New “Jesus Fatwah” Trailer   Leave a comment

Fatwah n. a spiritually instructive opinion, usually given as the answer to a question about religious law.

When asked to name the greatest commandment, Jesus issued a fatwah: “Love God with every fiber of your being and love your neighbor as you love yourself.” Living the Questions is proud to introduce our newest DVD series, “The Jesus Fatwah,” a dynamic 5-session program that takes Jesus’ admonition to love our neighbors as we love ourselves seriously — even (and in these tense times, especially) if that neighbor is Muslim.

A "Jesus Fatwah" class at Dayspring United Methodist in Tempe, Arizona had over 120 participants (including the Imam and 15 members of a local mosque)

A “Jesus Fatwah” class at Dayspring United Methodist in Tempe, Arizona had over 120 participants (including the Imam and 15 members of a local mosque) [October 2014]

“The Jesus Fatwah” is an engaging catalyst for conversation about resisting the Islamophobia that is rampant and, in many segments of our society, growing stronger. With nearly 20 Muslim and Christian contributors and a helpful participant guide written by author and pastor, Rev. Ben Daniel (author of The Search for Truth About Islam: A Christian Pastor Separates Fact from Fiction), “The Jesus Fatwah” is a perfect vehicle for educating those unfamiliar with Islam about the basics of the faith and how, as followers of Jesus, we are compelled to reach out in love to our Muslim neighbors. The downloadable participant guide includes discussion questions to maximize your group’s experience.

CLICK HERE for information on how to purchase your copy of “The Jesus Fatwah”

Introducing “The Jesus Fatwah: Love your Muslim Neighbor as Yourself”   2 comments

TJF blockHelp stem the rising tide of Islamophobia with the newest DVD curriculum from Living the Questions!

In Arabic, the word “fatwah” simply means “opinion” and, in a religious context, a fatwah is a spiritually instructive opinion, usually given as the answer to a question about religious law. Jesus was a master of the art of fatwah. His opinions, revered by Christians and Muslims alike, remain among the most beautiful and powerful fatwahs ever issued. Jesus pronounced what is perhaps the most famous of his fatwahs when a lawyer asked him to name the greatest of all the commandments. He said, “Love the Lord your God with all of your heart, mind, soul and strength and love your neighbor as you love yourself.”

It’s in that spirit that we are thrilled to introduce a new DVD curriculum from Living the Questions: The Jesus Fatwah: Love your Muslim Neighbor as Yourself.

With violence and mayhem on the rise in the Middle East and public opinion of Islam plummeting, this is a critical time in both international affairs and for the day to day lives of Muslims everywhere. Much of what passes for information about Islam is weed-like disinformation rooted in ancient stereotypes and watered by fear — and disseminated by a multi-million dollar industry bent on stoking a growing Islamophobia.  In LtQ’s new The Jesus Fatwah series, both Islamic and Christian scholars offer reliable information about what Muslims believe, how they live out their faith, and how we can build relationships across the lines of faith.

The Jesus Fatwah features seventeen Islamic and Christian scholars, including:

  • Hans Küng (Islam: Past, Present and Future)
  • Brian McLaren (Why Did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha, and Mohammed Cross the Road?)
  • Eboo Patel (Acts of Faith: The Story of an American Muslim)
  • Stephen Prothero (God is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions That Run the World–and Why Their Differences Matter)
  • Feisal Abdul Rauf (What’s Right with Islam Is What’s Right with America)

CLICK HERE to see a complete listing of the contributors.

Along with five half-hour sessions on one DVD disc, a downloadable participant guide and discussion questions are provided to foster both conversation and action. Written by the Rev. Ben Daniel, author of The Search for Truth about Islam: A Christian Pastor Separates Fact from Fiction, the participant guide lays out succinct conversation topics which are then expanded on by the video-based contributors.

CLICK HERE to see a list of the program themes.

In an age of increasing Islamophobia, we believe it’s especially important for Christians to take Jesus seriously and love their neighbors as they love themselves — especially the Muslim ones! The Jesus Fatwah can help you and your faith or discussion group begin the process of discovering who Muslims really are, what they actually believe, and how we can work together in working toward a world at peace.

Be one of the first to receive this important new series by pre-ordering today!TJF Title

Order NOW through September 30th via the Living the Questions Website to receive our Special Pre-Publication Discount Price of $79.00 (plus shipping/handling). Save $20 over the regular price of $99 (plus shipping/ handling). There is no coupon code to enter. Through September 30th, the discounted price will automatically be given at checkout.

Click Here to Place Your Pre-Order TODAY!

Anticipated Release Date: September 2014.

Attention International Customers: This product is only available in NTSC format.Please verify that your DVD player can read/play NTSC formatted DVDs prior to ordering.

FLASH GIVEAWAY: Win ALL FIVE of LtQ’s Most Popular Programs!   1 comment

Fb_promo_5HEs

FLASH GIVEAWAY!  Go to Living the Questions’ Facebook page for your chance  to win home editions of ALL FIVE of LtQs most popular programs.That’s a bundle of LtQ worth over $250! Find the graphic (pictured above) on our timeline and simply press “Like” and “Share” to your own timeline.

This promo begins on Friday, August 22nd and ends on Sunday, August 24th at midnight (MST). On Monday, a winner will be chosen randomly from those who have “Liked” and “Shared” this post between now and Sunday night. Good luck and thanks for your support!

CLICK HERE to go to the LtQ Facebook page. 

Refusing to Reflect Anger Back into the World   Leave a comment

Marley How Can I

 

Hugh SherlockWhat do Bob Marley and Hugh Sherlock have to do with one another? The Rev. Hugh Sherlock was a Jamaican, a Methodist minister, the first President of the Methodist Church in the Caribbean and the Americas — and, of all things, author of Jamaica’s National Anthem. He also ran a boys’ club in the shanty towns of Kingston. “Operation Friendship” he called it. And it was in such a township, under the tutelage of Christian teachers, that Bob Marley lived. That’s where he formed his political and social views. That’s where he developed his music. And that’s why we shouldn’t be surprised that, through his music, he wanted to address the society around him.

Reggae became the soul music of Black Caribbean people. And it became the vehicle for giving black people their pride. The only way black people could be superior to whites, argued Marley, was by refusing to practice the racism of white people. Marley was a peaceful, gentle, man who’d known great suffering but refused to reflect anger back into a world that had already seen too much of it.

Bob Marley ShotTwo days before Bob Marley was scheduled to perform at the “Smile Jamaica” peace rally, a gunman came to his house and shot Marley and several others. Despite his injuries, he walked out on the stage and wowed the crowd for 90 minutes. Impressed by his determination, somebody asked him, “Why?” He said, “The people who are trying to make this world worse are not taking a day off.
How can I?

From the authors of “Living the Questions: The  Wisdom of Progressive Christianity”  www.livingthequestions.com

Bob Marley portrait by Scott Guion (c) 2006. Visit Scott’s website by clicking HERE.

You Can Get the Bible to Say Whatever You Want   2 comments

For people determined to get Divine approval for their beliefs and actions, it’s not hard to get the Bible to say whatever you want it to say. You can find justification for just about anything you’d like to do and rationale for hating just about anyone you want to hate. And it’s just those kinds of manipulative shenanigans that have turned a lot of people off to any kind of serious practice of the Christian faith — and much of it is the fault of those who have ceded the serious reading of the Bible to people who have a reactionary agenda. Professor Mark George makes an earnest appeal to those who have neglected their responsibility to engage with a text that is too important to ignore:

 

I’m almost to the point of begging everyone I see who wants to listen to me talk about Bible, “Read the Bible. READ the Bible.” I did some teaching on the ten commandments and ten commandments monuments recently with some folks who were working in their churches and they’re active and they have long history of this. One or two people said, “Y’know I’ve never actually read the ten commandments.” I see the plaques on the walls and I know about them and hear about them all the time, but I’ve never actually sat down and read them.” And I said, “Yeah, and you probably didn’t know there’s one in Exodus and one in Deuteronomy. And they’re MOSTLY the same. But even to say they’re mostly the same raises some questions. Did you know that Jews have a different ordering than Christians have?

It made me remember that we’ve GOT to read these texts. There’s lots in the texts that I don’t like. They challenge my modern sensibilities. But if I don’t read them, if I don’t study them, if I don’t talk about them, if I don’t OWN the texts in my tradition, someone else will. And they’re going to talk about them in ways that I disagree with. But since I don’t know them, I won’t know what to do with them.

If you do actually start reading it, you might see the Bible for what it really is. You might start thinking critically, entertaining dangerous ideas, and the next thing you know you might find yourself having to rethink your faith in light of science, the modern world, and the needs of people in the 21st century.

 

mark georgeMark K. George teaches Hebrew Bible at Iliff School of Theology in Denver, Colorado. His publications include Israel’s Tabernacle as Social Space (SBL, 2009) along with entries and chapters in edited books and articles in academic journals. He is an active member of the Society of Biblical Literature.

Dr. George is a featured contributor in Living the Questions‘ upcoming series on the origins of the Bible.

Bishop Spong on the First Easter   1 comment

“There is no question in my mind that had there not been some transforming experience that happened to the disciples after the death of Jesus that convinced them that he had conquered the boundary of human death there would be no Christianity.  But what people don’t understand is that the idea that that experience meant the resuscitation of a body that could walk physically out of a tomb on the third day after crucifixion is a very late developing tradition.  You will not find it in Paul; you will not find it in Mark.  Most people are surprised to know that in the first gospel, Mark, written in the early seventies, that no where does the risen Christ ever appear in Mark to anybody!  It’s only in the late gospels that he not only appears but offers his flesh to be inspected and eats and walks and talks and interprets scripture; it’s a very late development in the tradition.  There is a powerful Easter experience that starts the whole Christian faith, transforms the disciples, changes them from cowards who had forsaken him and fled and brought them back into being heroic followers of this Jesus —  changed the way they understood God so that whatever that Easter experience was they could never again think of God without seeing Jesus as part of that definition.  They could never again see Jesus without feeling that God was part of that definition.  Something incredibly powerful happened but it had nothing to do with the resuscitation of the body.”

– Bishop John Shelby Spong in Saving Jesus Redux (available at livingthequestions.com)

NLS_Spong6_Jan27_03The retired Bishop of Newark, New Jersey, John Shelby Spong is one of the featured contributors in several Living the Questions series. He is a columnist and author of over sixteen books including Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism and Why Christianity Must Change or Die. Lecturer at Harvard, Humanist of the Year, and a guest on numerous national television broadcasts including The Today Show, Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher, and Larry King Live, Bishop Spong continues to write and lecture around the world. His newest book is The Fourth Gospel: Tales of a Jewish Mystic. 

“A Harvest of Quirkiness”   Leave a comment

 

Back by popular demand!
A repost of “A Harvest of Quirkiness”
by Bruce Sanguin

Gracious God,
how can creation sing your praises,
except with the red wings of blackbirds
flashing across blue sky,
and the croak and splash of frogs
playing hide-and-seek in the ponds?

How can the firmament proclaim your handiwork,
except in the wagging tail of a puppy,
and the focused attention of a toddler
soaking in the wonder of it all?

How can the heavens proclaim your glory,
except through a morning sun rising upon gold-green grass,
lighting up the face of lovers as Earth spins them
once more into a new day?

Your beauty and goodness, O Immanent One,
requires Earth’s diversity
and our own wildness,
breaking down – and out of –
the monotony of prescribed patterns,
choosing rather to take our place
in the dancing procession
of differentness,
the variegated life of Christ finding expression
in this body of the church
and the bodies of our kin-creatures.

Make a harvest, O Holy One,
of our quirkiness,
that we might be your radiant presence.

– by Bruce Sanguin

Each session of LtQ’s DVD curriculum, Painting the Stars, concludes with a reading from Bruce Sanguin’s collection of prayers and liturgical resources published in his book “If Darwin Prayed.” This prayer, “A Harvest of Quirkiness” was produced by Scott Griessel of Creatista and is read by Sara Jackson.

PtS logo white frameFor more on Living the Questions and Painting the Stars, including DVD/web-based curriculum and home editions, CLICK HERE (or on the graphic at left)

Bruce Sanguin_scarf

Rev. Bruce Sanguin is a leader in evolutionary Christianity, teaching evolutionary theology and practice with a passion for updating the theology and practice of the church in light of the reality of evolutionary processes and the creative impulse of the universe. He lives in Vancouver. Find more of his writing HERE

 

John Jacobson, facilitator of the New Smyrna Beach Theology Club says,
“This course is a masterpiece. The content, editing and graphics are beyond first rate. Congratulations to all.” 

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