55 replies, 8 voices Last updated by Tim Peters 2 years, 4 months ago
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    • #4685

      Lee Whitlock
      Moderator
      @lwhitlock

      To Get us started, please introduce yourself with any theological, historical, and/or philosophical overview of your self. Also, let’s do a variation of something I’m sure you’ve done in other courses you’ve taken….an elevator speech of about 2 minutes. If you were asked to describe your own relationship with your religion, what would you say?

      I am a graduate of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY. I was fortunate enough to have Dr. Oates for “Pastoral Care.” I also had some of the other great professors in that department and, of course, in other areas as well. After graduation in 1974, I pastored churches in North Carolina for 10 years. I discovered that this was not the calling for me. Politics. Instead, I worked toward a Ph.D., but did not finish. I was fortunate enough in a business career, however, to travel the world (35 countries and 43 states). After I retired from that traveling career, I became a member of the Board of Directors of Beacon House Aftercare in Louisville several years ago, and then, because of my background, I was asked to be CEO of the organization, and I served in that capacity for three years. BHA is a wonderful half-way live in facility for men with all forms of addiction. In addition to men living in BH, we had active programs that furthered the opportunity for the men to stay sober and live sober, productive lives.

      Please, over the week ahead, as you have time, read the “Introduction” and chapters 1 & 2: “Religion 101” and “Vishnu’s Almonds”.

      As you go about your week, see if you have an opportunity to share your 2-minute elevator speech. Let me quickly add that I’m already talking about the book. Rick brought the book to my house on Saturday night about 6:30. I had never read anything by BBT. After Rick left, I stood in the kitchen reading the Introduction. It’s 10-pages short! I put it that way because I was hooked on the way she writes. She is a wonderful wordsmith. If you haven’t read BBT before, you will love her writing. If you have read her before, you’ll love her style in this book.

      Now my 2-minute elevator speech. My Dad used to call us “Methobabterians”. We are dedicated Protestants. My Dad was raised in the Baptist Church, and my mother was raised in the Presbyterian Church. When they married, Dad liked to say, “We compromised and became Methodist.”  When I was young up until I was 12, my family worshiped in the Methodist churches. At age 12, we joined Ebeneezer Baptist Church, and I was Baptized for the first time. I had been Baptized in the Methodist tradition at age 12. When I was a summer missionary in Jordan, I got one of the missionaries to Baptize me again in the Jordan River. In short, I am a fully dipped and sprinkled Baptized Protestant; however, I have also taken communion in the Catholic Church. While I am a dedicated Protestant, I find that I find things in other faiths that confirm this dedication

      I think that is about 2 minutes.

      I look forward to learning more about you and your Faith Journey.

    • #4689

      Hi Lee, and all,

      Kathy Ozenberger from south of Houston, Texas.   I’m traveling between 3 small hospitals and attempting to manage the Pastoral Care department for University of Texas Medical Branch.  I’ve worked for UTMB for 22 years officially–prior to that worked for an Episcopal Center as chaplain at the hospital.   Before chaplaincy I worked for a state denominational entity in women’s work.  I’m married with a 19 year old community college student at home.   Busy days.

      I enjoy BBT and find that her writing is captivating as well as challenging.  I so look forward to the conversations and the insights we all can bring.

      Guess my elevator speech is…

      Long time Baptist–not without the questions and frustrations, but still–my Dad was an original bus kid at our church in the 50’s and Mom and I attended in later years–baptized at 7 after confessing faith at 6.  Went to a Baptist college and Baptist seminary–and finally decided for myself that what I believed at 6 was what a 6 year old could believe and today, I believe what someone slightly older than 21 believes.  I wish I could say that I spend hours in prayer and Bible study, but my faith is more about serving and meeting needs before me and praying as I go.   Hubby and I appreciate Theology of the Hammer by Millard Fuller (Habitat for Humanity).

    • #4690

      Mary M. Wrye
      Member
      @mmwrye

      Hello Lee, Kathy, and all,
      I am Mary Wrye. Sole Chaplain in a small community Methodist hospital in Western Kentucky. I am Baptist (Cooperative Baptist Fellowship), have a BS degree in Vocational Rehabilitation and worked for 8 years with mentally and physically handicapped adults. I left that and got my MDiv from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in 1988 (just prior to the Southern Baptist Convention split). I served on church staffs in KY, TN, VA, SC, and like Lee got tired of all the politics and crap. I was given the opportunity to do a CPE Residency in the Greenville Hospital System. I took it and never looked back. After completing my Residency, I moved to my current position and have been here just shy of 15 years. I am single with no children unless you count my 2 cats.

      So my elevator speech would be… I was raised in a Southern Baptist Church, baptized at the age of 11 and have been active in every church I have been a member of. While my background, beliefs, and theology have led me to believe that Jesus is the son of God, came to fulfill his mission of showing us the way, and that God loves me enough to walk with me every day of my life – I also believe that others who were born elsewhere and raised differently than I was have the same rights to their beliefs and theology as I do. It doesn’t necessarily have to mean that one of us is right and one of us is wrong. We are just going at it from different places and I believe there are points of intersection.

      I am a fan of BBT and chose this seminar because I am anxious to read her book. Looking forward to our discussions.
      Mary

    • #4692

      Dan Mefford
      Participant
      @dmefford

      Hi everyone! I am Dan Mefford. I’ve been a chaplain at Mosaic Life Care in St Joseph, MO for nearly 29 years. When you add my 2 years at Baptist Medical System in Little Rock, Arkansas as an intern/resident there, I have been doing this type of ministry for nearly 31 years. I also serve as the Administrator/Technology Pastor for a church in Savannah, MO. I’ve been there for almost 19 years) on staff and more than 25 as a member.

      Elevator Speech: (please insert your favorite background music here)

      I was born to SBC home missionaries and grew up in mission work in Mississippi and Montana. My parents moved us to a church in South Dakota where my dad began pastoring a mostly Air Force based congregation. I had made a profession of faith when I was young but it was at Temple Baptist Church that I began to feel God’s pull on my life. Long story short, I ended up at a baptist college and then Southern Seminary in Louisville where my faith was tried and tested with the wars of that time (the 80’s). I learned that while I am Bapotistborn and bred, my faith is not tied to the church but to my savior and it is there that my allegiance lies in all things faith based.

      I look forward to our learning together. To be honest, the title of the book was the grab for me. Then when I read what it dealt with, I was all in to join this process.

      • #4700

        Lee Whitlock
        Moderator
        @lwhitlock

        Mary,

        I like your concept that people born or moved to another faith are coming to God from a different place. Years ago, I read J. B. Phillips’ Your God is too Small. In it, he makes essentially the same point. We see through a glass darkly as the Apostle Paul would say. By studying other religions/faiths, I find much that I would incorporate into my own faith. Jesus was raised along that amazing “land bridge” that connected the East from the West. Travelers along that trade route came from many faiths. I’m sure the young man Jesus from approximately age 12 to 30 soaked up the various ideas from other religions. It would have been common for him to meet several people from various religions each day. We don’t have that luxury today. At best, in today’s world, we encounter perhaps 2-3 other faiths. We barely scratch the surface of this very large God we worship. Perhaps, the only way we will know the beliefs of other faiths is to study them or travel extensively from our home base.

        Thanks for your comment,

        Lee

    • #4693

      Lori Casey BSN MDiv., BCC-PCHAC
      Participant
      @lcasey

      Hi All,   I am Lori Casey, a nurse turned chaplain.  My husband and I met in the Air Force and now live in Lexington, KY where I was the palliative care chaplain for Baptist Health Lexington for six years.  I left my job over a year ago (sadly had to quit for the time off I needed) to travel with my husband (Delta pilot) before he has to retire at 65 next year (FAA rules for all commercial airline pilots).  I am an United Methodist elder, went to Asbury Seminary, was in a church for a year and a half in Louisville but always wanted to get back to the bedside.  I am hopeful I can even find a chaplain job as so many places are cutting back. I would  start looking for another chaplain job now  but our daughter is getting married June 29th in Atlanta and I am back and forth a lot right now.  Our son also lives in Atlanta so the bonus for me is seeing him as well.   My husband grew up Catholic in Boston.  After Mass one Sunday my mother-in-law introduced me to their priest who promptly said, “I wish the Catholic Church would get on with ordaining women.” I think I hugged him.

      I have read several of BTB’s books and really enjoy her writing style as well. Glad to be in this class to learn with “all Y’all!”

       

       

      • #4701

        Lee Whitlock
        Moderator
        @lwhitlock

        Lori,

        Good to read your introduction. I envy your ability and desire to travel with your husband, I assume to those “far away places with the strange sounding names.” The song goes on, “They are calling me, calling me home.” I traveled extensively for my last 10 years of work. I went to 35 countries and 43 states. Seems like “home” for me was “getting there”; in other words, home was the travels to the various places to which I traveled. Then I would hop off of the plane, bus, train, or out of the car and visit for awhile, then I would travel some more. My living room was the airplane seat. My Lazy Boy was a cramped airplane recliner (about 2″ worth of tilt). On one of my last trips, I revisited an old friend – Leslie Weatherhead’s The Christian Agnostic.  Reading LW made me revisit the many things I just do not know about my faith or the faith of my fathers and mothers. In meeting people from Europe, Asia, the Middle East, etc., I especially realized that while I had an excellent Seminary Education (SBTS – ’74), my theology was much the poorer for what I did not know hearing a 2-minute elevator (more likely an airline seat) speech. “Tell me about that spot on your forehead.” “The way you hold that book and read it in a special way makes me think it is a holy book. Could you share with me your faith?” “Oh, you converted to the Muslim faith. What attracted you to it?” This agnostic got a real live “show and tell” going from here to there.

    • #4694

      Lori Casey BSN MDiv., BCC-PCHAC
      Participant
      @lcasey

      Oops, I meant BBT’s books.

       

    • #4696

      Anne Ogden
      Participant
      @AnneOgden

      Hello everyone,

      I am Anne Ogden. I am an Episcopalian, like BBT, and I like the Episcopal desire (not always successful) to be open to many points of view, in addition to embracing tradition and history. I was brought up Presbyterian, with a Baptist father, who was a close friend of Wayne Oates as well as his children’s pediatrician. So I learned from the great teacher, Dr. Oates. I went to visit him many years ago at his office in his house on Winchester Road in Louisville, to discuss my then recent breakup with an important boyfriend. As we talked, he said to me “I share your grief.” I kept talking. Again he said “I share your grief.” I kept talking. Again he said “I share your grief.” I burst into tears. I found in his love and care an enormous healing of the grief I could not express. The other great spiritual gift I received from Dr. Oates was his idea of “trialogue.” That is, when he and I talked, or you and I talk, it is a discussion between you and me and the Holy Spirit between us.

      • #4702

        Lee Whitlock
        Moderator
        @lwhitlock

        Thank you, Anne. I had Dr. Oates when I was at SBTS. I don’t remember him sharing his idea about a “Trialogue”. Perhaps he shared it in another form. I love the idea. I heard a Rabbi once describe two believers walking down a road. When one is troubled, the other becomes his Rabbi. The original Southern Baptists believed in “the Priesthood of all believers”. Same concept – “I priest you; you priest me.” By expanding our knowledge of other faiths, this gives us the ability to become “the holy one” with people of other faiths. Currently, I have a Jewish lady coming to me once a week. She initially came because she wanted to “convert” to Christianity. I told her, of course, I could help her with that, but that she did not have to give up her Judaism. In fact, I explained, she would be a stronger Christian because of her Jewish faith. I explained further that Christians know too little of our OT (Jewish) roots. She would be like the early disciples. She would see how Jesus kept the law but simply moved it further – “You have heard it said….. but I say unto you….” Jesus brought more compassion to an already compassionate idea. Mainly, I taught her the “mechanics” of the NT. I remember when we first looked at John 3:16. She thought it was on page 316. I had told her to turn to “John 3:16.” I had to explain that our shorthand meant to find the Gospel of John. Then find Chapter 3, and finally find verse 16. We even had an old fashioned “Sword Drill.” After awhile studying orthopraxy, we would move to orthodoxy.

    • #4705

      Anne, thank you for sharing your experience with Dr. Oates–the reminder of acknowledging the feelings is enough to bring about grace and steps of healing.

      I may have heard the Trialogue before but this certainly touches me today.  Just met with a local pastor and truly I felt that Trialogue–now I’m trusting the Holy Spirit will continue to lead.

       

       

    • #4707

      Dianna Cox
      Participant
      @diancox

      My name is Dianna Cox. I am a Lutheran Pastor and serve as a hospice chaplain in Tacoma, WA. I has taken me a while to access the web site. Had many computer issues. I will be posting more this weekend. Right now I just want everyone to know I am really looking forward to our time together. I really enjoy these courses.

    • #4708

      Lee Whitlock
      Moderator
      @lwhitlock

      Welcome, everyone. I think we’ve got everyone signed in now. As the weekend gives you time, please read chapters 1 and 2. Consider the following questions in Chapter 1:

      • Do you come from a religion/denomination that claims to have an exclusive truth or exclusive claims? Since religion is so prevalent in the news today, how do you make sense of those claims in light of the exclusive claims of other religions?
      • In Chapter 1, you read about one of her students who dropped her class. He had hoped that he would find information that would help him point out what was wrong with other religions. He wanted to show where Christianity was right and their religion was false. What were your feelings about this story? Why?
      • Anything else you want to discuss out of Chapter 1

      In Chapter 2, Vishnu’s Almonds, you read about:

      Taylor witnessing Padmavathi’s bath.

      1. She writes: “I have never seen anything like this mix of the sensual and the sacred, with no fireproof ditch between the two.” How do you feel about the intertwining of the sensual and sacred?

      2. What thoughts do you have about the tensions and overlaps of other religions? How can you be culturally respectful and participate in a religion you don’t follow. Taylor writes: “Can anyone who visits a sacred space remain an observer, or does one become a participant simply by entering in? Does taking part in the ritual of another faith automatically make you a traitor to your own?”

      3. Anything else you want to discuss out of Chapter 2.

      • #4720

        Dan Mefford
        Participant
        @dmefford

        I found the concept of the book intriguing but am surprised to find myself struggling with it somewhat. Born and bred Southern Baptist may have something to do with it. The first chapter  was fine, no challenges in reality. I do not wish to battle with anyone over the issue of faith, but I do wish to share my faith with them. I do believe that Jesus is “the way, the truth, the life” but am able to allow others their view. I enjoy learning about other religions, not to see where they are wrong, but to see why my faith has a basis for me. It’s not tradition, its faith. I feel the need to believe that Jesus was right and that I am following Him, not out of question, but assurance. Studying the differences in faith helps me to do that.

        In the second chapter, I found myself struggling a bit more. I have been to services of other faiths and “observed” never feeling the need to be actively involved in the process. It was surprising to me to feel my visceral response to the students and teacher receiving the almonds at the temple. In some ways it felt like a betrayal of one of the ordinances I hold dear. In another, it was wonderful to “watch” the openness and gifting of the priest to those willing to be a part of the ceremony. It was respectful and yet I still find myself wondering why? Why partake? Why not partake? Is it betrayal or a move to understanding? Do I question too much or do I have a wall that needs to be at least looked over?

        I never expected this book to be so challenging, espeilly after 30+ years of ministry. Perhaps I became too comfortable over the years. It will be an interesting journey.

      • #4728

        Lori Casey BSN MDiv., BCC-PCHAC
        Participant
        @lcasey

        Lee I would like to seen the Slovakian church you describe. I have been moved by seeing churches in Europe with bullet holes from past wars. Walking through Notre Dame, Winchester Cathedral and the Doumo  have brought tears to my eyes from their sheer beauty and feeling the holiness of God through the statues, paintings, design structures depicting Christ, the saints, and more.

        Anne I echo your feelings of great meaning and connection to God through rituals, those established and new ones we create for specific purposes (saying “goodbye” to a beloved house; remembering, honoring, letting go of grief for our palliative care patients who died).  I did a wedding for a niece who married a Greek Orthodox man and in it we included a Crown ceremony that was especially important to him and his family. For me, spiritual rituals have great power not in and of themselves, but because these outward and visible actions become an inward and spiritual connection to God and a means of God’s grace.

        Kathy I appreciate your observations and comments about the disparity of hospitality and offer of worship participation – with other faith traditions and those within Christianity itself.  My first thought was of the exclusions within Christianity concerning who can partake of Communion- who is welcome at the Table. Members? Baptized only? etc…  But then the of unity of my  own denomination is in crisis over who is welcome to pursue ordination, get married, etc.. deeply heartfelt on both sides.

    • #4710

      Lori Casey BSN MDiv., BCC-PCHAC
      Participant
      @lcasey

      Hi All, Lee, am I posting responses and topics in the right place?  It looks like there are a lot of responses to the topics  but I cannot see any- just the initial introductions.

      Reading about the student whose charge to BBT was “If you really are a Christian, then are you going to help us see what is wrong with these other religions?” reminds of my younger, weaker,  spiritual self. In my faith development, it was imperative for me to know I was “on the right path,” that I was following the “one True God,” and that this God did not allow for the worship or serving of other gods (Ex 34:14; Dt 4:24; 5:9; 32:16; Ps78:58).  There were severe consequences if you deviated too: Dt 6:15; Ex 20:5 etc…   For me, it wasn’t until I was in seminary that my understanding of God and how God comes to all people became so much bigger than just through Christianity.

      I encountered patients in the hospital who were so insular in their faith (*but more denominational beliefs) that they did not want me a woman, and/or a Methodist coming in to their room.  But, I also learned much from my patients about the bigness of God.   For several years I have been going to a Spiritual Director in Louisville who has expanded my understanding of God as well.  Sometimes I felt like I was loosing my faith, only to discover I was just “growing” in my capacity to see God in others and other  faith traditions.   I especially like a quote BBT writes (p24) illuminating the fact that many of us have only known how to describe reality through our Christian lenses. “The Lens is not the landscape,” she writes. “It is a way of translating the landscape so that people can walk upright on it, making some sense of what happens to them.”  In chapter one, I really resonated with her desire to “make connections with more traditional Christians” by finding the Scripture verses that would help open the door for them to consider another point of view (p21).

      Although I fully embrace God’s great gift of sensuality, I guess there was enough Puritan influence in my United Brethren upbringing that there is a separation (for me) between worshipping a holy God and enjoying/embracing sensual feelings.  In bathing a deity as a part of devotion/worship there would be sensual feelings that maybe are an expression of our humanity- I don’t think this would be comfortable for me.  I look forward to what others think about this too.

      I love the way BBT intertwines the Hindu faith traditions, the road trip to the Hindu Temple and the different worship forms present that day with Christian thought and her own understanding of the rituals and symbology. But in her describing the meaning of the rituals and symbols, I certainly have a greater appreciation for Hinduism. She helps me see things in a new light and she names our issues, like the  Christian struggle to “endorse” more than one way to God, the Hindu understanding that we must all find our own path to God, and that we cannot make judgements based on observation- we have to know the deeper, richer context or meaning about and for things.

      I love how she describes her feelings as the prayer service/worship time for Vishnu unfolds.  For me, the taking the liquid, the crown and the almonds could be nothing more than the receiving of something precious offered by another.  I would not have to actually worship Vishnu- but out of love, the Hindu priest offered Vindu’s gifts to the class/people.  Out of pastoral care for distraught parents, I have baptized dead babies at their request. I think God sees so much more in giving and receiving, in the actions of love and care.

      I was so happy to see that BBT’s student Mariah stayed in the class and had an epiphanal class project.

       

    • #4711

      Anne Ogden
      Participant
      @AnneOgden

      I remind you that I was brought up Presbyterian with a Baptist father. Since that time, when I became a more “progressive” Episcopalian, drawn by a high church Anglican ritual, I thought I knew a bit about world religions, being a devoted reader of Huston Smith’s beautiful books.  However, I found myself looking up a number of BBT’s Hindu references in Chapter 2 to find out more.  One thing this activity made me realize is how little we know about, say, Hindu ritual and the meaning of it and how it might enlighten or inform our own deeply held beliefs.  I looked up “Padmavathi’s bath” to be taken to a Bed Bath and Beyond site advertising Padma Lakshimi’s (American cookbook author’s) collection of dinnerware “to add an exotic accent to any table.”   Exotic?  Erotic?  Is that what we were thinking anyway?  I admit that I haven’t pursued this line of thought any further, though I might later…but only to say that it is easy to be a critical observer of others’ sacred space on the one hand, when it feels uncomfortably foreign, and inexplicably immersed in it at the same time.  I can remember being in Buddhist temples and Zen rock gardens 40 years ago and being totally stunned by the sacred power they held.  And walking into a Catholic church in Normandy, France when I was 16 and being drawn into the darkness and then the flickering lights of the votive candles.  I lit one and was moved to tears.  I had never done that in my life.  Catholic ritual was alien to my upbringing.  What is it that draws us into itself then (if it does)?  Is it “the Other” itself?  I wonder if the young man who left BBT’s class would have been also stunned at Roanji Temple in Kyoto?   I think we all must discover this place for ourselves–that BBT’s intuition to let the young man go his way was the only reasonable way to respond.

      Anne

    • #4712

      Dianna Cox
      Participant
      @diancox

      I am Lutheran (ELCA) I don’t think we have the corner market on the exclusive version of what is right when it comes to finding God or there is one way. At least I don’t subscribe to one way. I was really stuck by Padmavathi’s bath. It made me think of our hospice patients who so often can’t take a shower or bath because they are so weak. The bath aide comes in and gives the patient a bath in their bed. Most of aides share that it is a ritual for them and the patients they tell me find it a very soothing experience. I truly think in our worship world we don’t have enough rituals that really speak to our lives. Maybe if we did more meaningful ritual it would connect us more to God and our spirituality.

      I remember a trip I made to learn more about the Baha’i faith when I was in college. I will never forget it because we were encouraged to really join in. Some of us did and some of us had a difficult time. Those of us who joined in got a much richer experience. Participating did not make me want to join the Baha’i faith however I did come away appreciating how others express their spirituality.

    • #4714

      Dianna Cox
      Participant
      @diancox

      Anne,

      I truly think in our US culture it is very difficult to be sensual. We always interpret it as sexual. I am wondering if other cultures see sensual as sexual. It seems the Padmavathi’s bath while sensual was not a sexual thing. Just a thought.

    • #4715

      Tim Peters
      Member
      @TimPeters

      Hi All,

      I am Tim Peters.  I am a hospice chaplain in Stockton, CA for Vitas Healthcare where I have been for about seven years.  I am Seventh-day Adventist and am involved as an elder, with teaching collegiate Bible study and with a grief ministry team at my local church.

       

      Here’s my elevator speech:  I grew up going to church in the Seventh-day Adventist church.  I also went to church schools and Pathfinders (Adventist coed version of Boy Scouts/Girl Scouts).   As a kid all the God talk I was around didn’t mean too much.  Around the age of 13 I felt a desire to know God for myself.  That is when I started actively seeking to know God.  Somewhere in high school I became very conservative and I would even say “holier than thou”.  Through my time in college I believe God helped me learn more balance in life and see that it’s not all about me.  After seminary I did my CPE residency in San Francisco where I learned a good deal about other faiths and perspectives.  Through the years as a chaplain I have found a richness in people’s faith from all walks of life.  I feel I have more to learn from other faiths/traditions and look forward to our discussion together.

    • #4716

      Lee Whitlock
      Moderator
      @lwhitlock

      Good morning Tim,

      I understand completely. Glad to hear that you had an epiphany moment or several moments. Your experience  with your “holier than thou” experience can be put to good use. You have a valuable experience that will help you with the so called “Evangelicals” and with conservatives of other faiths and perspectives. People find God through many vehicles. I consider myself to be an Evangelical in the true Biblical sense. It is our duty to carry the “Good News” of our faith. The Good News is found in the Sermon on the Mount, 1st Corinthians 13, and the Book of James as well as Matthew 25. It is not to stand in the Market Place and shout about the truth of our faith. It is to “Love one another as I have loved you.”

      Lee

    • #4717

      Lee Whitlock
      Moderator
      @lwhitlock

      Good morning Dianna,

      I’m with you! I don’t want to think we have a corner on the faith either. First of all, my corner has holes in it! I’m like the father who took his son to Jesus to be healed. Jesus asked, “Do you believe?” The man answered, “I believe, help me where my belief is weak.” (Mark 9:24 – My translation) I have so much to learn. I often think of the story of the blind men who are lead to an elephant and asked to describe what an elephant is like. The one who touched the side said, “An elephant is like a wall.” The one to touched the leg said, “An elephant is like a tree trunk.” The one who touched the tusk said, “An elephant is like a sword.” And so on. Those of us who know God through the Christian faith know God in many different ways. Each way is right in its own way, but it is wrong in many ways at the same time.

      Lee

    • #4718

      Lee Whitlock
      Moderator
      @lwhitlock

      Anne, I like that you have been “stunned by religions.” I too have had those experiences. I have been fascinated by the life of Martin of Tours for my years since seminary. In my travels to different states and countries, I have made it a point of finding out if there was a Martin of Tours Church in the places I’ve visited. The answer is generally yes. One of the most interesting is in Bratislava, Slovakia. During WWII the Germans left the church intact, but they build a super highway that ran in front of the church and completely blocked entrance to the church. They were trying to discourage worship there. The Slovakian Christians didn’t miss a beat. They placed a magnificent entrance way in the rear of the church, and, of course, worship goes on. I was deeply moved by the experience of hearing this story and seeing the church for myself.

      Lee

    • #4719

      Lee Whitlock
      Moderator
      @lwhitlock

      Lori, you are in the right place.

      I never went through that need to prove other religions wrong. I have, however, known people like that young man in BBT’s story. Instead, I was fortunate to have been raised in a “Tri-Faith Way” (i.e. “Methobapterian). I also had good SS teachers and pastors. The pastor who influenced me most was Robert E. Cuttino who pastored First Baptist Church in Lake City, SC. Dr. Cuttino got his M.Div. from Yale and some years after leaving FBC-LC, got his D.Min. from SBTS. It was Dr. Cuttino who encouraged me, practically insisted, that I go to SBTS. I’m so grateful he did. I now belong to Crescent Hill Baptist Church in Louisville, a Cooperative Baptist Church. We are a very progressive church letting the public know that we are a “welcoming and affirming congregation”. While I enjoy my congregational experiences, I recognize that others approach the Throne of Grace in different ways. Power to them! The Power of the Holy Spirit. I can point to areas of disagreement on theological, philosophical, sociological, and political grounds, I also can agree with them on more than areas where I disagree. My focus is to stay fixed on the areas of agreement.

      Lee

    • #4721

      Dan Mefford
      Participant
      @dmefford

      Lori,

      I think I can echo the puritan influences of faith that also made the sensual act of bathing the goddess to be uncomfortable in my views. But I am also reminded of the act of Jesus’ feet being washed and dried with hair. That too is fairly sensual in it’s basic appearance. Perhaps our forbearers did us little favor in their own uncomfortability with this concept. Again, challenge rears its head in an Oates discussion.

    • #4722

      Dan Mefford
      Participant
      @dmefford

      Dianna,

      I appreciate that you had a richer experience in the event you participated in than those who did not. I find myself wondering if their experience wasn’t enriched by staying true to what they held to in their own faith. Perhaps their is richness in both aspects?

      Dan

    • #4723

      Mary M. Wrye
      Member
      @mmwrye

      Good morning all. I was raised in a small conservative Southern Baptist Church where my parents and grandparents were members. I was taught/shown by example that positions of “influence” in the church were held by men and that God called and ordained only men. So when I was in college and began going to a Pentecostal church my dad asked “why the Baptist church wasn’t good enough for me”. To his credit – he stood back and gave me the space to explore on my own. That may have been where I began to understand that differing styles of worship doesn’t necessarily mean that I have to chuck everything I know/believe.

      I have always been connected to a Baptist church but somewhere along the line I began to realize that what was put before me in my childhood wasn’t the whole story. Maybe it was because it felt like God kept asking me to take a different route and go to seminary. I was a Vocational Rehabilitation Specialist at the time (BS in Voc Rehab). And even with all the teachings of God calling/ordaining only men – I couldn’t ignore this calling for me.

      I too went to The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (graduated in 1988 before the Southern Baptist Convention split). The second church I served as an associate was in Memphis TN where there were only women on staff including the Pastor. For that – we were excommunicated from the SBC. My understanding of God, my willingness to “let” God be bigger than my box, the people I met – began to help me get beyond the “I’m right/you’re wrong” mentality. I have chosen to follow Jesus because I hear/see that he does the same thing. Tax collectors, Sanhedrin, Gentiles, Jewish zealots, and those who believe they know better…

      The sensual part of the Hindu ritual actually reminded me of the way we prepared the dead all those years ago when we would lay them out on the dinning room table, bathe them, dress them and then sit up with them all night. It was NOT sexual at all but it was taking care of someone we had come to love and respect.

      I love the questions “Can anyone who visits a sacred space remain an observer, or does one become a participant simply by entering in? Does taking part in the ritual of another faith automatically make you a traitor to your own?” I am of the mindset that I cannot go to anything and be a mere observer. Somewhere along the line I am changed. I learn. I compare. I tweak my own thoughts. I am challenged. I ask “how might I do that?”. God is a really big God – and like parents who are multilingual and teach their children to be – I believe God speaks to us in whatever language that helps us grow in our spirituality, our faith, and our connection to God.

    • #4724

      So many wonderful reflections.  Thank you, thank you for sharing.

      I do come from a denomination–Southern Baptist– that claims to have exclusive truth–but I’ve not been comfortable with that perspective.  Growing up in the 60’s –though my Dad is quite racially prejudice, and at one time due to desegregation, my parents entertained the possibility of my attending a Catholic school.  I remember not having the feeling or conversation that we were all that different —but that this was just another group.  And even when as I teen I participated in evangelistic emphases, I felt that I should share what is important to me and ask someone to believe, but not to force and respect those who choose not to believe.

      There is a chorus song that is sung on occasion–Our God is an Awesome God.  While I can affirm that the God I choose to serve is Awesome, the phrase is still troublesome to me–Our seems to imply ownership–and I have difficulty o
      <span style=”color: #0bc63d;”>Dianna Cox</span>
      <div class=”bbp-author-role”>Participant</div>
      <span class=”bbp-user-nicename”><span class=”handle-sign”>@</span>diancox</span> <!– .bbp-reply-author –>
      <div class=”bbp-reply-content entry-content”>

      Anne,

      I truly think in our US culture it is very difficult to be sensual. We always interpret it as sexual. I am wondering if other cultures see sensual as sexual. It seems the Padmavathi’s bath while sensual was not a sexual thing. Just a thought.wning God.  As a chaplain, so many patients and families express doubts and ‘holes’ in their beliefs–or doubt and questioning God.  I try to gently affirm as with the questions in the Psalms–that God is much bigger than my view and can hear my questions and my doubts.   page 20–God was too great and world too wide to allow for so little curiosity.

      </div>
      This is so timely to work with my 19 year old son–as he is growing in his Bible study and Christian growth.  I share parts of the book with him as I have opportunity.

      I appreciated BBT’s acknowledgement  on page 21 Semester by semester they reminded me how limited my experience of Christianity really was and what a tiny slice of it I knew well.  My full immersion in my own religion was about to take an entirely new turn, and it was going to call for a level of theological humility that I had not practiced in quite some time.   Every page I read, the more I find that I do not know about the wideness of the Christian faith and how very little I know of other faiths.

      About Padmavathi’s bath– <!– .bbp-reply-author –>
      <div class=”bbp-reply-content entry-content”>

      I appreciate  Dianne’s comment–I truly think in our US culture it is very difficult to be sensual. We always interpret it as sexual. I am wondering if other cultures see sensual as sexual. It seems the Padmavathi’s bath while sensual was not a sexual thing. Just a thought.    I just checked online Webster– below– I guess I focus on the use of the senses.  When I offer Blessing of the Hands, I share also a touch of oil with eucalyptus.  My intent is to utilize the senses for the staff to remember the experience.
      <div class=”row vg-header” style=”margin: 18px -15px 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; text-align: left; color: #212529; text-transform: none; line-height: inherit; text-indent: 0px; letter-spacing: normal; font-family: Lato, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 16px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 400; word-spacing: 0px; vertical-align: baseline; display: flex; white-space: normal; box-sizing: border-box; orphans: 2; widows: 2; font-stretch: inherit; flex-wrap: wrap; background-color: #ffffff; font-variant-ligatures: no-common-ligatures; font-variant-caps: normal; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial; font-variant-numeric: inherit; font-variant-east-asian: inherit;”>
      <div class=”col” style=”font: inherit; margin: 0px; padding: 0px 15px; border: 0px currentColor; width: 760px; vertical-align: baseline; position: relative; min-height: 1px; max-width: 100%; box-sizing: border-box; font-size-adjust: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; flex-grow: 1; flex-basis: 0px; -webkit-box-flex: 1;”>
      <h2 style=”margin: 0px 0px 0.5em; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; color: #265667; line-height: 26px; letter-spacing: 0.3px; font-family: ‘Open Sans’, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 22px; font-style: normal; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: baseline; display: inline; box-sizing: border-box; font-stretch: normal;”>Definition of<em style=”margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; line-height: inherit; font-family: inherit; font-size: inherit; font-style: italic; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; display: inline; box-sizing: border-box; font-stretch: inherit;”>sensual</h2>
      </div>
      </div>
      <div class=”vg” style=”margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; text-align: left; color: #212529; text-transform: none; line-height: inherit; text-indent: 0px; letter-spacing: normal; font-family: Lato, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 16px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 400; word-spacing: 0px; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: normal; box-sizing: border-box; orphans: 2; widows: 2; font-stretch: inherit; background-color: #ffffff; font-variant-ligatures: no-common-ligatures; font-variant-caps: normal; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial; font-variant-numeric: inherit; font-variant-east-asian: inherit;”>
      <div class=”sb has-num” style=”font: inherit; margin: 0px 0px 25px; padding: 0px 0px 0px 33px; border: 0px currentColor; vertical-align: baseline; position: relative; box-sizing: border-box; font-size-adjust: inherit; font-stretch: inherit;”>
      <div class=”sense has-num-only” style=”font: inherit; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; vertical-align: baseline; display: inline; box-sizing: border-box; font-size-adjust: inherit; font-stretch: inherit;”><span class=”sn sense-1″ style=”margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; line-height: 22px; letter-spacing: 0.2px; font-family: ‘Open Sans’, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 18px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: baseline; box-sizing: border-box; font-stretch: normal;”><span class=”num” style=”margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; left: 0px; top: 0px; line-height: 22px; letter-spacing: 0.2px; font-family: ‘Open Sans’, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 18px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; position: absolute; box-sizing: border-box; font-stretch: normal;”>1</span></span><span class=”dt ” style=”margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; color: #303336; line-height: 22px; letter-spacing: 0.2px; font-family: ‘Open Sans’, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 18px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: normal; vertical-align: baseline; display: inline; box-sizing: border-box; font-stretch: normal;”><span class=”dtText” style=”margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; line-height: 22px; letter-spacing: 0.2px; font-family: ‘Open Sans’, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 18px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; box-sizing: border-box; font-stretch: normal;”><strong class=”mw_t_bc” style=”margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; line-height: inherit; font-family: inherit; font-size: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: bolder; vertical-align: baseline; box-sizing: border-box; font-stretch: inherit;”>:relating to or consisting in the gratification of the senses or the indulgence of appetite<strong class=”mw_t_bc” style=”margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; line-height: inherit; font-family: inherit; font-size: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: bolder; vertical-align: baseline; box-sizing: border-box; font-stretch: inherit;”>:<span class=”text-uppercase” style=”margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; text-transform: uppercase !important; line-height: 22px; letter-spacing: 0.2px; font-family: ‘Open Sans’, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 18px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; box-sizing: border-box; font-stretch: normal;”>FLESHLY</span></span></span></div>
      </div>
      <div class=”sb has-num” style=”font: inherit; margin: 0px 0px 25px; padding: 0px 0px 0px 33px; border: 0px currentColor; vertical-align: baseline; position: relative; box-sizing: border-box; font-size-adjust: inherit; font-stretch: inherit;”>
      <div class=”sense has-num-only” style=”font: inherit; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; vertical-align: baseline; display: inline; box-sizing: border-box; font-size-adjust: inherit; font-stretch: inherit;”><span class=”sn sense-2″ style=”margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; line-height: 22px; letter-spacing: 0.2px; font-family: ‘Open Sans’, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 18px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: baseline; box-sizing: border-box; font-stretch: normal;”><span class=”num” style=”margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; left: 0px; top: 0px; line-height: 22px; letter-spacing: 0.2px; font-family: ‘Open Sans’, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 18px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; position: absolute; box-sizing: border-box; font-stretch: normal;”>2</span></span><span class=”dt ” style=”margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; color: #303336; line-height: 22px; letter-spacing: 0.2px; font-family: ‘Open Sans’, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 18px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: normal; vertical-align: baseline; display: inline; box-sizing: border-box; font-stretch: normal;”><span class=”dtText” style=”margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; line-height: 22px; letter-spacing: 0.2px; font-family: ‘Open Sans’, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 18px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; box-sizing: border-box; font-stretch: normal;”><strong class=”mw_t_bc” style=”margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; line-height: inherit; font-family: inherit; font-size: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: bolder; vertical-align: baseline; box-sizing: border-box; font-stretch: inherit;”>:<span class=”text-uppercase” style=”margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; text-transform: uppercase !important; line-height: 22px; letter-spacing: 0.2px; font-family: ‘Open Sans’, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 18px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; box-sizing: border-box; font-stretch: normal;”>SENSORY</span><span class=”text-lowercase” style=”margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; text-transform: lowercase !important; line-height: 22px; letter-spacing: 0.2px; font-family: ‘Open Sans’, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 18px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; box-sizing: border-box; font-stretch: normal;”>sense 1</span></span></span></div>
      </div>
      <div class=”sb has-num has-let” style=”font: inherit; margin: 0px 0px 20px; padding: 0px 0px 0px 66px; border: 0px currentColor; vertical-align: baseline; position: relative; box-sizing: border-box; font-size-adjust: inherit; font-stretch: inherit;”>
      <div class=”sense has-sn” style=”font: inherit; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; vertical-align: baseline; display: inline; box-sizing: border-box; font-size-adjust: inherit; font-stretch: inherit;”><span class=”sn sense-3 a” style=”margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; line-height: 22px; letter-spacing: 0.2px; font-family: ‘Open Sans’, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 18px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: baseline; box-sizing: border-box; font-stretch: normal;”><span class=”num” style=”margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; left: 0px; top: 0px; line-height: 22px; letter-spacing: 0.2px; font-family: ‘Open Sans’, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 18px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; position: absolute; box-sizing: border-box; font-stretch: normal;”>3</span><span class=”letter” style=”margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; left: 33px; line-height: 22px; letter-spacing: 0.2px; font-family: ‘Open Sans’, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 18px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; position: absolute; box-sizing: border-box; font-stretch: normal;”>a</span></span><span class=”dt ” style=”margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; color: #303336; line-height: 22px; letter-spacing: 0.2px; font-family: ‘Open Sans’, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 18px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: normal; vertical-align: baseline; display: inline; box-sizing: border-box; font-stretch: normal;”><span class=”dtText” style=”margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; line-height: 22px; letter-spacing: 0.2px; font-family: ‘Open Sans’, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 18px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; box-sizing: border-box; font-stretch: normal;”><strong class=”mw_t_bc” style=”margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; line-height: inherit; font-family: inherit; font-size: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: bolder; vertical-align: baseline; box-sizing: border-box; font-stretch: inherit;”>:devoted to or preoccupied with the senses or appetites</span></span></div>
      </div>
      <div></div>
      <div class=”sb has-num has-let” style=”font: inherit; margin: 0px 0px 20px; padding: 0px 0px 0px 66px; border: 0px currentColor; vertical-align: baseline; position: relative; box-sizing: border-box; font-size-adjust: inherit; font-stretch: inherit;”>
      <div class=”sense has-sn” style=”font: inherit; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; vertical-align: baseline; display: inline; box-sizing: border-box; font-size-adjust: inherit; font-stretch: inherit;”><span class=”sn sense-b” style=”margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; line-height: 22px; letter-spacing: 0.2px; font-family: ‘Open Sans’, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 18px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: baseline; box-sizing: border-box; font-stretch: normal;”><span class=”letter” style=”margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; left: 33px; line-height: 22px; letter-spacing: 0.2px; font-family: ‘Open Sans’, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 18px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; position: absolute; box-sizing: border-box; font-stretch: normal;”>b</span></span><span class=”dt ” style=”margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; color: #303336; line-height: 22px; letter-spacing: 0.2px; font-family: ‘Open Sans’, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 18px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: normal; vertical-align: baseline; display: inline; box-sizing: border-box; font-stretch: normal;”><span class=”dtText” style=”margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; line-height: 22px; letter-spacing: 0.2px; font-family: ‘Open Sans’, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 18px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; box-sizing: border-box; font-stretch: normal;”><strong class=”mw_t_bc” style=”margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; line-height: inherit; font-family: inherit; font-size: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: bolder; vertical-align: baseline; box-sizing: border-box; font-stretch: inherit;”>:<span class=”text-uppercase” style=”margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; text-transform: uppercase !important; line-height: 22px; letter-spacing: 0.2px; font-family: ‘Open Sans’, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 18px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; box-sizing: border-box; font-stretch: normal;”>VOLUPTUOUS</span></span></span></div>
      <div class=”sense has-sn” style=”font: inherit; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; vertical-align: baseline; display: inline; box-sizing: border-box; font-size-adjust: inherit; font-stretch: inherit;”><span class=”sn sense-c” style=”margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; line-height: 22px; letter-spacing: 0.2px; font-family: ‘Open Sans’, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 18px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: baseline; box-sizing: border-box; font-stretch: normal;”><span class=”letter” style=”margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; left: 33px; line-height: 22px; letter-spacing: 0.2px; font-family: ‘Open Sans’, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 18px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; position: absolute; box-sizing: border-box; font-stretch: normal;”>c</span></span><span class=”dt hasSdSense” style=”margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; color: #303336; line-height: 22px; letter-spacing: 0.2px; font-family: ‘Open Sans’, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 18px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: normal; vertical-align: baseline; display: inline; box-sizing: border-box; font-stretch: normal;”><span class=”dtText” style=”margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; line-height: 22px; letter-spacing: 0.2px; font-family: ‘Open Sans’, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 18px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; box-sizing: border-box; font-stretch: normal;”><strong class=”mw_t_bc” style=”margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; line-height: inherit; font-family: inherit; font-size: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: bolder; vertical-align: baseline; box-sizing: border-box; font-stretch: inherit;”>:deficientin moral, spiritual, or intellectual interests<strong class=”mw_t_bc” style=”margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; line-height: inherit; font-family: inherit; font-size: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: bolder; vertical-align: baseline; box-sizing: border-box; font-stretch: inherit;”>:<span class=”text-uppercase” style=”margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; text-transform: uppercase !important; line-height: 22px; letter-spacing: 0.2px; font-family: ‘Open Sans’, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 18px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; box-sizing: border-box; font-stretch: normal;”>WORLDLY</span></span></span><span class=”sdsense” style=”margin: 0px; padding: 10px 0px 0px; border: 0px currentColor; line-height: 22px; letter-spacing: 0.2px; font-family: ‘Open Sans’, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 18px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; display: block; box-sizing: border-box; font-stretch: normal;”><span class=”sd” style=”margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; color: #303336; line-height: 22px; letter-spacing: 0.2px; font-family: ‘Open Sans’, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 18px; font-style: italic; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: normal; vertical-align: baseline; box-sizing: border-box; font-stretch: normal;”>especially</span><span class=”dtText” style=”margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; line-height: 22px; letter-spacing: 0.2px; font-family: ‘Open Sans’, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 18px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; box-sizing: border-box; font-stretch: normal;”><strong class=”mw_t_bc” style=”margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; line-height: inherit; font-family: inherit; font-size: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: bolder; vertical-align: baseline; box-sizing: border-box; font-stretch: inherit;”>:<span class=”text-uppercase” style=”margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px currentColor; text-transform: uppercase !important; line-height: 22px; letter-spacing: 0.2px; font-family: ‘Open Sans’, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 18px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; box-sizing: border-box; font-stretch: normal;”>IRRELIGIOUS</span></span></span></div>
      </div>
      </div>
      The tensions and overlaps of other religions–I struggle. While I can admire the commitment to prayer that our Muslim colleagues practice.  Do I choose to set my alarm, no.  Even the practice of yoga and mindfulness give me pause.  I’ll admit, I am more comfortable with participating in Christian faith practices–My husband’s Lutheran service–times of confession and absolution–are powerful times for me when we visit.

      I so appreciated that BBT shared the student’s project of designing an interfaith chapel for the college.  That is one of the challenges of modern healthcare facility construction.

      </div>
      Finally, the last page of the chapter–the most troubling question of all was shy my religion seemed so much less gracious than Dr. Acharya’s religion did.  She seemed to be exemplar of it and her hospitality was impeccable.  I guess I find myself questioning such gracious hospitality, because I am aware of how my own faith’s hospitality turns manipulative. That is so sad.

      May I grow!!

       

       

       

    • #4725

      Lee Whitlock
      Moderator
      @lwhitlock

      Mary,

      My church, Crescent Hill Baptist Church in Louisville was also kicked out of the SBC as well as the KBC. We were actually “open and accepting”. The conventions just didn’t like the way Jesus dealt with people. Why, he even spoke well of a Samaritan.

      I graduated from SBTS in 1974. I lived in Atlanta and graduated from Georgia State University. I got many of my values from those two institutions. 1968 was a pivotal year for me. I met Dr. Martin Luther King, Jimmy Carter, and was influenced by the editorial writings in the Atlanta Constitution of Ralph McGill.  By the time I got to SBTS, I was further changed by Hinson, Stagg, Jones, Moody, Francisco, Oates, and others that were there during one of SBTS’s golden ages. As important as that was, it was just as important that I was able to examine my past and recognize it for what it was. I was a “Teenage Racist”.

      Lee

    • #4726

      Lee Whitlock
      Moderator
      @lwhitlock

      Dan, I go to the Abbey of Gethsemani quite often for a retreat. I talked to two of the monks out there each time I go. I finally asked one if it would be alright if I took communion with them. He said, “Yes.” I then asked, “Doesn’t church polity prohibit that?” He smiled and laughed just a little and said, “How are they to know.” He added, “Technically, you are to believe that the bread does turn into the body of Jesus and the wine into his blood.” I have since participated three times in communion with them.

      Each Thursday, I meet with a Catholic lawyer here in my study. He wants to learn more about the Bible. The way we spend our two hours together is that I teach him out of our very good Sunday School book based on the Lectionary. It is always a lively discussion. My friend has an extraordinarily high IQ. When he first started coming, I felt intimidated. After awhile, I realized that I knew much more about the subject and felt less intimidated; however, as time goes on, he’s such a swift learner, I’m beginning to feel intimidated again. In the process, I’m learning more about the Catholic Church. We both have broken down walls to our faith approaches.

      I also meet regularly with a Jewish woman who had already made up her mind that she wanted to be a Christian. After coming several months, she expressed a desire to be baptized. I made arrangements to get the church baptismal pool. For family reasons, she wanted it done in private. Weather and time got in the way with our first three times. Our pastor, Jason Crosby, preached a sermon on the Ethiopian Eunuch. Where did the pool deep enough come from to properly baptism him? That week, my Jewish friend asked, why can’t you just baptize me here? Well, why couldn’t I. I got a bowl of water, we prayed over it, and I baptized here here in my study! She and I study the Lectionary as well. She’s not quite as faithful as my lawyer friend.

      I’d love to have those kinds of encounters with Buddhists, those of the Islamic faith, Seventh-Day Adventists, and other denominations and faiths.

      Lee

    • #4729

      Dianna Cox
      Participant
      @diancox

      Kathy,

      I so agree about the blessing of the hands. Using oil or water, touching the hands is such a beautiful expression of healing. When I started in hospice, I participated in the blessing of the hands for our home health aides. Many of them said how powerful it was because they touch patients so often. One of them said I never thought of my hands as healing, it was such a gift to me. We never know what rituals touch us. Dianna

    • #4730

      Lee Whitlock
      Moderator
      @lwhitlock

      I agree. A carefully placed hand is a wonderful way to “touch the untouchable.” It is a way of letting the recipient know they are still here and still matter. Thanks.

    • #4731

      Lee Whitlock
      Moderator
      @lwhitlock

      Lori, you could go to the South Carolina State Capitol in Columbia. When last I checked there were still bullet holes left from the Civil War. They were left there to remind us of the devastation of that war between brothers. I’m glad they left them.

    • #4732

      Tim Peters
      Member
      @TimPeters

      Dan,

      Your comment about Jesus being the way reminds me of discussions that I have had with friends about a popular text Christians like to quote.  “<span style=”caret-color: #000000; color: #000000; font-family: ‘Helvetica Neue’, Verdana, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif;”>Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”  I have come to believe that Jesus is the giver of salvation, but that he gives it to people of all backgrounds.  It is not </span><span style=”color: #000000; font-family: Helvetica Neue, Verdana, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif;”><span style=”caret-color: #000000;”>dependent on a person saying the sinner’s prayer.  Or even knowing about or accepting Jesus.  Maybe God is more welcoming than we were taught growing up.</span></span>

      Tim

    • #4733

      Tim Peters
      Member
      @TimPeters

      The story in chapter 1 about the young man who wanted Taylor to point out the faults of other religions sounds familiar.  I have been that person in my younger years to have the attitude of us versus them.  And sadly the current political climate encourages that attitude.  It seems that when we are so focused on being right we forget that we can learn a lot from others.  Dialogue can bring a lot of good things, but when someone is trying to convert a person to join their faith it tends to be more of a one way conversation than a dialogue.  The young man was trying to shame Taylor in telling her she is not being a Christian the way that he thinks she should be.  There are a lot of arm chair Christians wanting to let others know how to conduct their lives.  A Buddhist chaplain I worked with before would encourage me to be kind to myself. As I learned to do that more, it helped me with the process of having more kindness toward others; including others who I am different from.  Still a work in progress…

      Tim

       

    • #4734

      Tim Peters
      Member
      @TimPeters

      In chapter on Vishnu’s Almonds I could identify with Dr. Acharya’s concern about her grandchildren losing their religion.   I have three stepchildren who are all active in the Seventh-day Adventist church.  The youngest is 20 and he is the one who likes to play devil’s advocate.  I don’t mind him doing that, but sometimes it is hard to distinguish when he is or if he expressing his own doubts about God.  He likes authenticity which I strive for and he helps me work on it.  He is dating a Baptist who is a very nice young lady.  I do have some concern about them working out their religious differences, but more concerning is that both of them don’t seem too interested in spirituality.  The book reminds me that young people need freedom to think for themselves and I have the tendency to be more concerned about my family checking off the boxes to do the right things than I do for others.  So I continue to pray for my kids, love them and am reminded that God’s grace is abundant to them as it is toward everyone else.

      About the story of the Almonds, I think Dr. Acharya had a good heart in asking the priest to perform a prayer ritual for the student group.  It seemed she wanted the students to get an experience that would be meaningful for their visit. I think of all the times that I go Catholic masses for funerals or other events.  When people go forward for the communion I stay standing where I am.  It feels like that is for Catholics to partake of.  But if the priest were walking down my row and offered me the wafer and the wine I would probably take it.  There is a difference when someone gives a personal gesture to give you something than making a call to a large group to come forward.  I do not see harm in partaking of a ritual of another group of faith.

      When I worked in hospitals in the past I helped distribute ashes two years to hospital employees on Ash Wednesday.  That may open another can of worms whether I was right to do that when I am not Catholic.

      I understand the tension that Taylor described about idol worship and feeling uneasy in the temple of idols.  But my feeling is there is room to respect other’s rituals and even participate without compromising our own faith.   But I also like how BBT chose not to try to change the student’s mind who ran outside crying.  Some convictions that are not harming others that I don’t agree don’t need to be shot down.  I hope and pray for more ability to live together in diference and love each other for the difference instead of in spite of it.

      Tim

      • #4736

        Lee Whitlock
        Moderator
        @lwhitlock

        Tim, I know exactly what you mean. I have a friend in California whose answer to every problem is, “Believe Jesus.” He does this with Christians, of course, but he also does it with those who have no religion or who are of another faith. When questioned about this, he answers, “If they don’t believe in Jesus, their problem can’t be solved.” This, of course, shows a lack of knowledge about atheism or other faiths. It certainly stops dialogue. I’ve listened to his his form of evangelism for years, but he’s not changed an inch. I ask him, “Daniel, have you tried to find the commonality that you have with others?” His answer, “Oh yes, but Jesus is the answer. We have a great deal in common, but Jesus is the answer. If you don’t believe, then you are lost – spiritually, emotionally, and physically.”

        It is very frustrating. I confess that I have to, and have, examined my own responses to Daniel. Is my somewhat universalist approach to salvation may have closed my mind, and that after all these years, my heart and mind have closed to my friend on the subject. Perhaps, I need to “bone up” on his arc conservative form of faith. After all, is my goal to win him over to my way of thinking, or shouldn’t my aim to be more understanding of his point of view? Listen more, become less dogmatic in my own approach to faith.

        I’ve rambled. I had a better answer to this, but I got lost in my rambling, but it has helped to put it down in writing.

    • #4735

      Mary M. Wrye
      Member
      @mmwrye

      Good morning. Tim, I appreciate your comments. And I like the way you phrased “others whom I am different from”. I think the fact that we tend to phrase it “those who are different from me” sets us up for a hierarchical perspective. Saying it the other way feels more like we are standing on even (maybe even holy) ground.

      I am also a Chaplain in a hospital. Our local Catholic priest(s) partner with us on Ash Wednesday to come administer ashes. I do that because it is important to our Catholic staff that the ashes be administered by a priest. Those of us who are other than Catholic don’t seem to care who is a giving the ashes (as long as it is an ordained minister). I have not done that myself but I wouldn’t hesitate if I needed to.

    • #4737

      Dianna Cox
      Participant
      @diancox

      Tim,

      I too appreciate your comments. We as chaplains bring our religious tradition with us as we embrace those of other traditions. I want to remind everyone the imposition of ashes is not just a Catholic thing. Many mainline denominations have Ash Wednesday services and do the imposition of ashes. When I was a hospital chaplain I had no conflict doing with important ritual. In fact many found it quite meaningful. We need to remember the Catholic Church doesn’t have the corner on rituals.

    • #4738

      Tim Peters
      Member
      @TimPeters

      Lee,

      My wife said she believes we need people on all parts of the conservative to liberal spectrum in the church to help the church be more healthy.  She was talking about our own church, but it can be applied wider to Christianity and to other faiths.  I think it is a valid point, until someone goes to an extreme one way or the other that it can become spiritual abuse in how they interact with others.  But it is interesting how it is hard to imagine spiritual abuse in some faiths such as Buddhism.

      Tim

      • #4747

        Lee Whitlock
        Moderator
        @lwhitlock

        Tim, I agree with your wife. I would be classified by others as being on the liberal end of the spectrum in matters of spirituality and in my political leanings. I love talking to thinking conservatives about spiritual and political matters. I do not want to talk to anyone on either end of the spectrum who are not thinkers – knee jerk conservatives or liberals. Why do you think the way you do? What exactly do you believe about ______? When, at what age, did you pick up your theology, your political thinking? Who do you read mostly? Where would you put yourself on the liberal/conservative spectrum? How do you feel about what is going on in the church/country today? These are just a few of the questions in which I am interested, and I like to think that I’m ready to answer the same questions for them.

    • #4739

      Mary M. Wrye
      Member
      @mmwrye

      In Chapter 3 in the course of her discussion about Buddha BBT asks “Can you have a religion without a God?” (p. 47). Hum… I’m going to have to ponder that one.

      Lee, I think you asked about BBT quoting Knitter… “The more deeply one sinks into one’s own religious truth, the more broadly one can appreciate and learn from other truths”. It reminded me of a statement I heard somewhere along the way “you cannot truly believe until you have truly doubted”. As Fowler taught us – we may come to point in our Spiritual development where we jump the line from what we have been taught/what other’s believe – to what we actually believe and will ultimately claim as our own theology. So the more deeply I drill into my own theology and beliefs, the more I sift through what I really believe and find to be true for me. My SS teacher does not believe in the virgin birth or the physical resurrection of Jesus (she claimed that one on Easter morning). While I have much respect for her and where she is in her journey – I’m not there. I am more like BBT who says “However many other religious languages I learn, I dream in Christian. However much I learn from other spiritual teachers, it is Jesus I come home to at night”. (p. 49) And I am also making the assumption that BBT and I describing the same “Jesus”.

      More as I wonder through Chapter 4.

      • #4748

        Lee Whitlock
        Moderator
        @lwhitlock

        Mary, I like that line as well, “It’s Jesus I come home to at night.” I have loved learning the various approaches to scripture and learning about various faiths. I am forever grateful to my hometown pastor and mentor, Robert E. Cuttino. It was Bob, a Yale Divinity School Graduate, who insisted that I go to SBTS, and I went when “Giants roamed the land.” I studied under some of the best men in theological education at the time. I think I could hold my own in a theological discussion with any one along the theological spectrum. At night, however, I too come home to Jesus. “Do you love me?” He asks. I always answer, “Lord, you know I love you.” “Then,” He replies, “Feed my sheep.” That is a social and theological command. Matthew 25 makes that clear: feed them, give them water, visit them (sick or in a prison with bars or with thoughts), clothe them with outer garments, but also help them put on the whole armor of faith. It’s this Jesus I come home to. He makes following him simple. This is not a redacted Jesus or a Jesus that is discovered after a decision is made about which of Jesus’ sayings are authentic. It is this Jesus that I come home to – God as fully revealed in the face of Jesus. The Jesus who says simply, “Feed my sheep.” I pray, “Now I lay me down to sleep. I pray thee Jesus my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake, I pray thee Jesus my soul to take. I’ll try and do better tomorrow. Amen.”

      • #4772

        Dianna Cox
        Participant
        @diancox

        Mary,
        I am really struck by “it is Jesus I come home to at night”. Powerful words. I think it is being grounded in one’s faith as one of our other members said earlier. We can learn from other faiths and can explore however what are the beliefs that keep us grounded. When one is grounded in their faith, I think it makes it easier to be open to learn about others. At least it is for me. I am not so afraid to learn about the Buddhist faith for example as I know I will never leave mine for it. I can embrace aspects of it without leaving mine.

        I know this may not be a good analogy, but it is like trying new foods from another cultural. I am American however I like to try foods from other cultures. I probably will never truly embrace another cultural foods however I might add one of 2 to make my dining experience more fruitful.

      • #4752

        Dan Mefford
        Participant
        @dmefford

        I was also struck by coming home to Jesus at night as an image. I also wonder if I need to be more cautious about “playing the field” and coming home at night.  Would I do that to my spouse? How then should I do that to my Lord? I love to explore other faith experiences, but I am trying to do it with the lens of my faith. I hope the journey will be as fill as it can be, knowing there will be limitation. But is is a limitation I am comfortable with.

    • #4746

      Lee Whitlock
      Moderator
      @lwhitlock

      Dianna, you’re right, no one church has a corner on rituals. My Church, Crescent Hill Baptist, in Louisville is a Cooperative Baptist Church. We were a Southern Baptist Church until we were kicked out of the SBC about 5 years ago. We wouldn’t call the placing of ashes a ritual, but we do make them available on Ash Wednesday. We are not trying to identify with anyone of the modern denominations. We are simply remembering the meaning of the practice. We are remembering the sacrifice of Jesus.

      • #4754

        Lee Whitlock
        Moderator
        @lwhitlock

        Dan, I’m with you on this. I’m a little leery of “playing the field” and coming home to Jesus at night. I feel that it’s woven into my DNA that I always view other religions through the lens of my Christian faith. When I encounter other religions, I instinctively wonder or ask, “Does their theology match up with my Christian faith? Is their concept of God similar to mine? Is their faith as compassionate as Christianity’s?” Therefore, I never leave Jesus or my faith during the day.

    • #4755

      Lori Casey BSN MDiv., BCC-PCHAC
      Participant
      @lcasey

      In the chapter, “Wave Not Ocean,”  I appreciate how BBT compares, contrasts, and highlights similarities between Buddhism and Christianity.  For example, in the Buddhist view (47) everything that happens to us are the natural consequences of our actions…and if we don’t like what is happening, it is up to us to change” sounds to me “You reap what you sow.”  While I agree with this, Buddhism’s focus on the personal achievement of growth and change as the path to enlightenment doesn’t work for me. I identify with Paul ‘s words in Romans 7 recognizing that sometimes I am incapable of change and need God to change me from within so I can then work on changing how I think, act, respond. (In my faith tradition it’s called sanctification).  It also reminded me of a bumper sticker I saw a long time ago: “Jesus is better than Karma- you don’t get what you really deserve.”

      I appreciate her description of “Jesus’…way of transformation” as involving more than believing what you are told.  Jesus isn’t afraid of cultivating our faith by asking questions. It requires “thinking deeply” and then “acting on the answers we arrive at in order to discover what is true.”   It made me think of so many of my patients that told me they struggled with unasked questions because they were told in their churches to do so would be questioning God and that is a ‘sin.”

      One of the things I like about how BBT writes is that she is identifies with our struggles then broadens our scope of vision with a metaphor.  I so have a wave mentality and struggle to see the Ocean, but when I catch a glimpse, I think God says “Yes!”

       

      • #4756

        Lee Whitlock
        Moderator
        @lwhitlock

        I love the bumper sticker: “Jesus is better than Karma- you don’t get what you really deserve.” Is that unique to Christianity?

        It’s not a sin to question God. Even Jesus did it on the cross: “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27: 46) The OT is full of God’s people questioning God. I do too. Most often I am questioning why good things have happened to me. Some of the best theology I know is found in Kris Kristofferson’s song:

        Why me Lord?
        What have I ever done
        To deserve even one
        Of the pleasure I’ve known?
        Tell me Lord
        What did I ever do
        That was worth lovin’ you
        For the kindness you’ve shown?

        Lord help me Jesus
        I’ve wasted it so help me Jesus
        I know what I am
        But now that I know
        That I needed you so help me Jesus
        My souls in your hand

        Try me Lord
        If you think there’s a way
        I can try to repay
        All I’ve takin’ from you
        Maybe Lord
        I can show someone else
        What I’ve been through myself
        On my way back to you

        Lord help me Jesus
        I’ve wasted it so help me Jesus
        I know what I am
        But now that I know
        That I needed you so help me Jesus
        My souls in your hand

    • #4766

      Mary M. Wrye
      Member
      @mmwrye

      Lori, I am right there with you. I too have had patients say they have been taught not to question God. My response is always that God is big enough to handle our questions. I also believe God is big enough to handle my anger, my grief, my wonder, my ponderings, my joy, my gratitude… all of me.

      Lee, I haven’t thought about that song in YEARS. Thank you for resurrecting it for me, although it will probably be a music worm in my head for the rest of the day!

      Chapter 4 was thick with ponderables. Stendahl’s three rules of religious understanding… #1 – When trying to understand another religion, you should ask the adherents of that religion and not its enemies. #2 – Don’t compare your best to their worst. #3 – Leave room for holy envy. Yep! And the story of the Rabia of Basra – the 8th century Sufi mystic… “but if I worship You for Your Own sake, grudge me not Your everlasting Beauty”. I am far too guilty of going quickly to the rewards of heaven (don’t go to the fires of hell), but just living as Jesus taught because it’s the right thing to do rather than for the recognition or rewards. I had a patient one time line out all the things she had done for Jesus and he was “repaying her by making her sick”.

      I had to smile at the Robert Farrar Capon quote (pg 77) “human beings who wish to understand the ways of God are like oysters lying at the bottom of a tide pool, wishing to understand the ways of a prima ballerina”. And Richard Rohr (pg 78) “We are all of us pointing toward the same moon, and yet we persist in arguing about who has be best finger”. Both of these may end up in a sermon somewhere.

      • #4771

        Lee Whitlock
        Moderator
        @lwhitlock

        You made me laugh. After I put that song on here, it stuck with me all day as well. In fact, the next morning I used it as my meditation period. Now, I’ll be thinking about it again.

        I agree with Rhor and like his analysis. I know of God, but I don’t “know God.” My Homiletic professor, Dr. George Buttrick, used to tell us, “You can’t cinch Jesus.” I assume he also meant God. Jesus/God always surprised Buttrick explained. Just when we think we know Jesus, he surprises with what he says and does. Dr. John Claypool gave me my definition of God as the “Alchemist God”. The Alchemist was one of those individuals who thought they could take a worthless metal (iron, tin, etc.) and turn it into Gold. The Alchemist God is thus that identity is able to take this worthless wreck and turn it into someone precious.

        Lee

    • #4774

      Tim Peters
      Member
      @TimPeters

      Lori,     I was also thinking of the verse you reap what you sow while reading chapter 4.  There is some karma like quality to it.  But sometimes we have to wait till the next life to see justice served.

      Mary, your comment reminded me of the book Stages of Faith by James Fowler and how I want to re-read it.

       

      Tim

    • #4775

      Lee Whitlock
      Moderator
      @lwhitlock

      As we begin our last week together, please read chapters 5-6. Write on anything that strikes you. I have listed a possible discussion for each chapter.

      Chapter 5: The Nearest Neighbors – Taylor contrasts the Christian emphasis on right religious belief with the Jewish emphasis on right religious practice. With this in mind, what is the answer to the question on page 95: “How does being a Christian change the way you live?”

      Chapter 6: Disowning God – What is your response to Taylor’s interpretation from Jesus’ first sermon at Nazareth (pp. 111-117) – that no tradition has privileged access to the divine and no religion owns God.

      Chapter 7: The Shadow-Bearers – Taylor says that September 11 changed the way Americans view Islam resulting in what President Bush called “a quiet, unyielding anger” (p. 129) that continues today. What fears do you have around terrorism? Where do they come from? How do they affect your perception of everyday Muslims?

      Again, write on any topic that strikes you. The above questions are just a suggestion based on my curiosity about these 3 chapters.

      Thanks, Lee

       

    • #4802

      Wow!  a week goes by and I miss so much.  Sorry for being mia–annual employee memorial service to lead the same week we lost a nurse manager unexpectedly–hard to focus with so many feelings and needs.  Memorial Service went well and all are working through the pain and loss.

       

      I also appreciated the reference to Fowler.  I, too need to re-read it!

      I also try to expand on the concept of not questioning God–so many of the Psalms ask questions.  I’m walking in faith that God made us as emotional and questioning beings and I’m thankful God is big enough to love me through all of the emotions and questions.

      I appreciated the thoughts of culture into finding God.  Many times I’ve shared –this is how I believe and what I have found that is meaningful to me–faith in God through Jesus.  Someone recently asked, how do we convince others that God through Jesus is the only way.  I couldn’t encourage the person to be so strict–I encouraged the person to share–this is what is important to me and these are the reasons.  I don’t think that convincing another is my job–my job is to love and care and share–and leave the rest to the mighty God/Holy Spirit–whatever the name to work in a person’s life.

      Henri Nouwen was influential to me during CPE–I was struck by his work of caring and being in community at L’Arc.  He probably didn’t preach as much as taught and demonstrated God’s love.  Also, I read several of Phillip Keller–A shepherd looks at Psalm 23, a Gardener looks at the fruit of the spirit–perspective is important.    I know a hodge podge of influences.

      In chapter 4 I also began wondering, should i start making a quilt with spiritual bits and pieces.  I so appreciated the list of questions from “Sister Krister” -ask the adherents of that religion, not the enemies; don’t compare your best to their worst, and leave room for holy envy.  It’s hard to compare one to one exactly.

      Several have spoken to the quote from the book-however many other religious perspectives I learn,  I dream in Christian.  However much I learn from other spiritual teachers, it is Jesus I come home to at night.  I also highlighted it in my book.  Parents who say, oh, I don’t want to influence my child on religious things, I’ll let them decide when they grow up.  To me that is not giving your child a foundation to build upon.  Yes, your children may make other choices, but with nothing to compare, many will not even consider faith/religion as important.

      Also, I appreciated the quote–another kind of holy envy alerts me to the things in other religions that have become neglected in my own–when I see the discipline of a Muslim’s prayer time, where is my prayer time–am I being faithful to what I know that I need.

      On page 73 when BBT mentions ‘a closely related holy envy flared up when I discovered that neither Judaism nor Islam includes a doctrine of original sin—mine shows up when the concept of judgement arises.

      BBT’s summary after the tour of the Asjid of Al=Islam with the imam “our deepest desire is not that you become Muslim, but that you become the best Christian…I can speak from the heart of my faith, wishing others well at the heart of theirs-including those who had no name for what got them through the nights.  Wow!! Yes! challenges me to walk each day caring and honoring Christ the best I can.

      Okay, I’ll stop–sorry for the missive….

       

      • #4804

        Lee Whitlock
        Moderator
        @lwhitlock

        I wish I could remember the title and/or author about a Jewish man who decided to live as a Christian for one year. He attended “liberal” churches and “conservative” churches, went to tent revivals, read the NT exclusively, talked to dozens of Christians all along the spectrum, went to a church sponsored baseball game and sat with several different groups of Christians. What he found at the end of the year was his year of living as a Christian made him a better Jew.

        I did enjoy A.J. Jacobs book The Year of Living Biblically: One Man’s Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible. Basically, he found it impossibly to live the life literally especially in this modern world. It too made him a better Jew.

    • #4829

      Tim Peters
      Member
      @TimPeters

      I also read The Year of Living Biblically.  I thought it was a good picture of how someone who is not Christian views our worship and our lifestyle as Christians.

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