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BrotherRog

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    Colorado, U.S.A., North America, Western Hemisphere, Earth, our Solar System, Milky Way, ...
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    Lover of abundant life in God's Kingdom.<br>I enjoy: spending time with family; running: music (playing and listening); clowing and other holy foolishness; keeping up with current events (news junkie); theology; inter- and intra-religious dialogue; promoting "progressive/alternative/ radical/counter-cultural Christianity"; and offering (and receiving) gentle wisdom and insight.
  1. Well, I'm not a gnostic so I'm gonna exercise my right to agree to disagree on several of those counts. Yeshua/Jesus was fully human and He was fully executed, He fully died and He fully lives today. And, IMO, this is indeed Good News. That said, I'm not one who feels that God "needed" Jesus to be killed, but it was the inevitable consequence for His radical actions. Instead, I'm inspired by how God vindicated Jesus' death and put the worldly powers back in their place and reminded the world that God is still God and that we can live in God's kingdom ways instead of in worldly ways - as, even if we end up getting killed in the process, not even that can separate us from God and God's love. The worst the world can dish-out isn't enough to quash God's will and our ability to align with it - boldly!
  2. For me, the resurrection is both spiritual and political and it matters very much in the life of my faith. A few weeks ago, I posted the following sermon I wrote in the General Resources area of this message board, but I'll repost it here to respond to the question at hand. It will be noted that Soma and I come at this rather differently. ----------------- I don't know about you, but I'm sick and tired of the way Christianity is often presented in America these days. I'm sick of how it's become hijacked and monopolized by fundamentalist and rightwing perspectives. I'm distrubed by how it's been de-radicalized from it's original sense of socio-poltical salvation and instead, reduced to being sentimentalized and schmaltzified to the point of being only about personal salvation - "believing X,Y, and Z now in order to go to heaven later." If Jesus were in a grave, he'd be spinning in it in my opinion. So... here's an alternative Easter message that I've taken the liberty to write which at least speaks to what I think are the primary intentions, passions, and purposes which Jesus had and was about. Even if you don't consider yourself a "Christian," maybe it'll speak to you too. Peace and Happy Easter! BrotherRog ----------- It's been said that this world is a tough place to live. And parts of it are really tough. Places like Antarctica with it's frigid cold; the top of mountains with their thin air; desserts with their lack of water and vegetation; the oceans with their tidal waves, hurricanes, etc. - places like these are pretty inhospitable to humans. But it's not just these sorts of extreme places that are hard to live in. The regular parts of the world are tough too. We learn this as children. We start learn to walk and right way what happens? We trip and fall down on the sidewalk and skin our knees and bump our heads on rocks! We bang up against things and it hurts! Ouch! : ) Yet, God created this world and God said it was good when S/He created the oceans and the land, and all the rocks and creatures in it and God hopes we'll love it and think it's good too! But what God didn't create and what God doesn't love is the ways that we tend to run our societies. God doesn't love it that we've created a world where we live by the law of the jungle, where "might makes right," where we compete and hoard, where powers and domination systems place the overwhelming majority of humanity into abject poverty and misery. The first major, massive scale, instance of this kind of human created system of power and might was the world's first territorial empire, the Roman empire. Rome conquered many nations through the means of military, political, economic, and ideological exploitation and domination. They imposed a Pax Romana – a "Roman peace" – which meant that there was peace unless a nation dared to resist them – and then they'd be brutally squashed back into submission. When Octavian defeated Anthony and Cleopatra, he changed his name to "Augustus" and the Roman empire took things to an even higher level than ever before. The Romans had just gone through 20 years of civil war and Augustus ended it. He brought peace – 40 years of peace! The people responded, "Thank God! Praise Augustus! He must be Divine!" And then the Roman "Emperor Cult" was born which was the heart and soul of the Roman Empire. It created a unifying ideology which asserted that Caesar was God, that he was Son of God, that he was Savior, Redeemer, and Lord! And Rome expected all of it's subject nations to call him those things too. Well, God had quite enough of that! So when the next Ceasar was in power, a certain Yeshua of Nazareth arrived on the scene. And this Yeshua, this Jesus, from a podunk town in a backwater province on the eastern fringe of the Roman Empire, had the gall to take on and defy that arrogant Roman ideology! Some of all of this is bit like the story line in the movie The Matrix. In The Matrix, humankind has been relegated to serving as cogs in a machine that they're powerless to do anything about, as nourishment for a world run by machines. And yet there was a prophesy that a messiah would come along to liberate humanity from their oppressed state. That savior came in the form of Neo, "the One", Neo Anderson (meaning "Son of Man"). And it's no accident that that's the same title that Jesus referred to Himself as being. But unlike Neo, Jesus' way wasn't about fighting back and becoming even better at wielding deadly martial arts and the ways of the world than anyone else. Instead, the way that Jesus taught was that of out-right defiance and rejection of any powers that be, any powers or principalities that dare to usurp God's power in God's world! Those false powers were the ones who really had the gall! -the gall to create systems which put all of the property and farms into the hands of a few and oppressed the masses by turning them into tenant farmers or share croppers who ended up beholden to debt collectors; the gall to create a system where women had no voice or legal standing but were instead treated as the property of men; the gall to create a system where humans enslaved other humans; the gall to justify oppressing and exploiting the poor, and force young people to fight in wars of expansion; the gall to say worldly leaders and worldly powers are gods instead of God Him/Herself! But Jesus' way was a nonviolent way. He didn't use the world's ways against the world, He simply said that the worldly powers are impotent - they have no power, that the real power is with God and in the Kingdom of God! And then Jesus demonstrated that power by reaching out to the people who society had rejected; and He invited people to repent and to change their way of thinking and living so that they could break free from ways which collaborated with the empire so that they could start living freely and abundantly in deep community and communion with one another – sharing all that they have and turning away from the domination system which sought to oppress them! And then He went into the belly of the beast - right into the Temple in Jerusalem which had been collaborating with Roman dominance and said NO! He condemned the corrupted Temple system which had been blessing the unjust status quo and cooperating with the Roman Empire. He knocked over the tables in the courtyard and boldly confronted the powers and exposed them as frauds. He took back that house for God's purposes - not Rome's! And then…, the "empire struck back"... The domination system conspired against Him and they meted out the worst they could do - they had Him arrested, beaten, and executed. One thing the powers that be can't tolerate is being rejected and so they rejected Him! They killed Him. As they say in Communist China, "the nail that rises up gets hammered back down." Take that! End of story... And with that, Jesus' disciples (at least the men) hid away in fear. But then, something extraordinary happened. God said, "Uh, No. That isn't the end of the story!" And though He was indeed good and dead, God amazingly and graciously resurrected Jesus - back to life! Jesus of Nazareth who had been delivered up by the chief priests and executed by Romans under Pontius Pilate, was alive again! The guards who'd been posted at the tomb ran to tell the chief priests what had happened. Their lives were at stake for failing to prevent the tomb from being opened. To break the Roman seal that had been placed at the entrance to the tomb was against the emperor's law and punishable by death. So Jesus' resurrection was an act of civil disobedience. God was breaking Roman law! : ) And then Jesus showed Himself (in a way that I can't fully explain) to those disciples of His who had run away in fear and when they saw Him and recognized the nail marks on His hands, they came out of hiding! Until they saw Jesus, they viewed the world the way others did. The central reality of their lives had been the power of the system and their own powerlessness in it. But when they saw Him risen and alive, they unlocked the doors, came out, and began turning the world upside down! At last, they were finally converted! They knew another reality that was bolder, truer, and stronger than the powers that had been paralyzing them with fear. Jesus had risen! And Jesus was Lord – not Caesar! They saw that all that their rabbi had been teaching them about the Kingdom of God and how it's ways are better than the world's ways is true! And that no matter what, even if the worldly powers dish-out the worst they can, even if they end up getting killed too, that even death has lost its sting! Even death can't stop the truth of God in God's world! They took to the streets and started preaching the Gospel of the Grace and Good News of the Life, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus the Christ! Yes, the Empire tried hard to stifle their efforts – and thousands of Christians ended up on crosses or being eaten by lions or killed by gladiators in Roman coliseums. But the more they were persecuted, the more their movement spread. And it spread like wildfire! Until, eventually, Christianity became the official religion of the Roman empire, and the empire itself was dissolved! Today, the living resurrected Jesus stands before us. He knows us and He knows our fears. We're afraid of economic hardship, we're afraid of debt, we're afraid of diminishing resources and environ-mental destruction. We're afraid of racial tensions and the growing gulf between the rich and the poor. We're afraid of the hurt between men and women, between people of different nations, and we're afraid of a drift toward endless war. We fear for ourselves and our loved ones. Like those first disciples, we're afraid of the power of the systems of the world with their armies, their courts, their prisons, their threats. Like them, we fear our own powerlessness, weakness, and sense of inadequacy. We're insecure, frightened by our emotions, and wary of trusting one another. We feel both the guilt of our sin and the vulnerability of our broken places. Above all, we fear pain, suffering and death. We too are hiding behind locked doors and are afraid to come out. Jesus knows our fear and wants us to know His resurrection. He says, "Go, tell my disciples that I have risen and that I'm going before them!" He tells us not to doubt but to believe! Jesus lived and died to liberate us from our sins, our doubts, our fears, and the addictions we use to medicate and numb ourselves. God raised Him from the grave to show us His victory over them and to set us free from their power. And now, Jesus calls us to boldly pick up our crosses and follow Him! Yeah, that's right! He wants us to follow Him into harm's way! But He wants us to do so knowing that no matter what, God'll make things right in the end! So, what about you and me today? Do we still doubt that Jesus' way of love, that His "way of the cross" makes much sense in this modern, competitive, dog eat dog world? Do we think that that kind of "suffering servanthood" can make a difference or transform our world of new empires and huge and powerful systems and institutions? Well, those early disciples felt overwhelmed by the powers and forces that ruled their day, but they were converted! They had become people of the resurrection! They began living lives filled with the fruits of conversion. Friends, we too can know the power of Christ's resurrection! Like those first disciples, we need to come out of hiding and see the risen Lord! Seeing is believing, and believing is knowing that we must turn and follow Jesus. The resurrection exposes bogus powers and restores us to right community and to who we really are! I'm not "Roger: a slave to the system!" I'm Roger – free in Christ! Liberated to advocate for justice and to serve God's people and meet their needs - and nothing's gonna stop me! And the same is true for you! Every time we act upon Jesus' lordship, every time we follow His teachings, we're demonstrating His victory! Every time we refuse to be controlled by a political or economic system; every time we deny the absolute authority of the state; every time we claim Christ's freedom over our fear; tear down the walls of race, class, and sex; love our enemies; stand with the poor; forgive those who've wronged us, or resist the violence of the nations by acting for peace, we're demonstrating the victory of Christ in the world! His victory is present wherever it is claimed and acted upon. Friends, let's dedicate the rest of our lives to claiming and acting upon this victory! Jesus Christ is risen today! Alleluia! Alleluia! Amen! A message inspired by the resurrection stories in Mark, Matthew, Luke, and John, , The Powers that Be by Walter Wink, and The Last Week by Marcus Borg & John Dominic Crossan. A few paragraphs are adapted from the last chapter of Jim Wallis' The Call to Conversion. Copyright 2007
  3. IMO, New Age and Christianity Lite are not the same thing as Progressive Christianity. Moreover, IMO, Progressive Christians should not avoid appropriate discernment and judgment and even condemnation. Jesus is our model and He rightly condemned the unjust collaboration that was going on between the puppet leaders of Israel with the Roman empire. Similarly, Martin Luther King Jr. condemened the unjust status quo of racial segregation in the U.S. And progressive Christians today ought to be condemening preemptive wars and environmental destruction, etc. While we seek to be a big tent and to be as inclusive as possible, we are not to forget our calling to be prophetic - and that involves judgment and even condemnation. Yes, inspiration is the higher calling, but we fail to be Christian (followers of Christ) if we become afraid to call a spade a spade and to tell truth to power.
  4. Jutan, I'd be interested in your responses to the questions I asked you in post #15. Peace. Roger
  5. Something I wrote for my personal blog the day after: ---------- Seung-Hui Cho killed 32 people yesterday. Nobody knew who the shooter was (or anything about him) until today - but that didn't stop thousands of people from shooting their mouths off yesterday chiming in with their 2 cents worth of opinion based upon almost nothing. Like sharks smelling blood in the water, the media circus was in full frenzy seeking interviews from anyone and everyone. Sadly, I suppose this sort of anxious response is to be expected. All told, we're a pretty anxious society and we even seem to thrive on the orgies of occassional national disasters and traumas. It seems we're merely capable of reacting to things as they happen instead of having a degree of mature distance and persepctive. Well, the talking-heads talked - and boy did they ever! The radio waves, airwaves, and blogospheres were rife with people who couldn't even wait 24 hours, not even until certain facts became known, to start spewing their thoughts to the masses. Predictably, this intial flury of voices degenerated into debates about gun control - whether we need more of it or if such violence might be prevented if more of our population were walking around packing heat as we live our lives. The situation is complex - and we Americans tend not to like complexity. The recipie which led to yesterday's tragedy was part: * too much tolerance, condoning, and glorification of violence, revenge, and retribution in our society (e.g. national policies re: foreign affairs, video games, movies, music lyrics, etc.). * too much easy access to lethal weapons * too little education to help citizens be empowered with healthy conflict managment life-skills * too little mental health coverage in our nation and too much perceived stigma against persons with such issues and, perhaps worst of all: * too little sense of community and love for our neighbors such that persons can be utterly unknown to others - even on the relative island of a college campus. But this tragedy is a bit more personal to me than just another object lesson in which to wax philosophical or political. Several generations of the males in my family went to VPI and I've long been a fan of the Hokie football team. I've seen football games in that stadium in Blacksburg, VA and have fallen in love with the school's colors of maroon and orange. What I'm getting at is that some of my loved ones could have been involved in such a thing - either as victims or as the shooter. You see, something like one in every four Americans will experience mental illness during the course of their lives (some 25%)! So in reality, all of us, and all of our loved ones could potentially be involved in such events. Now, we need to keep some reasoned perspective about this. We're far more likely to become harmed or to die in bicycle or auto accidents, or even by accidents in our own homes (especially in our bathrooms) than we are to become victims of violent crime. The idea that more of our citizenry should be armed is one that concerns me. It sounds fine and well that people who don't have criminal records or a history of mental health problems should be allowed to own firearms - but the fact is that some 25% of us will experience mental health problems and if all of us were armed at all times, it would clearly increase the number of us who become criminals via our using guns in the heat of the moment during arguments or in road rage incidents, etc. As Einstein put it, "Problems are rarely solved by the same thinking that went into creating them." But again, gun control isn't what yesterday's tragedy was primarily about. It's about a society that tolerates people becoming so insulated and coccooned from one another that we don't even notice the presence or absence of one another any more. We don't notice the "invisible" people - not because they're shy or reserved, but because the rest of us don't want to. Instead of noticing, being present to, or reaching out to connect to those around us, more and more, we tune others out by burying our faces into our laptops, talking or texting on our cellphones, or wearing our I-pod earbuds when we're out and about. We simply don't create space for connecting to others. Indeed, many of our homes have attached garages with automatic door openers and we drive home, push the button, enter the garage, shut the door, and retreat to our homes without connecting to our neighbors. Some people are even pretending to be on cell phone calls when the get into elevators - or even walk down the sidewalk, etc., in order to avoid connecting with others around them! Shame on us. If nothing else, may this moment serve to wake us up from our self-absorbed navel gazing and inspire us to reach out and connect to those around us. It's hard for us to harm those who know our names, who care about us, who respect us, and who actually notice if we're at work or in class or living next to them. hoping beyond hope, Roger p.s. the people of Colorado - who are still reeling in the wake of the Columbine shootings, send our love and prayers out to the people of Virginia.
  6. Happy Easter everyone! Christ is risen! Christ is risen indeed! And Jesus is Lord - Caesar isn't! Yours in Pax Christi (not Pax Romana or Pax Americana), BrotherRog p.s. I posted the sermon I preached this past Easter Sunday in the General Resources area for those who might be interested.
  7. I don't know about you, but I'm sick and tired of the way Christianity is often presented in America these days. I'm sick of how it's become hijacked and monopolized by fundamentalist and rightwing perspectives. I'm distrubed by how it's been de-radicalized from it's original sense of socio-poltical salvation and instead, reduced to being sentimentalized and schmaltzified to the point of being only about personal salvation - "believing X,Y, and Z now in order to go to heaven later." If Jesus were in a grave, he'd be spinning in it in my opinion. So... here's an alternative Easter message that I've taken the liberty to write which at least speaks to what I think are the primary intentions, passions, and purposes which Jesus had and was about. Even if you don't consider yourself a "Christian," maybe it'll speak to you too. Peace and Happy Easter! BrotherRog ----------- It's been said that this world is a tough place to live. And parts of it are really tough. Places like Antarctica with it's frigid cold; the top of mountains with their thin air; desserts with their lack of water and vegetation; the oceans with their tidal waves, hurricanes, etc. - places like these are pretty inhospitable to humans. But it's not just these sorts of extreme places that are hard to live in. The regular parts of the world are tough too. We learn this as children. We start learn to walk and right way what happens? We trip and fall down on the sidewalk and skin our knees and bump our heads on rocks! We bang up against things and it hurts! Ouch! : ) Yet, God created this world and God said it was good when S/He created the oceans and the land, and all the rocks and creatures in it and God hopes we'll love it and think it's good too! But what God didn't create and what God doesn't love is the ways that we tend to run our societies. God doesn't love it that we've created a world where we live by the law of the jungle, where "might makes right," where we compete and hoard, where powers and domination systems place the overwhelming majority of humanity into abject poverty and misery. The first major, massive scale, instance of this kind of human created system of power and might was the world's first territorial empire, the Roman empire. Rome conquered many nations through the means of military, political, economic, and ideological exploitation and domination. They imposed a Pax Romana – a "Roman peace" – which meant that there was peace unless a nation dared to resist them – and then they'd be brutally squashed back into submission. When Octavian defeated Anthony and Cleopatra, he changed his name to "Augustus" and the Roman empire took things to an even higher level than ever before. The Romans had just gone through 20 years of civil war and Augustus ended it. He brought peace – 40 years of peace! The people responded, "Thank God! Praise Augustus! He must be Divine!" And then the Roman "Emperor Cult" was born which was the heart and soul of the Roman Empire. It created a unifying ideology which asserted that Caesar was God, that he was Son of God, that he was Savior, Redeemer, and Lord! And Rome expected all of it's subject nations to call him those things too. Well, God had quite enough of that! So when the next Ceasar was in power, a certain Yeshua of Nazareth arrived on the scene. And this Yeshua, this Jesus, from a podunk town in a backwater province on the eastern fringe of the Roman Empire, had the gall to take on and defy that arrogant Roman ideology! Some of all of this is bit like the story line in the movie The Matrix. In The Matrix, humankind has been relegated to serving as cogs in a machine that they're powerless to do anything about, as nourishment for a world run by machines. And yet there was a prophesy that a messiah would come along to liberate humanity from their oppressed state. That savior came in the form of Neo, "the One", Neo Anderson (meaning "Son of Man"). And it's no accident that that's the same title that Jesus referred to Himself as being. But unlike Neo, Jesus' way wasn't about fighting back and becoming even better at wielding deadly martial arts and the ways of the world than anyone else. Instead, the way that Jesus taught was that of out-right defiance and rejection of any powers that be, any powers or principalities that dare to usurp God's power in God's world! Those false powers were the ones who really had the gall! -the gall to create systems which put all of the property and farms into the hands of a few and oppressed the masses by turning them into tenant farmers or share croppers who ended up beholden to debt collectors; the gall to create a system where women had no voice or legal standing but were instead treated as the property of men; the gall to create a system where humans enslaved other humans; the gall to justify oppressing and exploiting the poor, and force young people to fight in wars of expansion; the gall to say worldly leaders and worldly powers are gods instead of God Him/Herself! But Jesus' way was a nonviolent way. He didn't use the world's ways against the world, He simply said that the worldly powers are impotent - they have no power, that the real power is with God and in the Kingdom of God! And then Jesus demonstrated that power by reaching out to the people who society had rejected; and He invited people to repent and to change their way of thinking and living so that they could break free from ways which collaborated with the empire so that they could start living freely and abundantly in deep community and communion with one another – sharing all that they have and turning away from the domination system which sought to oppress them! And then He went into the belly of the beast - right into the Temple in Jerusalem which had been collaborating with Roman dominance and said NO! He condemned the corrupted Temple system which had been blessing the unjust status quo and cooperating with the Roman Empire. He knocked over the tables in the courtyard and boldly confronted the powers and exposed them as frauds. He took back that house for God's purposes - not Rome's! And then…, the "empire struck back"... The domination system conspired against Him and they meted out the worst they could do - they had Him arrested, beaten, and executed. One thing the powers that be can't tolerate is being rejected and so they rejected Him! They killed Him. As they say in Communist China, "the nail that rises up gets hammered back down." Take that! End of story... And with that, Jesus' disciples (at least the men) hid away in fear. But then, something extraordinary happened. God said, "Uh, No. That isn't the end of the story!" And though He was indeed good and dead, God amazingly and graciously resurrected Jesus - back to life! Jesus of Nazareth who had been delivered up by the chief priests and executed by Romans under Pontius Pilate, was alive again! The guards who'd been posted at the tomb ran to tell the chief priests what had happened. Their lives were at stake for failing to prevent the tomb from being opened. To break the Roman seal that had been placed at the entrance to the tomb was against the emperor's law and punishable by death. So Jesus' resurrection was an act of civil disobedience. God was breaking Roman law! : ) And then Jesus showed Himself (in a way that I can't fully explain) to those disciples of His who had run away in fear and when they saw Him and recognized the nail marks on His hands, they came out of hiding! Until they saw Jesus, they viewed the world the way others did. The central reality of their lives had been the power of the system and their own powerlessness in it. But when they saw Him risen and alive, they unlocked the doors, came out, and began turning the world upside down! At last, they were finally converted! They knew another reality that was bolder, truer, and stronger than the powers that had been paralyzing them with fear. Jesus had risen! And Jesus was Lord – not Caesar! They saw that all that their rabbi had been teaching them about the Kingdom of God and how it's ways are better than the world's ways is true! And that no matter what, even if the worldly powers dish-out the worst they can, even if they end up getting killed too, that even death has lost its sting! Even death can't stop the truth of God in God's world! They took to the streets and started preaching the Gospel of the Grace and Good News of the Life, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus the Christ! Yes, the Empire tried hard to stifle their efforts – and thousands of Christians ended up on crosses or being eaten by lions or killed by gladiators in Roman coliseums. But the more they were persecuted, the more their movement spread. And it spread like wildfire! Until, eventually, Christianity became the official religion of the Roman empire, and the empire itself was dissolved! Today, the living resurrected Jesus stands before us. He knows us and He knows our fears. We're afraid of economic hardship, we're afraid of debt, we're afraid of diminishing resources and environ-mental destruction. We're afraid of racial tensions and the growing gulf between the rich and the poor. We're afraid of the hurt between men and women, between people of different nations, and we're afraid of a drift toward endless war. We fear for ourselves and our loved ones. Like those first disciples, we're afraid of the power of the systems of the world with their armies, their courts, their prisons, their threats. Like them, we fear our own powerlessness, weakness, and sense of inadequacy. We're insecure, frightened by our emotions, and wary of trusting one another. We feel both the guilt of our sin and the vulnerability of our broken places. Above all, we fear pain, suffering and death. We too are hiding behind locked doors and are afraid to come out. Jesus knows our fear and wants us to know His resurrection. He says, "Go, tell my disciples that I have risen and that I'm going before them!" He tells us not to doubt but to believe! Jesus lived and died to liberate us from our sins, our doubts, our fears, and the addictions we use to medicate and numb ourselves. God raised Him from the grave to show us His victory over them and to set us free from their power. And now, Jesus calls us to boldly pick up our crosses and follow Him! Yeah, that's right! He wants us to follow Him into harm's way! But He wants us to do so knowing that no matter what, God'll make things right in the end! So, what about you and me today? Do we still doubt that Jesus' way of love, that His "way of the cross" makes much sense in this modern, competitive, dog eat dog world? Do we think that that kind of "suffering servanthood" can make a difference or transform our world of new empires and huge and powerful systems and institutions? Well, those early disciples felt overwhelmed by the powers and forces that ruled their day, but they were converted! They had become people of the resurrection! They began living lives filled with the fruits of conversion. Friends, we too can know the power of Christ's resurrection! Like those first disciples, we need to come out of hiding and see the risen Lord! Seeing is believing, and believing is knowing that we must turn and follow Jesus. The resurrection exposes bogus powers and restores us to right community and to who we really are! I'm not "Roger: a slave to the system!" I'm Roger – free in Christ! Liberated to advocate for justice and to serve God's people and meet their needs - and nothing's gonna stop me! And the same is true for you! Every time we act upon Jesus' lordship, every time we follow His teachings, we're demonstrating His victory! Every time we refuse to be controlled by a political or economic system; every time we deny the absolute authority of the state; every time we claim Christ's freedom over our fear; tear down the walls of race, class, and sex; love our enemies; stand with the poor; forgive those who've wronged us, or resist the violence of the nations by acting for peace, we're demonstrating the victory of Christ in the world! His victory is present wherever it is claimed and acted upon. Friends, let's dedicate the rest of our lives to claiming and acting upon this victory! Jesus Christ is risen today! Alleluia! Alleluia! Amen. A message inspired by the resurrection stories in Mark, Matthew, Luke, and John, , The Powers that Be by Walter Wink, and The Last Week by Marcus Borg & John Dominic Crossan. A few paragraphs are adapted from the last chapter of Jim Wallis' The Call to Conversion. Copyright 2007
  8. Indeed, Air Force to Probe Religious Climate at Colorado AcademyThe Air Force said yesterday it is creating a task force to address the religious climate at the US Air Force Academy, following allegations that its ... www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/05/03/AR2005050301499.html - Similar pages Air Force Removes Chaplain From PostDENVER, May 12 -- An Air Force chaplain who complained that evangelical ... at the Air Force Academy was removed from administrative duties last week, ... www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/05/12/AR2005051201740.html - Similar pages CNN.com - Air Force probes religious bias charges at academy - May ...The US Air Force said Tuesday it will appoint a task force to investigate allegations of religious intolerance at the Air Force Academy. www.cnn.com/2005/US/05/03/airforce.religion/ - 48k - Cached - Similar pages USATODAY.com - Academy critic says she was firedAn Air Force Academy chaplain who co-wrote a report last year that ... But the memo also raised concerns about the "stridently evangelical themes" at a ... www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2005-05-11-chaplain-academy_x.htm
  9. a link that works: informationliberation - Group seeks probe of evangelical military ... Group seeks probe of evangelical military video. By Kristin Roberts WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A watchdog group that promotes religious freedom in the U.S. ... www.informationliberation.com/?id=18730
  10. Group seeks probe of evangelical military video WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A watchdog group that promotes religious freedom in the U.S. military accused senior officers on Monday using their rank and influence to coerce soldiers and airmen into adopting evangelical Christianity. Such proselytizing, according to the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, has created a core of "radical" Christians within the U.S. armed forces and Pentagon who punish those who do not accept evangelical beliefs by stalling their careers. "It's egregious beyond the pale," said Mikey Weinstein, president and founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation. "We apparently have a radicalized, evangelical Christian Pentagon within the rest of the Pentagon." The group asked the Pentagon's inspector general to investigate a video in which some Army and Air Force officers discuss their faith while in uniform. According to the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, the video played for reporters was a promotional tool for Christian Embassy, a group that describes itself as a ministry helping national and international leaders blend faith and work. The executive director of Christian Embassy, Bob Varney, did not respond to a request for comment. Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said the Defense Department does not endorse any religion or religious organization or judge the validity of religious expressions. He confirmed the Defense Department inspector general, the Pentagon's internal watchdog agency, received the letter requesting the probe, but noted it was the inspector general's policy not to say whether an investigation had been opened. "At this point it would be inappropriate to speculate as to what actions might be taken," Whitman said. RELIGIOUS RECRUITING The Military Religious Freedom Foundation said the officers on the video violated military rules by wearing their uniforms while discussing their religious beliefs, giving the appearance of official participation in a religious organization. That appearance, according to the group, is particularly damaging in the military, where rank carries great influence. "It associates the power of office with sectarian ideology," said MeLinda Morton, a Lutheran reverend and former Air Force chaplain who said her military career was hurt because she did not adopt evangelical views. The religious freedom group also raised issues with the content of the video, including a comment from Air Force Maj. Gen. Jack Catton that he would discuss his faith with people who came to his Joint Staff directorate within the Pentagon. Weinstein compared what he said was radical proselytizing within the military with the Islamist militants U.S. troops are confronting in wars overseas. "When we're facing a global war on terror against what we call Islamic extremists, it certainly doesn't help when we have apparently a viewpoint from the cognoscenti and glitterati, the leadership of the Pentagon, pushing a particular virulent worldview down the throats of people who are helpless to argue against it," Weinstein said. http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20061211/ts_nm/...n_religion_dc_1
  11. Welcome aboard Rev! You'll be loved here. : )
  12. re: original post 1. I personally don't feel Christianity is inherently strengthened via a notion of a one time, in one place incarnation. I have a bit of an adoptionist notion about Jesus' growing into and becoming so close to God relationionally, that metaphorically speaking, He and God "as one" (i.e. were/are as tight as two peas on a pod). I also have a bit of a semi-perenialist/semi-triumphalist view such that I feel that Jesus was AN incarnation of the Cosmic Christ. 2. Here's some links to other discussions of the scandal of particularity - including another Christian forum which folks might enjoy learning about: Catalyst: Contemporary Evangelical PerspectivesTHE SCANDAL OF CHRISTIAN SALVATION AND RELIGIOUS PLURALISM ... Hence, while Pluralists err by removing the particularity of the scandal, Exclusivists err by ... catalystresources.org/issues/233brewer.html - r204stq2How does it give rise in each to a "scandal of particularity"? (Essay V, J4). QUESTIONS ON CHRISTIANITY. Be familiar with the following terms and names; ... www.aarweb.org/syllabus/syllabi/c/cannon/r204stq2.htm - Just Wondering: The Scandal of ParticularityThe Scandal of Particularity. Newbigin, in his theology of election, ... discover the truth about christianity through reading historical accounts of Christ ... hepburnmusings.blogspot.com/2006/06/scandal-of-particularity.html - Pascal: The First Modern ChristianChristianity’s scandal is not just itself (though it is that as well, ... the century to follow than what has become known as the "scandal of particularity. ... www.firstthings.com/ftissues/ft9908/articles/oakes.html - [PDF] The Scandal of Artistic Particularity:File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat - View as HTML between Christianity’s “scandal of particularity” and Islam’s desire to be. universal in scope. I believe further that this is linked to Islam’s see www.google.com "scandal of particularity" to see more in more detail
  13. Jim, I'm not too keen on the Course on Miracles (I find it to be too gnostic, too new agey, and too self-focused) but here is a link to a thread started by Jeep a while back that you might wish to explore: A Course on Miracles http://tcpc.ipbhost.com/index.php?showtopic=49 And here's another related thread: http://tcpc.ipbhost.com/index.php?showtopic=46 Peace. Roger
  14. I think everyone should look at this website before Martin Luther King's birthday, and just observe what you experience inside your body, heart and mind as you go through it. http://www.remembersegregation.org With hope that we may someday see the beautiful rainbow that we all are...
  15. I realize that MLK wasn't perfect and had his share of failings. He wasn't a saint and was just as human as the rest of us. But unlike most of us, he had a keen ability to read things as they are, discern injustice, and speak truth to power. He also had an ability to emphasize the heart of the Christianity and to emphasize the priorities which Jesus likely would've emphasized had he lived in MLK's era. With that in mind, I offer the following: I think that Dr. Martin Luther King's "Beyond Vietnam" speech is wonderful, even though it is littled quoted. In honor of his upcoming holiday, and in response to the escalation message in Bush's recent speech, I thought I'd highlight it here. Audio speech: http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/v...instvietnam.mp3 Printed speech: http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article2564.htm A few choice passages from the speech: "I found myself in full accord when I read… 'A time comes when silence is betrayal.' That time has come for us in relation to Vietnam." "I knew that America would never invest the necessary funds or energies in rehabilitation of its poor so long as adventures like Vietnam continued to draw men and skills and money like some demonic destructive suction tube. So I was increasingly compelled to see the war as an enemy of the poor and to attack it as such." "I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today — my own government. For the sake of those boys, for the sake of this government, for the sake of hundreds of thousands trembling under our violence, I cannot be silent." "And as I ponder the madness of Vietnam and search within myself for ways to understand and respond to compassion my mind goes constantly to the people of that peninsula. I speak now not of the soldiers of each side, not of the junta in Saigon, but simply of the people who have been living under the curse of war for almost three continuous decades now. I think of them too because it is clear to me that there will be no meaningful solution there until some attempt is made to know them and hear their broken cries." "Ho Chi Minh has watched as America has spoken of peace and built up its forces… Perhaps only his sense of humor and of irony can save him when he hears the most powerful nation of the world speaking of aggression as it drops thousands of bombs on a poor weak nation more than eight thousand miles away from its shores." "Here is the true meaning and value of compassion and nonviolence when it helps us to see the enemy's point of view, to hear his questions, to know his assessment of ourselves. For from his view we may indeed see the basic weaknesses of our own condition, and if we are mature, we may learn and grow and profit from the wisdom of the brothers who are called the opposition." "At this point I should make it clear that while I have tried in these last few minutes to give a voice to the voiceless on Vietnam and to understand the arguments of those who are called enemy, I am as deeply concerned about our troops there as anything else. For it occurs to me that what we are submitting them to in Vietnam is not simply the brutalizing process that goes on in any war where armies face each other and seek to destroy. We are adding cynicism to the process of death, for they must know after a short period there that none of the things we claim to be fighting for are really involved. Before long they must know that their government has sent them into a struggle among Vietnamese, and the more sophisticated surely realize that we are on the side of the wealthy and the secure while we create hell for the poor." "Somehow this madness must cease. We must stop now. I speak as a child of God and brother to the suffering poor of Vietnam. I speak for those whose land is being laid waste, whose homes are being destroyed, whose culture is being subverted. I speak for the poor of America who are paying the double price of smashed hopes at home and death and corruption in Vietnam. I speak as a citizen of the world, for the world as it stands aghast at the path we have taken. I speak as an American to the leaders of my own nation. The great initiative in this war is ours. The initiative to stop it must be ours." "The world now demands a maturity of America that we may not be able to achieve. It demands that we admit that we have been wrong from the beginning of our adventure in Vietnam, that we have been detrimental to the life of the Vietnamese people. The situation is one in which we must be ready to turn sharply from our present ways. In order to atone for our sins and errors in Vietnam, we should take the initiative in bringing a halt to this tragic war." "A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death. America, the richest and most powerful nation in the world, can well lead the way in this revolution of values. There is nothing, except a tragic death wish, to prevent us from reordering our priorities, so that the pursuit of peace will take precedence over the pursuit of war. There is nothing to keep us from molding a recalcitrant status quo with bruised hands until we have fashioned it into a brotherhood." -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Separately, following are some interesting parallels between LBJ's January 10 speech 40 years ago and GWB's from 2007, found at http://www.attytood.com/2007/01/eday_it_wa..._ago_today.html . LBJ, Jan. 10, 1967: We have chosen to fight a limited war in Vietnam in an attempt to prevent a larger war--a war almost certain to follow, I believe, if the Communists succeed in overrunning and taking over South Vietnam by aggression and by force. I believe, and I am supported by some authority, that if they are not checked now the world can expect to pay a greater price to check them later. GWB, Jan. 10, 2007: Tonight in Iraq, the Armed Forces of the United States are engaged in a struggle that will determine the direction of the global war on terror – and our safety here at home. The new strategy I outline tonight will change America's course in Iraq, and help us succeed in the fight against terror. LBJ, Jan. 10, 1967: I wish I could report to you that the conflict is almost over. This I cannot do. We face more cost, more loss, and more agony. For the end is not yet. I cannot promise you that it will come this year--or come next year. Our adversary still believes, I think, tonight, that he can go on fighting longer than we can, and longer than we and our allies will be prepared to stand up and resist. GWB, Jan. 10, 2007: Our past efforts to secure Baghdad failed for two principal reasons: There were not enough Iraqi and American troops to secure neighborhoods that had been cleared of terrorists and insurgents. And there were too many restrictions on the troops we did have. LBJ, Jan. 10, 1967: Our South Vietnamese allies are also being tested tonight. Because they must provide real security to the people living in the countryside. And this means reducing the terrorism and the armed attacks which kidnaped and killed 26,900 civilians in the last 32 months, to levels where they can be successfully controlled by the regular South Vietnamese security forces. It means bringing to the villagers an effective civilian government that they can respect, and that they can rely upon and that they can participate in, and that they can have a personal stake in. We hope that government is now beginning to emerge. GWB, Jan. 10, 2007: Only the Iraqis can end the sectarian violence and secure their people. And their government has put forward an aggressive plan to do it. LBJ, Jan. 10, 1967: This forward movement is rooted in the ambitions and the interests of Asian nations themselves. It was precisely this movement that we hoped to accelerate when I spoke at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore in April 1965, and I pledged "a much more massive effort to improve the life of man" in that part of the world, in the hope that we could take some of the funds that we were spending on bullets and bombs and spend it on schools and production. GWB, Jan. 10, 2007: A successful strategy for Iraq goes beyond military operations. Ordinary Iraqi citizens must see that military operations are accompanied by visible improvements in their neighborhoods and communities. So America will hold the Iraqi government to the benchmarks it has announced. LBJ, Jan. 10, 1967: We have chosen to fight a limited war in Vietnam in an attempt to prevent a larger war--a war almost certain to follow, I believe, if the Communists succeed in overrunning and taking over South Vietnam by aggression and by force. I believe, and I am supported by some authority, that if they are not checked now the world can expect to pay a greater price to check them later. GWB, Jan. 10, 2007: The challenge playing out across the broader Middle East is more than a military conflict. It is the decisive ideological struggle of our time…In the long run, the most realistic way to protect the American people is to provide a hopeful alternative to the hateful ideology of the enemy – by advancing liberty across a troubled region. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Finally, I would love it if I could post a "then and now" between Dr. King and his modern-day counterpart. Unfortunately, I know of no one comparable in our generation. Though Jim Wallis of the Sojourner's community may come close.
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