Amen (Gretta Vosper) pdf, epub, doc

Amen ePub and PDF Available
She actually said it... Wow.

First, let me say that Vosper's ministry (United Church of Canada minister) is doing something unique. She is trying to bridge progressive Christians with post-Christians and atheists who still crave meaning. She definitely pushes the boundaries of Christian thought, but achieves something. And it's pretty bold. Ok, Here's some notes and quotes...

"Whatever else it may or may not be, prayer is at least talking to yourself, and that's in itself not always a bad idea..." Frederick Buechner

"Prayer is concerned with raising the mind and heart to God, but the raising is to that idea of God being everywhere—an awareness of the sacred in the midst of the ordinary. —Michael Morwood, former Catholic

"Redemption is necessary only because of our complicity in the brokenness of the world around us... Redemption is possible only through the human gift of compassionate love (38) so... Christ as an example of how redemption comes through compassionate love. It came through the way of Christ (i.e. not through atonement... )

If scripture is not supernaturally created but rather a humanly constructed collection of writings by ancient people attempting to relate their authentic experiences of life as they interpreted them... This doesn't mean they are wrong, it means I don't have to say they were right.

"Prayer has never been more than a contract for hope."

Here's her big humanist manifesto:
The traditional idea: God as supernatural SAP source, agent, promise of all good. Exchange supernatural for natural. People are the sap-ian (meaning wise) the source, agent, and the potential for goodness — not only us, but the immanent and transimanent—receiving from beyond us as well.

"The assumption beneath prayer is no longer the divine being but being itself."

See Karen Armstrong's "Charter for Compassion" removes theistic language, makes it accessible to all.

It's not our experience that sets us apart (religious, non-religious) its our interpretation (227)

On being a creature in awe, when we can't make sense of God...
"As far as exercising our brains goes, explaining love could be just as fulfilling as considering god.... love, truth, beauty, goodness, compassion?... we sheltered ourselves underneath such giant concepts when we attributed them to god. Can they not now stand on their own, to the same effect and with the same power?" 238

In experiencing the presence of god.... "Any of the humane values we live by—goodness, beauty, and truth—might be pulled out of any ugliness, any challenge, any grief, and hunger, any hurt. They are as omnipresent as God ever was." 239

Metaphor of woman who made tessellated pattern in her garden. There isn't a "path" regardless how broad or narrow, but there is a truthful way through the tessellation on "stepping stones that barely touch at their outermost points" (244).

I-Thou relationships recognize the inherent worth of the other. In this way we make each of our connections sacred. I-it treats the other as a commodity, we are disengaged, without reverence. The human task is to make everything sacred... the butcher who cuts my meat, woman who sews my clothes....

"...wedge your thanksgivings in bit by bit...until the benevolence beam you once wished would shine on you instead shines from you and everything around you shines in its remarkable light 263

We do not pray to, we pray for

Metaphor: there is no wizard behind the curtain, making supernatural things happen, but Dorothy still gets home. She does it through natural means and extraordinary friendships.268

The transcendent is anything that comes to us from beyond our own resources and capabilities. Causes may be within the natural realm, but beyond our own reach.

We don't need a supernatural explanation to accept, with joy and thanksgiving, the wonder that happens.

Living with a reverence for life and the inexplicable ways it unfolds around and within us is a very important aspect of the religious life that we do not have to lose 271

A little boy was disgusted at his mother praying for his heart transplant... because another child would have to die. Released from an image of a deity who rewards some while devastating others, opens us to the gift of whatever the circumstances bring 272

Why do good? Motivation is reward and fear based, inspiration is values based.

We are hard-wired toward empathy. If we are attentive to the work of child-rearing, we can actually raise our capacity for empathy and so reduce our capacity to do harm 273

Whoa, brain science!
Our amygdale is responsible for basic fight, flight, or freeze response. The newer frontal lobes gives humane decision-making. There's a switch between that sends thoughts on one track or the other. It's the anterior cingulate. If the switch is strong, it goes toward the front, weak toward the back. The way to strengthen it is through prayer and meditation 273-276

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