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  2. Heathens! 2

    Good one: very possible
  3. Heathens! 2

    Preacher's daughter :-)
  4. Heathens! 2

    Well, a girl has to pass the time some way - besides could be a rendering of the minister. I remember some like that.
  5. This Week's Lectionary

    October 15, 2017 Matthew 22:1-14 The Message (MSG) The Story of the Wedding Banquet 22 1-3 Jesus responded by telling still more stories. “God’s kingdom,” he said, “is like a king who threw a wedding banquet for his son. He sent out servants to call in all the invited guests. And they wouldn’t come! 4 “He sent out another round of servants, instructing them to tell the guests, ‘Look, everything is on the table, the prime rib is ready for carving. Come to the feast!’ 5-7 “They only shrugged their shoulders and went off, one to weed his garden, another to work in his shop. The rest, with nothing better to do, beat up on the messengers and then killed them. The king was outraged and sent his soldiers to destroy those thugs and level their city. 8-10 “Then he told his servants, ‘We have a wedding banquet all prepared but no guests. The ones I invited weren’t up to it. Go out into the busiest intersections in town and invite anyone you find to the banquet.’ The servants went out on the streets and rounded up everyone they laid eyes on, good and bad, regardless. And so the banquet was on—every place filled. 11-13 “When the king entered and looked over the scene, he spotted a man who wasn’t properly dressed. He said to him, ‘Friend, how dare you come in here looking like that!’ The man was speechless. Then the king told his servants, ‘Get him out of here—fast. Tie him up and ship him to hell. And make sure he doesn’t get back in.’ 14 “That’s what I mean when I say, ‘Many get invited; only a few make it.’”
  6. Christian Art

    Puts me in mind of Buddhist sand mandalas. Craftsmanship as both a statement of faith and a prayer tool.
  7. Christian Art

    Beautiful Burl, love those old manuscripts.
  8. Earlier
  9. Christian Art

    One of the Lindau gospels.
  10. Software updated to take care of minor issues and security in last revision JosephM
  11. Heathens! 2

    Definitely French poodles for the Avignon papacy. But don't leave us Protestants out. Henry VIII English bulldog, Martin Luther German Shepherd, a pair of Greater Swiss Mountain dogs for Calvin and Zwingli . . .
  12. Heathens! 2

    This makes one wonder which breed would best represent each pope thru the ages.
  13. Heathens! 2

    No, it's just evidence that an intellectual understanding of Christianity is not required. I have preached to the mentally retarded and the psychotic, and guarantee you that intellectual elitism is a bigger spiritual stumbling block than either of those disabilities.
  14. Heathens! 2

    this is either deeply sad or deeply scaring.....................
  15. Heathens! 2

    and I'm gone.............
  16. This Week's Lectionary

    October 8, 2017 Matthew 21:33-46 The Message (MSG) The Story of the Greedy Farmhands 33-34 “Here’s another story. Listen closely. There was once a man, a wealthy farmer, who planted a vineyard. He fenced it, dug a winepress, put up a watchtower, then turned it over to the farmhands and went off on a trip. When it was time to harvest the grapes, he sent his servants back to collect his profits. 35-37 “The farmhands grabbed the first servant and beat him up. The next one they murdered. They threw stones at the third but he got away. The owner tried again, sending more servants. They got the same treatment. The owner was at the end of his rope. He decided to send his son. ‘Surely,’ he thought, ‘they will respect my son.’ 38-39 “But when the farmhands saw the son arrive, they rubbed their hands in greed. ‘This is the heir! Let’s kill him and have it all for ourselves.’ They grabbed him, threw him out, and killed him. 40 “Now, when the owner of the vineyard arrives home from his trip, what do you think he will do to the farmhands?” 41 “He’ll kill them—a rotten bunch, and good riddance,” they answered. “Then he’ll assign the vineyard to farmhands who will hand over the profits when it’s time.” 42-44 Jesus said, “Right—and you can read it for yourselves in your Bibles: The stone the masons threw out is now the cornerstone. This is God’s work; we rub our eyes, we can hardly believe it! “This is the way it is with you. God’s kingdom will be taken back from you and handed over to a people who will live out a kingdom life. Whoever stumbles on this Stone gets shattered; whoever the Stone falls on gets smashed.” 45-46 When the religious leaders heard this story, they knew it was aimed at them. They wanted to arrest Jesus and put him in jail, but, intimidated by public opinion, they held back. Most people held him to be a prophet of God.
  17. I was going to comment on the value of precise speech, but the house across from me is getting a new shingle job after Irma. The roofers are listening to Norteño music, and have started playing percussion with their nail guns and I'm smiling so hard I can't think.
  18. Living with Uncertainty

    I guess that is where I differ: I have to - or at least want to- know. Of course I recognize and accept that full knowledge will never come 'this side of the grave' still I think we can know (something) and it is a worthy endeavor. However I do think there is 'guess work' in faith also: you reason so far and then decide to go with it or not. I agree with your statement and much of the same applies to faith,
  19. Not sure how we even got here, but I'm totally comfortable saying God is not community. Although community is not possible without God/Love (which results in connectedness) and also, if God is Love, in some way he 'needs' (once there is creation) or at least desires community. As for creation, although I agree that God is Creator, I don't thing he is the immediate cause for magnetism, earth, moon and sun. But always thought, given the story of Genesis, that God was in relation with creation long before man came to be.
  20. Living with Uncertainty

    A nice article, Joseph. Thanks for sharing it. The only thing I'm certain of is that I'm uncertain. One of the things I find attractive about agnosticism (both within and without religious venues) is that it frees us from the pressure of "I have to know." It is freeing to make best guesses or to rely upon probabilities or to just go with what you know until/unless you know better. It seems to me that we would have to be omniscient to know anything with any certainty. That is a faculty that we simply don't have. Of course, being uncertain does not mean that we don't have to make decisions or choose courses of action. We still face the choices we have to make every day. But living with uncertainty does not put us into the straight-jacket of not acting or not doing until we are absolutely certain. We simply do (or do not) the best we can, and then, as you say, trust Life.
  21. Turning 58

    Thanks, PaulB. I, of course, certainly do not claim to have life all figured out. The more we know (or think we know), the more we discover that we don't know. My wife is probably a moderate Christian (not a Baptist, but definitely a Methodist). And that is okay with me. It's not my job to change her or to force her into my journey. Love doesn't do that. She still holds to much of Christianity orthodoxy, so there are some subjects that we don't discuss. But what we do try to focus on are the common values that we have. She very much agrees with my first post. I doubt she would agree with my "beliefs" post. Again, that's okay. We both acknowledge that we are on journeys and that the goal is to value the other and their journey, even if it is different from our own. Besides, in some ways I've been down the path she is on and it worked for me for many, many years. She can't quite go where I am, but she graciously allows me the freedom to be who I am, to ask questions that I couldn't before, and to say, "I don't know" without the threat of hellfire.
  22. Exactly. Community is about connectedness. Certainly it is about people being connected to one another (we are, whether we admit it or not). Despite the Protestant claim of having a "personal relationship with God", I doubt it is possible to experience God deeply without being with others. Many of the great and enduring religions, Christianity included, know that all things are connected, that there is a Unity to all things. The bible itself speaks of God as being experienced in a number of ways -- wind, fire, breath, silence, a door, a warrior, a king, a shepherd, a lover, a way, a light. On and on. None of these are to be taken literally, IMO. They are all metaphors, not of God's essence or substance (which spirit does not have), but of how we humans experience God. It is our human experiences of God that we describe. For the ancient Hebrews, they experienced God as a covenantal warrior/king who would help them conquer their enemies and bring them into their own land. Though the bible insists on it, I can't bring myself to believe that the Sacred (that I experience as bringing us together and fostering community) would tell the Israelites to kill their neighbors. I think they sanctioned their very immoral (but very human) actions by declaring them a "commandment from God." Some Christians (very few today) to much the same when they believe that homosexuals should be killed because, supposedly, the bible says that they are abominations. I think the majority of Christians today, either consciously or unconsciously due to our Judeo-Christian culture, view God as an eye-in-the-sky who, like Santa Claus, watches to see who is naughty or nice in order to decided who goes to heaven and who goes to hell, a fate far worse than not getting presents. Certainly the bible presents this concept of God in some places. But we've had 2000 years of that kind of thinking now. I think it's time for a re-think.
  23. I think that is an excellent example of how some people think that God is all about 'them'! Hence why we have such an anthropomorphic version of God in many different religious texts (albeit entirely different Gods, of course). Community may be a non-starter if one holds this anthropomorphic outlook about God, but if one were to think broader, say ecology-wise, then community also applies to "interdependent plants or animals growing or living together in natural conditions or occupying a specified habitat". I haven't looked it up, but I think the laws of gravity holding the solar system together are another example of community. Community is not just about 'people'. That said, what are people other than another type of animal, so I guess we are still in the same boat as our amoebic ancestors. There was community when the planet first formed and started to grow and evolve. We are still the same community but just at a different stage of evolution. Whilst people continue to look at the bible as though it is somehow the dictated word of God, it is hard to move past such a small view. But once one starts seeing the bible for what it is - human thoughts and writings striving to capture the essence and ideas of how they view things at that time. For me, it's quite alright for bible authors to be wrong, mistaken, taking a different path or whatever. I still sometimes enjoy their thoughts and sometimes they are useful.
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