Welcome to the Contemplative Practice Support Forum!
If you're reading these words, you've already learned how to log in to the forum. That means you've probably conquered the most technically difficlut part of participating! From here on, everything works pretty much as on any web site you've visited:
- click on links to open pages;
- use your browser's back button to quickly go back one page;
Be sure to check out the faq link at the top right part of each forum page to learn more about the features of this discussion board.
Just to quickly review some of the terminology used:
A. Forum: that's this discussion area of the discussion board. There are other forums on the discussion board, like the Christian Spirituality Issues forum, the Shalom Place Lounge, and several more. Those are all open to the public, but this one is a private forum, for subscribers only. All of the forums are listed in the discussion board home/index page.
B. Thread: this is a discussion topic listed on the forum home page. The threads are ranked alphabetically to keep them in a certain order. Please do not start a new thread. If you have suggestions for a new thread/discussion topic, please use the Suggestions thread to share it.
C. Post: each individual contribution to a thread is called a post.
Hence, this is the opening post on the Welcome and Orientation thread on the Contemplative Practice Support forum on the Shalom Place Discussion Board.
Reading and Replying
When reading through the posts on the threads, you may decide that you would like to post your own contribution to the discussion. You can do so in one of two ways: either by clicking the Reply button at the top or bottom of the page, or by clicking the Quotes button above the post you would like to reply to. If you do the latter, then you will get that message included at the top of your own. You can then edit it as you do when replying to email to indicate the part you are replying to. Type your reply in the "Message" section of the reply form, then press the Preview Post button if you'd like to see what it looks like before adding it to the thread. You can also just press the Add Reply button if you're ready to post it.
Note, if you mess up your post, you can always go back and edit it by pressing the Edit button above your post.
It's OK to be a silent participant--to just read the threads and responses. There's no obligation to participate. Of course, it's helpful when people do participate and interact not just with the moderator, but one another. Still, you may do this as you see fit.
It's also OK to post under a public pseudonym. If you're not sure what your public name is on the discussion board, click the "my profile" link at the top right part of a forum page, then click on the "View/Update Profile" link on the page that opens.l You'll see your Login Name, Member Number, and then Publicly Displayed Name listed close to the top. Note that you can change your Publicly Displayed name if you wish--and also a number of other settings, like your password, and if you want to receive email notifications of responses to your posts, or private messages. If you're not sure what some of these settings mean, check the "faq" link at the top of a forum page for more info. You may also use this thread for asking those kinds of questions.
I hope you will also feel free to interact via the private messaging option on this forum. You would do that when you'd want to share something with someone personally, but not with the whole forum. Just click on the "Message" button above their post and your message will go to them and no one else. If the "Message" button does not show, it means that individual has disabled private messaging. You can also enable the option of having private messages received via email (this setting is in your profile). The email address of the sender of the message is not shown in this contact, in case you want to keep your email address private. Rather the sender is shown as the forum.
Where to start?
There are many different kinds of discussion threads on this forum. Feel free to jump around and get involved in any one at any time. There's no obligation to start at the top and work your way down. If you're new to contemplative practice, it would probably help to spend a little time with the top threads before proceeding along.
Membership and Community
Once you're a new subscriber to this forum, you remain a member as long as the forum stays open. If you're a newcomer and find there's already a lot of discussion to catch up on, that's OK. Just take your time and use what's helpful. Please do consider introducing yourself, however. It's always nice to know who's a member of the community.
And yes, that's what we are, in a very real way: a community of pilgrims on the Christian spiritual journey. That means we have a lot more in common than anything which might seem to emphasize our differences. We're all seeking to belong more and more to God, to wake up to our true self, and to love others and creation as fully as we can using the gifts God has given us. That makes us spiritual brothers and sisters, which is a bond that goes deeper than flesh and blood. Let us keep that bond alive and growing through our exchanges here!
I do plan to read the forum and participate in the discussion, of course; I look forward to making a "round" or two here every day. But I would like the dynamics here to be one of mutual interaction instead of considering it a place to dialogue with me. So if, for example, someone asks a question and you think you can be helpful, go ahead and share your response. Or if someone expresses a struggle and you can offer support, please do so. That's how we become a community of support, which is my hope for us.
Phil St. Romain, Moderator
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