Weekly Grapevine Readings (9/19/2016)

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Weekly Grapevine Readings (9/19/2016)

Postby Thumper » Mon Sep 19, 2016 11:44 am

Dare I do this again... :lol:

Hi everyone. Dale here; an alcoholic and your Grapevine Representative. One benefit of having a Grapevine subscription is access to exclusive stories. As a reminder, our September contest for a free subscription is still going on. You can find the entry form here: http://www.e-aa.org/form_gv.php. PLEASE ENTER NOW!!

Also, wouldn’t be awesome to have an e-AA member’s story published? You can be next. Just connect with them here http://www.aagrapevine.org/share

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Inside or outside the circle?
Saying the Lord’s Prayer at the close of meetings can be controversial.
Here, one AA describes what the prayer means to him and how it fits into AA


In the November 2015 Grapevine, I read "Outside The Circle." The subject of debate about the use of the Lord's Prayer in meetings is loaded with controversy. This topic reminds me that it is pivotal to my sobriety to be careful about how I express my opinions about common practices in AA. In my experience, standing outside of the circle during the Lord's Prayer is damaging to the newcomer, who might even already feel uncomfortable about saying a prayer and holding a "stranger’s" hand.

I am careful not to criticize anything that works in AA, but as far as the Lord's Prayer goes, I will share my interpretation. When I recite the prayer, I understand its parts according to my interpretation of most Big Book prayers, especially the Third Step prayer. When I pray, regardless of the prayer I am using, I am always asking for "grace" or freedom from self-will or whatever hinders me in sobriety and blocks my ability to be of service to others. In asking for the ability to live in God’s will, not my will, I am asking for a life full of the spiritual values that allow me to help others.

"Thy kingdom come, thy will be done," refers to the request for God’s will. I equate Heaven with a state of serenity or acceptance essential to me in sobriety. My life in sobriety is a gift. I understand "daily bread" as the gift of "grace" that gives me the daily gift or ability to be sober and help others. I am reminded of the saying: "God's grace falls like the rain on the just and unjust alike." We are all entitled to this daily bread.

"Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us" speaks to me of the importance of acceptance, love and tolerance. When I think of "temptation" and "evil," I am reminded of the risks of not being mindful of character defects and shortcomings that might stand in the way of helping others.

For now, I am grateful for what I am given in AA--whether it be prayers, promises, directions or warnings. I particularly listen to the warnings, some spoken subtly, for they are the greatest gift of all. One of them reminds me that I am not different then the next AA standing next to me. If I stand "outside the circle" I am saying that I am different and might know better.

So until AA asks me for my opinion about what should change, I will just share with the newcomer what has worked for me.

Whit B., Woodbury, Conn.
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Re: Weekly Grapevine Readings (9/19/2016)

Postby Brock » Sat Sep 24, 2016 6:01 am

I posted another story that I would expect to get some traction. A handful of views... no comments. Win some, lose some.

Dale wrote this in the thread on the 'other' story, which after blowing up has settled down to a decent step three discussion. It raises the point of just what kind of article gets our juices going on e-AA.

Perhaps because the other one went sideways some of us were cautious with this one, if someone had said the lords prayer is crap we might have been on page five by now, more likely it would have been locked. I believe a lot of us like a little contention, and personally see nothing wrong with that, it gets a bit hum drum when all we can say is nice story I agree with everything.

On this story someone might have said that the Lords Prayer makes the fellowship too Christian, nothing wrong with saying that, and nobody would disagree and say it's a Christian fellowship. So it's almost no disagreement (difference of opinion) no discussion, and it is a discussion forum, if we all agree there's nothing more to be said. True there are places like daily reflection that aren't discussions as such, just a little experience shared and a 'few flowers thrown here and there.'

So it's hard to predict what topic will get most of us going, but difference of opinion is a sure bet, and I respect everyone who starts new topics here, without them there would be no forum.

Edit -I just noticed this is the grapevine quote of the day which Dale also put up, kind of fits -

"While we readily share our views, perhaps one of the nicest things about the AA program is that we don't always have to agree with each other."
"Good morning, this is your Higher Power speaking. I will not be needing your help today."
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Re: Weekly Grapevine Readings (9/19/2016)

Postby Spirit Flower » Sat Sep 24, 2016 8:44 am

I don't say the lords prayer.
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Re: Weekly Grapevine Readings (9/19/2016)

Postby Todd M » Sat Sep 24, 2016 9:54 am

The ending prayer after a meeting, no matter what it be, as we
hold hands in unity, my goal is always to send good vibes to whomever
is struggling the most, the new comer, or the group as a whole.

Let this circle represent what we can do together, that we can not do alone.
There is Hope, Todd M
Keep it Simple

The e-AA Group's 7th Tradition link:
http://www.e-aa.org/group_seventh.php
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Re: Weekly Grapevine Readings (9/19/2016)

Postby ezdzit247 » Sun Sep 25, 2016 1:56 pm

Thanks for posting this Grapevine article. What the author wrote is good food for thought.

I like the prayer, especially its emphasis on forgiveness, don't consider it a "Christian" prayer, and I use it inside and outside the rooms.
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Re: Weekly Grapevine Readings (9/19/2016)

Postby PuppyEars » Sun Sep 25, 2016 2:21 pm

Forgive us our trespasses AS we forgive those that trespass against us

Is important to me and implies some action. To me, this ties directly into the st. Francis prayer as well.
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Re: Weekly Grapevine Readings (9/19/2016)

Postby Duke » Sun Sep 25, 2016 3:21 pm

I'd rather we didn't use it, but we do, so I participate. It's hard to explain to some struggling people how we are not a religion-affiliated program when we end every meeting with a Christian prayer. Yes, it can be explained in spiritual (not religious) terms, but why create the implication? Enough said.
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Re: Weekly Grapevine Readings (9/19/2016)

Postby Db1105 » Sun Sep 25, 2016 6:59 pm

The our father prayer or lords prayer is a christian prayer. no if , ands, or buts, period. But, since I value the group conscience on this issue rather than my opinion, I chose not to join in and keep silent.
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Re: Weekly Grapevine Readings (9/19/2016)

Postby Barbara D. » Mon Sep 26, 2016 9:23 am

Me, too, Db1105.

When I got here, my then-husband was chasing me around the house reading the Bible to me, determined to get the heathen saved from the devil's clutches. At that time, I considered myself to be agnostic for you and atheist for me. I was high-bottom and struggled mightily with all the religious influences I heard in meetings and the Big Book when everybody kept telling me AA is a spiritual program. I was really desperate, so, as mentioned, I circled up but did not say the Lord's Prayer at the end of meetings. I tried to accept the idea of Home Group majority rule. But after 4 or 5 years, I was attending more NA than AA meetings because NA's text and meeting format were more spiritual to me.

In retirement, I have returned to AA having discovered it online. I am pure alcoholic...that is, it was my only drug. And it is here that I discovered my feelings about religion in AA were really old resentments against my X-husband. I now believe that our Founders could not have removed themselves from their cultural background and de-humanized the concept of a "God Of Your Understanding." If the Big Book had been written in Asia, it might have had Hindu or Buddhist flavor and we'd be huffy about reincarnation references! In the spirit of unity, the religious folks also have to resist the urge to witness their own details. I have an HP now, a Creator that is more phenomenon than entity, so it all worked out...because I know I'm not in charge and I kept coming back and did not drink today!
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Re: Weekly Grapevine Readings (9/19/2016)

Postby Thumper » Mon Sep 26, 2016 10:09 am

Healthy discussion. Thanks to all. I post these without comment. It is what it is... for discussion purposes. It is up to the forum. There is no doubt about the AA founders concept of a "Higher Power". It was derived from the "their" concept, given the time and location.

The cool thing is that we still have free will to choose whatever flies our kite. They left that option open IMO.

Personally, I don't like it either. Close with the Serenity Prayer. That one works.

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Re: Weekly Grapevine Readings (9/19/2016)

Postby ezdzit247 » Mon Sep 26, 2016 2:21 pm

More food for thought. Here's a letter from Bill W. on the topic of the "Lord's Prayer"


April 14, 1959
Dear Russ,

Am right sorry for my delay in answering. Lois and I were a long time out of the country and this was followed by an attack of the marathon type of flu that has been around here in New York. We are okay now, however, but I did want to explain my delay.

Now about the business of adding the Lord's Prayer to each A.A. meeting.

This practice probably came from the Oxford Groups who were influential in the early days of A.A. You have probably noted in AA. Comes of Age what the connection of these people in A.A. really was. I think saying the Lord's Prayer was a custom of theirs following the close of each meeting. Therefore it quite easily got shifted into a general custom among us.

Of course there will always be those who seem to be offended by the introduction of any prayer whatever into an ordinary A.A. gathering. Also, it is sometimes complained that the Lord's Prayer is a Christian document. Nevertheless this Prayer is of such widespread use and recognition that the arguments of its Christian origin seems to be a little farfetched. It is also true that most A.A.s believe in some kind of God and that communication and strength is obtainable through His grace. Since this is the general consensus it seems only right that at least the Serenity Prayer and the Lord's Prayer be used in connection with our meetings. It does not seem necessary to defer to the feelings of our agnostic and atheist newcomers to the extent of completely hiding our light under a bushel.

However, around here, the leader of the meeting usually asks those to join him in the Lord's Prayer who feel that they would care to do so. The worst that happens to the objectors is that they have to listen to it. This is doubtless a salutary exercise in tolerance at their stage of progress.

So that's the sum of the Lord's Prayer business as I recall it. Your letter made me wonder in just what connection you raise the question.

Meanwhile, please know just how much Lois and I treasure the friendship of you both. May Providence let our paths presently cross one of these days.

Devotedly yours,
Bill Wilson
“To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children...to leave the world a better place...to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.” -- Ralph Waldo Emerson
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Re: Weekly Grapevine Readings (9/19/2016)

Postby Brock » Mon Sep 26, 2016 3:25 pm

It does not seem necessary to defer to the feelings of our agnostic and atheist newcomers to the extent of completely hiding our light under a bushel.

That was written in 1959, I have a feeling he might lean a bit more towards appeasing our atheist friends today, still nobody should hide our 'God light' completely.

I wish there were no agnostics and atheists, so we could speak more freely about God and quote the bible if we wanted to, but we do and we must respect their feelings. I have seen us bend over backward, both here and in meetings, to make non believers feel welcome and included, saying long Christian prayers takes away from that.

Most of all I don't want to give them any more excuses to push atheism in our face, if we cool it on the prayers, and in other ways keep our spiritual leanings to ourselves, perhaps they will keep their non belief to themselves as well. Atheists in our spiritual fellowship, who insist on repeating their lack of belief over and over, seem to be increasing, I think we should not give them more excuses to do so.
"Good morning, this is your Higher Power speaking. I will not be needing your help today."
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Re: Weekly Grapevine Readings (9/19/2016)

Postby ezdzit247 » Mon Sep 26, 2016 4:05 pm

The part of Bill's letter that intrigued me most was this:

Also, it is sometimes complained that the Lord's Prayer is a Christian document. Nevertheless this Prayer is of such widespread use and recognition that the arguments of its Christian origin seems to be a little farfetched.


I wondered why he would write that arguments for the Christian origin of the prayer seemed to be a little farfetched? So I did a little digging into the historic origins of the prayer and I have to agree with Bill. The origins of the Essene prayer found in Matthew predate the origins of Christianity by at least 300 years and other versions of the prayer containing the same 7 petitions can be traced all the way back to the Vedas circa 3000 BC. Personally, I prefer Lamsa's translation of the prayer in the Peshitta for the 6th petition to the King James translation. It makes more sense to me.
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Re: Weekly Grapevine Readings (9/19/2016)

Postby PuppyEars » Tue Sep 27, 2016 1:39 am

How does an atheist read page 54? Are atheists taking what they like out of the book and leaving the rest?

As a once full time agnostic, lines like In one form or another we had been living by faith and little else picked up my belief system and body slammed it into a new way of thinking. I think as long as atheism is not being pushed on newcomers whatever higher power you have found is awesome. I have been to a few meetings where even if you have 22 years of sobriety and share about your atheism, a believer will say "keep coming back".
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Re: Weekly Grapevine Readings (9/19/2016)

Postby avaneesh912 » Tue Sep 27, 2016 3:51 am

Believers and non-believers both have some idea of this concept. One believes it and the other doesn't thats it. We have wars over this.
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