-- The Management
What if God was one of us?
Just a slob like one of us
Just a stranger on the bus
Trying to make his way home
If God had a face what would it look like
And would you want to see
If seeing meant that
you would have to believe
in things like heaven and in Jesus and the saints
and all the prophets
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Surely it is good to know that God (in the Christian tradition) created us all (not just Christians) in his image, thus investing us all with infinite worth, and that it was with all humankind that God entered into a covenant relationship, depicted in the covenant with Noah when God promised he would not destroy his creation again with water. Surely we can rejoice that the eternal word, the Logos of God, enlightens everyone—not just Christians, but everyone who comes into the world; that what we call the Spirit of God is not a Christian preserve, for the Spirit of God existed long before there were ChristiansSOURCE: taken from Tutu's book "God Is Not a Christian: And Other Provocations" by way of BeliefNet.com
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On an afternoon shortly before Earth Day and a few days prior to Easter, a group of men in hard hats installed a 10-foot square stained-glass mosaic of a surfing Our Lady of Guadalupe, complete with booties. “Save the Ocean” runs along the side of the mural. On the nose of her surfboard is the face of Saint Juan Diego who, according to legend, saw the Virgin Mary near Mexico City in 1531.
On Monday, the identity of the artists was a closely-held secret among a select few in Encinitas.
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"... part of it is simply that Hollywood blends well with the world-system, and the world hates the real Jesus and His people, period.
More charitably, I've simply wondered whether none of the big wigs and creative minds knows any actual practicing, card-carrying Christians."And despite that charity it is, of course, absurd. How could 80(ish)% of America not be a majority of the entertainment industry too?
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"Clearly the metro council members, a majority of them succumbed to the...intense lobbying of a minority that wants special rights for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people," Land laments. And the result, he told The Associated Press, "could lead to disastrous and ethical conflicts" for some business people.
The ERLC president worked with the Southern Baptist Convention of Tennessee in opposition to the ordinance after it was introduced when questions were raised about whether a soccer coach at Belmont University in Nashville was forced out of the Christian school last year because of her sexual orientation (see below).
"So a six-foot guy who shaves every day can come in wearing a dress, high heels, and earrings and tell his employer that he's really a woman and he wants to use the women's bathroom facilities, and there's nothing the employer can do to stop him if he wants to do business in metro," Land explains.
The council maintains, however, that religious institutions are exempt from the new law.
Sure, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints pushes back when the record needs correcting or when legal rights need defending, but the world of popular entertainment is more likely to be met with a collective shrug than by placard-waving Mormon protesters.We'll just glance over the issue of legal rights of gays taken under California's Prop. 8, which the LDS Church supported since we're talking about something as shruggable as popular entertainment.
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"We're not saying these are the nails," says Simcha Jacobovici, holding aloft a pair of smallish iron spikes with the tips hammered to one side. "We're saying these could be the nails."
The case for the possible rests on a specific combination of research, surmising, guesswork and either the ineptitude or the skittishness of Israeli archeologists who inventoried the tomb thought to contain the bones of the Jewish high priest who ordered Christ's arrest. The tomb, found in 1990, appeared to contain the ossuary, or bone box, of Caiaphas, the jurist who paved the way for the crucifixion. Researchers from the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) listed everything found in the cave, including two Roman nails.The root of the "possibility" is the breakdown in the chain of documentation and a TV producer connecting dots that are really question marks. And the story points out there was a belief at the time of magic powers of crucifixion spikes which could account for their inclusion in a burial site.
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"Sony (Pictures, the film's producer) was afraid to throw in the word Jesus. They said you can have God but not Jesus. They were worried about that," said Kevin Sorbo, who plays Holt Blanchard, the father of Hamilton's best friend, in "Soul Surfer."
Sorbo said Sony wanted to take out another scene in which Hamilton wakes up the hospital. Her father, played by Dennis Quaid, is shown reading a Bible. He reads to her from Philippians 4:13: "I can do all things through him who gives me strength." Sorbo said the Hamilton family, which was on set every day, fought to keep that in the movie.
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... the increasing goodness of God reflects the increasing goodness of our species. “As the scope of social organization grows, God tends to eventually catch up, drawing a larger expanse of humanity under his protection, or at least a larger expanse of humanity under his toleration.” Wright argues that each of the major Abrahamic faiths has been forced toward moral growth as it found itself interacting with other faiths on a multinational level, and that this expansion of the moral imagination reflects “a higher purpose, a transcendent moral order.”Wright tracks the conception of the divine, not the divine itself. He describes that as “a good news/bad news joke for traditionalist Christians, Muslims and Jews.” The bad news is that your God was born imperfect. The good news is that he doesn’t really exist.
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Religion will all but vanish eventually from nine Western-style democracies, a team of mathematicians predict in a new paper based on census data stretching back 100 years.Because the U.S. Census doesn't survey religion, numbers could not be adequately compared, but seeing data from university and think tank polls inspired the trend analysis.
It won't die out completely, but "religion will be driven toward extinction" in countries including Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the Netherlands, they say.
The mathematicians say it will also wither away in Austria, the Czech Republic, Finland and Switzerland.
Studies suggest that "unaffiliated" is the fastest-growing religious group in the United States, with about 15% of the population falling into a category experts call the "nones."
They're not necessarily atheists or non-believers, experts say, just people who do not associate themselves with a particular religion or house of worship at the time of the survey.The root of the trend analysis comes from the human propensity for people to move toward the opinions the majority and the universal, long-term trend (in one case back to 1860) of people moving from affiliated to unaffiliated.
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The study, which tracked 2,433 men and women for 18 years, found normal weight young adults ages 20 to 32 years with a high frequency of religious participation were 50 percent more likely to be obese by middle age after adjusting for differences in age, race, sex, education, income and baseline body mass index.It's obviously not issues of doctrine, but likely the fellowship get-togethers featuring fattening foods at the potlucks and bake sales. Other studies that show that the faithful live longer than the general public, in part because of lower smoking rates, higher incidents of teetotalers and niches like the Mormons who tend to have healthier lifestyles.
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The Supreme Court's conservative majority opened the door for new state support for religious schools, ruling that special tax credits that pay for children to go to church schools cannot be challenged on constitutional grounds.
The 5-4 decision Monday is a major win for those who support the "school choice" movement and aid to parochial schools, and a potentially far-reaching loss for defenders of strict separation of church and state.By claiming that which you would otherwise pay in taxes, you don't have to pay because you funded religion, Religionists have set themselves up as a special class.
Many of the books of the New Testament were written by people who lied about their identity, claiming to be a famous apostle -- Peter, Paul or James -- knowing full well they were someone else. In modern parlance, that is a lie, and a book written by someone who lies about his identity is a forgery.
Most modern scholars of the Bible shy away from these terms, and for understandable reasons, some having to do with their clientele. Teaching in Christian seminaries, or to largely Christian undergraduate populations, who wants to denigrate the cherished texts of Scripture by calling them forgeries built on lies? And so scholars use a different term for this phenomenon and call such books "pseudepigrapha."
You will find this antiseptic term throughout the writings of modern scholars of the Bible. It's the term used in university classes on the New Testament, and in seminary courses, and in Ph.D. seminars. What the people who use the term do not tell you is that it literally means "writing that is inscribed with a lie.Why does it matter?
Whoever wrote the book of 1 Timothy claimed to be Paul. But he was lying about that -- he was someone else living after Paul had died. In his book, the author of 1 Timothy used Paul's name and authority to address a problem that he saw in the church. Women were speaking out, exercising authority and teaching men. That had to stop. The author told women to be silent and submissive, and reminded his readers about what happened the first time a woman was allowed to exercise authority over a man, in that little incident in the garden of Eden. No, the author argued, if women wanted to be saved, they were to have babies (1 Tim. 2:11-15).
Largely on the basis of this passage, the apostle Paul has been branded, by more liberation minded people of recent generations, as one of history's great misogynists. The problem, of course, is that Paul never said any such thing.SOURCE: by Bart D Ehrman on the Huffington Post (which doesn't allow a link to only their diverse religion content)
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"I have two grandchildren -- Maggie is 11, Robert is 9. I am convinced that if we do not decisively win the struggle over the nature of America, by the time they're my age they will be in a secular atheist country, potentially one dominated by radical Islamists and with no understanding of what it once meant to be an American."Despite him thinking that two tiny demographic groups (atheists at 2%-9%, muslims at 1-2% and that's ignoring Newt's adjectives which would make the numbers smaller) will in two generations control the country -- he seems to confuse how diametrically opposite secular atheism is from radical Islam. People keep saying how smart he is, so this can only be attributed to him either lying and presuming his audience doesn't know any better, or, he's been spending too long on his I'm-Running-For-President-Soon whistlestop tour and has accidentally conflated his buzzwords.
... her former mentor in on-the-job training, officer Mary Bagnoli, reported that she was afraid of Smith because she was a witch who practiced witchcraft. She accused Smith of following her on the highway one snowy evening after work and casting a spell on the heater of her car, causing it not to work. Well, actually, Bagnoli said she hadn’t seen Smith’s car, but she had seen Smith. “I thought to myself,” Smith recalls, “what, did she see me flying on my broom?”
Carole Smith proudly acknowledges being a witch, a practitioner of Wicca, the pagan religion.SOURCE: GetReligion.org
The coverage on MyFoxHouston has raised some confused and very critical eyebrows, with commenters comparing her to Satan and calling pole dancing "a vehicle for sins of the flesh," but Dean doesn't mind and defends herself with her faith.
"It's a good thing. It reminds me that we're all human," she said. "I think most of the people who criticize it are ignorant about the history of the pole."
Like many Christians, she will tell you that God reigns over every area of her life and that everything in this world can be used to his glory, including activities we don't usually think of as religious.
"It is the center of my life and everything I do, it all is centered in Christ," said Deans, a mother of three whose family has attended Houston Northwest Church for six years. "My business would not be possible without God. I know people don't get it or think it's a gimmick, but it's an opportunity for me. I have people's attention."SOURCE: from the Houston Chronicle's Belief column by Kate Shellnutt
I like watching pole dancing and like Jesus, so it sounds like a great combination to me!
My next venture may be the evangelical tractor pull for Jesus!And if pole dancing isn't too secular to be Christianized -- this might to be (use any definition of "tea-bagging" you want)
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The Mormons in the musical are depicted just as Mormons on “South Park” were — naïve but nice.
There is one song called “Spooky Mormon Hell Dream” featuring Hitler, Jeffrey Dahmer, Johnnie Cochran and a couple of Starbucks coffee cups in hell. (Mormons can’t have caffeine.)
The raunchiness is offset by traditional tropes. There’s an odd-couple pairing of two 19-year-old missionaries, Elder Price, a golden goody-goody, and Elder Cunningham, a schlubby boy with a penchant for lying; and a cultural collision between white-bread missionaries and Ugandans plagued by AIDS, warlords, maggots and female genital mutilation.
“Africa is nothing like ‘The Lion King,’ ” a befuddled Price says. “I think that movie took a lot of artistic license.”In the end, she's positive on it:
In the end, the message is not against Mormonism but literalism: that whatever our different myths, metaphors and rituals, the real purpose of religion is to give us a higher purpose and a sense of compassion in the universe.
“The moral,” the writer Andrew Sullivan observed on opening night, “is that religion is both insane and necessary at the same time.”Previously: (Book By Joseph Smith) SOURCE
I am a vicar in the Church of England. I've been a priest in the Church for 20 years. For most of that time, I've been struggling and grappling with questions about the nature of God.
the people most affected by the devastation and loss of life do not want intellectual theories about how God let this happen. He wrote, "If some religious genius did come up with an explanation of exactly why all these deaths made sense, would we feel happier, or safer, or more confident in God?"
So the first big question is about control. Does God have a plan for each of us? Is God in control? Does God order each moment? Does the wind and the waves obey him? From time to time, one hears Christians telling the story of how God organized things for them, so that everything worked out all right. Some difficulty overcome, some illness cured, some trouble averted, a parking space found at a crucial time. I can remember someone saying this to me, with her eyes shining with enthusiasm at this wonderful confirmation of her faith and the goodness of God.
But if God can or will do these things -- intervene to change the flow of events -- then surely he could have stopped the tsunami. Do we have a local God who can do little things like parking spaces, but not big things like 500 mile-per-hour waves?
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The one exception to this pattern is found among white evangelical Protestants.
Nearly 6-in-10 (59%) white evangelicals also believe that natural disasters are a sign from God. Only about one-third of Catholics (31%) and white mainline Protestants (34%) believe natural disasters are a sign from God.
A majority (53%) of white evangelicals believe that God punishes nations for the sins of its citizens--a view held by just 1-in-5 white mainline Protestants and Catholics.67% of Evangelicals and 52% of Republicans see catastrophic events as a sign of the Biblical "End of Days."
He is confident to a fault, often trailing a sentence with “God protect me from arrogance.” In class, he can be staid and professorial, with flashes of frivolity. He once implored students to “make love, not jihad.”
Qadhi said he fell down a slippery slope where criticism of Israel gave way to attacks on Jews. Beneath the vitriol, he said, was a sense of victimization — that non-Muslims were to blame for the afflictions of the Muslim world. “When you’re young and naïve, it’s easier to fall prey to such things,” said Qadhi, who publicly recanted years later. Last August, he joined a delegation of American imams and rabbis on a visit to the Auschwitz and Dachau concentration camps, which he said left him “sick” and more embarrassed by his Hitler remarks.
In August 2006, at a meeting for Muslim leaders in Houston, he walked up to Daniel W. Sutherland, a Homeland Security official. “Hi, I’m a pacifist Salafi,” Qadhi said to him. Looking stunned, Sutherland sat and talked with Qadhi for more than an hour.
Qadhi rose before a crowd of thousands in Elizabeth, N.J., to finally speak about Awlaki. “I am against this preacher when he tells our youth to become militant against this country while being citizens to this country,”
While he unequivocally denounces violence against civilians, he believes Muslims have the right to defend themselves from attack. But he says “offensive jihad”— the spread of the Islamic state by force — is permissible only when ordered by a legitimate caliph, or global Muslim ruler, which is nonexistent in today’s world.
the team has "created one of the freshest original musicals in recent memory." The show "packs plenty of blissful profanity, sacrilege and politically incorrect mischief," but its "defining quality ... is its sweetness."SOURCE: LATimes Culture Monster blog
Christians treat the Bible with respect and ask that non-Christians do the same. The basic guideline for handling a Bible is reverence. For example, don't leave it on the floor. If you follow the same principle when you dispose of a Bible, you will cause no offense.
"Well darkness has a hunger that's insatiable
And lightness has a call that's hard to hear"
"... about not beating yourself up too hard to get your answer from one place. There's no panacea, that in order to be balanced or feel closer to fine it's okay to draw from this or to draw from that, to draw from a bunch of different sources. So it's about being confused but looking for the answers, and in the end knowing that you're going to be fine. No seeking just one definitive answer."Saliers and Amy Ray's song won the Best Contemporary Folk Grammy in '89 and the Indigo Girls were nominated for Best New Artist Grammy as was Milli Vanilli, which didn't work out for either group.
A dizzying collection of doomsday predictions have been linked to comet Elenin. The hysteria was inevitable as anxiety grows over the approach of 2012 -- that is supposedly a game-changing year for life on Earth. At least according to some interpretations of the ancient Mayan calendar.
If you believe the gobbledygook on numerous websites and YouTube videos, this is a "renegade comet" that just couldn't wait for 2012 to mess with the Earth.
Though it's now over twice as far away from Earth than the sun is, comet Elenin has already been blamed for triggering earthquakes and shifting Earth's rotation axis. The comet has also been accused of melting ice on Mars and stirring up a storm on Saturn. It's predicted to flip Earth's magnetic field.Story compares the impact an astrally tiny aggregation of rocks and ice could have upon the Earth with the impact of a mosquito upon a supertanker. But YouTubers are dubious: It's a Dwarf Star; The magnetic poles will shift. One is mocked at the GodlikeProductions.com forum
“Rango,” so thoroughly saturated in references to well-known, non-beast-centered stories, practices a kind of reverse animism. Animism is a set of beliefs emphasizing the power of local spirits: creatures, plants, rock formations and other objects of nature. In “Rango,” though, the “spirit of the West” turns out to reside not in a mesa, a cactus or a coyote but rather in a person, a ghostly cowboy rendered by computers (and the voice of Timothy Olyphant) into the spectral likeness of Clint Eastwood.SOURCE: By A.O. Scott in the NY Times
“We honor God in public and our political discourse, and that’s proper. But in doing a nondenominational prayer, we are honoring him without violating the separation of church and state.”Story goes on to note that the Amy Koch, the Republican Senate majority leader (apparently a Roman Catholic) rejected the requirement and will not follow the establishment clause of the U.S. Constitution.
Congress voted in 1956 to make “In God We Trust” the nation’s official motto. A year earlier, Congress passed a law that mandated the phrase be on all coins and currency. President Eisenhower signed the currency bill into law in 1956, and since then all American paper money and coins have the motto on them.Of course, none of those religions include Hindus, Buddhists, Confucianists, Taoists, Wiccans, any number of Native American faiths, Animists, ... or any wrinkle of non-believers.
“This is not just about Christians. This is about a number of different religions across the country,” said Forbes.
When the priest asks him why, with his days numbered, he still has not turned to God, Meursault, the death row inmate in Albert Camus’s “L’Étranger,” exclaims, “I just didn’t have the time to interest myself in what didn’t interest me.” By contrast, a new book introduces us to an array of individuals who, while sharing Meursault’s religious nonbelief, most certainly do not share in his insouciance. ...Author also includes Leslie Stephen, John Stuart Mill, Friedrich Nietzsche, Mark Twain, Clarence Darrow, H. L. Mencken, Bertrand Russell, H. P. Lovecraft, Madalyn Murray O'Hair, Gore Vidal, Richard Dawkins, and Sam Harris.