Nov. 20, 2006
Nov. 22, 2006

Nov. 21, 2006


Rapper Sean "Diddy" Combs says he owes all his success to God. Do you think celebrity endorsements of religion really influence anyone? Or -- I'm thinking of Elton John's recent smack upside the head of all religion -- disendorsements?

* * *


I'm always grateful for writers or speakers who help me see familiar things in new ways.

LevinebookOne of the fomer associate pastors at my church was really good at that. Perhaps the best example was his sermon on the parable of the prodigal son in which he made the point that sometimes God punishes us simply by giving us our own way.

My most recent experience of seeing something new in something profoundly familiar came in Amy-Jill Levine's new book, The Misunderstood Jew: The Church and the Scandal of the Jewish Jesus.

She tries at one point to describe the ways in which the Lord's Prayer is deeply Jewish, and focuses on the various phrases that make up what Catholics often call the "Our Father."

She points out that "Give us this day our daily bread" seems to be redundant. Saying "Give us our daily bread" or "Give us this day our bread" would suffice. But she notes that use of an unusual Greek word in the phrase is responsible for the redundancy and that a better translation would be "Give us tomorrow's bread today."

That, she says, is the translation that makes the most sense in a first-century Jewish context because Jewish texts "speak of the olam ha-bah, the world to come, as a glorious banquet." There is, in other words, a profound sense of anticipation embedded in the phrase "Give us this day our daily bread." It's not simply asking to be fed today, Levine maintains.

Rather, she says, the phrase means "Bring about your rule, when we can eat at the messianic banquet." This, she writes, "is the prophetic hope, the prophetic vision."

"Tomorrow's bread" is meant to stand for the messianic future that both Judaism and Christianity await with anticipation. To pray to be given this bread today is to pray for God's in-breaking presence to bring about the culmination of history and the fullness of the realm, or reign, of God.

I never fully saw that before. And now I'll never pray the Lord's Prayer without a new sense of what it well may mean.

To read my latest Kansas City Star work, click here.

P.S: Yes, lots of the readers of this blog come, naturally, from the Kansas City area. But in the last day or two you local folks have been joined by readers from Japan, South Africa, Belgium, Chile, England, Israel and, well, Auburn, Maine. Howdy to all.

AND ANOTHER P.S.: Baptist Press reports on a theologian who gives George W. Bush very high marks for his presidency. Do you agree with him?



Diddy! I depend on celebrities for all my decisions in life. I buy my daughter the outfits that Britany Spears and Madonna wear, follow Michael Jackson's parenting and ex-wife relations example, and go to the gym so I can look like K-Fed. Why, I even bank based on Trent Greene's recommendations because our incomes are so similar.

OK, I'll put away the cynicism for a moment. I'm truly happy for Diddy, but his comments have less effect on me and my life than Bill and the good folks here.

Keith...the anti-celebrity. Be it Sir Elton or Comba.



Thank you for such an enlightening and educational posting on the meaning of "give us this day our daily bread". Amy-Jill's explanation makes that part of the prayer ever more meaningful. And I, too, will reflect on this every week my church offers its recitation of the prayer that Jesus taught us to pray.



As for P. Diddy and the Baptist view of President Bush. A polite "no comment" - I'll invoke "Mom's Rule" here - "If you can't say something nice....." ;-)


Re: "another P.S."

Mom used to tell me that religion and politics shouldn't be discussed in polite company. Here I am in a faith blog talking about George Bush's presidency. Sorry, Mom, it's Bill's fault!

As a LIBERAL (the L word!), I look at Bush's words and actions and see perhaps the most dictatorial leader this country has ever produced. Qualified for office by blood (his daddy was president), His Majesty King George XLIII has turned what may well have been the finest judicial system in the world into a tool of whim. He's lied and obfuscated this nation into a war he didn't know how to win and still doesn't.

He's presided over the largest tax cuts in history, the greatest growth in the concentration of wealth of the already wealthy, and the destruction of the middle class. He's abandoned a major American city damaged by hurricane, but hey, New Orleans was a nest of poor and minorities, and they vote Democratic, so who cares?

If I were obsessed with homosexuality I'd be spewing misinformation and building straw men like Bush and Mr. Grudem, claiming I'm saving heterosexual marriage and the world.

If I believed life began at orgasm and ended at birth, I'd agree Bush has led the way on "protection of life."

If I thought "the environment" was the right to pollute without cost or penalty, I'd agree Bush has protected the environment.

If I thought the job of America is to spread Christianity throughout the world, and that creating generations of people who hate America would lead to this end, and Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Lebanon are our good allies, I'd say something like "These developments could open doors for Gospel proclamation, Grudem said, which is the only force that ultimately will halt terrorism and bring about the transformation of human hearts." Huh? I've heard a 4 year old use better logic trying to avoid a spanking.

Bush hasn't screwed an intern, so he's wonderful. (More obsession with someone else's genitalia.)

I'd laugh at the BP News article if I didn't think this guy was serious. At least Borat put the feces in a baggie. Grudem put it in a speech.

Just Thinking

From the article on Bush: "Overall, Grudem said Bush “clearly identifies himself as an evangelical Christian” who regularly reads the Bible and believes it."

I'm so glad we have people who can judge what others believe. That's been the problem all throughout the Bush Administration: if you say that you believe in Jesus Christ, then you're in. But how can anyone possible know for sure what another person believes? That's why such statements don't belong in politics. ACTIONS are all that count in politics.

And what about the actions of President Bush? Time and time again we were mislead, purposely deceived into thinking that there was either (a) a connection between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden or (b) that there was an imminent threat posed because of hidden WMDs of Saddam's. Those were blatantly false assertions that have been debunked time and time again.

Bush just never stops trying to deceive us into believing his original lies; he is unrepentant. When he was campaigning during this last election period in Topeka, he again asserted a connection between al-Qaeda and Iraq, and he again insinutated that somehow Iraq was connected with nuclear weapons. He first reasoned that because Osama said that Iraq was the new front in the war, that Iraq was *obviously* important to Osama bin Laden and "that's why we must win the war in Iraq." Of course it's important to Osama, but not because Iraq was their headquarters but because we've become the threat there. Then he went on to talk about all of the enemies of this country who would seek to acquire nuclear technology and "that's why we need to win the war in Iraq." These kinds of insinuations were deliberate attempts to deceive the American public.

Bush is a deceiver and a liar, and he dragged us into an unjust war and continues to promote it with lies and deceptions. He continues to try to connect things that are not connected. What kind of Christian starts an unjust war and then continues to cover up his lies and deceptions? He's a traitor to this country and to his religion and he's a murderer. But, hey, he says he's a Christian and so we believe him. His actions speak louder than his words, and Christians who won't see the problem because of his empty words "I'm a Christian," and his empty positions concerning a few litmus test issues, are equally as dangerous to this country. I can see that we're going to be fighting this battle of truth for a long time to come.


An article from today's New York Times about the growing conflict between science and religion at

I personally don't see a mandatory conflict between science and faith. I think each deals with sometimes similar questions in very different spheres and from very different objectives and perspectives. I try not to confuse the two.

That said, I'm not sure the meeting described contributes to productive dialogue in a civil society. It saddens me to see the "absolutism" I criticize in some faiths imitated by some scientists at this meeting.


Polygamy, Utah style, from The Guardian (U.K.)

Even putting aside the age of the girls, the story of Warren Jeffs and the Fundamentalist Mormans tests my core belief in freedom of and from religion. What do you think?


What is so deeply disturbing to me when I read a concise summary of Grudem's values, is how absolutely polar Christians have become in their views of what is moral or moral behavior. Has there ever been as deep a divide?

I(and quite apparently Keith and JT) can take most of Grudem's moral or value points for Bush and flip them 180 degrees to 'immoral'.

And for all who take the Bible literally, please note that Grudem was on the committee overseeing the translation of the English Standard Bible. It supports the argument I've made many times on this blog that those who muck and mucked with the Good Book are mere mortals and that makes it wise to read critically and treat it as an errant document.
Pop culture role models have a lot more sway than people generally want to acknowledge. Artists focus a lot of effort on creating art that has impact. They can't then turn around and claim that it doesn't. Unfortunately, the artist persona has become a big part of the impact.

John's influence may be somewhat diminished these days but Diddy has quite a following.

I am impressed at the very open and public Africian-American avowal of faith among the entertainment community. It certainly will have consequence among their following.

Dolores Lear

Keith and JT I am in your camp.

I do feel sorry for GW Bush though because I think he is a puppet for Cheney and his group. Cheney was to pick a Vice-president for George, and picked himself, and all his friends for the cabinet. I think they are only interested in taking over the oil in the middle East. I feel sorry for George.

Since the war in Iraq got bogged down, they are ready to get out anyway possible so they can advance to Iran, even though George says 'stay the course'. I do not know how much longer the USA can finance these adventures. Will this lead to the monetary fall of the USA?

Jesus has been represented as being an aggressive Christian. He was just the opposite. He did not approve of forcing anyone to believe in the Lifestyle for Equality for All. But it is in his passive teachings what he believed.

How can any Christian that loves Jesus, Kill their brothers/sisters of Life with weapons, or with homelessness and starvation? Charity does not change this killing lifestyle, but promotes stealing, and corruption.

The Christian Bible needs to be translated with a High Tech Science understanding, to see the Bible has the information of the planet being Colonized with High Tech Pure-bred people, with a lifestyle that is necessary for Life in a spaceship.

Earth is a spaceship with all the resources aboard to be Shared Equally, not fought over and denied to many. A monetary basis with competition to exist is not what Jesus taught.

Until the 'Commonism' of Sharing Equally, that Jesus taught is accepted, war and rumors of wars will continue until the Last Days Nuclear 'Arm'ageddon.

Jesus never taught war as the way for Man to be Equal. War and rumors of war, is the way Christians have acted down through the time they have been a religion.

It is time to act Christ/Messiah Like. and End all the sorrow and grief, and realize going to war is not a Christ/Messiah trait of Christians or Jews.

Christ, in Greek and Messiah in Hebrew both mean Anointed, not God. Anointed to do what? Share or Kill.

Peace and Asexual Agape Love of Jesus.

Dolores Lear

Another thought.

The best way of getting our Daily Bread is through Sharing, not praying for God to bless us over our fellowman.

The Sharing way, all will receive, not just the ones that are fortunate to be born in a country that has more than some. An even in that kind of a country, like the USA, people go hungry.

We should not rely on where we are born as to how we are blessed. It should be for All.

Why have all the soup kitchens, when we 'can' Share Equally of the Earth's bounty?



Sorry I have been absent the last week or so, work is farily hectic right now and will continue to be for awhile. I wanted to give a drive by "amen" to the good posts about our decider. I find it funny that after his party loses the elections based largely on everyones anger with the White House, he comes out and says that, despite the will of the people, he is still the decider. Winning an election by a very small margin is not a mandate to radically change the country to fit your desires (this goes for both parties). Anyway, I could go on but I have to run, hopefully I will be back to commenting soon enough, until then, have a great Thanksgiving!

PS: Whats the word on meeting up? Drop me an email and let me konw. I may be traveling, but I will sure try my you-know-what off to make sure I get there.

Joe Barone

God has been used to justify wars and homophobia. I am inherently suspicious of anyone who attributes his or her "faith" or the direction of his or her actions to God. To see God working in their lives, look at what they do, not what they say.


Dolores, thank you.

You may write of spaceships, but again and again your comments bring me back to earth. You may write of High-Tech Ancestors, but you keep me at a human perspective.

Again, thank you.


Thank you, Keith, for the link to the NYTimes article on science vs. religion.

It doesn't seem wise to polarize the the science community and thrust it into a an adversarial position with religion. For one thing, it's not the business of science to try to come to conclusions about religion or philosophy. It shouldn't be the business of religion to make conclusions about science, either.

I align myself with Tyson. You can clobber somebody with sharp words and not accomplish anything.
Polygamy made a lot of sense in tribal desert societies, as a means to protect women and retain stability in the tribe.

It seems to be little more than a way for a guy to be married and still have an interesting and sometimes perverse(too-young girls) sex life in the Southwest Mormon communities.

It's forcing the young women into a life where they have no choice that somehow much be addressed. Difficult in areas where the law is complicit. I applaud the fact that they are prosecuting Jeffs.

A side note and less mentioned fact in all this is that our tax dollars pay for many of these families. They have learned to play the ADC and Social Security system so that there is much public aid that goes to the polygamous women who are "unmarried" on the books.


Patricia, do I detect disparagement of sister-wives on the dole? It's not lying-lying would be a sin. It's taking what's due you as a tax-paying citizen, even if you have to bend the rules at convenient times and places. It's the American way!

Welfare Queens in Cadillacs. Who'd have thunk it?

I will now go extract my tongue from my cheek.


I sent you two e-mails, Openmind. One to the group with details and one only to you. Yesterday morn. Have checked and sent to the same address where you did receive my first. Please check your spam settings.

Monday, Dec 4
6:30P Dinner, if you want
7P Chat
-At the Jerusalem Bakery 1404 Westport Road NOT Jerusalem Cafe between Penn and Bway
-Mates or friends are welcome.
-Bill is attending

Anyone interested is invited. I tried to mail to all addresses. Do let me know if you are attending. I need numbers.

AND WE NEED CONSERVATIVES!!! JT, that means you. And Ron. : )


It's hard to disparage the sisterwives when they've had the bad luck to be born and raised into this isolated culture and then locked in by being married off and impregnated when they are pre-teens or young teens. What possible choices could they have? Isn't that the whole point? To create a system of semi-slaves.

The culture has been created and maintained for and by men. I blame them for the public assistance abuses. It's more a case of Disability Daddies in their mega pick-up trucks with a load of underage girls in the truck bed.

Dolores Lear

Keith. Thank you.

I know it is hard for people to accept that Heterosexual Body Birth is necessary for Human existence, but it is the cause of all the remarks that are made about different lifestyles of corruption, and marriage.

With High Tech Science which we are now using to reproduce, the reproductive sex act is not necessary. We have too many people for the Earth to support already.

Higher 'Being' Asexual reproduction is proved today, by reproducing Humans by High Tech, by inserting the fetus in the female without the sex act. Are we are reproducing Humans not?

Again, with a High Tech Science translation of the Bible, from Colonization to the End Times Nuclear 'Arm'ageddon and Judgement Day Fire, it's in the Bible! High Tech Science and religion and myth are all about the same Human Life on Earth and in Space.

Another thought about Bush that makes me think he is a puppet, is this comment 'He tried to kill my Daddy'. I think that was one of the reasons Cheney got George to run.

Peace and Jesus' Asexual Agape Love.


Scientists look at the universe at see random chance at work. It takes a great deal of faith to believe that.


Please, let's not confuse faith and science, nor obfuscate the differences with clever quips.

Science thrives on questioning, which traditionally leads to new discovery. Faith and more especially faith communities depend on a great deal of conformity and commonality, where questioning traditionally leads to excommunication or fracture. I'm thinking that Luther ran into this difference a while back.

Dolores Lear

Random chance may have been how our HTA evolved up to High Tech Pure-bred Humans.

Today, after having fallen from High Tech Science Pure-bred Bodies at Colonization, to Heterosexual Mis-bred Bodies, we are again back up to reproducing in a dish in the lab that corrects genetic mistakes with High Tech Science.
Now we just need to evolve up to the High Tech Womb and we will again be able to reproduce Pure-bred Asexual Bodies like our HTA and Jesus.

And we will be able to 'regenerate' all the ones that do not have High Tech Birth, with High Tech Science to Pure-bred Bodies, like our HTA did to Jesus in the tomb.

Then we can evolve up to traveling in our High Tech spaceships like the Man Gods in religion and myth did, and Colonize new planets with Pure-bred Physical Life After Birth.

Asexual is a category of Human. Physical Life is for the Living not the Dead.

Peace and Jesus' Asexual Agape Love.

Just Thinking

Dolores wrote: "Keith and JT I am in your camp."

Obviously you don't give up, and you've been fighting for a long time, fighting for the the sick, the indigent and for those being murdered and oppressed. I like the camp better already. I'm betting you were in the camp well before I was born.


Science: Questions in search of an answer.

Faith: An answer in search of the questions.


I suppose the giveaway to me is always the inability to be self critical and therefore need to project a shadow side on others. Because I believe that that very ability to look at oneself and see the resentments, the needs for vengance, the envy are the beginning of a moral life, I cannot agree with Gruden in any way. It is the one thing absent - not only in George Bush - which is frightening - but in the culture from which he comes. It is my culture too. To need scapegoats to gather people together is indicative of a shallow and petty sort of spirituality - one that I must guard against each day. Whether it is Republicans negotiating the fine road of bigotry toward homosexuals or intellectuals or those who believe science is important or the Democrats gleefully enjoying the fall of the Republican party, both have failed at the moral task - which is to self examine and looks for the way we create violence and hatred in our little world and in the greater world. Gandhi knew that the only way to have peace was to respect one another even in our opposition. Battles won at the expense of another is simply a continuation of the hatred. I have been disturbed by George Bush because I saw no introspection, no self examination, no ability to do anything except demonize another and thus pull everyone together in fear. The tension that will be created by a Democratic congress and his administration is a good thing. Perhaps both will learn that the other is human and flawed and good and that all need redemption.

Just Thinking

Great posting, Betsy.

A couple of interesting news items ...

It's official now. We have a new government name for the hungry: those with 'very low food security'.

Former Attorney General Janet Reno and others have finally filed challenges to the 'Terror Laws.'

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