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Kenneth Riviere

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About Kenneth Riviere

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  • Birthday October 10

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    Atlanta, GA
  1. Some books I've read and enjoyed. The Heart of Christianity by Marcus Borg. I found this very helpful. I especially liked his explanation of different types of faith. Saving Jesus from the Church by Robin Meyers. Strong condemnation of the church's tendency to focus on beliefs in specific doctrines as opposed to taking actions as taught by Jesus. The Powers that Be by Walter Wink. Very interesting call for non-violence in the world. I especially liked his new explanation of how the "turn the other cheek" lesson is subversive rather than submissive. Peace, Kenneth
  2. Just a correction to Bishop Spong's clearly stated summation of some of the bad decisions made by our political leaders which led our country to the mess we find ourselves in. It was Colin Powell who was Secretary of State in the build up/selling of the war on Iraq under W. He made an impassioned speech at the United Nations about the weapons-making efforts of Iraq and thereby helped pass the resolution which W took as authorization for the invasion. This was one of the events which caused me to lose respect for Powell as perhaps the only member of the Bush administration with any integrity. Condoleezza Rice did not become Secretary of State until after the invasion of Iraq had begun. Peace, Kenneth
  3. I'm not sure I would be willing to classify whole denominations as PC. I'm aware of progressive-leaning PCUSA, Methodist, Lutheran, Baptist, Episcopal, and other congregations, but there are also very conservative congregations within those denominations. I think you might just have to visit as has been suggested in order to assess each congregation's views (unless you can find someone familiar with local congregations who might be able to make some suggestions). I've heard some complaints about PC supporters that we are trying to start a new Progressive denomination rather than reforming the existing denominations. I'm not sure that would be a bad thing, but since I see religion in general as being a human creation as we try to find a connection with the divine and each other, I think there will always be different denominations so that people can find polity and worship styles that suit their tastes. Peace, JoKeR
  4. Sorry I haven't jumped in earlier, but I've been struggling with reading this book. It is not that I find his arguments incomprehensible (which I don't) but that I find his attitude and arrogance very offending. As N.G. pointed out, Dawkins repeatedly sets up straw men to attack after saying he won't. He belittles those he disagrees with rather than allowing for honest differences of opinion. He claims that religious defenders misinterpret quotes from respected individuals, but then claims insider understandings of the respected individuals and their quotes without much more than his own say-so as to what makes his understanding better than that of others. When I've been reading this book I find myself feeling like I do when I take some of the ridiculous surveys on the internet about "which [choose your category] are you?" The questions which are asked as multiple choice don't give choices which match my own feelings/beliefs/understanding/whatever. When he sets up a dichotomy of belief or disbelief he narrows the question so much that if pressed I would have to agree with him most of the time that I cannot believe the straw man he's knocking down, but since it is just a straw man and not really relevant to my own struggles for understanding I don't feel like I'm getting much from him. I guess it is helping me to better understand some of the arguments people have made over the centuries, but I don't usually go back multiple centuries for insights about my modern (or is it post-modern) beliefs about the nature of God and Jesus and what it means to me. I find I agree with a lot of John Spong's writings and often feel inspired by them, but I don't usually go back to Jefferson, Constantine, etc. as sources for how I view God and religion. I like your reference to the survey about scientists who acknowledge at least spiritual leanings. I think a lot of this gets back to the survey methodology. I don't think the shift in ten years is as much a change in attitude as a difference is question. If an atheist trying to show that scientists are not religious asks the type of straw man questions Dawkins uses then I don't doubt that it would show that most are not religious. If, on the other hand, a survey was trying to find out if scientists felt there was value in spirituality, meditation, religious customs and traditions, or other more general attitudes associated with religious beliefs then it would not surprise me to find that one or more such things are important to large numbers of scientists. I did have one point in particular in your post which I wanted to ask about. Do you have any references for this? It is clear that there was disagreement among early Christians just as there continues to be today. However, I am not aware of reports that early Christians persecuted other Christians until after the co-opting of Christianity by Rome and Constantine. It has been my understanding that even the idea of heresy wasn't around before this establishment of official recognition of the church by Rome.
  5. I've picked up a copy from my local library, so I'm ready to join in. Thanks for beginning this effort.
  6. I've been having some fun with the Inclusive Bible, published by Sheed & Ward a few years ago. The copyright on it is held by Priests for Equality. I've found some passages a bit awkward, but have also enjoyed their take on some things as well. I especially like the Genesis creation story where the first human is simply described as a nameless earth creature and it is only after it is split into two creatures that gender is assigned.
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