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Jack Twist

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About Jack Twist

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  1. I am a Christian and take total identification with that. The term Christianity is fine by me. I am also a citizen of the US and thus an American by common usage. I certainly do not embrace everything that the US has done or is doing or everything that is connected to being an American but I am what I am. That goes with any identification I have. I am a father, a grandfather, a pastor, a male, a Chicago White Sox fan. Doesn't mean I approve of everything anyone who wears those names has done, or that I approved of throwing the 1919 World Series. I see myself as part of the other which to me is a whole lot more comfortable than trying to define myself against others, i.e. " I am a Christian but not like them."
  2. Jack Twist

    How Does A Religion Become Violent?

    Too bad I cannot tell that to my deceased mother who raised me in a fundamentalist church. But I can tell all my fundamentalist relatives! Howver, this is bs. It is just finding a moral high ground way to turn someone, in this case, fundamentalists, into the "other." And that is the source of violence and war. Were you able to view the ones who want to call to call "other" (and unhealthy, devastatng, perverted, bold for words used above) as "one with me" rather than "other" we would be in a far better place. As it stands, this is the place of the "hea;thy" progressives who must be wary of the perverted, devastating fundementalists who function as dangerous children in our society. That is so arrogant and divisive as to be beyond outrage in its simplisitic reduction of human beings into such categories with such terminology.
  3. the question is not wherther Jeus was a reformer - akthough appeals to dictionaries seldom move me, and this one doesn't either - I think that was covered in my posts alreay so that is not the issue My point is the utter danger in setting Jesus apart from, as some antthesis to, the Common Covenant. Under Chrst Paul taught we are freed from keeping the laws, but we live as yet within the same faith, as Paul also said, branch grafted onto the tree, as did Jesus. One God. One Faith. Just that we know God through Christ, rather than through the Common Covenant. Jesus combatted legalism - but I do not believe that Jesus stood against orthodoxy. Much of what Jesus did in expanding our understandngs of the love of God to those outside the community was so thoroughly steeped in the Common Covenant that I thank God that in Jesus there was One who brought us back to the faith of the prophets and the entire Common Covenant. Jesus told the legalists and exclusionist of his time the same thing that Jeus says today - our faith directs us towards the alien, the wandering Aramean, those outside the community be it Ruth or Rahah or Melchizidek or Naaman or the widow of Sidon or the alien or the stranger. This was not new to Jesus. It was a reforming call to return to - othodoxy if one will - that ours is a faith that is not about "God and me" but justice, mercy, and walking humbly with our God, rooted in love, for all. I am glad you lived in Israel. I studied at Spertus College of Judaica and under several rabbis. My experiences with messianic Jews is limited because I have been turned off by all the prooftexting. Gentiles need Christ to bring us to God, Judaism already has God, and I prefer my Jewish tsadeks to be Jewish. Blessed be the ways of God and all the experiences with which we are blessed.
  4. How does that make Jeus different (other than that he is the Annointed One) from the prophets, from the whole of the Common Covenant (Old Testament)? I don't se that that does. Jesus came not to be contra the Common Covenant but to fulfill it. That he called for a return to roots is part of the work of all reformers, nothing special or unique about that.
  5. Jack Twist

    Now It Is My Son

    gracious thanks to flow, rivanna, and Cynthia for their comments and thoughts wonder why a thread on the unimportance of Survivor gets a lot more posts than one about a young person stationed in Iraq priorities?
  6. I think Jesus was the most traditional of Jews, who totally incarnated all of the law and the prophets, who was a reformer in the sense that he called the people of his day back to the Common Covenant in its essence Jesus did not break new ground as much as say, look to what is already here - we should not separate ourselves from the Common Covenant - while we live in Paul's freedom from the law, we should also live live as people grounded in the common covenant
  7. Jack Twist

    How Does A Religion Become Violent?

    I am as everyone surely noticed the quibbling sort - and I must demur from the concept that religion was "invented." That makes it sound as if it came from "them" and was imposed or superposed on "us" Religion arose from us, from us all, collectively and eventually codified by those who arose from the community with a special feel or calling to such, but religion is organic, not invented, in human community and personal life
  8. Jack Twist

    How Does A Religion Become Violent?

    Set the Amish for a moment since they are what I consider a special case. The Hindus and Moslems have committed and continue to commit atrocites against each other in India/Pakistan and lest we not forget the Gandhi was killed by a Hindu who was angered at Gandhi's loving attitude towards Moslems. I am sure that may good Shintos were responsible for the barbarism against the Buddhists in China in the 30s. When we are involved, we call it Nazis killing Jews. If we were some other faith, we might call it Christians killing Jews. Or Germans killing Jews. And was it Jews or Israelis under Sharon in Lebanon who conducted two camp masacres? Was it Serbs or Othodox or Chrstians who slaughtered Moslems (or are they Bosnians or Albanians respectively) in Bosnia and Kosovo in the 90s, and would do now if NATO and the UN weren't involved? What role does religion play? Perhaps it is only our fantasy of self-importance that we think religion plays any role at all. How many of us have prayed by name for the 19 hijackers of September 11th, even though Jesus commanded us to pray for our enemies? How many of us cannot or will not pray for George W Bush? When push comes to shove, when we do we just act like mammels rather than as people of faith?
  9. Jack Twist

    How Does A Religion Become Violent?

    why s the assumption made that this is about religion? Religion is often used as a cloaking device for the real issues. I think it is way too simplistic to say this is about religion the question is much more basic - the rights of human beings to live in a situation where external forces have intruded - for right or wrong - without a resort to justice for anyone involved
  10. I do not see how those two connect. The latter part is certainly true to my experience but that has nothing to do with the richness of the treasures of the Church.
  11. Jack Twist

    Discouraging Days

    I must respecfully disagree with the idea that opposition to gay marriage is based on fear rather than hate. It is hate. The talk of paradigm shifts sounds good to the rational mind so we can then dismiss the issue, but it fails. If the changing of the institution is said to evoke fear then why have we not seen this in regards to the huge change in society in the last 35-40 years regarding straight people not "living in sin" to (almost) every couple having sexual relations and living together prior to mariage? It has been many decades since I have believed any prospective bride and groom who give me different addresses. One of my favorite moments is when someone who is/was in a couple who has lived together and conceived a child prior to marriage tells me that gay marriage must be opposed because it is a threat to traditional marriage. (Personally, I don't have a problem with straight people doing their thing; why must they oppose gay people wanting to do the same thing?) No, there is no outcry and no ballot initiatives to prohibit cohabitation of straights prior to marriage or anything else to uphold "traditional" marriage other than anti-gay measures. Biblically, marriage has nothing to do with children, and I get tired of that old chestnut being pulled out. The only marriage in the Bible that I can bring to mind is David marrying Bathsheba to cover the poregnancy (adultery, murder, multiple wives- traditional marriage?). The traditional Genesis passage speaks of two people leaving ther parents and cleaving to each other as one flesh - nothing to do with children. And every other Biblical mariage I can think of is based on the love or lust of the parties involved. What is Biblical marriage - letting your wife sleep with Pharoah, giving your maid to your husband for sex, accumulating wives... or Peter, who we know had a mother in alw but what did he ever have to do with his spouse other than neglect her from the record that we have. What I do pick up is that some people think gay or lesbian sex is icky. Can't get their minds around it. Gay and lesbian love has been around since the beginning of humanity. If Paul's admonition - stay single but of lust compels, marry - is valid for just people who have sex with the approved partners in the right (read "my") way? What do we ask of a couple that wants marriage in the church - that they make a commitment of life long faithfulness. If that commitment is there, what else matters, including the genders of the couple?
  12. Jack Twist

    Go Bears ?

    go colts
  13. Jack Twist

    Now It Is My Son

    My son the Marine is now in Iraq. I don''t expect anyone to care much in that I know no one here and have not made any friends or contacts here, my own fault in that I am not here much, but the point is, a reminder that a lot of people have children in Iraq - including a lot of Iraqi parents... it was a real odd thing to spend New Years Eve discussing with my grandson the possibilities of his father being killed or maimed or coming back physically intact - who knows about the emotional - and we have what, 140,000 troops there - and all the people of Iraq who cannot escape the terror and war in their country - brought there by my country - I am a pacifist, raised my kids to think for themselves and do what they felt they could do in a good conscience - so I have always been proud of my Marine son - but nothing focuses the mind as knowing he is there - in the midst of it all - I didn't think it was possible to hate war more than I did but I found it was possible
  14. Jack Twist

    Discouraging Days

    Just a few comments. The UCC having over 2,000,000 members is hardly small. And far more importantly: as for the following: And when did God ever say that? It is difficult to accept that anyone claiming the name of progressive would make that claim. And we have already been set up for the "oh I will be attacked" thing so it becomes a self-validating comment. No, you are not being attacked, it is in fact very human to take one's biases and attribute them to God. I am reminded of the clergy to whom MLK addressed the Letter from a Birmingham jail. I get very frustrated with friends in the gay community who have so much dislike for the Church - and my intense anger comes from knowing that they are right: the Church has been horrific in its attitudes and comments for gays and lesbians. As a pastor who will celebrate the 30th anniversay of ordination this year, it has never bothered me to perform a legal marriage on behalf of the state. It has intensely bothered me that I cannot do a legal marriage for all those who seek a life long commitment of faithfulness to the one they love. But beyond that I see the people of the church failing desparately but intentionally in being love to all of God's people. I can cite many teachings of Jesus on love - and not one thing Jesus ever said that allows anyone to make distinctions due to the natural orientations that are present in the diversity of humanity, all of which reflects the image of God. And the Church's obstinacy on this point is not only symbol but reality of the growing irrelevance of the Church outside whatever entertainment value it may have.
  15. Jack Twist

    Discouraging Days

    I have been having a great time this week with the last week of Advent parishoner calls, delivering flowers, etc., a very rewarding experience. And I have come and checked on my usual internet communities, and the gay community to which I usually post has been trashing on Christians all week. I am worn out by the back and forth and the witnessing to the justice actions of the churches for the g/l/b/t community. They make some good points along with some sweeping generalizations. The churches have a horrible track record vis a vis gays and lesbians. Some - many - churches have come a long way. That is what those who decry the church have not seen. But it raises for me some questions: have we - speaking of mainline and progressive Christians - fully embraced as a justice issue the equality of all people, within the faith community, within the community of those created in the image of God? Why are some still denying ordination to gays and lesbians as was once done to women or often people of color or with phyisical challenges? Exactly who is voting for these anti-gay state initiatives on marriage - where is the Christian community outside the UCC here? And no matter how you parse it, to vote for these anti-gay marriage proposals (with their accompanying bans on civil unions and the like) is a vote of hate - that is the message offered and certainly received. This is the only time in American history we are voting to deny rights to people - we didn't even do that to the African American community at the height of American racism, and we didn't do this to women at the height of our sujection of women. Why are we - and by this mean a general you all out there - doing this to gays? Do you possibly understand the pain and hate you are inflicting and expressing? I have heard George Bush parse the word torture to justify Gitmo. It offends. I have heard the attempts to parse the term marriage to justify denying basic American rights to gays and lesbians. It also offends. It is destroying witness to the gay community who increasingly are seeing people of faith as their enemy. The progressive movement will never succeed until it fully embraces as equals the gay and lesbian community and the individuals amongst us. That has in fact kept me away from here because I have picked up on some who feel that gay and lesbian issues are not the suburban progressive issues they wish to support. I may be wrong and would love to be see that. I close with a faith statement from a church body that says what I think we need to say at minimum as Christians for th sake of discussion: