Sept. 14, 2007
Sept. 17, 2007

Sept. 15-16, 2007, weekend

But first a P.S.:

On my Sept. 4 blog entry, I talked about an upcoming visit to this area by Dr. Jack Rogers, author of a great book on Christianity and homosexuality. But I failed to list one of the events where you can see him. He'll speak at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 9, at Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church, 11100 College Boulevard, in Overland Park, Kan. For other opportunities to hear him, go back to the 9-4 blog.

* * *

And another P.S.:

The Rev. Forrest Church, whom I mention below as author of a new book called So Help Me God, will speak this Wednesday, Sept. 19, at 7 p.m. at Community Christian Church in Kansas City. That's at 47th and Main. He's well worth hearing.

* * *

ANALYZING RELIGIOUS MOVEMENTS

And speaking of books, as I will be below, click here for a Wall Street Journal review of The Stillborn God: Religion, Politics, and the Modern West by Mark Lilla. I haven't read the book yet, but it's on my list.

* * *

RELIGION IN A COURT

The trial of the leader of a polygamist group is offering insights into this brand of fundamtalism. For a tral uodate, click here.

* * *

TIME AGAIN FOR SOME NEW BOOKS

As regular readers of this blog know, from time to time I like to offer a list, with brief comments, of new books with faith-related themes.Books

So I'll do that again this weekend. But first a word about such books. They're coming off the presses at the rate of about a million a day, it seems. Well, maybe that's not quite right. Maybe it's two million. It's a lot. I know that. And it's impossible to keep up.

So you have to pick and choose. Which is why I don't want you to imagine that I've managed to look at, read, skim or even know about every possible new book with some kind of religious theme. But here are some that might interest you:

First, three books related to Islam:

* Islamophobia: Making Muslims the Enemy, by Peter Gottschalk and Gabriel Greenberg. Filled with telling political cartoons, this book is a valuable resource not only for understanding Islam but also for getting help in countering ill-informed people who see it as a wicked religion. It offers solid information and analysis to combat ignorance and fear.

* A Call for Heresy: Why Dissent is Vital to Islam and America, by Anouar Majid. Well, heresy might be overstating it a bit, because what the author recommends is creative thinking to reverse the decline in both Islam and the United States. This is a careful look at the violence and mindlessness that plague both, with some insights into what's needed to reverse things.

* Pilgrims of Christ on the Muslim Road, by Paul-Gordon Chandler. The author, an Episcopal priest, proposes using Islam's reverance for Jesus as a way of creating bridges between Christians and Muslims. He notes that since 9/11 some Christians have demonized Islam and viewed it as an enemy to be conquered. Chandler offers a saner alternative.

Next, two books that explore the religious roots of the United States:

Books_2* So Help Me God: The Founding Fathers and the First Great Battle Over Church and State, by Forrest Church. This wise pastor and historian (check Amazon.com for his other books) takes us back to the foundational church-state battle over whether America would be "under God" or would be a nation of free people able to choose their own religious commitments. It's a complex, fascinating story, and Church gives it the 400-plus pages it deserves.

* The Spiritual Journey of George Washington, by Janice T. Connell. Yes, Washington was a great general and an astute politician, among his other attributes. But he also was a man of deep faith, and that's what Connell shows us.

Next, a few with Jewish themes:

* Reading the Torah Out Loud: A Journey of Lament and Hope, by Marc H. Ellis. The author searches his Jewish roots for an authentic way to be religious today, and finds that requires all of us -- of whatever religion -- to discover and use our prophetic voices. It includes a good section on Jewish-Christian relations today.

* To Save a Life: Stories of Holocaust Rescue, by Ellen Land-Weber. Another good book with a religious component from the University of Illinois Press. This book is in the same arena as one I'm working on, though it takes a different approach. For information about my book project, click on the "Check this out" link on the right side of this page.

* Every Day Lasts a Year: A Jewish Family's Correspondence from Poland, edited by Christopher R. Browning, Richard S. Hollander and Nechama Tech. This fascinating book includes many letters written to author Hollander's father, which he discovered after his parents had died. They tell of that father's mother and his sister's Jewish families in Krakow in the midst of Nazi occupation of Poland. The letters were a rare find and add to what we know of the Shoah.

* The Ways that Never Parted: Jews and Christians in Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages, edited by Adam H. Becker and Annette Yoshiko Reed. Against the common perception that Christianity quickly split from Judaism and the two remained forever separate, this collection of essays suggests a far more complex reality. In the process, it offers some places to stand on common ground today so Christians and Jews might live in more harmony than they have historically.

Next a whole mix of books on various subjects:

* America and the Challenges of Religious Diversity, by Robert Wuthnow. Anything by Wuthnow, a religious scholar at Princeton University, is worth a read. He argues here that issues of religious diversity in the U.S. are just as important as issues about other matters of diversity, such as race. And he helps us see where we are as a nation with this important matter.

* Rome and Canterbury: The Elusive Search for Unity, by Mary Reath. Since the Western church split apart in the 16th Century, there have been countless efforts to re-establish its unity. None, of course, has worked fully, but the dream persists. And Reath gives a readable account of the efforts and some hope for the future, with special emphasis on the Vatican and the worldwide Anglican communion.

* The Gospel Side of Elvis, by Joe Moscheo. Thirty years after Elvis Presley's death, the author explores The King's love of Gospel music. He doesn't try to present Elvis as a saint (who would buy that?) but as an authentic struggler who knew the religious music he loved.

* A Brief, Liberal, Catholic Defense of Abortion, by Daniel A. Dombrowski and Robert J. Deltete. The serious debate about abortion in this country would proceed less divisively if everyone took the calm, thoughtful approach these University of Seattle professors take.

* Everything Must Change: Jesus, Global Crisis, and a Revolution of Hope, by Brian D. McLaren. The author, a prime leader in the "emergent church" movement, suggests that a religion offering the good news of Christianity should make the world a lot better than it's been able to so far. He's got some suggestions for how to accomplish that. And when you've finished reading it, you can follow up at this Web site: http://www.everythingmustchange.com.

* Beyond Megachurch Myths: What We Can Learn from America's Largest Churches, by Scott Thumma and Dave Travis. If you have prejudices or unexamined assumptions about megachurches in this country, this book should help you understand the reality of the phenomenon.

* Religious Charter Schools: Legalities and Practicalities, by Lawrence D. Weinberg. Already various disputes about public charter schools with religious themes have broken out in various places in the country. This book will help administrators, teachers, parents and students understand the constitutional limits.

* Another World: A Retreat in the Ozarks, by C. William Claassen. Assumption Abbey, a Trappist monastery in Ava, Mo., is the subject of this reflective work about the attractions and struggles of monastic life.

Paramahansa* The Self-Realization Fellowship has released two new books drawn from previous works by the late Paramahansa Yogananda (pictured here). The first, The Yoga of Jesus, draws from his work on Christ, while The Yoga of the Bhagavad Gita is a compilation of his thoughts in his commentary called God Talks With Arjuna. Any follower of this path who hasn't read the works from which these are drawn will especially benefit from these two.

* Heaven Is Real, by Don Piper and Cecil Murphey. The author of 90 Minutes in Heaven, describes not only how he died in a car wreck in 1989 (which he wrote about in previous books) and went to heaven for an hour and a half but also how he now is working on aiming toward heaven again as a final and joyful destination.

* The Gospel of Cesar Chavez: My Faith in Action, edited by Mario T. Garcia. This volume explores the spirituality of a fascinating labor organizer and social activist. The author is professor of history and Chicano studies at the University of California-Santa Barbara and knew Chavez personally.

* The God of Nature: Incarnation and Contemporary Science, by Christopher C. Knight. This is a thoughtful and careful Christian exploration of how God acts in the world of nature. It's another quality offering from Fortress Press.

* What Is Secular Humanism? by Paul Kurtz. This is a thin, large-print, well-illustrated primer by an emeritus philosophy professor. Worth having on your reference shelf.

* Secularism and Secularity: Contemporary International Perspectives, edited by Barry A. Kosmin and Ariela Keysar. Once you've read the previous book on this topic by Kurtz, this one will help fill in some blanks and offer some academic perspective.

* When Did Jesus Become Republican?: Strategies for a Post-Bush America, by Mark Ellingsen. The author is a good historian of Christianity. In this volume, he asserts that Jesus has been, in effect, kidnapped by political and theological conservatives to serve their own ideological ends and to help the rich and powerful profit.

Today's religious holiday: Ganesa Chaturthi (Hinduism; 15th)

To read my latest Kansas City Star work, click here. (My Saturday column this weekend is about why faith communities celebrate their histories.)

Comments

Mel

"The Yoga Of Jesus?"

Does anyone else find that offensive?

Just Thinking

The cover shows Jesus in the lotus position, Mel. He must have taught Yoga. Yoga is the answer to everything, Mel.

For example, if I ask you what is the most stupid book on the list about, you would say ...

Patricia

"'The Yoga Of Jesus?'

Does anyone else find that offensive?"

There's been a lot of controversy in the last few years as Christians appropriate Hindu yoga and.......Christianize it.
http://www.christianyoga.us/home.htm

Isn't it just a logical extension - or maybe a turnaround is fair play - for a yogi to appropriate Jesus?

Just Thinking

Yeah, right, Jesus was always appropriating Hindu yoga. You're getting all delusional again, aren't you, Patricia?

Patricia

Well, I absolutely must be delusional if a born-again, heart-changed, neighbor-loving, fine Christian man like you calls me that.

Just Thinking

Patricia,

You are delusional for many reasons. You have to be delusion to take the Greek in Ephesians 2 and turn it into a message that we are saved by good works, and not because of our standing or career in life.

Ephesians 2:8-10
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God--not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.


Truth counts, Patricia. Except with you.

Patricia

If truth counts, then you would not continually misrepresent my discussion on the translation of "works".

Again, I absolutely accept your verdict of me as being delusional. You are just such a fine, reasonable, Christian man. How could I ignore your judgment?

Just Thinking

So, now you're saying that you agree with the translation of Ephesians 2:8-10 that I quoted from the NIV? Fantastic! You're on the correct road now.

You are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, Patricia. It's not by works that you are saved. Nobody has the ability to boast because everyone has sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. The good works that you will do are planned by God in advance of you doing them. When you are forgiven by God and declared righteous in His eyes, then you will participate in His work.

Our good works are as filthy (menstrual) rags to God, Patricia.

Isaiah 64:6
All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.

Just Thinking

The last post was to Patrica.

presbyto lady

Efforts are worth whatever is recquired of Christians.
Christians are givers because it is the nature of God, but we are not all capable of receiving.
Know how to give good gifts if you are not evil.
This is the fruit of the harvest..
Plant seeds. Defend the Faith.
It is terrible to be bewithched. Galtions Chapter 3
You foolish Galatians!!
There are no grainer questions than to break the chains of sin.
God is concerned about those going down the road of lies...God breaks Satan's spell with TRUTH
God does not accept us by performance but
only by us accepting Jesus Christ. We are accepted by FAITH. We are saved by faith and grow in faith.
Are you so foolish to live in the power of the flesh and live in the power of independence.
The Christian life is not a life in a row boat...harder..faster...row row row. This is in the flesh. God did not design us to be a miserable, failing man in the Flesh. But, rather a walk in Faith, in a sailboat with the wind of God's spirit making life take off and propell us to live in Christ..for God says just take him at his WORD (found in the Bible) The TRUTH sets us Free!

Dolores Lear

Until we Know the Truth that sets us Free from Death, we will keep on Dying, as we have since Adam and Eve's time, and from Jesus' time that teaches 'Know the Truth and the Truth will set you Free'. The only way so far is to keep on Dying.

There is a Physical Way to have Eternal Physical Life After Birth, but it means the giving up of the sex act for Body Birth, that causes people to be born with all types of genetic and physical mistakes, and with Humans killing each other they cannot have Eternal Physical Life After Birth.

Genetis in the Bible has the Truth of Eternal Life, that was given to Adam and Eve, but they lost it, because of Sin.
Until we know how they had Perfect bodies, and that Sin gave Cain and Abel Inbred bodies, we cannot again have Eternal Physical Life After Birth on Earth.

So we do need a High Tech Knowledge translation of Genesis, on how to understand the Way God, who was in Human form, made Human Adam and Eve Perfect Bodies.

Rich B

Dolores,

Maybe it would help us understand you better if you delimited your use of the Bible as we have it and your use of your personal revelation that connect other mythologies to Christianity.

What parts of your theology come from where?

Just Thinking

Let's be truthful, Rich. What we have is a cult with one member who is also the author: Dolores.

Dolores Lear

Rich.
I say all religions have parts of the Truth in them, and all types of scienctific High Tech Knowledge that can be found in them.

All.
Science and Relgion understood together has the Truth of LIFE on Earth and in the Universes. That is why I say we need a High Technology Translation of all Religions with Science to understand about 'Literal' Eternal Physical Life After Birth, that is mistakenly called Eternal Life After Death by religion, because Fallen Humans lost that knowledge. Now we are again relearning about it and Misusing it just like the Noah/Atlantis Society did.
We need to know why Adam and Eve that had Perfect Human Life After Birth and why they lost it and had to Die. I say Inbred/Misbred Body Birth, but no takers so far.

One of Bill's Book list.
"The Yoga of the Bhagavad Gita" - India's Science of God-relization.

Back when I was reading all these different religious books, this one had a record about a battle of warriors riding up in the air, in battle with each other. When the battle was over they landed and went into the river and washed away something.
When our scientists were developing the atomic bomb, they had to wash and change clothes before they left the lab building, washing away something.

I say the warriors were part of the Noah/Atlantis Society and these scriptures are about the High Tech Noah/Atlantis Society.

So J.T. will probably say I am trying to rewrite the Gita also.

This Gita, is one of the better scriptures that have the warriors riding up in the air. Our Bible has God or the Lord or Jehovah doing this.

I cannot help it if I see our High Tech Knowledge of today, in all these other religions and myth. Even the myths about Humans riding in the deep, can be explained by our submarines. I also think Jonah was in a small sub, like we have today. Not his but our Space Ancestors, or from the Noah/Atlantis Society. All the Gods in black swimsuits with fins, in the water, also were like our diving gear today.

All the Old Testament Books are not in the order of their happenings, because I do not know where they can be placed in past times, but they are not all after the Planetary Flood. They were just put together by Fallen Humans in the past, into Holy Books.

So hope other can start seeing all the High Tech Knowledge in the writings of the past. High Tech was on Earth 'in the beginning' with Human Colonization, and in the Unbalanced Noah/Atlantis Society, that caused the Planetary Flood.
Now we again have it and have our planet covered with nuclear bombs and pollution and have Earth set up for the Judgement Day Fire.

Re-writing the Bible with a High Tech Knowledge does not change the Truth of Eternal Physical Life depicted in it, or any other scripture and myth.

Hope Peace comes before we blow up our Planet, waiting for Eternal Life After Death.

Just Thinking

You've defined a cult, Dolores. It's not Christianity or Judaism or any other religion. It's YOUR religion, and it's not a very good one either: I don't think people want to be sterilized and have their seed harvested in hopes of making cloning work instead. Being a Dolorean is not a solution to anything; it's just bizarre.

Dave Miller

Hi, Bill. You wrote: "He'll speak at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 9, at Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church, 11100 College Boulevard, in Overland Park, Kan."

I plan to be there if I can! (Currently scheduled to work until 7 p.m. that nite...)

Thank you for the P.S.

Dolores Lear

Thanks J.T.
I still like you alot for all your help. If you need a release from your frustration from my posting, keep saying whatever you need to feel better.
I do not have a good come back like Patricia does, but hope she feels the same way, because your ranting does help me at least, explain about Jesus as I know him, and should relieve some of your pressure, for your stand for the Christian religion.

Peace and Jesus' Agape Love.

Dolores Lear

I forgot to mention the part about the warriors washing in the river.

I think this is where the practice of baptism in a river came from, for washing away something, usually Original Sin. This would have been before the Planetary Flood, and it still goes on today, in India, and all over the planet in the Christian Religion.

You all know what I call Original Sin.
:)
Peace.

Just Thinking

Apparently life is not complete for you, Dolores, without your regular, long discussions of high tech and mis-bred body birth. Are you trying to pick up a follower for your cult? Or are you simply trying to deny that there is anything supernatural, including God, that cannot somehow be explained with some cock-eyed high-tech scientific theory? Which is it, Dolores?

Dolores Lear

With a High Tech GOD, you do not have pagan temples made by Human Hands to worship in.
LIFE is the Temple os GOD and should be Served with Willing Caretaker Hands not folded in prayer and Killing Hands for what? Things? More than other Brothers/Sisters of LIFE? Prestiege? Proof that God loves you better than other Children of God if you get more of Earth's treasure? Faith for Eternal LIFE After Death? Instead of for After Birth?

LIFE will not be complete for me, till I can have Eternal Physical Life After Birth, and it is not possible with Mis-bred Body Birth. So until we find the Way to have Eternal PHysical LIFE After Birth, like Jesus has, or until Jesus returns, I do not seek, pray or plead for Eternal Life After Death anymore, since I 'know' we can have Eternal Physical Life After Birth.
Jesus proved this, and no one goes to be with Jesus when they die. He is Alive in a Physical Body.
This for me is the Truth of the Christian Bible.

So just keep prodding me and maybe one of these days I will say something, that will help you start seeking Eternal Physical Life After Birth on planets and in spaceships also.

Peace and 'Good' Will.

Just Thinking

"Jesus proved this, and no one goes to be with Jesus when they die. He is Alive in a Physical Body. This for me is the Truth of the Christian Bible."

You claim that you are not rewriting the Bible. Clearly you are.

Dolores Lear

Do you think Jesus is Alive in a Spirit Body, and did not go Alive up into Heaven/Space? And you go to be with Jesus when you die?

I do not think that is rewriting the Bible, to say he is Alive in a Physical Body out in Space.
What do you call Truth? Life After Death or Life After Birth?

presbyto lady

adhering to the truth of the bible represents bringing you out of Egypt and to worship the Lord your God. Do not serve idols fearing lions will be sent among you from other kings. Worthless and under seige you have the hope of being on holy ground and through the prophets teaching come to the Lord Jesus Christ...Spirit.
Provoking the anger of God by being enticed by loaded questions and theories introducing your mistaken view of life is the reason we are using our efforts. praying God liberates you by identifying the inverted image, a lie----this strips the lie of its power. Do you feel the conflict and tension of your imposing theories on the INDIVIDUAL of God's creating?!!!!! Like you have some special Power of forming unity of one harmonious creation that would only be full of nuts and bolts! We are Spiriitual creations. Christians are entiled to defend ourselves daily against your aggressive mental suggestions and attempts at manipulation and not be made to neglect our duty to God!
Dolores Humans do not have the power to reinvent Creation. Genesis 1 gives the record of divine creation, in which the Divine expresses Himself as ever-unfolding completeness--in our forever relationship with Love.

Just Thinking

Dolores, Jesus is the Word, and He became flesh and dwelt among us. Everything was created through Him.

Do you honestly believe that the Creator of the entire Universe is trapped to live forever in a spaceship?

John 1
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning.

3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.

...

14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Dolores Lear

presbyto lady and J.T.

Just keep telling me these things, till I can say something meaningful to you.

Most of the things you both say, was what I believed in the Lutheran religion.

High Tech Knowlegde changes some the the writings of people without High Tech wrote about their beliefs in the past, and are put into scripture.

Jesus was born of a woman and was in a Physical Body, and he is still in that same Physical Body, just 'regenerated' before he went up and out into Space.
If you both think he is a Spirit, so be it.

Regenerate is in the Bible. And people probably that was a supernatural act by the Lord. But now we have High Tech, we are 'regenerating' people today of some of their defects, like my Great Granddaughter has a pig valve to keep her alive.

In my religion, we sang on Easter 'I know that my redeemer liveth' and I also know this now. I used to wonder how Jesus was Alive and yet we would die and go to be with him.

I received my answer and I write about this.

I appreciate your comments and hope I can say something that we can agree on.

I still ask, do you both think Jesus is Alive in a Physical Body?
You give me other answers but you have not said yes or no, unless it is yes he is a spirit.

Thanks for your posts.

Agape Jesus Love.

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