Archive for the ‘livingthequestions’ Tag

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.

“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.” 

50% off on Borg & Crossan LtQ Curriculum   Leave a comment

FLBorgCrossan

Join preeminent New Testament scholars Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossan in exploring the worlds of Jesus and Paul in two thought-provoking and informative studies from Living the Questions! 

50% OFF THE CURRICULUM EDITION OF BOTH 
FIRST LIGHT 
& ECLIPSING EMPIRE
NOW THROUGH MARCH 9th 

FirstLight_finalFilmed in High-Definition on location throughout the Galilee and Jerusalem, First Light is a 12-session DVD and web-based study of the historical Jesus and the Kingdom of God.

The downloadable Participant Guide written by John Dominic Crossan: 

It is all I have to say about Jesus after half a century of study–in succinct summary.

Ecllipsing_EmpireEclipsing Empire is a 12-session DVD and web-based study that follows Marcus Borg and Dom Crossan through Turkey as they trace the Apostle Paul’s footsteps throughout the Roman Empire. Explore fresh insights into Paul’s message of the Kingdom of God, its challenge to Roman imperial theology, and the apostle’s radical relevance for today.

Participant Guide written by John Dominic Crossan. Filmed in High-Definition across Turkey, Greece, and Italy.

50% OFF THE CURRICULUM EDITION OF 
FIRST LIGHT 
& ECLIPSING EMPIRE
NOW THROUGH MARCH 9th 

Order the Curriculum Edition of First Light and/or Eclipsing Empire now through March 9th via the Living the Questions webstore and receive 50% off each program’s $250.00 USD list price!

HOW TO ORDER: To place an order for First Light please click here and place your order using coupon code: FL5CE or to place and order for Eclipsing Empire please click here and place your order with coupon code EE5CE. Only one coupon may be entered per transaction. If you would like to order both at the discounted price, please email us prior to placing your order.          

Small Print: Offer not valid on previous orders and cannot be applied to bundled curriculum pricing. You must be logged in to your member account when placing your order/entering the coupon code for the coupon code to be recognized and the discount to be deducted. If you do not have a member account set up, please do so at Create an Account prior to placing your order. You are welcome to share this offer with others by using the “Forward email” link below.

OFFER EXPIRES MARCH 9th, 2014

Preview the series with these video trailers:

Jesus Didn’t Give a Rip about Heaven   Leave a comment

Morwood PtS posterThere’s no small amount of confusion around the notion of heaven and the Kingdom of God. Much of it probably derives from the Gospel of Matthew. Matthew writes to a Jewish audience for whom the word “God” is unutterable, so he changes “Kingdom of God” to “Kingdom of Heaven.” In the Gospels according to Mark and Luke (and Thomas), Jesus’ expressed purpose is to embody and proclaim the Kingdom of God as a lived reality here and now – “not in some heaven, light years away.”  So “The kingdom of heaven,” (to use Matthew’s designation) isn’t about an otherworldly heaven – it isn’t a concept of the afterlife at all.

As Dave Tomlinson says in his book, How to Be a Bad Christian (and a Better Human Being),

It’s a “state of consciousness – a different way of looking at the world, a transformed awareness that anyone may sense from time to time. Every truly joyful (I don’t mean ‘religious’) experience is a taste of heaven. Every kindness is a taste of heaven. Every loving partnership, every real friendship is a taste of heaven. Every expression of beauty, every new discovery is a taste of heaven. Every selfless act, every attempt to create justice, every hungry mouth fed, every homeless person welcomed, every difference celebrated is a taste of heaven.”

The real danger comes when Christians become “so heavenly-minded that they’re no earthly good.” Again, Tomlinson says,

“There is a stream of otherworldly spirituality within Christianity that tells us not to feel too much at home in this world; that we are exiles or aliens here, awaiting removal to our true home in heaven. I think this is mistaken. Yes, of course, there are things in the world that we shouldn’t feel at home with – injustice, poverty, prejudice, greed, abuse, disease and the like – but it is these things that are alien and need to be eradicated, evicted and exiled.”

In Living the Questions’ new series on Science, Evolution, and an Evolving Faith, Painting the Stars, Australian theologian Michael Morwood says,

“It is my utter conviction that the dream ‑ the intensity ‑ of Jesus of Nazareth had nothing to do with people getting to Heaven. It’s about the Kingdom of God. It’s about the here. It’s about the now. It’s about us being empowered by the presence of the divine with us; that the Jesus story is our story. The Jesus reality is the divine emerging in the human, giving voice to that ‘presence’ in the universe and on this planet ‑ and saying, ‘This is what it is to be human.'”

It’s not about getting to some otherworldly heaven, but about how we embody the Jesus story in our own lives, here and now. May the coming New Year offer us all opportunities to live out the Jesus story wherever we find ourselves!

Oy Vey Maria! The Virgin Birth as Mistake, Marketing, and Major Distraction   Leave a comment

Living the Questions’ co-author, David Felten, is on Huffington Post with a blogpost for Christmas. Check it out by clicking HERE or on the “Mary & Jesus” graphic.

__________________________

2013Creatista-MaryAndJesus-

Mary and Jesus ©2013 Creatista/Scott Griessel. Used by Permission.

“There really is something about Mary.

Catholics aren’t the only ones who harbor a measure of devotion to Jesus’ mother that can sometimes border on the fanatic. But Mary can be a bit of problem. From the church’s doctrinal expectations about believing in the literal virgin birth to the political realities of women’s reproductive choices, beliefs and notions about the person and role of Mary are right below the surface in many peoples’ subconscious…”

To read more, click HERE…

50% off Christmas Sale!   Leave a comment

Christmas LtQ logoIn celebration of Christmas,  purchase any LtQ curriculum edition today or tomorrow (12.10.13 & 12.11.13)  and get 50% off! To place your order, simply go to our LtQ website, log in to your member account, and add the curriculum edition program(s) to your shopping cart. Then enter coupon code C5CE into the coupon code field on your shopping cart page to receive this special holiday discount.

To be directed to our complete curriculum listings page, please CLICK HERE.

Please Note: You must be logged in to your member account when placing your order/entering the coupon code for the coupon code to be recognized and the discount to be deducted. If you do not have a member account set up, please do so at Create an Account  prior to placing your order.

SMALL PRINT: Applies only to adult curriculum edition products purchased from livingthequestions.com. Must enter coupon code to receive discount. Offer valid through 11:59 p.m. Central, Dec 11, 2013. Not valid on previous orders or combined with any other promotional offers.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS FROM YOUR FRIENDS AT LTQ AND MANY THANKS FOR YOUR CONTINUED SUPPORT!

God is Dying   Leave a comment

Sample God being Bombed

“God Will Not Be God Without Us.  When anybody in this world is hurt, God is hurt. When anybody in this world gets their lives twisted and out of joint, that radically affects the reality of God. When a culture is bombed and civilizations are dying, God is being bombed, and in human terms, dying.”

–Tex Sample
in Living the Questions’ Saving Jesus Redux,  “Atonement”

Tex SampleThe Rev. Dr. Tex Sample served as Academic Dean and Emeritus Professor of Church and Society at the Saint Paul School of Theology, and currently writes books and travels  as a freelance lecturer, workshop leader, consultant, and storyteller. His books include Ministry in an Oral Culture: Living with Will Rogers, Uncle Remus, and Minnie Pearl, and co-editor of The Loyal Opposition: Struggling with the Church on Homosexuality. He is currently the coordinator of the Network for the Study of U.S. Lifestyles and a contributor to several Living the Questions programs.

ONE DAY LtQ FLASH SALE: 50% OFF ALL DVD PROGRAMS!   2 comments

1 year anniversary coupon

This kind of thing doesn’t happen every day (or even every YEAR!), so don’t miss your chance to snag that LtQ program you’ve been meaning to roll out in your church or study group! ONE DAY ONLY: Wednesday, Sept. 4th, 2013 

“I’ve lead most of the LTQ courses. Each time people are energized by learning that they don’t have to believe in impossible things, just live a life rooted in the love, compassion and justice embodied in Jesus.”  — R.H. in Austin (via Facebook)

“Living the Questions is a breath of fresh air in the crazy world of contemporary religious thought. It will refresh, renew, challenge, inspire and sometimes drive you to a fine glass of red wine. LTQ literally changed my life!”  — S.S. in Ohio (via Facebook)

“LtQ2 both broadened and deepened our Christian Formation studies at my church in Atlanta. We could watch the confining bonds of literalism fall from the consciousnesses around us as we could once again view the numinous through our liturgies. Awesome materials.”  — M.D. in Atlanta (via Facebook)

NOTE: Offer applies only to DVD curriculum purchased from the livingthequestions.com website and is not valid on previous orders or combined with any other promotional offers. Offer valid through 11:59 pm, Central, September 4th, 2013.  To receive the discount, you must create a member account or be logged in to your member account and enter the code: 1YRLTQ

Chlorophyl as Religious Experience   1 comment

Rossing Photosynthesis poster

“I remember as a child first learning about photosynthesis. That was truly one of the biggest ‘Aha’ moments I have ever experienced. To realize that plants have these amazing chlorophyl molecules that are somehow able to transform the energy of sunlight into food…to realize that all the oxygen we breathe on our planet is created by trees, by plants. I had to ask my mother, ‘Is it really true?’ The connections were so amazing. ‘Yes!’ my chemist mother told me. Yes!’ said my physicist father.

That whole week I pondered the deepening realization that we are all connected in a ‘luminous web,’ a wondrous communion of living beings — and that’s how it felt when I learned about evolution too. It was so wonderful, so amazing. So, for me, before there was any ‘conflict’ between religion and science, there was wonder, amazement about photosynthesis, and gratitude to God for evolution.”

— Rev. Dr. Barbara Rossing in Painting the Stars: Science, Religion, and an Evolving Faith

Celebrating the communion of science and faith, Painting the Stars features over a dozen leading theologians and progressive thinkers in a seven-session program that explores the promise of evolutionary Christian spirituality.

Living the Questions contributor, Rev. Dr. Barbara Rossing

Living the Questions contributor, Rev. Dr. Barbara Rossing

Barbara Rossing  is Professor of New Testament at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago.  Her publications include The Rapture Exposed: The Message of Hope in the Book of Revelation, a critique of fundamentalist “Left Behind” theology and articles and book chapters on ecology.  She serves on the executive committee and council of the Lutheran World Federation, where she also chairs the Lutheran World Federation’s theology and studies committee. She has contributed to a number of Living the Questions series, including Living the Questions 2.0 and Saving Jesus Redux

A Dream Day Legacy   Leave a comment

Tex Sample asks,  “I often wonder where the people who are marginalized in the world, where the people who are poor, where the people who are outcast, can find those that they can trust. Is it you?  Is it me?  Can it be the church?”

chalmers

Allan Knight Chalmers

MLK 50

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Allan Knight Chalmers was a Professor of Preaching at Boston University School of Theology and a mentor to Martin Luther King, Jr.  While at Boston University, Chalmers was the president of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and was involved in Civil Rights struggles and Civil Rights action all over the United States. It was professors like Chalmers and Dean Walter Muelder who intentionally sought out African American students from the South to train them for the Civil Rights challenges that were to come. During his tenure at Boston University, Dean Muelder was responsible for the training of more African American PhD students than any single university in the country. One of those was Dr. King.

Tex Sample video clip from Living the Questions 2.0, available at www.livingthequestions.com

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