A forum for thought provoking questions & answers of a spiritual nature or as pertaining to the Urantia Papers.
Thu Mar 05, 2015 10:51 pm +0000
I am really not quite sure what to think about my continuing to attend church, or not.
I enjoy the worship and gospel music at Sunday church services, but i haven't been attending lately.
I feel like i am leading a double spiritual life and not completely honest with myself when attending church,
due to much increased understanding from the UB.
The Urantia Papers to me are the truest things that's come my way in life so far, and were very clearly
an answer to prayer for me. The Bible for me, has many problems for me, and contradictions and numerous books
with very questionable authorship and additions. I also am not very fond of Apostle Paul/Saul or Tarsus
and now feel very strange eating "the body of Christ" and "drinking his blood."
I know it's my decision regarding church attendance, but wonder what others think about this matter,
especially those it has also bothered in the past.
Am also not very fond of the distinction between "clergy" and "laity."
At the same time, i envision something much more exciting in the way of worship in addition to UB book studies
(as wonderful as they are) within the context of being a grateful UB reader. Worship and variety of God music.
This is a very personal question for me, so if you have something smartass to say, please don't bother.
I'd rather not even ask this on the forum, but know there are a majority of sincere readers here, and feel
other's personal experiences in this area would help me.
Also wonder if UB readers sometimes form times of worship with different styles and music and prayer, meditation etc.
Fri Mar 06, 2015 9:25 am +0000
I can sympathize with how you feel and have many of the same sensitivities. But more and more I'm appreciating the shear existence of churches of all sorts. In the long term, TUB has softened my criticism and sharpened an appreciative understanding. Tempered of course in knowing that those institutions can be improved significantly.
I'm a guest choir singer at at least one church per year. I feel much more comfortable performing music than sitting and verbally reciting scripture or vows. But even the music in church doesn't launch a spiritual experience for some reason. The same music might do so in a more natural environment - being alone in nature for example where thoughts are more naturally focused on an indwelling spirit. For me, the presence of many other souls nearby forces me to focus on them, at least in a church.
The music that most excites an inward reach toward the TA and angelic influence for me is what you might call progressive. It tends to be intense, unpredictable and evocative. Just the thing to shake loose the worldly expectations of a mind that is too often attached to mundane details.
Fri Mar 06, 2015 10:54 am +0000
Greetings!! The UB has much to say on this topic and I look forward to others' views as well.
We are given two important and related teachings in text: first, that the value of any church or religion is defined and determined by its contribution to personal religious experience - does it inspire, uplift, encourage worship and reverence and joy and harmony and peace?; second, that all religionists benefit from interaction with a wide variety of other sincere religionists - unity without uniformity in God seeking and loving/serving one another. If you have a million catholics, how many religions do they hold? One million. Certainly not one. Each religionist is engaged in a unique and personal religious experience, no? So, you are not the same as them in some ways perhaps but they are also different from each other - whether they believe it or acknowledge it or not.
I don't attend any longer but did for a long time after finding the UB - been too mobile and too engaged otherwise more recently. I think it depends on what one is looking for and then what one is finding or getting from it. But I see no need to feel torn or disingenuous just because you may not feel embedded in creeds, dogmas, ceremonies, etc. Music is uplifting as is group prayer and worship....there's just one God and just one universe reality and every religionist has only a partial understanding and knowledge and alignment with reality.
Depends on the flock I think more than anything. Bible based Christianity is an easy format for a UB reader to reside within - just focus on the Jesusonian gospel OF Jesus and don't allow the Paulinian/Judaic traditions to make you feel too uncomfortable. If its a blood and brimstone church, I suggest substituting the word "Love" for the word "blood" in every bloody hymn....works great!!
Fri Mar 06, 2015 12:27 pm +0000
Certainly these are issues we each need to come to terms with for our selves. Personally I could care less about the church part but both my wife and I are very involved in the "fellowship of believers" so we regularly attend a Southern Baptist Church. My sequence of events is different than most in that I discovered Jesus completely apart from either the church or the Urantia Book. Shortly after discovering that Jesus was real and God I discovered the Urantia Book. It was three years or so later that I first went to a church. I had grown up in a non-believing home. So my church experience as well as 2 years at Bible College were deliberate and were after the Urantia Book.
As for the problem feeling as if you are a dual person, I can relate very well. In my case I finally realized that my personal experience with God was the only real value I could share with others whether in church or not and what I was learning to believe from the Urantia Book was not the issue. Remember even Jesus, when he was here didn't share all he knew. I don't believe there is any instance where he told anyone he was Michael of Nebadon or that our world was named Urantia, both of which he knew before he got here. Even now I don't believe we have the final word on the cosmology of the universe just because the Urantia Book is so far beyond our current awareness. So I wouldn't get too hung up over what you don't say. What people are really in need of is to see Jesus living in your life, your reality. The statement, "I don't get anything out of church" isn't of much value. Shouldn't we be saying, "I regret that I am not able to give much to the people in church." But we keep trying, trying to love others as we are loved by God.
It isn't just churches that are hung up on their beliefs. Even non-believers are more concerned with beliefs than faith, but faith is the key to eternal progress. Faith must be grown not manufactured so we can only do it at the speed of reality acceptance and for most of us that isn't very fast.
So overall I would offer that following the divine leading in your own soul is the right path for you. Your seed has fallen on solid soil, nurture it and water it and be prepared to harvest it at the proper time. It is simple to be a child of God, all we must do is believe and follow, but it isn't easy to follow truly, honestly and deeply in a world like ours. We are the only version of Jesus many people will ever see.
Bless your efforts Eric,
Fri Mar 06, 2015 1:43 pm +0000
Just wanted to say thanks for the replies, and they are very helpful, and will continue to be more so, as i read them over further and ponder. Many thanks.
Fri Mar 06, 2015 4:30 pm +0000
Church attendance is a personal choice. But the reasons for going may be helpful in decision making. I found looking for truth in churches frustrating because of the mixture of truth and error preached there. The good thing is that the truth may be discovered by the sincere searcher who seeks it; kind of like the truth planted in a garden growing up next to error. When it's time you can sort out the weeds and toss them aside and keep the harvest of truth to live on.
Why does one attend church? It may be one appreciates his roots, or, attends with family or friends. Do you go to church to get something or to give something?
It's interesting to note the seven churches in Revelation seem to have some element of truth and some error as well. How many kinds of churches are there? BTW: have you discovered what the doctrine of the Nicolatins is? It is mentioned in the churches as an attribute God hates. Maybe you already know since you mentioned clergy and laity issues.
I have attended a variety of church denominations to gather the truth I could find there. Was there even a true church to find? I just wanted the truth and when I was oppressed by man's selections of what I had to believe to be accepted there I left.
Bible verses invaded my mind. "Come out from her, ye My people...". How about: "because they did not love the truth they believed lies"? And if I wanted "meat in due season" (a harvest of truth to know the height, the depth, and breadth of God's plan), the churches fed me the tainted milk gospel ABOUT Christ rather than His actual message of Sonship by faith and growing therein by expanding truth.
How can my church history distress me in anyway? It is the way the Spirit of Truth has taught me, "rightly dividing the truth" from error!
I rarely attend church, but I do sometimes. I cannot even say why I have headed that way again and then I notice someone who could use a smile, or a kind word, or some help I am able to afford. Being in a group gives one more of an opportunity to love one another. And maybe some truth added can uplift someone in their due season.
I wonder if it is a form of worship or wisdom that we engage in when we sort and keep that which is truly written on our hearts and in our minds by the Spirit of Truth and holding fast to that which is good. The plan is beautiful.
Tue Mar 10, 2015 4:22 am +0000
I simply can not do church. My church is the world. That is where I worship, all day, every day (when I remember to that is). Church makes me exceedingly uncomfortable.
Tue Mar 10, 2015 12:38 pm +0000
If you get some value out of attending church, then I see no reason for you to discontinue attending. One of the biggest reasons I can see for attending are as an avenue of service to others -- you'll have access to and opportunity for outreach and service projects you may not have elsewhere -- and for the opportunity to be among fellow agondonters. Personally, I get the latter experience from attending a UB study group. In that environment, I'm among people "speaking the same language" and I'm not made uncomfortable by the doctrines, dogmas and rituals of Christianity that I now find distasteful. I would definitely suggest that if you continue to attend church, you be very careful with whom you share your fondness for the UB. As I'm sure you're aware, many Christians have a great distrust of anything outside of the Bible. But there are also many progressive Christian groups and churches out there who are very accepting and tolerant of other beliefs. The bottom line is if you like it, get value from it and can tolerate the theology, then by all means continue to go.
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