Being 50 now and growing up in the 70s and 80s, I have seen some unimaginable changes. Think back, when I was a kid in Tasmania we had two tv Channels and tv finished at midnight. No Cell phones and I remember when a friend of mine was the first family to get a video player. We all had movies nights at his space! No MacDonalds back then and only had fish and chips on rare occasions. Um, well you get the idea anyway.
Churches had a grip on society back then in many respects, always in terms of wedding and baptisms. I did not come from the religious folk. Nevertheless, my sister went to Sunday school, the Church of England from memory. I have no clue why, I assume she had a friend who went and she tagged along. I had no interest in church and I preferred camping, fishing and shooting in those days. Scouts and Cubs were also my favourite thing to do. I was a busy kid, socially and extremely active. Not a reader or musician, riding my bicycle, football, cricket and just plain mischievous at times.
Did the Sunday school make any difference to my sisters moral compass or direction in life? Well, without gossiping about her, believe me, not an ounce of difference. To understand my sister, she can still gallop a horse bare back up a hill for kicks and giggles. She rolls her own cigarettes and works in horticulture. She is a year younger than me and I love her dearly. We are nothing like each other yet talk on the telephone for an hour just about every week.
What have I noticed over the years of being involved, and volunteering in a variety in a variety of Protestant churches, and par Christian organisations. Often the children don’t like it and certainly do not seem to enjoy being at church. My children, who are adults now never liked it much. Considering at one point we spent about eight years at a contemporary mega church. They had great music and extremely good youth programs. Still my kids liked there non Christian friends better.
I am divorced theses days, and my children are adults. Most of their childhood was spent in a variety of churches from small, to large and contemporary and some Pentecostal in the early days. They never liked it much and have not bothered with it as adults. You would think it would rub off on the kids a ” Christian upbringing ” however, if anything it’s given them some strong negative opinions. We all know everyone has opinions about everything and wether true, accurate or objective is hard to say. Certainly, my children’s opinions are based on lived experiences in churches as young adolescents. From my many conversations over the years many children hated church growing up and resented going. Some of course like it and even have ambitions of being ministers. Religion is no sure bet for great morality or to ensure wonderful citizens. Sadly some religions folks including clergy have committed, or supported crimes against humanity.
Good book to read is BONHOEFFER PASTOR, MARTYR, PROPHET, SPY A RIGHTEOUS GENTILE VS. THE THIRD REICH
One of my favourite Christian book is written by a ‘World-renowned scholar Alister McGrath sheds new light on the fascinating figures and movements that continue to inspire debate and division across the full spectrum of Protestant churches and communities worldwide.’ Christianity is a Dangerous idea
Just one more I could recommend REINHOLD NIEBUHR ON POLITICS, RELIGION, AND CHRISTIAN FAITH Richard Crouter
I read theses books years ago and read literally countless more. Clearly my years involved with Christian movements and church inspired my research and sparked my interest to gain my Bachelors in Theology and post graduate theological studies. Did all this make me a commitment church going Christian?
No, I have not been to church for years and don’t even call myself Christian. I have nothing to do with any Christian organisations, church communities.
Ironically, many years ago I disliked Buddhism and would offer verbal criticism, especially about monks and meditation. I have seen it as useless and pointless in my mid thirties and thought they all needed Jesus and were completely lost. Hindsight, what type of Jesus was I implying they needed the one sitting in judgment?? Understandably, my spirituality has shifted. My intolerance, ignorance, delusion, narrow minded, and Christian know it all attitudes have evolved more open mindedness.
My favourite Apostle Paul verses.
1 Corinthians 9:19-23 The Message (MSG)
19-23 Even though I am free of the demands and expectations of everyone, I have voluntarily become a servant to any and all in order to reach a wide range of people: religious, nonreligious, meticulous moralists, loose-living immoralists, the defeated, the demoralized—whoever. I didn’t take on their way of life. I kept my bearings in Christ—but I entered their world and tried to experience things from their point of view. I’ve become just about every sort of servant there is in my attempts to lead those I meet into a God-saved life. I did all this because of the Message. I didn’t just want to talk about it; I wanted to be in on it!
My thinking and spirituality has shifted so much that I am writing a book about my journey. Clearly, mine is unusual in terms of having Bipolar 1 and PTSD undiagnosed for most of my life. However, now well, all thing considered, in terms of good mental health management and mostly rational. I have enjoy my times spent at the monastery with Buddhist monks and my meditation, and reading their literature. Ironically the very religion, I held onto for most of my adult life has little interest to me and the religion that once bothered me, Is the thing that I am fond of and spend my time learning. I have benefited so much wisdom in Buddhist journey, especially in terms of management of Bipolar and PTSD. The simple lifestyle and empirical systems of learning has aided me tremendously. Metaphysically ideas or deeply supernatural themes just are not helpful for me. Simple things for example, the breath, and simple Buddhist teaching like, being still, slowing down, and awareness. Theses things put the responsibility on me and provide measurable results. My favour… Theravada tradition
‘In the Buddhist countries of southern Asia, there never arose any serious differences on the fundamentals of Buddhism. All these countries – Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Laos, Burma, Thailand, have accepted the principles of the Theravada school and any differences there might be between the various schools is restricted to minor matters.
The earliest available teachings of the Buddha are to be found in Pali literature and belongs to the school of the Theravadins, who may be called the most orthodox school of Buddhism. This school admits the human characteristics of the Buddha, and is characterised by a psychological understanding of human nature; and emphasises a meditative approach to the transformation of consciousness. The teaching of the Buddha according to this school is very plain. He asks us to ‘abstain from all kinds of evil, to accumulate all that is good and to purify our mind’. These can be accomplished by The Three Trainings: the development of ethical conduct, meditation and insight-wisdom.
The philosophy of this school is that all worldly phenomena are subject to three characteristics – they are impermanent and transient; unsatisfactory and that there is nothing in them which can be called one’s own, nothing substantial, nothing permanent. All compounded things are made up of two elements – the non-material part and the material part. They are further described as consisting of nothing but five constituent groups, namely the material quality, and the four non-material qualities – sensations, perception, mental formatives and consciousness. When that perfected state of insight is reached, i.e. Nibanna, that person is a ‘worthy person’ an Arhat. The life of the Arhat is the ideal of the followers of this school, a life where all (future) birth is at an end, where the holy life is fully achieved, where all that has to be done has been done, and there is no more returning to the worldly life’
This author is awesome, she looks out side the Buddhist religions, and supernatural tendencies people generally have in Buddhism and I can say with confidence considering my level of education all religions.
She has two book I would highly recommended here is the two links
Example below from link one.
‘BUDDHIST STORYTELLERS over the centu- ries tend to play up the happy, glorious episodes in Buddha’s life story. It is thus not as commonly known that there were some pretty dark episodes in Buddha’s life when he had to deal with really serious problems. He was accused of having illicit affairs, framed for murder, target- ed for assassinations, betrayed by his disciples, heckled by angry crowds, endured starvation, and so on. There were problems even within the Sangha: routinely he had to deal with terrible practitioners who blatantly disregarded the training rules, disgraced the practice and upset the laity. This chapter seeks to give a flavour of the range of prob- lems that confronted Buddha and how he managed them.’