Maybe we'll be blessed with hearing from friends elsewhere in the world on this topic.
In America, any handful of people who which to start a church can easily begin by acquiring some space and using it, carrying the process to any extent of formality and size. Some of them are way too big for my tastes. Here's a directory of some "mega churches"; note "non-denominational/independent" status. Fortunately there is no pressure or requirement for me to set foot inside. http://www.usachurches.org/size/mega/
The quantity of smaller gatherings is greater and not easily tallied. Many worship together in homes and coffee houses.
It frankly didn't occur to me that this basic freedom wouldn't be universal.
Reverend Douglas, Truth?
If Truth is God, then Knowing Truth is Knowing God. Do we know God, can we? I dont know. I can benefit from God though :-) The way i benefit from the rays of the sun... but do i know what and how sun is exactly? We are merely guessing..
More later... Love n blsgs
Rev. Douglas Walker said:Dear All,
Hadrian Judge started me thinking when he said, "I believe the whole truth is only accessible to those who’ve achieved a superior understanding of reality; then those people shut up because a lot of what they understand about reality will be misinterpreted by the rest of us". This made me think about the nature of truth. Pondering this I had a few thoughts about truth that I would like to share. These ideas were and are radical to me and so I hope that people won't fine reason for offense but will consider what I say and help me think about this. It seems to me that no other word or concept has caused more suffering and harm then the word "Truth". Every war and conflict has had as it's support the idea of truth. Each religion has used this idea of truth as the bull-work of their exclusive claim to the superior knowledge. Neighbor fights neighbor in the name of truth, families are divided in the name of it, and Churches, synagogs, temples and mosques are burned down in the name of truth.
The idea of truth is so important in the affairs of humanity that we have even created a hierarchy of truth to insure that our' or someone's truth is superior to the other persons truth. We have labeled these, Ultimate Truth and Relative Truth. An endless number of speculations, philosophies, theologies, dogmas and scientific discoveries have extolled the latest and greatest "Ultimate truth" only to be replaced by one higher, better or more ultimate.
So I have a thought which I will put forward, not as a Truth but as something to consider, to think about, and ponder. What if the truth about truth is that it is a product of Humanity's Primal Insecurity? What if it has arisen in the sphere of human consciousness as a result of the simple fact that we humans find ourselves adrift in an infinitely huge ocean of change, an enormous cosmos that is completely beyond our control and that scares the heck out of us. Like person a who has fallen in a raging river we scramble and clutch at anything (any truth) that can make us feel safe?
Is the Idea behind truth Safety? Is this why people are willing to fight and die in order to maintain their idea of truth at all cost.
What would the world be like if we could all just dropped the whole idea of truth and just let go and float in trust in the unknown and unknowing? And who is this self that could possibly know the truth for everyone and all times anyway.
Knowing truth is not necessary in order to live from values. Values arise from within each of us from the knowing of what feels right and good to us and knowing that this must be so for others. No one teaches us that a sunset is beautiful, yet it is universally beautiful. We instinctually know the value of beauty and just the same with all other values. But often our idea of truth trumps values and when it does we create a hell on earth. Could we simply choose to let go and trust in not knowing? What might our world be like if we could? Anand asked "Do we really need Churches anyway?" that is a great question. Do we? The question behind that is, Do we really need truth anyway? What do you say?
Just some random thoughts.
Blessings - Doug
Fellowship with faith-children of the Creator is important. Creedal pressures from an institution certainly is not needed. Unity of goals, not uniformity of belief. Churches serve a purpose...and perhaps they will evolve into true houses of the spirit for all humankind... One Human Family.
With thanks to Claudia for noting that "Fellowship with faith-children of the Creator is important.", I would like to add that there is an unimaginable diversity within "we".. Some need churches; some even need at least for a short time the creedal pressures; some need religion; some this religion; some that religion; some this creed and some another creed; some don't at least for a period of their lives need any religion at all; and some need to actively resist religion or church or both.
All in their appropriate time and circumstance; and all evolving so that "need" is ever fluid even for a single individual.
For my part, I'm comfortable responding to my dear friends here that there is no "we" and there is no "need". There are however churches, and religions. The paradox is that "we", or some component thereof, created both, probably out of some perceived "need".