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  1. #1
    Senior Member KDude's Avatar
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    Default Public Prayer/Worship..... and Type!

    Before I start, I'm semi-spirtual/religious myself, but my "prayers" are private (if you can call them that... I'd call them comments and conversations to a god I don't even know is listening or cares to listen). I understand prayer. What I don't understand is the need for it be public for some people. Is this type related? Or at least, extroverted?

    As for worship, I don't participate. I remember when I first started believing in Christianity, I had a neighbor who kept insisting I go to her church. I didn't like her church. I didn't like any churches, tbh. Some either bored me, creeped me out, or I conflicted with people there. She kept on saying I couldn't "grow" in faith without "fellowship". Like, this was an integral part of the whole deal. On my end, I didn't like the idea. It's like I signed up for something and didn't read the "small text" at the bottom of the contract. "Fellowship"? This sucks. Is this type related? Or Am I Evil?

  2. #2

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    Uh-oh. Is Tebow spamming your local news network too? :p

    I think what you could also be getting at is feigned humility. When people make a big spectacle of their spirituality or do-gooding, it probably isn't sincere; they're just substituting for the lack of a PR agent. It's the same sort of thing I see online or on Facebook where people constantly recount their personal troubles, or lost loved ones, or 'Like" articles to tragedy and exclaim about the horror of it all. It's usually the same offenders and you can usually (though not always, sometimes it's just cluelessness) parse out the knuckleheads from the contemplative.
    "The purpose of life is to be defeated by greater and greater things." - Rainer Maria Rilke

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    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KDude View Post
    Before I start, I'm semi-spirtual/religious myself, but my "prayers" are private (if you can call them that... I'd call them comments and conversations to a god I don't even know is listening or cares to listen). I understand prayer. What I don't understand is the need for it be public for some people. Is this type related? Or at least, extroverted?

    As for worship, I don't participate. I remember when I first started believing in Christianity, I had a neighbor who kept insisting I go to her church. I didn't like her church. I didn't like any churches, tbh. Some either bored me, creeped me out, or I conflicted with people there. She kept on saying I couldn't "grow" in faith without "fellowship". Like, this was an integral part of the whole deal. On my end, I didn't like the idea. It's like I signed up for something and didn't read the "small text" at the bottom of the contract. "Fellowship"? This sucks. Is this type related? Or Am I Evil?
    I think each religion has a 'type' feel to it, but especially within a faith like Christianity, the denomination you attend can severely impact the types of people who participate. (There are wide ranges of expression of the Christian faith... which I think it is one reason why it became so popular and has survived so long, since everyone can find something of themselves within it.)

    There is a strong individualist mystic tradition at the edges of Christianity, but a lot of the faith is meant to be community/relational. Even the concept of the Trinity is a relational concept: God is three in one, God is communal. However, this often gets translated as "needing to be extroverted" and constantly putting yourself out there. Extroverts are happy with that, and introverts can be happy if they don't feel judged but it's still a bit overwhelming and I think too easy of an answer. I remember liking the faith but hating the stipulations from Intervarsity when I was college, where they'd force us to do door-to-door evangelism and pray publicly and being in relationships with other members in order to keep us "accountable." None of it ever sat well with me, and the only reason i tolerated it as long as I did was because I felt like Christianity was true and I still had faith in God even if the implementation of it by human beings seemed to suck at the time.

    Anyway, the entire witnessing thing and having to "share your faith" is a very extroverted thing. I think relationships and connections are good, it's a valuable thing to have; and i think sometimes introversion becomes an excuse for cowardice in terms of not taking a stand on something one claims to believe (it's easy to sit back and not contribute anything, which isn't the core of Christianity); but a lot of the demands and assumptions were unnecessarily imposing on introverts. I don't think faith has to be as extroverted as those flavors of the church made it out to be.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  4. #4

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    @Jennifer You're being more forgiving than I in chalking it up to Christian culture variety (which I do think is a valid point), but for my part I spent most of my childhood and adolescence in the deep south. I have to tell you that going to my grandmother's church was like watching a competition where everyone was trying to out-Jesus each other during service and elsewhere, and trying to out-bake each other at the refreshments table afterward.

    There was definitely a churchy keeping-up-with-the-Joneses business going on.
    "The purpose of life is to be defeated by greater and greater things." - Rainer Maria Rilke

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    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by iwakar View Post
    You're being more forgiving than I in chalking it up to Christian culture variety (which I do think is a valid point), but for my part I spent most of my childhood and adolescence in the deep south. I have to tell you that going to my grandmother's church was like watching a competition where everyone was trying to out-Jesus each other during service and elsewhere, and trying to out-bake each other at the refreshments table afterward.

    There was definitely a churchy keeping-up-with-the-Joneses business going on.
    oh, i agree with that... i just see it as a fault of human implementation and less the faith itself. the social aspects of broad evangelicalism seem to me to be a dim reflection of hardcore southern Baptism. a lot of people will gravitate toward religion to "fix their lives" and "look respectable." i just tried to remove myself from environments where it was all about out-Jesus'ing others; that environment wears me down, when it gets bad enough i just can't laugh at it.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  6. #6
    Senior Member KDude's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by iwakar View Post
    Uh-oh. Is Tebow spamming your local news network too? :p.
    Lol, you're a mind reader. That actually sparked this train of thought and started reminded me of my own experiences.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    There is a strong individualist mystic tradition at the edges of Christianity
    Yeah, I was kind of relieved at a certain point when I came across a book of writings from the "Desert Fathers" (appeared to be "Mothers" too). Some of these people were contemporaries of Augustine, Jerome.. This goes way back. Like 3rd and 4th century. These people, while devout, had a certain disdain for "city churches" and "city life" in general. The same thing was going on even then, where some thought it was unnecessary to be part of the public church. Anyone who's nostalgic about the "past" and the "good ole days" of Christianty should read some of this.

    Needless to say, they were the beginnings of different monastic traditions. They weren't officially recognized and integrated until much later, but the practice has always been there.


    Not to say I want to be a monk though.

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    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KDude View Post
    Before I start, I'm semi-spirtual/religious myself, but my "prayers" are private (if you can call them that... I'd call them comments and conversations to a god I don't even know is listening or cares to listen). I understand prayer. What I don't understand is the need for it be public for some people. Is this type related? Or at least, extroverted?
    I dont think it is, I'm, for all my talking about it on this forum and elsewhere, pretty private about my religious practices usually, and definitely so in my prayer. I hated the assemblies and prayer at school, although imprinted with that are fears about standing with people I did not know, humiliation and repeatedly, sometimes scary, beratings from teachers about not being able to prayer correctly, ie as they did.

    I remember a head mistress walking up and down shouting at people, pulling people out from the rows they where stood in for not joining their hands as she did, for not crossing their thumbs when they did join their hands, for not pointing thier joined hands upwards. All or much of this was totally new to me at the time, I was fearful enough of assembly (this all occured before I was ten) and never had been taught this at home, neither could I look to the children on my left or right as they did not know either. I had then and now a real anger about being personally subject to wrath from someone about what was something I effectively couldnt help or know about, I didnt feel like I should or must engage in a guessing game either.

    On another occasion I was repeatedly asked to stand and kneel in a routine preparing for confirmation, which was a rite that then and now I believe in and believed should be a happy day, celebratory and meaning more than pose, grace and the proper stance. Years later when I read Bruce Lee's Jeet Kune Do and his philosophy rejecting fixed positions and emphasising flexibility and purposefulness it resonated with me massively, because of this instance and others like it, not always religious alone. I remember a lot of social pressure on that occasion, being told that I would bring shame on myself and others if I couldnt master what was being expected of me but I was being instructed with hostility and couldnt think about anything other than that hostility. Lousy "teachers".

    I personally loath public prayer now, in part because I think it provides a great occasion for the stirrings of atheism and atheistic rebellions against it as authoritarian, tainted and something to attack. A lot of the time it does arise in the NI context is in conjunction with protestant evangelism anyway which is principally concerned with condemning catholicism and propagating ideas about being "saved" which I've found many protestants themselves dont wholly understand (I've read much of Luther, Calvin, Wesley, Munster and others and I'm unconvinced they had complete understanding, in the discourse on free will with Erasmus Luther positively appears like a later day internet troll).

    Prayer and spirituality are by nature individual, I know that islam has attempted to bind believers in submission as a single heart and mind but I feel that is an error to even attempt such a thing, there needs to be shared things in a religion to allow for the transmission of learning and norms between generations but fundamentally it is an individual thing and there cant be any Borg like unison of people.

  8. #8
    Feline Member kelric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KDude View Post
    What I don't understand is the need for it be public for some people. Is this type related? Or at least, extroverted?
    I think that it's what Jennifer and Iwakar have said -- it's both cultural and a matter of personal choice. Some religions are much, much more... encouraging... of their members being very public in their religious observances. In some cases, so much so where it's almost a required part of membership that you "wear religion on your sleeve" and make it outwardly part of your entire public persona. Others are much more subdued.

    I do tend to feel that these very evangelical religions do appeal more to some people than others -- in type-terms, folks who are more stereotypically EJ. I know that as someone who sees little of those traits in myself, I really dislike the public displays of religion thing. Even something as simply as when someone tells me "have a blessed day" -- it creeps me out.

    And the whole Tebow thing... I just can't help but dislike the guy -- in a way I almost pity him. By all accounts, he's a wonderful guy, hard-working, caring, responsible, charismatic, and chock-full of great qualities -- and as a casual football fan, his story *is* rather inspiring (even if it's more about his team's defense and offensive line than him). But the constant godbothering is annoying. We know he's a devout guy -- that's fine. But I just wish he could go a few sentences (an entire conversation would be even better) without casting it in everyone's faces. As it is, I just want him off of my TV *now* (or at least ratchet up the pressure on his chin strap to keep his mouth shut).
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

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    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KDude View Post
    Lol, you're a mind reader. That actually sparked this train of thought and started reminded me of my own experiences.



    Yeah, I was kind of relieved at a certain point when I came across a book of writings from the "Desert Fathers" (appeared to be "Mothers" too). Some of these people were contemporaries of Augustine, Jerome.. This goes way back. Like 3rd and 4th century. These people, while devout, had a certain disdain for "city churches" and "city life" in general. The same thing was going on even then, where some thought it was unnecessary to be part of the public church. Anyone who's nostalgic about the "past" and the "good ole days" of Christianty should read some of this.

    Needless to say, they were the beginnings of different monastic traditions. They weren't officially recognized and integrated until much later, but the practice has always been there.


    Not to say I want to be a monk though.
    There are varieties of monasticism and some of them would closer fit the idea of an intentional community nowadays, some of the early Christian communities where communistic but more like the Freemen in Dune than the USSR, by the time the idea of monasticism was "modernised" and transfered around the world it had no doubt changed a lot. I understand in medieval times that monastaries where sometimes places of ill repute and like modern day frat houses, even given the distortion of time and propaganda I can believe that.

    In Irish society the monastaries and famous monks have a special and mythic status, they apparently saved Europe by preserving knowledge and books during the dark ages, their early institution of confession, with an emphasis on forgiveness, was an optimistic creedo, even if it was corrupted into buying salvation and then attacked by the reformation. There are some amazing stories about monks writing books and others copying them and disputes which are equivalent to copyright claims, then monarchs intervening brilliantly with "poetical answers" but being rebuked, then big battles between the different factions, these monks where like the Shaolin or something, and people being exiled in small boats without food or water.

    Personally I think the best things about religion have been written by Abraham Maslow, the creator of the hierarchy of needs, his examinations of peak experiences and spiritually deserve a wide audience.

  10. #10
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KDude View Post
    Yeah, I was kind of relieved at a certain point when I came across a book of writings from the "Desert Fathers" (appeared to be "Mothers" too).
    Yup, women have always been vocal and present in the body, but it's a shame (understatement, there... it's abysmal) a lot of church factions have tried to shut women out.

    Some of these people were contemporaries of Augustine, Jerome.. This goes way back. Like 3rd and 4th century. These people, while devout, had a certain disdain for "city churches" and "city life" in general. The same thing was going on even then, where some thought it was unnecessary to be part of the public church. Anyone who's nostalgic about the "past" and the "good ole days" of Christianty should read some of this.
    I always thought a lot of that "harkening to the past" was just ignorance... going back to the true roots would predate even a lot of their relatively recent ideas about God. So short-sighted...

    Needless to say, they were the beginnings of different monastic traditions. They weren't officially recognized and integrated until much later, but the practice has always been there.Not to say I want to be a monk though.
    I don't think I could handle being monastic either, tbh, but it's always been the mystics who inspired and resonated with me. I have a passage from Thomas Merton (20th century monk) hanging on my wall at work. It became clear to me early on that I'd find solace and understanding in those who walked their paths with the divine relatively alone rather than immersed in a large sea of believers, although there are things I did learn from that experience.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

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