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    • #4773

      Lindsay Spencer
      Keymaster
      @LindsaySpencer

      Week 4 discussion

    • #4776

      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

      • #4807

        Dan Mefford
        Participant
        @dmefford

        As I read the section on owning God – I have to agree, we do not own God. However, I feel God has owned us and chosen us to be His people. That may not be correct to say in our society at this point, but I must own it as my belief. I love studying other faiths Andean learn so much to enhance my own, but I truly feel He is the ay. Sometimes, you just have to step out in faith while respecting others.

        I also liked the sharing of the idea that scrip[tyuire is alive and ever changing to teach me more. I can resonate with that, without compromising my belief in the centrality of scripture in faith. It is alive and strong.

        My final thought is on chapter 5, page 90. She asks why her faith does’t have a teaching that “moral and spiritual dignity extend beyond the boundaries of anyone civilization.” (Sacks). I think it does have that teaching, “If I be lifted up, I will draw all me to me.” Paul also chose to become all things  to all so that they could be drawn to Christ. I don’t think my faith has to be the sum, I think I have to draw to the son by being engaged with understandings of others.

      • #4815

        Lee Whitlock
        Moderator
        @lwhitlock

        Dan, I love your last paragraph. We are to make our faith attractive by the love and deeds we do. This is the “Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.” I am mystified by people who are drawn to those people who are drawn toward a more judgmental type church. As others have said, however, it is our responsibility to love them and accept them anyway. I confess, I find it more difficult to accept them than I do people in other faiths.

        Lee

    • #4777

      Dianna Cox
      Participant
      @diancox

      I want to comment on Chapter 7. I actually responded to September 11 through the Red Cross and went to the Pentagon. I can tell you seeing the devastation truly changed me. When walking through the area I could smell so many things, the smoke, the fuel, the other smells. Flying since has been challenging for me. I must say I don’t feel safe on any plane and always make sure I listen to  the security announcements and read the security card. I don’t take anything for granted when flying. I still fly many times during the year yet am always aware of the dangers.

      At the hospital I worked in Tacoma there were several Muslims working, many were my friends and they were sickened by what had happened. They had many awful things said to them and yet said nothing in respond. I asked my friends why didn’t you say anything back and they responded it adds fuel to the fire. One of my friends said extremists never express the faith they only talk about hate and division. I have never been more reminded of that recently.

      Will try to provide more comment on the other chapters.

       

       

       

       

      • #4778

        Lee Whitlock
        Moderator
        @lwhitlock

        Thank you for your moving reply Dianna. I was in New York City on September 11. I didn’t see any overt acts of racism against Muslims on that particular visit. I’ve been to NYC dozens of time. While I didn’t see any, I certainly heard more than a few racist comments. My contribution was to try and offer a kind word or a friendly greeting to anyone who appeared to be Muslim. Also, at the very least, if someone enters into a racist discussion, I simply walk away. At most, I confront the racist with my discomfort at their views. Alas, I have found that it does very little good to engage in confrontation. It’s as if their views are carved in stone. If possible, I engage the Muslims I meet in conversation. I do this as I would any other human. I don’t bring up the subject of racism with them if they don’t bring it up. I simply chat about things that I would chat about with any other new potential friend.

        I agree with your statement “One of my friends said extremists never express the faith they only talk about hate and division. I have never been more reminded of that recently.” I’m amazed at Christians who profess to be <i>euangelion – </i>evangelists – carriers of the “Good News” of Jesus Christ – are not able to articulate that Good News; instead, many of them are able to site chapter and verse in the Bible where discrimination and hatred appear to be allowed. It is as if they have not read the NT at all. I’m always moved by the last chapter of John’s Gospel (21) and specifically this passage:<i>
        </i>

        <span class=”vv”>15 “</span>When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?’ He said to him, ‘Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed my lambs.’ <sup class=”ww”>16</sup>A second time he said to him, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’ He said to him, ‘Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Tend my sheep.’ <sup class=”ww”>17</sup>He said to him the third time, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’ Peter felt hurt because he said to him the third time, ‘Do you love me?’ And he said to him, ‘Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed my sheep”

        We are called upon to feed and tend to one another and recall that Paul said, “There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28)

        Thanks for your comments!

      • #4808

        Dan Mefford
        Participant
        @dmefford

        Lee,

        Your kind word or  greeting towards Muslims is indicative of one thing – do unto others. Your action speaks louder that words and it is what we are called to do. Thanks for sharing.

    • #4788

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

      Hi All,

      Mary and I have been posting but our posts are not showing up. I think we have been continuing to post in our original posting place.      I want to comment on chapter 4 and  respond  to your questions on chapter 5 and 7

      Ever since I was in seminary, I have marked the margins of a book with a “Q” for a “quotable quote.”  I have Qs all over chapter 4.  It is remarkable to read that after a visit to the Atlanta Masjid of Al-Islam, the imam’s closing remarks  to the students was, “not that you become Muslim, but that you become the best Christian, the best Jew, the best person you can be.”   This was somewhat echoed again in Chapter 5, when the Rabbi turns away convert wannabes 3 times to ensure their perseverance/commitment.  In my faith tradition, the Great Commission and verses such as John 3:16;  Acts 4:12; Romans 3:21-25; would consider anything less than offering the “plan of salvation” as moral and spiritual failure.  When BBT tells Karen Blixen’s story of the young man observing the “ways and habits” of both the Christian and Muslim faith as a way of choosing, I was moved to tears.  For years ago I belonged to a Sunday school class that was very progressive- and I worked as a nurse with a rigid Southern Baptist nurse who I love to this day.  (She was genuinely concerned for my soul because I was Methodist). My progressive Sunday School class was more concerned with demonstrating love for all people. They were the first to give money to anyone in need. My nurse friend voiced her faith, claiming Romans 10:9-10.  She was neither tolerant or gracious to people she considered “lost.”   I struggled for a while with that dichotomy- what really pleases God: people who live out their faith by loving others- even those who the Bible says have no place in heaven  or is it  those who verbalize their faith without demonstrating love except for the exclusive reason of winning souls.  I found solace in the character, nature and work of Christ and 1st Corinthians 13: clanging bells vs. love.   I want to embrace God as so gracious, so loving, and so merciful that if I wish others to be the best that their faith tradition calls them to be would not be seen by God as a failure in my ordination vows.

      I really liked chapter 5 on Judaism.  Keeping kosher is a commitment.  When I think of all the times I eat chicken and gravy (made with milk/butter), have ice cream for dessert or eat a steak and a baked potato with butter/sour cream, I realize if this were my commitment (as a means of honoring God), it would mean a total conviction to cook and eat in a different way .  The closest I remotely come is to not drink wine in a restaurant in my zip code to avoid offending anyone who has the expectation that clergy should not drink alcohol. While being aware of the kosher food laws, I didn’t realize how many foods were marked by kosher symbols. Also, when I googled more information on this, I didn’t realize various States/Countries have differing kosher package symbols- based on the endorsing agency as well as listing the Rabbi’s name to which Kosher food preparation is ensured.  A neighbor (and good friend) is a member of a Reformed Jewish congregation and his wife calls herself  a “non-practicing Christian.”  One of their three adult children practices Judaism. They do not observe the food laws, as I have asked when having them over for dinner. One of the many things they do observe, that I have found very moving, is a Passover Seder meal that includes responsive readings. We have been invited several times along with their Rabbi, friends,  and family.  We each are given a copy of the readings to participate.  It is meaningful. Our friends say the meaning of the holiday is “freedom, love, forgiveness.”   I believe this is what we do when we celebrate an open communion table, welcome to all because it is Jesus’ table and Jesus invites all to come-

      BBT’s stories about relating her faith either using a “language of contempt” or to refrain from a language of “triumphalism” took me by surprise.  I never even thought of how some hymns or scripture must sound to people of other faith traditions. And yet, again, my upbringing in the church was to show through triumphant bible verses, hymns, etc… that  Christian faith is the belief system that pleases God and is rewarded.

      I will finish this post later tonight but don’t want to lose what I have typed now.

       

       

      • #4790

        Lee Whitlock
        Moderator
        @lwhitlock

        Thank you, Lori. I’ve been having trouble with the web site as well. I’ll pass your concern along to the OI.

        And, thank you for your excellent observations about chapters 4 & 5. I too marked a great number of passages in chapter 4, and I had similar thoughts about chapter 5. I read your post shortly after having supper last night. I would hardly call it “preparing supper”. I had leftovers, baked spaghetti and green beans & corn mixed together. All I had to do was put the food on a plate, cover it with a paper towel, and pop it in the microwave. I do this so often that I’m more robotic than I realize. After the food is at a significant warmth, I put it on the kitchen counter, turn on the news on TV and eat. I’m hardly aware of the eating process. Even my blessing over the food is robotic. I doubt God notices. I’m hardly doing what the letter to the Colossians demanded.

        <sup class=”ww” style=”display: inline;”>17</sup>And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him…. <sup class=”ww” style=”display: inline;”>23</sup>Whatever your task, put yourselves into it, as done for the Lord…. (Colossians 3:17,23)

        I’m even told by a dietitian that one of the ways to lose weight is to do nothing while dining but dine. No reading, no TV, nothing that distracts from dealing with the meal. Also, put your eating utensil down between bites. I assume prayer is allowed. Well, I’ve found the best diet to be the one that allowed me to lose 100 pounds. I call it “The Chemo/Lazy Boy Diet”. Take chemotherapy and sit around in a LB all day. It works. But, I did lose weight when I needed to some years ago partly by using the dietitian’s advice.

        Like you, there is so much else to talk about in these two chapters; indeed, much to talk about in each of BBT’s chapters.

        Thanks for your comments.

        Lee

      • #4792

        Dianna Cox
        Participant
        @diancox

        Lori,
        Your comment keeping Kosher is a commitment is really interesting to me. This makes me think of some of my friends who are vegetarians and vegan. I often ask them how do they do that. They tell me they really have to plan and think ahead of how and what they eat. I sometimes admire their discipline. I remember I was in a group of some folks and one of them mentioned they were vegetarian and I made the comment I am way to busy to work that hard at eating. The person said do you think you are busier than I am. I truly didn’t mean my comment to hurt that person I was just saying for me that is too much work.
        I think about faith practices and in some traditions I probably would see some of them as too much work. Like praying 4 to 6 times a day. I pray however don’t do it at specific times. In some ways I am not very disciplined.
        Faith and the practice of faith has to have flexibility for me, if it is too restrictive I know I would have a more difficult time.

      • #4796

        Lee Whitlock
        Moderator
        @lwhitlock

        Dianna,

        I wish I were more faithful in “practicing my faith”. By that I mean do my daily tasks with a mindful eye toward my faith practices. Recently, I ran across an article by Kelly O’Dell Stanley, “How to Pray Without Ceasing.” You might be interested.

        https://www.crosswalk.com/faith/prayer/how-to-pray-without-ceasing.html

         

      • #4809

        Dan Mefford
        Participant
        @dmefford

        Lori,

        At our communion table in our church we welcome all as well. It is the “Lord’s Supper” and not the FBC Supper. When you begin to realize that, it makes the whole experience more powerful in my practice. It is up to the partaker to determine their place at the table, not me.

    • #4789

      Anne Ogden
      Participant
      @AnneOgden

      I have been reflecting for days on this question, “How does being a Christian change the way you live?”  For those of you who are clergy, that is an answer in itself.  So I wonder how I would live differently if I were a Buddhist or Muslim or Native American or Jew?  I would still pray, meditate, read and try to follow the path and teachings, join with others in my tradition in praise and gratitude.  Other than specific things like wearing a hajib or facing mecca or practicing kosher directions or making a vision quest, I keep finding that the core of my practice is not unlike how I would envision living in another faith tradition.  Maybe some others of you have an experience that would enlighten me??

    • #4791

      Dianna Cox
      Participant
      @diancox

      Anne,

      I agree with you I don’t think how I express my faith would be any different if I weren’t Christian. My guess is I would embrace the traditions of whatever faith I was part of and observe the traditions of that faith. For example if I were Jewish I would observe Passover, the Day of Atonement, etc… Maybe that’s the point of the book. Embrace your faith. Faith I believe should enhance our lives not complicate our lives.

      • #4795

        Lee Whitlock
        Moderator
        @lwhitlock

        Dianna, I like your comment and agree completely: “Faith I believe should enhance our lives not complicate our lives.” Life is complicated enough as it is. A strong foundation in the ethics and spiritual practices of any faith would and should enhance our lives.

    • #4793

      Tim Peters
      Member
      @TimPeters

      To the question of how does being a Christian change the way you live, it reminds me of a comment my sister told me as a teenager after I starting taking seriously my relationship with God.  She said she noticed I had changed and am a kinder person.  At the same time, Christians do not corner the market on kindness.  I know some Jews, Hindus and others who are very kind people.   Being a Christian reminds me that I am still a work in progress and Jesus is the example of how to treat others.

      Being a Christian helps my marriage and family.  My faith inspires me to put the happiness of my wife above my own.  It helps me to patient with my kids and reminds me to give grace to them.  Again, can’t say I do this all the time but it is my faith that helps me to strive to be better in these areas.

      Being a Christian changes my priorities.  It has encouraged me to give more to help others.

      • #4797

        Lee Whitlock
        Moderator
        @lwhitlock

        Tim, I agree, my faith has enhanced my daily life. I hope this doesn’t come across as egotistical, but I am often told what a nice guy I am. I don’t attribute this to anything but trying to be a Christian. Let me change that, I don’t have to “try to be a Christian.” I am a Christian. I have been for as long as I can remember. Thus, I seek to try and practice the principles of my faith in all my affairs. I fail more often than I like to admit, but for the most part 70 years of “practice” has not made me perfect, but it has made me better.

    • #4794

      Tim Peters
      Member
      @TimPeters

      Lori,

      I enjoyed hearing about your experience with your neighbors joining them for the Passover Seder meal.  Those type of friendships are important for building more understanding of others.  I was at a small group yesterday where we talked about how it is possible to only have contact with one’s own faith group and denomination.  I have a stepson who teaches at a small Seventh-day Adventist high school in Oklahoma and that seems to be his experience.  This summer will be his first time joining my side of the family for a family campout in Washington State.  One of my sisters and her family are Athiest.  My brother in law can be pretty argumentative (I learned that the hard way and thankfully we have a good relationship).  I am hoping and praying for it to be a positive experience for all at the campout.

      Tim

    • #4798

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

      Hi All! Anne,  I love that you brought the question of how Christianity changes the way we live to the table.  I stuck it to my bathroom mirror on a sticky note because I fail frequently.  So to read the question every morning speaks to me of intentionally choosing “the good/kind/patient” way.   It reminds me of a chaplain friend who wears her priestly collar and says, “I wear this not because I want people to think I am holier than they are,  but because it humbles me, and reminds me of who is present in all my conversations with patients.”   Tim, I appreciate your comments about how having Jesus as your example has shaped your life long attitudes and actions.  Lee you too note how  faith (and from what we are reading- all faith traditions to some degree) do/does realign and reprioritize how we live.  In my thinking, this exemplifies what Diana notes in saying that “Faith should enhance our lives and not complicate it.”  As a chaplain I have had patients describe their faith to me in terms of all the things they do not do or must do- and I feel exhausted just listening to them : )

      I am so grateful to read all of the comments in this class and hope to post later.

       

       

      • #4799

        Lee Whitlock
        Moderator
        @lwhitlock

        I so agree! Christianity is not a list of does and don’ts. Jesus said, <span class=”text Matt-5-17″><span class=”woj”><sup class=”versenum”>17 </sup>“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.</span></span>” (Matthew 5) Frank Stagg, long time professor at SBTS said that Jesus just carried the law further. Where the OT said “an eye for an eye” was actually a positive thing. Prior to that, if someone put out your eye, you could kill them. The same thing with many other things in one’s possession. Jesus instead said, “Do good to those that persecute you.” In a book by Dean Kelly, Why Conservative Churches are Growing, Kelly says that people join these churches because they have guidelines to being a Christian. Rather than acting out of love, they just follow the rules. Amazon dates this book to 1996, but I think it was actually published in the 1980’s.

    • #4800

      Mary M. Wrye
      Member
      @mmwrye

      Good morning all,

      How does being a Christian change the way I live? Well… I’ve been part of the Christian faith my whole life. Raised in the church with Christian parents and grandparents. “Saved” and baptized at age 11. Stayed Christian. So I don’t know that I can say it “changed” much. What I can say is that it has INFORMED the way I live. I make choices based on my Christian faith – whether or not I engage in certain relationships that might be open to me; how I do my job (I am a one person department with no close supervision – which I like) but I could easily get by with leaving early or giving it less than my best; cheating; stealing; lying; being more laid back in my church attendance and support… Because I am a Christian, I am mindful of the choices I make.

      When I was growing up – I was told (A LOT) that we should act as though the world was watching everything you do. Which meant don’t walk in front of a bar or liquor store for fear that someone would think you were coming out of it and scar your “witness”. I crossed a lot of streets until I finally got a grip on that. But the truth is the world IS watching and I try to make choices based on that. Some days I do better than others! :0)

       

      • #4801

        Lee Whitlock
        Moderator
        @lwhitlock

        Mary, I was raised as a Christian, but my parents did not live the faith. In some ways, that has been helpful to me. We joined good churches. My parents didn’t go much, but they took me, my brother, and my sister and dropped us off to attend SS and Church Training. All that changed when they separated and eventually divorced. I went to live first with an aunt and uncle, then with my paternal grandmother, and again with my aunt and uncle. Not only did they take us to church, they and my cousins were active in First Baptist Church of Lake City, SC. The church had outstanding teachers. In fact, many of the SS teachers were educators at the local public schools. Also, the pastors were simply wonderful. Dr. Bob Cuttino became a mentor for me, and it was Bob, a Yale Divinity School graduate, that practically insisted that I go to SBTS for my M.Div. training.

        I’m amazed in this political season that the so called “Evangelical Right” ignores the teachings of Jesus. One leader said, “I love the commandment ‘an eye for an eye'”. He got plenty of “Amens” from the ER for that comment, and he has lived out that attitude. “If they hit me, I’m going to hit them harder.” The Evangelism (evangelíou) I was raised with does not allow this, yet the ER is rewarding that kind of proclamation. This is not the “Good News” of the Evangelism I love. I would call the church I belong to now, Crescent Hill Baptist, in Louisville to be Evangelist in the best sense of the word. We are an open and affirming congregation. Often we are “punished” for our “Good News” stances. We were kicked out of the KBC and the SBC a couple of years ago, because of our Good News stances. Chuckling as I type this. In my drinking days, I was kicked out of some pretty sleazy places and was embarrassed (not really true), but I was with a group for both the local group to kick us out and for the KFC vote to remove us. I was never so proud as to be kicked out of those two groups.

      • #4810

        Dan Mefford
        Participant
        @dmefford

        Mary,

        I love way you said being a Christian informed your life rather than changing it. For those of us who have grown up in the church, that is a wonderful way to view it and express it. Thanks!

    • #4803

      Thank you Dianna for sharing your experiences with 9/11.  Our office found 2 pages of prayers for peace and shared with those who came to our chapel.  We also remembered the persons who died that day.  When we posted the names in our chapel and a book for persons to write–we found that a child of someone who died on 9/11 was on our campus going to school.  We were all profoundly moved by that fact.  For several years, I prayed for that young person as they coped with their loss.

      We have a wonderful anesthesia faculty on our campus who is Muslim–who  made connections with our Pastoral Care office in some way –many, many years ago.  Over recent years he and I would compare the progress of our Eagle Scout candidates–and he came for our son’s Eagle Court of Honor.   While the news and others on social media rant –I must look at the Muslim faith through the lens of Dr. Abouleish.  He is caring and faithful.

      Lori–I appreciated your highlighting this… <span style=”color: #737373; font-family: Lato; font-size: 12px;”>BBT’s stories about relating her faith either using a “language of contempt” or to refrain from a language of “triumphalism” took me by surprise.  I never even thought of how some hymns or scripture must sound to people of other faith traditions. And yet, again, my upbringing in the church was to show through triumphant bible verses, hymns, etc… that  Christian faith is the belief system that pleases God and is rewarded.</span>

      I too had to stop and think and listen more closely in yesterday’s worship and prayers about this language.   It was surprising–but then to think how would someone unchurched hear these words.

       

      How does my faith affect how I live–the word priorities seems to come to my mind–I choose to give money to support our church, I choose to volunteer my time to help a faith based organization, I choose to make every effort to put people first over tasks, I choose to be honorable in my work–as Mary mentioned.

      Thank you thank you all for your comments and diligence!

    • #4805

      Mary M. Wrye
      Member
      @mmwrye

      Lee,
      I too am amazed at those who say they are “Bible believing” Christians (and even as I write that I am reminded of the “judge not lest you be judged” component of my faith) who lose sight of the Blessed are the Peacemakers part of Jesus’ instructions to us. I was having a conversation with a Christian physician in my hospital who was ranting and raving about the Administration… and as it got rather colorful, I just said “Dr. _____, you are better than that”. And his response to me was “no I’m not”. I was stunned! Did he even hear what he was saying. I tried again and his response was the same. My goodness.

      At the end of Chapter 6 BBT says “I can only walk one way at a time, but that does not prevent me from believing that other people might be walking their ways with equal devotion and good will”. Amen sister! I do a short prayer each morning over our PA system. We are a Methodist hospital and that tradition was started many, many years ago. I write the prayers in advance and tailor them to current happenings inside and outside the hospital. And I end the prayer “in the name of the one who (and then I tie it to the prayer), we offer our prayer. AMEN.” I have been taken to task a number of times because I don’t end my prayers “in Jesus name”. I have been told that God doesn’t hear prayers that are not offered in Jesus name. I told them that there are not only staff of other faiths, but patients in our building who may be other than Christian and I try to write my prayers for all people. They don’t argue with me but neither do they agree. Guess I don’t really care because I keep doing it this way.

      I will say that BBT has given me a LOT to think about. She has opened my eyes to things I have been doing, preaching, believing that I need to rethink. I am really grateful you chose this book, Lee. Thank you for exposing me to this topic and pushing me to look at how I see things. I can tell you – it has challenged me.
      Mary

      • #4806

        Lee Whitlock
        Moderator
        @lwhitlock

        Mary, when I am called upon to pray outside of my church body, I end the prayer with “In the name of God Who is called by many names, we pray.” I’ve yet to have anyone to complain. Since I was the “preacher” on staff with my last two companies, I was always the one called on to pray often, especially to give a blessing over the shared meals. In both organizations, Zinger-Miller and Holden International, we had Christians, Jews, and Muslims.

        BBT’s book and everyone’s comments this month has been a blessing to me as well. I welcome the opportunity to jointly read a book with others. I’m also a member of a book group at Crescent Hill Baptist. In May, we read The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton and for June we are reading Southernmost by Silas House. We read from several genres, but seldom, if ever, read anything religious, although I find something spiritual in most of the books we choose. I’m hoping we’ll choose Pat Conroy’s The Prince of Tides for one of our upcoming books. I realize that it is an older book, but I really identify with the whole book and Tom Wingo, the main character, in particular.

    • #4811

      Dan Mefford
      Participant
      @dmefford

      This has been a great experience in this group. I look forward to more, I’ll definitely enjoy finishing the book but will miss those of you who have journeyed with me thus far.

      Dan

    • #4812

      Dianna Cox
      Participant
      @diancox

      This has been a great read. I truly have enjoyed everyone’s posts even though I didn’t respond to everyone. I gain so much from participating in these forums. I sometimes wish we could all do a Zoom meeting and have a conversation face to face. Ministering to people is so rewarding and being in dialog with one another is so important. This forum has given me much to ponder and helped me look at my faith more closely. Dianna

      • #4816

        Lee Whitlock
        Moderator
        @lwhitlock

        That’s a great idea Dianna. Suggest that on your evaluation of the course when you get it. I’m sure the technology is there. I’ve been on several Video Conference Calls. I once did one while I was in Singapore. I had to get up in the middle of the night to join one that began 12 hours earlier in Chicago.

        Lee

    • #4813

      Tim Peters
      Member
      @TimPeters

      I struggled as I read in chapter 6 about the idea of language of contempt being in the Bible.  That is a hard concept for me to accept.  I do not believe in inerrancy of the Bible.  But I do believe that the Holy Spirit inspired the writers and then they put the thoughts into their own words.  As 1 John says, “God is love.”  My view is that it is the same God in the Old Testament and New Testament.  There are some things that God did and said that is hard to understand how that is love.  There are times where God seems harsh.  I like BBT’s point about the need for context.  As I look at the big picture I see a God of love.  And love and contempt do not go together in my opinion.

      I had a professor in undergrad while taking Theology that also challenged my thinking-Alden Thompson.  He had us read his book, Inspiration: Hard Questions, Honest Answers.  He is a controversial figure in the Adventist Church.  I tended to agree with a lot of what he taught.  One thing he talked about was how God came to earth and spoke to people in a language they could understand.  Sometimes that meant wars and sacrifices even though that was not God’s ideal.   This is not to say that God can do anything he wants because we are in a sinful world.  I see God as the ultimate ethical being; for example, Jesus raised the bar on the sermon on the mount.  But like I said I struggle with some of the ethics of some of the harsher stories in the Bible.  I will keep searching and look for ways to be inclusive.

      Tim

      • #4817

        Lee Whitlock
        Moderator
        @lwhitlock

        Tim, my view of God in the OT is a little different from that of your professor. I believe that the people in the old testament received inspiration from God as to what His will was. They, like us, dragged their own thinking into the inspiration. Someone said, “You know it’s not God’s will when you feel He’s telling you do do what you were going to do anyway.” The Jewish people were going to go to war, they were determined to God, so they said it was God’s will. It must have been a leap for them to move from “If you steal my cow, I’m going to kill you” to “If you steal my cow, I’m going to get your cow”. “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” was also a great leap of faith. Both were moving the law they brought with them to a more compassionate way of living. Jesus came along and moved the law even further, “You have heard it said of old ‘an eye for an eye’ but I say to you, ‘do good to those that persecute you.'” In both the OT and the NT, it required a reorienting of thinking.

        I wonder where God is moving us today. Do we make “preemptive strikes” toward the people who find it necessary to steal or do harm by obeying Matthew 25. We go to where they are before they have the opportunity to steal and offer them our faith? This is true Evangelism. We offer love and food and water and clothing….”

        Just a thought.

        Lee

    • #4814

      Tim Peters
      Member
      @TimPeters

      Kathy,

      I like how you said you look at the Muslim faith through the lens of Dr. Abouleish.  That is a good reminder to practice the principles of Sister Krister that we read earlier in the book.

      Tim

    • #4824

      Mary M. Wrye
      Member
      @mmwrye

      Well pooh. I posted this morning – or so I thought. But I’m not seeing what I posted. I’m sure it was brilliant and insightful (hahahaha) but since I tend to type as I think, I am most certain I cannot duplicate it.

      So I will just move along. In reading Chapter 7 – The Shadow-Bearers, it made an impression on me. Our near automatic fear and caution around those who are Muslim (or who we assume are Muslim) and our ability to jump to worst-case scenarios where Muslims are concerned when we don’t do it with anyone else (“Most people’s fear of a drunk driver or a texting teenager does not spill over onto everyone they meet, but their fear of a terrorist does” pg 124). And the near jubilation of the woman at the end of the worship in the masjib after September 11, 2001 who said “You came to see for yourself. With so many wrong ideas about us, so many false reports – you came to see for yourself”. How very important that was for everyone involved – BBT and her students as well as those for whom this was their “home church”. We as human beings are so used to going with the group, that we don’t stop to decipher whether the groupishness of it all is right in what they are doing.

      The more I read this book, the more I believe this needs to be a broader discussion. I may propose it for a group at my church. They are folks who can handle it.

      • #4826

        Lee Whitlock
        Moderator
        @lwhitlock

        I agree with you, Mary, this book warrants a deeper discussion. It is rich. I’m sorry a 4-week look at it from a distance is not enough time. I’m glad to see that though our time together is ending, that most of you, if not all, have continued to read beyond the first 6 chapters.

    • #4825

      Just a note about Chapter 5–At the visit to the new Sephardic congregation, I loved that the rabbi invited all to come around her as she read from the Torah and I appreciated the words of the rabbi–“you know, sometimes those of us who are here every week get so used to things that we forget how important they are. Then one week we welcome some visitors for the first time, and they enter in with more enthusiasm than we do.  It’s a good reminder, isn’t it.”  Doesn’t that happen for all of us–I like routine and some familiarity in worship but to encounter someone asking questions–we can speak of our faith positively and enthusiastically–I hope I can every time a visitor comes to my place of worship.

      I loved the exercise about finding all the Kosher products– it  might be an interesting exercise as I peruse the grocery aisles, too.

      I appreciated the conversation about the strangers/non Christians that played a role in Jesus’ life and ministry.  Now as I read in the gospels, I will add this to my thinking–and be grateful for the role that stranger play in my life whether I ‘see’ them or not!

      I had not realized that Jesus had turned the congregation against him.  I ask myself did Jesus goad the hometown crowd? Did he expect better of the community that had nurtured him and helped him grow?  And I wonder about using prophet instead of Messiah–only a few times did Jesus call himself or allow people to know that he was the Messiah.   Is this a case of the Prophet cannot really be heard/understood in one’s own hometown? Did the people still see him as the little boy/young man that should be home helping care for his mother in the carpenter’s shop?

      I think I mentioned earlier my challenge with the song ‘Our God is an awesome God…” God is more than my God.  I honor God, I worship God, but God is for all.

       

      Chapter 7–I so appreciated the story of the welcome that the students received after 9/11.  I was humbled by the woman who affirmed the students’ coming–you came to see for yourself.   As I mentioned in a previous post–I must look at what I hear about Islam through the lens of my friend Dr. Abouleish–and look at Jews through the lens of my friend Rabbi Kessler–who came and prayed for me before my cancer surgery.   So many misconceptions are so frustrating to try to sort out.

      So, I keep taking classes like these.  I read through the resource list and see several that look interesting.  But as we do in chaplaincy, it’s the relationships that are the most important–living our the relationship in a Christ-like manner–respectful, caring — to the best of our ability.  And I will leave the rest for God to work out.

       

      • #4827

        Lee Whitlock
        Moderator
        @lwhitlock

        Wow, Kathy! Your 4th paragraph full of questions could take up a full hour or two in a discussion. All of them were excellent.

        I agree, I’m going to read the Gospels again to number the strangers that Jesus encountered. Add to this, the fact that Nazareth was part of the “Land Bridge” between East and West and add those to Jesus’ encounter as a young boy and early adult and the number grows almost exponentially. These strangers would surely have come to Joseph’s carpentry shop for repairs to their wagons, etc. I wonder what influence he got from them as how he influenced them as they passed through.

        Wonderful thoughts. Thanks, Kathy.

    • #4828

      Tim Peters
      Member
      @TimPeters

      This hit home for me in chapter 7, “…there is an out-of-control image of Islam in many minds that has little to do with ordinary Muslims, who serve as the shadow-bearers for people with no wish or will to explore their own shadows.”

      This encouraged me to ask myself what shadows do I have that I am avoiding?  And do I focus on other’s faults to make myself feel good?  This are questions that I will keep with me.

      Tim

      • #4832

        Lee Whitlock
        Moderator
        @lwhitlock

        Great questions, Tim. Jung talks about our “shadow side”. It is the side we hide from others and even from ourselves. I seek daily to understand those very same questions.

        Thanks!

        Lee

    • #4830

      Thanks Lee–so much I wish I could know about Jesus life on earth and family relationships–and how he was perceived in those first 30ish years.

      A quote came across my email this morning…

      Your assumptions are your windows on the world.  Scrub them off every once in a while or the light won’t come in.  Isaac Asimov

      Sounds like we are doing this with this study!

    • #4833

      Lee Whitlock
      Moderator
      @lwhitlock

      I agree Kathy. I never know which direction these studies with the Oates Institute are going to take, but I always find it exciting and rewarding.

      Thanks for the quote. I post a quote each morning on Facebook, and I’ve put the one from Asimov on my list to send.

      Lee

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