not catholic so i don't know but I was impressed with his blend pre-christian and Christian beliefs from Ireland.

All I have heard so far is about the priesthood which is not what the thread was about and it is a strong statement that if someone leaves the priesthood then they cannot make any statements because they would all be invalid.  The thread was not just limited to Roman Catholic Church. So have anyone how has made the comment about the issue of his leaving the priesthood read his works and has any comment on how he presents his beliefs? I would like to hear them.

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Re: Struggling With Reconciling Paganism and Christianity
« Reply #68 on: February 13, 2016, 04:08:41 pm »
Quote from: sionnachdearg;186578
Why? If you leave the priesthood does that means you cannot understand authentic Catholic theology? I am not sure how you can make that statement without knowing the person. When I said that the was an issue about a bishop and he wanted to work more on his writhing, these were from some superficial articles in which his leaving was just a very minor aspect of the articles. I do not know his absolute reasons, maybe he had reasonable  reasons that we don't know but I am still waiting to hear from someone who is familiar with his writing to comment about how is approach fits in with the thread itself.  I am not catholic so i don't know but I was impressed with his blend pre-christian and Christian beliefs from Ireland.

All I have heard so far is about the priesthood which is not what the thread was about and it is a strong statement that if someone leaves the priesthood then they cannot make any statements because they would all be invalid.  The thread was not just limited to Roman Catholic Church. So have anyone how has made the comment about the issue of his leaving the priesthood read his works and has any comment on how he presents his beliefs? I would like to hear them.

 
I hadn't heard of him until now, but I think I'll read some of his works.

From the articles I've just read it sounds like his idea of God and spirituality agitated the Church. He finally opted to leave the priesthood so that he could have the freedom to explore and share his ideas of spirituality without the restraints of organized religion.  

****


I feel like I have a backwards relationship with paganism. While aware of God, I wasn't seriously taught anything about the Church or the Bible. Paganism is actually my religious background, and while it seems like what I should believe in, it doesn't feel right.

So instead of leaving behind Christianity to explore paganism, I'm leaving behind paganism to explore Christianity. It puts me in an awkward position: I'm not at all interested in becoming a member of any particular denomination, I'm not interested in Bible scholarship, and I disagree with a lot of modern conservative Christians. So there isn't much of a community for me there.

On the other hand, I am interested in God, I do believe in the folklore (?) of God/Christianity, I do feel like I've found a spiritual home, and that I'm God-bothered. And that makes it difficult to be a part of the pagan community and have meaningful dialogue.

So there is a weird grey area with this type of spirituality (which isn't exactly Christopaganism--I don't really know what it is), and like you and the OP, I'm very eager to explore and experience it. Talking about the technicalities of the Church or scripture doesn't hit the mark, but neither does a complete pagan-washing of God either.

I'd love to have more talks about that grey area though.
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Re: Struggling With Reconciling Paganism and Christianity
« Reply #69 on: February 14, 2016, 08:32:43 am »
Quote from: Juniperberry;186584
I hadn't heard of him until now, but I think I'll read some of his works.

From the articles I've just read it sounds like his idea of God and spirituality agitated the Church. He finally opted to leave the priesthood so that he could have the freedom to explore and share his ideas of spirituality without the restraints of organized religion.  

****


I feel like I have a backwards relationship with paganism. While aware of God, I wasn't seriously taught anything about the Church or the Bible. Paganism is actually my religious background, and while it seems like what I should believe in, it doesn't feel right.

So instead of leaving behind Christianity to explore paganism, I'm leaving behind paganism to explore Christianity. It puts me in an awkward position: I'm not at all interested in becoming a member of any particular denomination, I'm not interested in Bible scholarship, and I disagree with a lot of modern conservative Christians. So there isn't much of a community for me there.

On the other hand, I am interested in God, I do believe in the folklore (?) of God/Christianity, I do feel like I've found a spiritual home, and that I'm God-bothered. And that makes it difficult to be a part of the pagan community and have meaningful dialogue.

So there is a weird grey area with this type of spirituality (which isn't exactly Christopaganism--I don't really know what it is), and like you and the OP, I'm very eager to explore and experience it. Talking about the technicalities of the Church or scripture doesn't hit the mark, but neither does a complete pagan-washing of God either.

I'd love to have more talks about that grey area though.

A typical example of the grey area which you are writing about is Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa's Occult Philosophy, written in the early 16th century: Both the Holy Trinity and the Graeco-Roman deities are parts of that worldview.

Other examples are the phenomenon of dual adherence in some religious surroundings: Persons being both Catholics and Umbandists, Catholics and Spiritists, Anglicans and Traditional Witches, Quakers and Traditional Witches.

I don't think it is possible to explore God deeply in the Christian sense (Quakers and Salvationists would disagree) without participating in Christian initiation. Christian initiation consists of three parts: Baptism, Confirmation and holy Communion. Unlike the two first segments of Christian initiation, to receive communion during the celebration of the eucharist is frequently repeated in most forms of Christian spirituality.

The Eucharist is the main Christian divine service, evolved out of the Jewish passover meal (seder). It usually consist of three segments:

  • An introductory part, which usually consist of a few songs and prayers (the selection of which is not identical in every denomination). Those churches, that have bishops and their historical roots in western Europe, usually sing or read two songs known as Kyrie (Greek: Lord, have mercy) and Gloria (Latin: Glory to God in the highest). Eastern churches sing other songs, but include several Kyries. A few Anglicans and Methodists place Gloria in the end of the Eucharistic service, instead. A procession may or may not occur.
  • A service of the Word is the middle part of the Eucharist. Two or three readings of the Bible occur. Hymns or Psalms may be sung. On Sundays, it is likely that a sermon may be preached, but that is less likely in a weekday, especially during lunch break. An intercession for the entire world may or may not occur, as the congregational 'reaction' to the readings. On Sundays, a creed will probably be recited somewhere after the readings or sermon, less likely so in weekdays.
  • The service of the Sacrament is the third part of the Eucharist, and consists of the Eucharist proper. Eucharist means 'thanksgiving' in Greek. The eucharistic prayer is
    • a thanksgiving prayer, which continues in
    • the words Jesus spoke, when he celebrated the first eucharist
    • a memorial prayer for the death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus
    • a prayer for the sanctifying presence of the Holy Spirit
    • a concluding prayer
    The prayer for the Holy Spirit may in some denominations be prayed before the words Jesus spoke, when he celebrated the first eucharist. The eucharistic prayer may in some denominations contain a prayer for the bishop and a prayer for the departed. At some point after the eucharistic prayer, unleavened or leavened bread is broken, and the sacrament is distributed to those who wish to participate. Hymns may occur. A frequently used one is called Agnus Dei (Latin: Lamb of God, a quote from John 1.29). After the sacred meal, the congregation is sent out. The prayer Our Father usually occur at some point during the service, but the exact choice of place differ between denominations (and in some cases even between congregations): The beginning, after the intercession, after the eucharistic prayer, or after the communion.
The eucharistic meal is also sacrificial in some sense, and the participants are believed to receive the human-divine presence of Christ in some sense. The exact sense of these two doctrinal points have been a matter of deep and intense theological quarrels for several centuries now. A few steps towards a consensus have been taken by World Council of Churches and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity in the last fifty years, but the difference between a Zwinglian Evangelical and a Russian Orthodox Christian in these regards is still large.

If you want to avoid modern conservative Christianity, I suggest that you take a look at the current within Episcopalianism/Anglicanism called Affirming Catholicism. It is a sacramental, LGBTQI-friendly movement in favour of ordination of women.

Outside the mainline you will find denominations like the Liberal Catholic Church International (Some of their members are also members of the Theosophical Society) and the Apostolic Johannite Church (which is a sort of Neo-Gnostic church).
 
For someone approaching Christianity from a Pagan background, I would suggest checking Centering Prayer (Thomas Keating) and Creation Spirituality (Matthew Fox) out.
« Last Edit: February 14, 2016, 08:33:20 am by RecycledBenedict »

Juniperberry

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Re: Struggling With Reconciling Paganism and Christianity
« Reply #70 on: February 14, 2016, 03:34:25 pm »
Quote from: FraterBenedict;186618
A typical example of the grey area which you are writing about is Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa's Occult Philosophy, written in the early 16th century: Both the Holy Trinity and the Graeco-Roman deities are parts of that worldview.

Other examples are the phenomenon of dual adherence in some religious surroundings: Persons being both Catholics and Umbandists, Catholics and Spiritists, Anglicans and Traditional Witches, Quakers and Traditional Witches.

I don't think it is possible to explore God deeply in the Christian sense (Quakers and Salvationists would disagree) without participating in Christian initiation. Christian initiation consists of three parts: Baptism, Confirmation and holy Communion. Unlike the two first segments of Christian initiation, to receive communion during the celebration of the eucharist is frequently repeated in most forms of Christian spirituality.




Oddly enough I've participated in each of those. I was baptized at birth (Roman Catholic, and that was the extent of my parents religious influence), accidentally  joined in Confirmation when visiting a friend's church, and have taken Communion.

Other than the baptism, most of my relationship with God has been through serendipitous accidents. In second grade I was supposed to be in a summer remedial class (undiagnosed dyslexia) and was accidentally placed in a summer Sunday School program. The teacher said first we would learn and memorize the Lord's Prayer, and I just figured that after that the real schoolwork would begin. By the end of the week, the Prayer was memorized and the school had realized their error.

It's difficult for me to not feel like there was some higher power (God) interfering in my life to establish a relationship.


I'm not comfortable with being a duel adherent, or occultism. I just want to worship God as part of/and the natural world, without any of the frills or restraints that can come with organized religion.
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I am in the camp that is concerned about super intelligence," [Bill] Gates wrote. "First the machines will do a lot of jobs for us and not be super intelligent. That should be positive if we manage it well. A few decades after that though the intelligence is strong enough to be a concern. I agree with Elon Musk and some others on this and don\'t understand why some people are not concerned."

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Re: Struggling With Reconciling Paganism and Christianity
« Reply #71 on: February 14, 2016, 04:59:58 pm »
Quote from: Juniperberry;186626
Oddly enough I've participated in each of those. I was baptized at birth (Roman Catholic, and that was the extent of my parents religious influence), accidentally  joined in Confirmation when visiting a friend's church, and have taken Communion.

Other than the baptism, most of my relationship with God has been through serendipitous accidents. In second grade I was supposed to be in a summer remedial class (undiagnosed dyslexia) and was accidentally placed in a summer Sunday School program. The teacher said first we would learn and memorize the Lord's Prayer, and I just figured that after that the real schoolwork would begin. By the end of the week, the Prayer was memorized and the school had realized their error.

It's difficult for me to not feel like there was some higher power (God) interfering in my life to establish a relationship.


I'm not comfortable with being a duel adherent, or occultism. I just want to worship God as part of/and the natural world, without any of the frills or restraints that can come with organized religion.

 
I hope you will read at least Anam Cara from John O'Donohue. I really enjoyed it as well as Eternal Echos. Two of his books are his poetry which is also very good. I really would like to know someone else's opinion on his presentation. I found in particularly refreshing of the importance of the Natural world. You can feel the Celtic influence of how every land feature has its own story (hard to explain this, better if you read his explanation). He also references pre-Christian religion including the Tuatha De Danann and the interconnection of the Other world and the world of man. He blends the spirituality of Ireland and Christianity in a beautiful way.

This may have been easier for me to believe in growing up Quaker. From the time I can remember first learning of Christianity I was taught the the world/nature was sacred and must always be treated with respect. There was no church we would go to since the entire earth was Gods Church. Meetings were in family homes or could be outdoors and there was no one person to lead a service since everyone had the light of God in them and so everyone was expected to speak. I was taught from the beginning than all life has a soul and need to treated with respect.

From what I have learned from Celtic beliefs there was an intimate relationship with nature with the Supernatural and the world of man overlapping considerably with the Goddess of the land connecting with the God of the tribe being important for the land to be productive and fertile.

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Re: Struggling With Reconciling Paganism and Christianity
« Reply #72 on: February 14, 2016, 05:27:16 pm »
Quote from: sionnachdearg;186628
I hope you will read at least Anam Cara from John O'Donohue. I really enjoyed it as well as Eternal Echos. Two of his books are his poetry which is also very good. I really would like to know someone else's opinion on his presentation. I found in particularly refreshing of the importance of the Natural world. You can feel the Celtic influence of how every land feature has its own story (hard to explain this, better if you read his explanation). He also references pre-Christian religion including the Tuatha De Danann and the interconnection of the Other world and the world of man. He blends the spirituality of Ireland and Christianity in a beautiful way.

This may have been easier for me to believe in growing up Quaker. From the time I can remember first learning of Christianity I was taught the the world/nature was sacred and must always be treated with respect. There was no church we would go to since the entire earth was Gods Church. Meetings were in family homes or could be outdoors and there was no one person to lead a service since everyone had the light of God in them and so everyone was expected to speak. I was taught from the beginning than all life has a soul and need to treated with respect.

From what I have learned from Celtic beliefs there was an intimate relationship with nature with the Supernatural and the world of man overlapping considerably with the Goddess of the land connecting with the God of the tribe being important for the land to be productive and fertile.

 
I'm just concerned that the book might be too Celtic specific for me. Not that I have anything against Celtic, I'm just not interested in "re-imagining" God in a pagan light. For example, one book I've enjoyed, and that I'm going to read over, is an examination of the Heliand.  It's a poem about the Gospel, but worded in such a way that God and Jesus become part of the "natural evolution" of Germanic paganism.

I hope I was able to explain that distinction well enough you'll be able to understand my next question: Does the book "re-imagine" the idea of God or does it "evolve" the idea of God?
« Last Edit: February 14, 2016, 05:27:47 pm by Juniperberry »
The pace of progress in artificial intelligence (I’m not referring to narrow AI) is incredibly fast. [...] The risk of something seriously dangerous happening is in the five year timeframe. 10 years at most.--Elon Musk

I am in the camp that is concerned about super intelligence," [Bill] Gates wrote. "First the machines will do a lot of jobs for us and not be super intelligent. That should be positive if we manage it well. A few decades after that though the intelligence is strong enough to be a concern. I agree with Elon Musk and some others on this and don\'t understand why some people are not concerned."

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Re: Struggling With Reconciling Paganism and Christianity
« Reply #73 on: February 14, 2016, 07:21:22 pm »
Quote from: Juniperberry;186630
I'm just concerned that the book might be too Celtic specific for me. Not that I have anything against Celtic, I'm just not interested in "re-imagining" God in a pagan light. For example, one book I've enjoyed, and that I'm going to read over, is an examination of the Heliand.  It's a poem about the Gospel, but worded in such a way that God and Jesus become part of the "natural evolution" of Germanic paganism.

I hope I was able to explain that distinction well enough you'll be able to understand my next question: Does the book "re-imagine" the idea of God or does it "evolve" the idea of God?

 
It is a wonderful book no matter what your interested in my opinion but you will not know until you read it. I would like to read the poem but not sure what how to find it. Is there a reference for it or way to locate it on the internet?

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Re: Struggling With Reconciling Paganism and Christianity
« Reply #74 on: February 14, 2016, 08:29:11 pm »
Quote from: sionnachdearg;186632
It is a wonderful book no matter what your interested in my opinion but you will not know until you read it. I would like to read the poem but not sure what how to find it. Is there a reference for it or way to locate it on the internet?

I haven't read the poem myself, only a study of the poem. I don't think it's available online.

Another poem of Old English lit is The Dream of the Rood, which is online and combines Christianity and animism/nature worship.

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The Crucifixion story is told from the perspective of the Cross. It begins with the enemy coming to cut the tree down and carrying it away. The tree learns that it is not to be the bearer of a criminal, but instead Christ crucified. The Lord and the Cross become one, and they stand together as victors, refusing to fall, taking on insurmountable pain for the sake of mankind. It is not just Christ, but the Cross as well that is pierced with nails. The Rood and Christ are one in the portrayal of the Passion—they are both pierced with nails, mocked and tortured. Then, just as with Christ, the Cross is resurrected, and adorned with gold and silver.[12] It is honoured above all trees just as Jesus is honoured above all men.
« Last Edit: February 14, 2016, 08:30:01 pm by Juniperberry »
The pace of progress in artificial intelligence (I’m not referring to narrow AI) is incredibly fast. [...] The risk of something seriously dangerous happening is in the five year timeframe. 10 years at most.--Elon Musk

I am in the camp that is concerned about super intelligence," [Bill] Gates wrote. "First the machines will do a lot of jobs for us and not be super intelligent. That should be positive if we manage it well. A few decades after that though the intelligence is strong enough to be a concern. I agree with Elon Musk and some others on this and don\'t understand why some people are not concerned."

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