June 26, 2008
June 28-29, 2008, weekend

June 27, 2008

A CHURCH STRUCTURE BEGINS TO CRACK

The worldwide Anglican Communion is getting close to breaking apart, this report says. A major issue, of course, is how the church is to treat gays and lesbians. In some ways this kind of internal fighting gives religion a bad name among folks who view it from the outside. But in other ways it reveals to outsiders people who stick by their principles. The Anglican Communion may split, but Anglicanism will go on. And I'm guessing that 50 years from now the church will look back and wonder what all the to-do was about when churches finally move closer to treating all people with equity and love.

* * *

TALKING RELIGION WITH MUSLIM VISITORS

As I've said many times, interfaith dialogue is fascinating, crucial and difficult.

Imam-1

But don't pass up opportunities to experience it. I had a chance this week to meet in Kansas City with two Muslim leaders from Italy and am glad I did.

Imam Wagih Saad Hassan Hassan (on the left in the picture here) and El Hassan Sadiq (on the right) were visiting the U.S. as part of the U.S. State Department'sInternational Visitor Leadership Program. The focus on their trip here and elsewhere in the U.S. was described as "religion and community activism in a democratic society."

Hassan Hassan is the imam of the Islamic Community in Reggio Emilia. He's a native of Egypt. Sadiq is present of the Cremona Mosque in Cremona, Italy, and is a native of Morocco.

It was my privilege to tell them a little about media coverage of religion both here and around the U.S. and to describe for them something of the religious landscape of Kansas City. We spoke through Michael Chaaya, an interpreter assigned to them for this trip.

The expressed concerns about the way the media in Europe portray immigrant Muslims there, and how difficult it is to be understood and integrated into the culture when there are so many misunderstandings of Islam perpetrated, as they said, by journalists who are uneducated about the subject.

We also spoke about what I called the struggle for the heart and soul of Islam, by which I meant the effort by traditional Islam to isolate and marginalize the radical elements. Each was insistent that al-Qaida and its followers are outside of traditional Islam and eventually would fade away.

But they also were concerned about the dictatorial regimes that rule in many Arab countries of the Middle East, where freedom of the press is largely a dream.

Through an interpreter such conversation can be a little trying, but we can always look each other in the eye and try to convey a sense that each of us is an important part of the human family. I think we sensed that from each other.

So my point is: Avail yourelves of opportunities to speak with people of other faiths and traditions whenever you have a chance.

As I drove home from meeting with these gentlemen at a Midtown hotel, I got behind a vehicle covered with bumper stickers, including, "Impeach Bush" and "Jail Bush." And although those aren't signs I would put on my car, I gave thanks to live in a country -- unlike Egypt, say, or Saudi Arabia -- where such publicly displayed political sentiments would be cause for arrest.

* * *

P.S.: Earlier this week on the blog I mentioned the newly released Part II of the religious landscape study by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Policy. Now Baptist Press has published this story suggesting that the wording of a question may have skewed some of the results. See what you think. When people say "religion," do they really mean "denomination"? Hmmmm.

* * *

ANOTHER P.S.: In yesterday's blog posting I wrote some about my recent experience being in New Orleans to see how the recovery from Hurricane Katrina is going. If you want to read columns and blogs on that subject from other columnists around the country, they're being collected on the Web site of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists, and organization that, much as it might like to deny it, once had me as its president.

To read my latest Kansas City Star work, click here. (My column tomorrow will be about why people confuse commitment to religion with patriotism.) 

Comments

PreacherDJ

"And I'm guessing that 50 years from now the church will look back and wonder what all the to-do was about when churches finally move closer to treating all people with equity and love."

Fifty years from now, assuming Christ hasn't returned, I imagine that one part will thank God for the heroes who stood up for God's Word, and the other part will have dwindled and those who are left may not use the Bible much at all in their weekly gatherings or annual conventions.

"When people say "religion," do they really mean 'denomination'?"

Yes, I think a significant number of people do mean denomination, enough so that unless the context makes it clear, I would usually ask for clarification in responding to someone using the word "religion." If someone asks, "What is your religion?", some would respond not with a label but with a set of beliefs. They would consider others who might answer with a similar but not the same set of beliefs to be of a different religion. I would probably answer the question "What is your religion?" with a label but down to the denominational level.

Dolores Lear

How did Religion and Denominations start on Earth? Many Humans accept God created Perfect Human Life as we Know it on Earth, without Body Birth. Then the Perfect Peace Humans made Fallen Humans that Kill each other.

Fallen Humans accept the Noah Flood, and other Flood records and myths around the Planet, was a Flood that destroyed all Life on Earth, and Humans again repopulated the Ruined Earth.

Different parts of the Earth had different families, languages, colors, governments, religious Gods, religion denominations, etc. Natural Human Life stayed pretty much the same, up to 1900, to repopulate the Earth.

A High Tech Science Revolution also began, with the discovery of Electricity, up to all the modern miracles today. Fallen Humans now have our Home Planet covered with High Tech weapons of massive destruction, and Nuclear Bombs on land and sea.

An Uncontrolled Heterosexual Reproduction Revolution began, with 1 billion Humans in 1900, which will reach 7 billion Humans in 2011. Is there a limit, to how many Humans a Planet the size of Earth can support?

Will we continue arguing, dividing, and fighting over who has the True God on Earth, while we keep Destroying all the Life 'God' Created on Earth?

Where is the Love and Peace of the God of Life on Earth. Where is the Love and Peace of our Brothers/Sisters, of Life After Birth on Earth? In Life After Death in Heaven? Why?

Teach a child the Way to Live, Caretaker or Killer, and they will not depart from it, when they are Adults.

Have we taught Division, Greed, Hate, Pollution, Killing, and War, on our Earth Home? Does our Dying Eco System and Planet Prove this?

Joe Barone

I think the Southern Baptists are right. Many Evangelical Christians who said there are different paths to heaven meant, "It's not your Christian denomination that gets you there, it's your belief in Jesus as Lord and Savior." They didn't mean, "You can get there if you are a Buddhist or whatever non-Christian religion you want to name."

There is a problem with religious polling. People don't agree on terminology. Believing in God, for example, can mean different things to different people. Many functional secularists might well tell you they believe in God and be telling you the truth according to their definitions.

If I were a denominational official in a a fundamentalist or doctrinal church, I would see growing secularism, what I might call "permissiveness," as the real threat to religion.

Dolores Lear

The Christian Bible, and All Divided Religions and Myth, have the recorded High Tech History of Earth, from the Colonization of Earth, to the End Times High Tech Destruction of Earth.

Genesis has the High Tech Reproduction of Male and Female Clone Caretaker Humans 'in the beginning'. It has Heterosexual Body Birth Killer Humans.

Genesis has the Noah/Atlantis Flood, that destroyed that High Tech Civilization. Noah and his Family, and many other Flood stories are about Humans that were Saved.

When Noah was 600 years old. The rain began after Noah was in the Ark for 7 days; the 40 days/nights of rain was enough to float the boat.

The windows of heaven broke open, and the fountains of the deep/earthquakes broke open, and the Waters continued for 5 months.
The Earth's land was under water; the Waters stopped. Atlantis/our Planet was split down the middle.

The waters receded, as the Tsunami/Tidal Waves set down a new Top Strata, on the ruined Earth. Noah was 700 years, 1 month, and 17 days when the Earth was dry.

Noah, his family, and other Humans were saved. Males began repopulating the Earth, not just Noah and his three sons.

Today, High Tech Humans, set up another Catastrophe, with their Pollution, and Coal, Oil, and Nuclear Waste on land and sea, that is making a Climate Change to our Eco System.

This will start burning, when the End Times 'Arm'ageddon Nuclear War begins. Our Pollution in the atmosphere, will break our Ozone Canopy, and Life as we Know it, cannot continue on our Home Planet.

Revelations also has the proof that Eternal Physical Human Life, like Jesus, is for High Tech Living Humans After Birth, who is with our Human Ancestors, who Colonized Earth and Live on Planets and in spaceships.

Just Thinking

Catholic priests are perfect examples of people for whom there are unreasonable expectations. Lifelong celibacy simply will not work for most people, and they need to be realistic about it. First, for men, the prostate is mostly a muscle and it must be worked or it can atrophy just like any other muscle. Sailor's Disease (also known as Priest's Disease) is more than a just painful condition of the prostate--it can be very unhealthy. Muscles aren't meant to atrophy. Muscles atrophy in about 10 days, but it takes 6 months to get the use back. Ask anyone who has ever been in a cast or had their arm in a sling about painful muscle atrophy. Those who expect lifelong celibacy from people are not being realistic, whether it is because of a priestly vow or because of the wrong sexual orientation.

Repressed sexuality often results in violence. Look at how many Catholic priests act out in violent acts against children. These are extremely brutal, violent acts; it's forced rape whenever they engage a child in sexual contact, and very damaging. A large number of Catholic priests are in hidden 'relations' with each other, too. Some of them force themselves on nuns. People in prison engage in similar violent acts against each other of a sexual nature as well. It's all unhealthy and diseased, a violent, unnatural symptom of repression.

It's similar to forcing people in a bad marriage to stay together. Yes, it might be a Biblical 'ideal,' but they might just kill each other, too. And if they don't, then they'll damage any children in their path. It is a sign of gross immaturity to accept perfection only. Sometimes we must accept less than perfection of others, and forgive. Jesus doesn't demand perfection, but offers forgiveness. Thank God.

Dolores Lear

Correction.

I said Noah was 700, 1 month and 17 days old when the ground was dry.

He was 601 years, 1 month and 17 days, when the Earth was dry. I added 100 years instead of 1 year.

The Flood lasted 1 year, 1 month and 17 days. The Ark was the size of the Titanic Ocean Liner, built in the Noah/Atlantis High Tech Society like we have today.

I guess they had enough food aboard, for all the Life they brought with them.

Maybe they brought male and female baby animals aboard.

:)

Dolores Lear

Perfection comes from High Tech Breeding of an Asexual Male like Adam and an Asexual Female like Eve, Cloned from Adam's Rib.

It would not be in the Bible if Cloning was not possible, when Humans again had the High Tech to understand this.

So it must be possible when Perfect Genetic and Physical Reproduction is used, not to get problems from not doing the sex act. And if so, masturbation will not cause disease, 'blindness', or Mis-bred children.

Jesus was also Asexual/Celibate and showed Humans, at his time in their Celibate Movement, that this is a Way for Humans, and the Way to Peace After Birth, not Peace After Death.

Jesus is Alive in 'Heaven'/Space, and we Know today Humans can stay Alive in Space, and not do the sex act. At least not in anything I have read or heard, about our astronauts having sex, or masturbation. for 6 month periods.

So we need more research on the Health of Asexual/Celibate Body Birth Humans. Or work toward making Pure-bred Peace Humans in a High Tech Womb. Earth has just about been ruined, by lustful Humans that Kill each other and their Planet.

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