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halinsalem

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halinsalem last won the day on September 22 2011

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About halinsalem

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  • Birthday 07/22/1926

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  1. halinsalem

    'speaking Christian' By Marcus Borg

    I just finished this book. I found it to be an easy read and I agree with his opinions almost 100% ( I cannot think right now of anything I did not agree with). He does point out something that many theologians ignore, that is: words like salvation, save, redemption, sin, etc. had different meanings in old English, Hebrew, and Greek. Language is very fluid and changing from generation to generation. This book is well worth reading.
  2. I am neither Jewish nor anti-Semitic, but in this past year I have read three books, written by current Jewish Rabbis, that were quite knowledgeable and just made a lot of sense. Here is a review of the latest one that I have read. I got this from our public library and I have not checked with Amazon.com to see if is available as a Kindle edition. I apologize for the length of this review, but I did not know what to leave out. I could have made it three times as long. Hal Book Review: “The Great Partnership” (Science, Religion and the Search for Meaning) By: Rabbi Jonathan Sacks (Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of Great Britain and the Commonwealth since 1991) Pg. 74: Faith is not a form of ‘knowing’ in the sense in which that word is used in science and philosophy. It is, in the Bible, a mode of listening. The supreme expression of Jewish faith, usually translated as “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one” (Deut. 6:4), really means “Listen, O Israel”. Listening is an existential act of encounter, a way of hearing the person beneath the words, the music beneath the noise. Freud, who disliked religion and abandoned his Judaism, was nonetheless Jewish enough to invent, in psychoanalysis, the ‘listening cure’: listening as the healing of the soul. Pg. 164: The faith of Abraham makes two monumental claims: first, that the relationship between God and humanity is a matter of love, not power; second, that you can build a society on the basis of love, love of neighbor and stranger, that leads us to care for their welfare as if it were our own. These remain, even now, astonishing ideas, and one would say they were wildly utopian were it not for the fact that the faith of Abraham has lasted longer than any other known civilization. Its adherents may have allen short time and again, but they never quite lost their sense that there was something moving and humane about this ideal and the demand it makes of us. Pg. 190: Ecclesiastes, a man of untold wealth and sophistication, like Tolstoy, eventually finds meaning in simple things, love and work, eating and drinking, doing good to others and knowing that there is a time for all things: to be born and to die, to weep and to laugh, to acknowledge the eternity of God and to accept the limits of a human life. Pg. 246: My own view is that if God did not want us to seek justice in this world, why did he create it and why did he pronounce it good? If he did not believe that physical existence s a blessing, why are we here? As punishment? For what crime? Berdyaev wrote in 1923. Would he still have maintained his thesis once the full extent of the Final Solution had become clear: that suffering is to be accepted as “God’s inscrutable will and design”? There are such views in Judaism as well as Christianity, but I, for one, prefer the theology of protest. We must accept only that which we cannot change. Pg. 290: Abrahamic monotheism speaks on behalf of the poor, the weak, the enslaved. It tells a story about the power of human freedom, lifted by its encounter with the ultimate source of freedom, to create structures of human dignity. It bodies forth a vision of a more gracious world. It tells us that no one is written off, no one condemned to be a failure. It tells the rich and powerful that they have responsibilities to those who lack all that makes life bearable. It invites us to be part of a gentle revolution, telling us that influence is greater than power, that we must protect the most vulnerable in society, that we must be willing to make sacrifices to that end and, most daringly of all, that love is stronger than death. It sets love at the epicenter of the world: love of God, love of the neighbor, love of the stranger. If natural selection tells us anything, it is that this faith, having existed for longer than any other, creates in its followers an astonishing ability to survive. Pg. 295: We are in a desecularising and destabilizing age. That brings fear, and few things are worse than the politics of fear. It creates a sense of victimhood and a willingness to demonise those with and from whom we differ. One of its symptoms is the new secularism, so much angrier and intolerant than the old. Another is the new religiosity that claims to be, but is not, a continuation of the old. The best thing to do in such circumstances is for moderates of all sides to seek and find common ground.
  3. I suspect that alcohol has a lot to do with lack of restraint. I believe that a majority of the pedophile priests were probably alcoholic. The Catholic church used to have recovery "clinics" for alcoholic priests. I am aware of this because I knew of one in Port Townsend, Washington in the 1970s that had more than 70 priests "recovering" from alcoholism. From reading hundreds of case histories of dysfunctional families, I know that alcohol (and sometimes drugs) was a primary factor in most cases. Alcohol definitely affects restraint and good judgement. I am not a teetotaler. But I do restrict myself to one beer (my favorite beverage) OR 6 oz. of wine per day. Hal
  4. Each person has to make his/her own decisions about religion and the possible after-life. I try to read one non-fiction book each week and have 76 (I just counted them) books related to religious issues in my personal library. The authors range all the way from Philip Yancy, through Spong and D.M.Murdock and include some books on Islam and Buddism. I am 86 years old so it will not be long before I find out what is on the other side. I am the "Old Silverback" and my wife is the "Ape's Mate" of the family which includes 18 individuals, who support us wholeheartedly and we support them. Hal
  5. It is not very open-minded - they preach Iron age theology, but they are a definite asset to the community. Hal
  6. I don't know. It is not simple. They are, in my opinion, aggressive, selfish, self-serving (usually alcoholic or drug addicted) individuals who have little regard for the feelings or safety of others.
  7. I am a “Progressive” Christian, a true hypocrite and/or agnostic, who attends a Christian and Missionary Alliance mega church because there are members of my family who still worship the way they were taught in their younger days. They are entitled to worship in the fashion in which they feel most comfortable and the conservative sermons appeal to them. It is not my business to tell anyone else how to worship. (Besides, I kind of enjoy the music.) I support this church because it supports the community. They have a free Medical and Dental Clinic, they feed the homeless who sleep under the bridge, they support foster parents with clothing and school supplies, they contribute regularly to the M-P Food Share program, they support the Boys & Girls Club, they have a Peace Committee which helps to solve community conflicts, they support the Union Gospel Mission and the Salvation Army, and they have a Benevolent Fund which is used for excessive medical expenses and miscellaneous things like unpaid utility bills. I probably have not listed all of the charitable activities that take place, but this gives you an idea. Small churches have difficulty getting involved in things that take a lot of money (like the free Medical Clinic). To me, this is what a church congregation is for, not just a location where the members can come every weekend to hear a sermon. I believe in Bishop Desmond Tutu’s philosophy: “Perfect Love is not an emotion, or a feeling, it is what you do.”
  8. We are getting into a very complex subject here. As a supervisor of Parole Officers, who in turn supervised adolescent parolees, I have read hundreds of case histories, many of which involved dysfunctional families. Incest, a form of pedophilia, was not unusual and had to be dealt with. Our main concern was the welfare of the youth and the legal issues involved. None of these cases are simple and this subject cannot be enlightened with a few sentences. The bottom line is: harming other individuals, particularly the young and helpless, is absolutely unacceptable and those who do so must be held accountable. Hal
  9. I agree with you Steve, that domination is much more apt to be the basis for pedophilia than attraction or genetics. In my book, any activity or behavior which brings harm or injury to an individual, particularly someone immature, is completely unacceptable and worthy of legal punishment. There should be no argument here!
  10. halinsalem

    Mark 16:9

    I read in a recent book that Constantine, who was a Sun worshipper before he "converted", preferred Sunday as his day of worship, so he made it happen. No one contradicted Constantine and lived to tell about it. I suspect that anti-semitism had something to do with it. Christianity definitely became a gentile "thing" in the 4th century.
  11. Marriage in this 21st century is very different from even one hundred years ago. A recent statistic stated that, in 2011, more than 40% of babies were born to unwed women. Another statistic: 57% of marriages end in divorce or separation. If a large number of couples are living together without a wedding ceremony and half of those who do go through the ritual do not see it as a commitment, what does "marriage" mean?
  12. halinsalem

    Favorite Authors?

    My favorite book (non fiction) for all time is: "Made For Goodness - Why This Makes All The Difference" by Desmond Tutu. The good Bishop is certainly one of the most loving individuals on the planet. I never forget the statement he makes early on in this book : "Perfect love is not an emotion, it is not how we feel. It is what we do." He ends the next paragraph with the statement : "We cannot choose how we feel. We can choose what we do, how we act." Hal
  13. halinsalem

    America's gun violence

    I will apologize at the beginning for preaching to the choir. There is an ancient adage that reads thus: AGING IS MANDATORY, MATURATION IS OPTIONAL. Let’s face it. We live in a society, a culture, that is adolescent in nature. That is right, most of us do not mature emotionally, intellectually, or culturally beyond our adolescent years. This whole nation is mired in adolescence and, one of these days, we are all going to pay the price for this. What are some of the indications? Here are a few: v We have allowed the national and state legislatures to be controlled, and corrupted, by the lobbyists. We are presently suffering another potential fiduciary disaster because these lobbyists will not let the Representatives and Senators do their needed chores. In addition, the southern members of Congress are still angry (not only angry, but enraged) over the fact that the country elected an African-American President, not once, but twice. v Wanting to carry a loaded gun is very adolescent in nature. Supporting the NRA in its rampant and narrow viewpoints is not only immature, but unreasonable, and definitely contributes to the violence that takes place every day in our country. But the NRA has money and it controls lobbyists, who, in turn, control the members of Congress. v Tithing, that is contributing ten per cent, or more, of income to charity, is a sign of maturity. I do not know what percentage of our population tithe, but I suspect it is not a majority. Granted, when a disaster occurs, or a severe need arises, people contribute, but it does not seem to be a normal, week by week, action. v Christmas (and other Holidays) materialism is definitely an adolescent activity. Need I say more? v Smoking marijuana, whether for medicinal or recreational reasons, is a very adolescent activity. Mature adults put addictions behind them. Chronic pain can be an excuse for addiction, but an excuse is an excuse, not a valid reason. v Paying professional athletes, and Hollywood actors, out-of-proportion salaries is unreasonable, particularly when we compare it with what is paid elementary and high school teachers. v Providing college athletes with scholarships, cars, entertainment, lodging, and whatever is more than unreasonable. Particularly when a normal college student has to put up any where from $25,000 to $100,000 just to get a Bachelors Degree.
  14. halinsalem

    America's gun violence

    This is not an issue that can be cured by stopping one thing like gun control. Gun control is needed, but also is help for the mentally ill. Also, the media needs to NOT make a celebrity out of the murderer. The only ones who should know the murderer's name and picture is law enforcement and very close relatives. Story after story on TV, showing the murderer's picture and name is incentive to make a big thing out of a suicide. A suicidal motive is often the desire to hurt close relatives or the world. I will not go into the basics of Psychology 101 as most of you already know of this. There will be others, you can count on it. Hal
  15. It is several years ago now when I read a book written by an astronomer with a PhD. As a scientist, he had little use or respect for astrology. However, he realized that the scientists (the Magi or Wise men) of 2000 years ago were astrologers, not astronomers. To satisfy his curiosity he studied astrology so that he could analyze ancient astrological claims. With the help of computers, he could go back 2000 years and examine the heavens as they looked at that time. He discovered that there was an astrological combination of heavenly bodies in April of the year 6 BC that indicated a powerful leader was to be born at that time. The exact date was April 17th, 6 BC. Unfortunately, I did not keep track of the author’s or the book’s name. This may have all been fiction, but it was interesting to me and if I knew the book’s name now, I would purchase it for my personal library. April 17th makes a lot more sense than Dec. 25th. Also, astrology makes a lot more sense than a Wandering Star, but what do we know?
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