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1348302 tn?1286575703

Paths to God

The world is full of religious systems, and spiritual traditions.  I personally believe that all traditions are valid.  I think there is something of value, something that can benefit humanity at large, offered in eac and every religious system out there.

I kind of see each religion as a different "route", or set of directions for humanity.  Each one is a little different, but they all lead to the same place.  Some type of "union" or religious experience with God.  I imagine each religious system as a "set" of directions for navigating life.

Like one of those GPS units.  Almost everybody has them nowadays.  People have them in their cars, I have even seen people use their phones as GPS devices to get walking directions somewhere.

An interesting thing is that one can input a "destination", and select a route from multiple options.  Some GPS can provide the most direct route possible, or the one with the least red-lights.  SOme GPS can even provide a "scenic route" to your chosen destination.  Or a route that incorporates additional stops along the way to ones ultimate destination.

I think of each religion or culture in the world as a "route" to the divine.  And these routes, although they all lead to the same ultimate destination, can vary widely in the experience they provide to the one navigating them.

I like to think sometimes, that everyone, each one of us, is walking our chosen "route" through life.  I don't know who designs the "routes" or how they came into being.  (Who is the big GPS in the sky??? lol. ;)
Each of us has different scenery we are exposed to along our route.  Some of us seem to have lots of twists and turns in our routes.  And sometimes it feels like the "route" we are on is taking us on a wild goose case.

But I still kind of think, maybe it is hope, who knows.  But I have the feeling that as long as we are on the route and moving forward, not standing still, or looking backwards, as long as we keep in our mind the idea that we truly  are on a route to the universal ultimate destination,then it doesn't really matter which route we are on, or what "vehicle" we are driving along our route, etc. etc.

We need to sit back and really experience the individual road-trip of life, and sooner or later we will all arrive wherever we are going.


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1348302 tn?1286575703
So, you are saying you are more "pro" Ecumenism, or that it is a potential negative thing if people get the "United" part of the ideals wrong?

Am I correct in that it seems a mostly protestant movement?  Seems very close to some Lutheran and Calvinist theory/philosophy
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Avatar universal

Joni wrote a book that is worth reading:

When God Weeps
Why Our Sufferings Matter to the Almighty
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908392 tn?1316522899
Care for another opinion?

Ecumenism is the new order of the day. The World Council of Churches defines ecumenism this way:

"The word oikoumene, from which the term “ecumenical” derives, means “the whole inhabited earth”...In modern usage, the word embraces the unity of God’s whole creation and recognizes every human pursuit as subject to the healing ministry of Christ’s Spirit."

It is acknowledged that people have a spiritual dimension, but all religions, regardless of what they believe, are seen as one—a kind of smorgasbord of spiritual choices to fill the spiritual needs of the individual.

However, there is naturally friction as each major religion sees things differently. For example, Jesus is God in the Christian religion, while in Islam and Buddhism Jesus is only a good man or prophet. Judaism rejects Jesus’ claims to be the Messiah, and New Age doctrine says He is here on the earth now, and has made multiple appearances throughout history. Is Jesus the only God?

Christians also hold to doctrinal differences based on their denominations. However, the differences between denominations are played down, and only the common points are discussed. The question, “Why are there so many denominations?” seems to imply that there is no need for denominations at all—that we are all just one big Christian family.

It is true that those that believe in Christ, regardless of denomination, are children of the same Father, and brothers and sisters in Christ. And it is true that differences in doctrine cannot and should not prevent Christians from praying together, helping each other, and loving each other. But it is also true that the Word is to be the guide for all Christians.

Any differences in doctrine must be brought to the Word of God for examination with an open mind, so that the Word and the Word alone will dictate our doctrinal beliefs. This is the unity Christ wanted for His followers. Never did He mean that we could believe whatever we wanted about a particular doctrine, for Christ Himself quoted the Word and lived by it.

The confusion among Christian denominations explains why atheists and agnostics see religion, and especially Christianity, as a spiritual crutch. It seems that each person interprets the Word to suit his or her fancy, and that truth is unavailable, unattainable, and perhaps even non-existent. Truth becomes relative to each person’s perspective and experiences.  
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1348302 tn?1286575703
.................It's who God has molded her to be after 43 years of suffering and 43 years of her surrendering to the will and call of God," he continued. "You're seeing a woman surrendered to God, saying 'Lord, here's my life, take it and use it. I trust in You and if that's quadriplegia and it's a wheelchair, I surrender to that. If it's cancer and whatever the outcome might be, I surrender to that.'" .............

Profound.  So often in our world, surrender is seen as defeat, or retreat, or giving up.  But the caterpillar must surrender its legs so it can grow wings.
renunciation is powerful.
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Avatar universal
Joni Eareckson Tada Not Shaken by Breast Cancer

After 43 years of living paralyzed from the neck down and recently learning that she now has breast cancer, Joni Eareckson Tada remains all smiles.
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(Photo: Joni and Friends)
In this undated photo, Joni Eareckson Tada smiles as she sees a little boy in Ghana with cerebral palsy walk for the first time with his new walker.
1 of 2

Joni and Friends Founder to Undergo Surgery for Breast Cancer

"I want to assure you that I am genuinely content to receive from God whatever He deems fit for me even if it is from His left hand because better something from His left hand than no hand at all, right?" the beloved disability advocate and quadriplegic said in a video message to supporters.

Tada, 60, was diagnosed with cancer early last week and it was confirmed on Tuesday that it is malignant. She is scheduled to undergo surgery on Monday when doctors will better understand what stage the cancer is at.

For decades, Tada has assisted and given hope to those affected by disabilities through her Joni and Friends ministry. Paralyzed since 17 after a diving accident, Tada dedicated the rest of her life to God and has, in the process, inspired countless people around the world.

The cancer news came as a shock to many of her supporters.

Since the announcement on Wednesday about Tada's new challenge, numerous comments went up on the ministry's Facebook page, letting her know that she is in their prayers.

Over at the Joni and Friends International Disability Center in Agoura Hills, Calif., the staff, while concerned, reflected the same hope and trust that Tada had.

"One of the things we know here at Joni and Friends, because we minister everyday to people affected by disability and affected by life-challenging trauma, is that ultimately we rely upon God, we are in His hands, He holds our future, and that nothing that comes to us is a surprise to Him," said Steve Bundy, managing director of the Christian Institute on Disability as well as International Outreach at Joni and Friends International Disability Center, in an interview.

"Obviously, we do not desire to see her suffer anymore than she has, [but] we recognize that God is at work, He's doing something and He's going to use cancer to bring that about."

Bundy has known Tada personally for seven years and has been serving at the ministry for over four years. And when he sees her expressing optimism and full trust in God even in the midst of suffering, he knows she's not putting up a front for the sake of staying strong before her supporters and the disabled.

"What you hear from Joni is truly Joni," he told The Christian Post. "This is a woman of great faith who has spent 43 years in a wheelchair. This is not a woman who is going to pretend about things. You are seeing a woman who is truly communicating her very deep and personal thoughts and feelings and trust and faith in God, not to perform or not to display anything for people but it's because it's who she is."

"It's who God has molded her to be after 43 years of suffering and 43 years of her surrendering to the will and call of God," he continued. "You're seeing a woman surrendered to God, saying 'Lord, here's my life, take it and use it. I trust in You and if that's quadriplegia and it's a wheelchair, I surrender to that. If it's cancer and whatever the outcome might be, I surrender to that.'"

Tada and those at Joni and Friends view trauma and suffering from a biblical worldview, Bundy noted. There is an understanding that God is "very much involved with the suffering that we encounter and His intention is to work it out for the good of ourselves and for the good of those around us," he said, citing the Bible passage Romans 8:28.

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Look up Joni Eareckson Tada...read her story and how beautiful she has become.  So many others helped through her pain/suffering and journey into who she is today.

She is only one of many such stories, but more well-known.  Every one who overcomes like that is inspiring.  Not all get to be on center stage, but all are equally important!!!
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1348302 tn?1286575703
Thanks, I am glad you liked it.  I know it is something I struggle with a lot.  Maybe that is part of why I think about it so often, idk.

It was (is) really hard for me to understand why I had such a different life before all of my physical issues arise.  It is easy for me to get stuck in and endless loop of thinking "this *****, I hate not being able to do the things I used to enjoy"  or for me to never enjoy anything because I am always comparing my experience to the experience I feel I "could have had" in the old body that I had.
   I don't really understand why the universe at large chose to alter my life so dramatically from what it had been.  I think about it a lot. I look for the "answer" to why in lots of different places.   Lately I have been trying to see the "potential" in the set of circumstances I now have.  But if I am really honest with myself, it is really not possible for me to "know" the answer, even if it is staring me right in the face.

So, I kind of figure the best thing I can do now is just try to figure out how to be who and what I am now.  WHoever and whatever that is.  Even if it means I sit in a chair while everyone else is dancing.  MAybe the universe just decided I needed to take a more "scenic" route and show me some experiences I hadn't had before.  Maybe it will all make sense once I get wherever it is I am going.

Sometimes it is hard for me to "sit down and look outside"  I always want to be busy doing something.  Sometimes I wonder if the universe knew that I was speeding through life too busy to notice my surroundings, and it threw out a little "blip" in my life to slow me down whether I liked it or not.  :)

Anywhooo.  Glad you liked it!
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Avatar universal
Well worth reflecting on.  This is one of those areas that many struggle with.  

Thank you for sharing :-)
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