Archive for the ‘Ltq’ Tag

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.

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:

A Prayer for a Quirky New Year: Happy 2014!   1 comment

A Harvest of Quirkiness (CLICK HERE for HD version on VIMEO)

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.

— from If Darwin Prayed: Prayers for Evolutionary Mystics, 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. Happy New Year!

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

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!

Ken Columbus?   1 comment

It’s Still About Conquest

About the best we can say of Christopher Columbus anymore is that he was a cheapskate. On his 1492 voyage, he promised a reward to whoever spotted land first. Hooray for sailor Rodrigo de Triana, right? Nope. Columbus claimed he had seen a “glow” the night before and gave the reward to himself.

The bottom line is that what we know now about the man should be enough to make even the most ardent “Knight of Columbus” feel ashamed – and it’s not PC revisionism of Columbus’ reputation, either. His own journals and logs reveal a man who, even by the standards of his own day, was more opportunistic monster than heroic explorer.

The one who many still celebrate for “discovering” America was, in fact, a heartless slave trader who brutalized and enslaved whole villages in an effort to lessen the effects of his failure to find a new trade route to the Indies.

As it turns out, the “Columbus sailed the ocean blue” song we sang as children needs a few new verses.  One might be about how he murdered countless natives. Another might be how he also dealt in child prostitution, giving his sailors the perk of 9 and 10 year old girls for their amusement. His reputation was so grim that, upon the approach of any Europeans, natives poisoned their own children and then committed suicide rather than face whatever torture was in store for them.

But he was not totally without scruples. Because the Catholic church forbade enslaving of Christians, he made sure not to baptize any of the natives he was selling into slavery.

Columbus’ own contemporaries despised him. As governor of Santo Domingo on Hispaniola, he was a despot who kept all the profits for himself, A number of attempts were made on his life and at one point he was actually arrested and sent back to Spain in chains for crimes against humanity. Good thing for him he brought a lot of gold and bought off the King and Queen, who pardoned him so he could get back to work.

We’ve got universities, companies, networks, rivers, whole countries named after this man. But most folks don’t have a clue as to the real nature of who he was and the horrific nature of his actions. Any claim he might have once had to being a brave explorer is eclipsed by the reality of the inhumanity he visited upon his fellow humans.

Like many holidays that involve a day off for Americans, most people either don’t care or downplay the origin of the celebration of Columbus Day. Good thing he was a Christian! Imagine how bad he would’ve been if he wasn’t following Jesus.

Considering Jesus’ summary of the Jewish Law and Prophets: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength; and you shall love your neighbor as yourself,” it begs the question: how do we get from Jesus to Columbus? Or from Jesus to Jim Jones? Or from Jesus to any of us, for that matter?

A part of the reason is because Christianity has, for nearly two millennia, functioned out of an imperialistic mindset. Bent on conquering the other more than “loving” the other (along with the warped sense that coercing people into belief was a form of loving them…), Christianity has helped make tyrants like Columbus possible. For much of its history, the only thing Jesus would recognize about Christianity is that it functions with the same MO as the Roman economic, political, and military machine that led to his execution.

Jesus was pretty clear about the principle of “Loving your neighbor as yourself.”  He even clarified that this included one’s enemies. In Romans, Paul even looked at it from the other direction: “If it hurts your neighbor, don’t do it.”

But 2000 years of putting “conquering in Jesus’ name” at the top of your list is a hard habit to break. Being “right” and showing others how “wrong” they are is still at the heart of many people’s core Christian beliefs.

"Answers in Genesis" Times Square Billboard

“Answers in Genesis” Times Square Billboard

In keeping with their usual adolescent taunts of those with whom they disagree, Ken Ham and the folks at Answers in Genesis have invested in a billboard (see photo at left) that says way more about their having been compromised by imperialist culture than anything about Jesus. Their “To our atheist friends: Thank God You’re Wrong” message is not love. It’s not neighborly. It’s shallow, arrogant, and reinforces the very un-Jesusy notion that Christianity is about being right. Plus, it’s just downright embarrassing.

If our “friends” at Answers in Genesis were really paying attention to Jesus’ teachings instead of trying to conquer “the other,” they would be seeking ways to enter into conversation rather than taking very expensive cheap shots at their perceived enemies. If they were paying attention they would know that even Carl Sagan, poster child for atheists everywhere, said “For small creatures such as we, the vastness is bearable only through love.”

Even atheists know that in the final analysis, it’s about love!  And isn’t that the starting point for any conversation that moves us forward as a community, as a civilization?

Despite what we learned as children, we know now that Columbus in large part used Christianity as a means toward satiating his personal greed for power and influence. Sadly, Christians like those at “Answers in Genesis” still function out of a similar imperialist mindset. Despite what many of us learned as children, Christianity is not about us-vs-them, conquering “the other,” and triumphing over “false” ideas. It’s about love – and not a rainbows and unicorns kind of superficial love – but a love that does the hard work of engaging those with whom we disagree for the shared purpose of working toward the common good.

Christians were originally called “people of the way,” people who followed the example of Jesus in making love of neighbor (and enemy) a way of life. As followers of Jesus, can we ever recover from thousands of years of having been compromised by dualism, violence, and the lust for power? Maybe we could start with a blogpost that cleverly disses our “friends” at Answers in Genesis by comparing them and their motives to Columbus’ reign of terror. Or maybe not.

Click HERE to see Eric Kasum’s article on Huffington Post about boycotting the celebration of Columbus Day

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.

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