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rivanna

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Everything posted by rivanna

  1. I’d agree that this passage is about clarifying the received tradition. Before the sermon on the mount, the Pharisees had probably accused Jesus of undermining some nit-picking rituals and purity codes—e.g., healing on the Sabbath. He is saying that the law’s true intent was an inclusive social vision of justice and compassion, and that his ministry would actually accomplish the goal more effectively than their system. Jesus transformed people from the inside out…instead of feeling threatened, coerced into external obedience, they felt accepted and connected, motivated to fulfill God’s plan for a more humane world. That’s how this verse from Matthew makes sense to me, at least.
  2. From what I’ve read, Feinstein’s bill is a definite improvement on the expired ban. While the previous law banned 18 specific types of weapons by name, Feinstein's law would ban 120 specifically-named firearms. Unlike the old law, this proposal would ban semiautomatic weapons and handguns with fixed magazines that can accept more than 10 rounds of ammunition. Feinstein's bill would "grandfather" in semiautomatic weapons made before the ban-- but those who have them would have to undergo background checks. I don’t know about armed guards at school-- it didn’t stop the bloodshed at Columbine. But as you say, worth considering. It’s better than all teachers having to be armed. I agree that gun violence in the US is a multi-faceted problem. It really is eye-opening to see how other countries have dealt with this issue. Also, from Jonathan Haidt’s book— the ethics of autonomy, protecting ‘individual rights’ above community, has become dominant in Western society….Taken to a self-destructive extreme, it seems.
  3. An inspiring note about the new Trek movie, to be released in May-- Daniel, a 41-year-old from New York who is a big Trek fan, has leukemia and only weeks to live. After a family friend made a posting on Reddit, word got to Paramount and director JJ Abrams himself. He called Dan’s wife and arranged a private screening of a rough cut of “Star Trek: Into Darkness,” which happened on Sunday. She sent her thanks, saying “it was truly amazing that a film-maker so secretive as JJ Abrams was kind enough to show this to us….It was a wonderful thing to see Daniel enjoy – making someone as ill as he is smile for any length of time really makes a difference….this kind of thing is part of what Star Trek is all about: hope and family in the face of adversity. I believe that Gene Roddenberry, The Great Bird of the Galaxy, would be proud.”
  4. It may be that the constant availability of news media affects people just as much or more than violent movies, videogames and TV shows. But my intuition is that the attitudes absorbed from one’s family are by far the deepest influence. It just seems like education is the one chance of modifying that input, before kids go out into the world. A class on excessive violence in culture doesn’t have to focus only on entertainment. It could point out how American western expansion glorified guns. It could talk about the limited historical context of the second amendment. It might compare statistics in the US with other nations, showing it doesn’t have to be this way. If there are weapons in the household make sure young children can’t get at them. Encourage kids to report signs of mental illness in others, etc.
  5. George's suggestions sound good to me. Curbing entertainment violence might not be possible legally, though some Hollywood celebrities call attention to it. I recall a couple months ago one film critic reported that he walked out on “Compliance” –for its misogynist abuse of a woman probably. When I was taking driver ed, we had to watch some cautionary films. Maybe a brief course or seminar could be required in high schools, to make kids more aware of the influence of violent movies and video games, of the personal, heartbreaking consequences of violence. Maybe they could feel a degree of detachment from the culture that surrounds them rather than blindly internalizing it. Maybe show some alternative role models for young men, that maleness doesn’t have to be identified with destructive power but with the power to build, to help others, to create, etc. Just a few thoughts…
  6. Dutch, thanks for bringing up these ideas for possible solutions. I’d definitely be in favor of the Australian model as outlined by Douglas Cooper in that HuffPost column-- it’s been proven to work. “Of course you ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. I simply intend to demonstrate that you'd be foolish to stop there. ... You do not partially treat an aggressive cancer. Unless we wish to be conquered by despair, this is what America simply must do…” I hope the Diane Feinstein proposal will go through at least, even if it doesn’t make as much difference as we’d like, it says we care more about protecting children than guns, we aren’t closing our eyes to this national epidemic. As Cooper says, “ it will require a seismic shift in the American psyche, of the sort rarely experienced in history”…The US has gone through seismic shifts before, as in the abolition of slavery-- maybe we’re facing a similar challenge with the “two different worlds” on the issue of gun laws.
  7. I just wanted to add a brief response to Paul’s post 144-- I never meant to imply that Joseph was “not moral, intelligent or Christian” and wasn’t trying to “block him out of the discussion.” What troubled me was that as I see it, the spirit of progressive Christianity means siding with the victims, not the gun owners--supporting non-violence when we can. On the other hand, I don’t see how it’s justified to close this topic thread. Joseph has been a friend to me many times during my years on this board, I’ve often admired his dedication and patience. It makes me feel bad that we’re on opposite sides on this issue. Maybe it’s time for me to leave.
  8. A voluntary gun donation in Culiacán, Mexico collected 1,527 guns, which were then transformed into 1,527 shovels, used to plant 1,527 trees.
  9. Joseph, In my opening post on this thread I tried to point to a clear distinction between legal handguns and the assault weapons and semi-automatics that enable mass murders like the one in Newtown. I wish you could keep these two ideas separate instead of translating a ban on these weapons as ‘banning all guns.’ It’s the same irrational frenzy that makes people rush out to buy more guns when there’s talk of renewing the ban. Has a legal ban on all handguns ever been proposed in the US? I don’t understand where this fear comes from, unless it’s a deep distrust of government or of authority figures in general. The latest massacre of innocents has all but ruined my Christmas spirit this year--a dark cloud over this entire country. And to keep hearing from you, the administrator of this progressive, moral, intelligent Christian forum, that you don’t support a ban on military weapons—assault weapons, not all handguns - is salt in the wound. Karen
  10. The mother of the shooter knew her son was mentally disturbed, yet taught him how to use rifles--she was in a survivalist movement, hoarding food, supplies, and a stockpile of heavy weapons. If ever there was an example of household guns failing to protect their owners …This paranoia and climate of fear is the real enemy. A line has been crossed. We can only hope and pray that there will be enough sustained momentum in the US to take a decisive stand against making mass murder so easy. It was encouraging to hear that a few NRA senators have changed their minds and now support more federal restrictions; and some companies are divesting themselves of connections with gun manufacturers. If the focus is on finding common ground, rather than demonizing, I think there's a good chance for a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity clips. It's acknowledged that no single law will prevent random violence - but to do nothing would be the worst.
  11. Well, I read two things today that seem to offer a little hope…According to Mayor Bloomberg, "There is this myth that the NRA is so powerful. Today the NRA's power is so vastly overrated." And California Senator Dianne Feinstein said she intended to introduce a gun control bill on the first day of the next Congress, aimed at limiting the sale, transfer and possession of assault weapons, along with high-capacity magazines: “It can be done.” Two petitions – easy to sign http://signon.org/si...fb&r_by=6419775 https://petitions.wh...ngress/2tgcXzQC
  12. I could not sleep last night. It sickens me, that our elected officials have not had the courage and perseverance to stand up against the gun lobby, to get a few common sense measures passed. They will spend billions on fighting terrorism in other countries…but not lift a finger to prevent the terrorism in our own? The least they can do is reinstate the assault weapons ban that expired in 2004. End the gun-show loophole that allows private dealers to sell guns without a license or background checks.
  13. Last week a shooting in a Portland shopping mall, today a massacre in a Connecticut elementary school. I’m in tears. Will it ever be time to do something about these atrocities? God help us all.
  14. Others here are more up on history than I am... if I understand correctly, the film calls attention to the fact that James rejected Paul’s collection from the Gentiles (which he had undertaken to help the poor and show support for the temple in Jerusalem- not as a bribe) and that the reaction of the Judean believers against Paul led to his being severely beaten, imprisoned in Rome and finally executed. You’re saying the film shows the start of the division of Judaic and Hellenistic versions of Christianity, during Paul’s mission. The development of the institutions per se doesn’t interest me, but learning about this particular confrontation with the other apostles makes me feel more acutely the extreme conflict and danger Paul faced. He seems even more a tragic figure. The one thing Orlando said that bothered me was “Jesus was profoundly pro-law and pro-Jewish” –do you agree? To me that doesn’t do justice to Jesus’ vision. You would think a TV station might show this documentary…maybe a less negative title would help – “Paul’s Final Journey” or something…
  15. Ron, Thanks for letting us know about this film, had not heard of it. From the trailer, it suggests that the pagan converts’ peace offering to the Jerusalem Christians was the start of Christianity. Does this mean that Judaism and Hellenism were reconciled, by accepting the gift? that Paul and Peter’s disagreement on gentiles having to become Jews before converting to Christianity was then resolved? I read an interview with director Robert Orlando –apparently he had planned to call the film “The Greatest Story Never Told.” He says he was motivated partly by “a desire to chip away at the modern tendencies in all religions to slip toward fundamentalism….In my opinion, religion — and especially conservative Evangelical brands — are belief systems that are verified solely by an emotional experience: something that happens to a person in a very deep place that cannot be challenged. We see this also with Islamic and Jewish fundamentalism. So the most difficult thing in the world is to challenge someone whose existential meaning is attached to a certain belief. To ask them to step back and be historically objective or even critical seems impossible. But I believe that the critical mind plays this role for us. It was a Greco-Roman idea that reason could temper the passions, away from the extremes of self-delusion…” To me, Paul comes across as a mix of passionate mysticism and cerebral rationality—both were needed. I’d like to see the film.
  16. Hi Annie, Maybe someone else can respond about church policy, as an “unchurched” person it doesn’t affect me, though I certainly feel the same way about the distortion of the original radical, egalitarian Christianity. As feminist theologian Mary Daly said, patriarchy is the religion of the entire planet. To me, it’s understood that most if not all PC’s think of God as both male and female, but it’s helpful when people say She and Her for God every once in a while. There are so many books on this, can’t really recommend one in particular—I’ve enjoyed anthologies of women in the bible, and writings of women through history, and once took a course on Mary Magdalene. Without her, Christianity might never have been founded. God’s feminine side is there in the very beginning, saying We will make human beings in our image; and there are passages praising Wisdom as female co-creator in the later and apocryphal books of the OT. Some PC theologians write about Jesus as the embodiment of Sophia – maternal compassion and inclusiveness. If anyone in history stood up for women, Jesus surely did. Paul’s authentic words honor a number of women as church leaders, and he often addresses his audience as "brothers and sisters." I’d suggest exploring for the voice that speaks to you, or look at articles---there are many at religion-on-line.org. Rosemary Ruether gives a brief summary of the Wisdom tradition here http://www.renewedpr....cfm?Web_ID=765
  17. I agree about “Lincoln” – can’t imagine anyone giving a more convincing portrayal of him than Daniel Day Lewis, and as you say the film raises the question of whether the end justifies the means…the backroom deals and arm twisting that aren't in school history books. There were several things about the civil war, and about Lincoln’s personal life, that I’d never known. A magnificent film. Another one based on actual events that I really enjoyed, is “Argo” – Ben Affleck was excellent as actor and director. Great suspense, touches of humor, satisfying conclusion. “Life of Pi” has stunning cinematography, amazing computer-generated images, especially in 3D - a fantastic epic of a 16 year old Indian boy surviving shipwreck. With the animals on the lifeboat you can’t help thinking of Noah, and Pi’s extreme suffering and anguished shouting to the sky is reminiscent of Job. Pi's background of Hinduism, Christianity, Islam and the Kabbalah is interwoven in a not too preachy way. Ang Lee gives us room for interpretation about faith vs reason, and the power of storytelling, but to me the beauty, wonder and terror of the natural world made the deepest impression.
  18. Tariki mentioned Jane Hirshfield, a great poet, which reminded me of another great poet I’m reading, Mary Oliver--her latest book is A Thousand Mornings (2012). A couple of samples – I GO DOWN TO THE SHORE I go down to the shore in the morning and depending on the hour the waves are rolling in or moving out, and I say, oh, I am miserable, what shall—what should I do? And the sea says in its lovely voice: Excuse me, I have work to do. AND BOB DYLAN TOO “Anything worth thinking about is worth singing about.” Which is why we have songs of praise, songs of love, songs of sorrow. Songs to the gods, who have so many names. Songs the shepherd sings on the lonely mountains, while the sheep are honoring the grass by eating it. The dance-songs of the bees, to tell where the flowers suddenly, in the morning light, have opened. A chorus of many shouting to heaven, or at it, or pleading. Or that greatest of love affairs, a violin and a human body. And a composer, maybe hundreds of years dead. I think of Schubert, scribbling on a café napkin. Thank you, thank you.
  19. Myron, thanks. Paul, I do get what you mean about bonding in the military. But I wondered about Haidt saying the “assurance of immortality” makes soldiers willing to sacrifice their lives-- not everyone who fights in battle has that belief. Also it struck me as strange that he uses the word “sacred” to mean anything that unifies a group, whether creative or destructive. He seems to lump together all self-transcendence as “religious experience” (such as psychedelic drugs). I would say, to lose oneself is not necessarily to find God. Hope that makes sense….I don’t want to get in the way of discussing his work.
  20. “Peter and Paul” – in two parts on YouTube, also on Netflix— with Anthony Hopkins and Robert Foxworth. Amazing to consider the hardship, danger and conflicts among themselves the apostles had to work through. I would have preferred a different ending, but other than that, the best film I’ve seen on the beginnings of Christianity. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=izKHaDzn5q8
  21. Maybe I should’ve just posted the video without commenting- ! As you suggest, it’s inappropriate to judge his social-science, evolutionary analysis from a spiritual perspective. I got hung up on his statements about war. But after listening again and reading the transcript, I feel that his values are humanitarian and creative. “Human cooperation is the most powerful force on the planet…We evolved to see sacredness all around us, and to join with others…to pursue moral ideas. We broke down the old institutions and brought liberty to the oppressed... One great challenge of modern life is to find the staircase amid all the clutter, and then do something good and noble …and that gives me hope, because people are not purely selfish. Most people long to overcome pettiness and become part of something larger.”
  22. George, you’re right, it was exaggeration on my part, Haidt doesn’t use the word depravity and I didn’t mean to suggest that he was promoting any particular religious view. His positive and negative examples are more like illustrating human free will than Calvinism. To clarify my statement - I see science and religion (or spirituality) as separate fields, but for me (and I think for others here) the idea of transcendence beyond human intellect is the preeminent, ultimate reality. That’s why I’m disturbed by his comments on war as a form of transcendence. Sorry I didn’t say quite what I meant.
  23. Thought this might be of interest-- I haven’t been participating in the discussion of Jonathan Haidt’s book, but I did watch this TED talk and a couple of interviews It does seem true in evolution, that individuals only cooperate as a group when competing against other groups. What bothered me is that he puts war on the same level as other “staircase” experiences that lift us beyond our selves to transcendence -- “anything that unites us is sacred….there are many books that say nothing brings people together like war.” Is it instructive or useful to see things that way? He does add later, that cooperating as a group can be either constructive or destructive (and I realize this lecture is only a small segment of Haidt’s work.). I guess I need to see social sciences as a subset of a greater spiritual view, rather than the other way around. I’m no religious scholar, but somehow this vision resonates with the Calvinist doctrine of total depravity. To me, the concept of “original blessing” is more persuasive. Just my personal response :-)
  24. gospel singer Jevetta Steele, from the 80's
  25. Good recommendation. Interesting that Felten is an active musician. I’d also recommend this site http://www.spiritualityandpractice.com/ a wonderful multi-faith resource for e-courses, audios, spiritual teachers, quotes, much more. I especially like their book, film and DVD reviews.
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