Archive for the ‘saving jesus’ Tag

Save 50% on Saving Jesus Redux Curriculum Edition   Leave a comment

SJ2 LogoSPECIAL LIMITED TIME OFFER

Save 50% on Saving Jesus Redux Curriculum Edition now through Tuesday March 24th when ordering online at www.livingthequestions.com!

Ever feel like Jesus has been kidnapped by the Christian Right and discarded by the Secular Left? Saving Jesus Redux is total revision of Living the Questions’ popular 12-session DVD-based small group exploration of a credible Jesus for the third millennium. New contributors including Brian McLaren, Diana Butler Bass, and Robin Meyers join Marcus Borg, Walter Brueggemann, John Dominic Crossan, Matthew Fox, Amy-Jill Levine, and a host of others for a conversation around the relevance of Jesus for today.

The 12-session curriculum edition program includes a printable participant reader/study guide with background readings and discussion questions. The basic format for each 1 – 1½ hour session includes conversation around the readings, a 30-minute video segment and guided discussion.

Saving Jesus Redux Curriculum Edition is licensed for small group use and includes a two-disc DVD set and one year renewable subscription to the downloadable study materials. List Price = $250.00 plus s/h.

Use coupon code SJR5CC before March 24th to receive 50% off the list price.

Simply go to the Living the Questions Web Site and place your order using coupon code: SJR5CC

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. You are welcome to share this offer with others.

Offer Expires: March 24, 2015

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. 

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

Jesus Needs Saving   Leave a comment

SJR HE Easter Poster

Ever feel like Jesus has been kidnapped by the Christian Right and discarded by the Secular Left?  Then you need Saving Jesus, a 12-session DVD-based  exploration of a credible Jesus for the third millennium — now available for home use!  This remarkable series features nearly 30 thought leaders at the forefront of Progressive Christianity, including Marcus Borg, Diana Butler Bass, John Dominic Crossan, Yvette Flunder, Matthew Fox, Amy-Jill Levine, Brian McLaren, Stephen Patterson, Helen Prejean, John Shelby Spong, & more!

Now thru Easter 2013, the Home Edition of “Saving Jesus” is 50% off!

Simply create an account at http://www.livingthequestions.com, put Saving Jesus Home Edition in your shopping cart, and enter coupon code sjhe50fb.

Hocus Pocus Resurrection   3 comments

Meyers Beam Me Up

Robin Meyers believes that the resuscitation of Jesus’ body is less important than the idea of resurrection as a credible and meaningful principle for living:

“Resurrection is not about ‘beam me up, Scotty!’ It’s not about molecules disappearing and then reappearing. All that is hocus pocus. We don’t believe in Santa Claus anymore. We don’t believe in the Tooth Fairy. We should not believe in ‘beam me up, Scotty’ as an explanation for Easter.”

– Rev. Dr. Robin Meyers in “Saving Jesus Redux” from www.livingthequestions.com

For this and more provocative challenges to “pop” Christianity, check out the DVD series “Saving Jesus Redux,” 50% off the Home Edition now thru Easter, 2013. Simply create an account at www.livingthequestions.com and enter coupon code sjhe50fb

Meyers points

Robin Meyers is a United Church of Christ pastor, Professor of Rhetoric, and author of “Why the Christian Right is Wrong,” “Saving Jesus from the Church,”  and “The Underground Church.” You’ll find Robin in LtQ’s “Saving Jesus Redux,” “LtQ2,” and Living the Questions’ upcoming series on the origin and use of the Bible.

Another Version of Virgin…   9 comments

With Pope Benedict’s recent release of a book reflecting on the Nativity, the historicity of the Virgin Birth is yet again back in the news. It seems that Benedict is more concerned that barnyard animals are inaccurately included in most traditional Nativity scenes than the fact that insistence on a literal virgin birth is one of the reasons many thinking people leave the church.

Retired Episcopal Bishop Jack Spong sees it differently than Pope Benedict — and offers an alternative vision for interpreting the meaning behind the parable of the virgin birth. With apologies to Dr. Seuss: “Maybe Christmas, Jack thought, doesn’t come from a virgin. Maybe Christmas, perhaps, means a Spirit emergin’…”.

Spong Virgin Birth

Robin Meyers on Taking the Bible Off the Altar   Leave a comment

Taking the Bible Off the Altar

Robin Meyers says, “We’ve projected upon the Bible something it was never intended to do: which is to give us answers to every conceivable human problem.” We keep going to scripture for answers to the Abortion dilemma, and it’s simply not there. “We don’t let the Bible speak on its own terms.” Instead, we engage in tortured exegesis to make it prove what we already believe to be the case.

As long as we place our ultimate authority in the Bible, we’ve got “the object of our worship in the wrong place.”
 
Robin Meyers is a United Church of Christ pastor, Professor of Rhetoric, and author of “Why the Christian Right is Wrong” & “Saving Jesus from the Church.” You’ll find Robin in LtQ’s “Saving Jesus Redux,” “LtQ2,” and Living the Questions’ upcoming series on the origin and use of the Bible.
 
“LtQ Clips” offer thought-provoking observations and comments on spirituality and religion from prominent authors, scholars, and thinkers. These excerpts from “Living the Questions” curriculum are designed to spark conversation in questioning the dominant pop theology of Christian orthodoxy.

The “Love Wins” Hellabelloo   8 comments

hellabelloo
noun [in sing.] informal
1. irrational tantrums among evangelical Christians over Rob Bell’s book, “Love Wins”: that’s quite a hellabelloo over Rob’s new book!
2. a commotion over “the tiddlywinks and peccadilloes of religion” (Fosdick); a fuss

The evangelical blogosphere is all aflutter over Rob Bell’s soon-to-be-unleashed book “Love Wins.”

Having perused an advance copy, we can say that what’s news in evangelical circles is downright passé to most mainline and progressive Christians. For many evangelicals, heaven and hell are at the heart of their so-called “good news,” resting in the comfort that their told-you-so reward is all the more satisfying in the knowledge that countless others are being punished for eternity by an all-loving but sadistic God.

On a practical level, Bell is messing with the evangelical “business model.” Promising a reward in heaven or threatening people with torture in Hell keeps plenty of butts in the seats of countless mega-churches. But more than that, Bell is threatening the very core of evangelical Christianity’s purpose. Denying Hell’s existence leaves evangelicals to wonder, “Why be a Christian?” After all, what’s their understanding of the gospel if it’s not simply glorified fire insurance? Could Jesus’ life and teachings amount to something more than a Get Out of Hell Free card? We progressives like to think so.

In a recent interview for Living the Questions’ new “Saving Jesus Redux,” Diana Butler Bass echoes Bell’s concern that the Church has put too much emphasis on “right beliefs.” Whether the topic be Hell or Jesus, the old understandings have got to go:

“And I think the shift from having faith in Jesus to having beliefs about Jesus was a negative thing for the Church. And to have a person’s orthodoxy, a person’s right relationship with God tested on the nature of what we believe about something is deeply troubling to me. And it’s troubling to me as a Christian; it’s troubling to me as a post-modern person; and I just don’t think it works anymore. I think that we are coming to a different place in our understandings of Jesus and that believing about Jesus is beginning to be replaced by having an experience of Jesus. And I hope that that shift continues. It’s time to leave beliefs about Christianity, in the past.”

Despite the Bell-inspired tantrums (dare we say a hellabelloo?) on display among conservative Christians, there’s nothing they can do about the reality that Christianity is a-changin’ – and it’s not a new phenomenon. Even back in 1922, Harry Emerson Fosdick observed noisy fundamentalists arguing over inane points of “right belief” and asked, “What can you do with folks like this who, in the face of colossal issues, play with the tiddlywinks and peccadilloes of religion?”

So, while blogger John Piper recently tweeted, “Farewell, Rob Bell,” we offer a hearty “Welcome, Rob Bell!” Welcome to a Christianity that has left behind the fear-based, exclusive, and literalistic burdens of right belief in favor of a gospel that is open, inclusive, and grace-filled. It’s a way of following Jesus that you might even say is hell-bent — on naming and mending the injustices and hells that people suffer this side of death.

Welcome, Rob Bell!

Advertising: yet another slice of our culture allergic to expressions of faith   Leave a comment

For those who didn’t see Mark Oppenheimer’s article in the New York Times earlier this month, Living the Questions was mentioned in his weekend “Beliefs” feature. Oppenheimer focused on the evangelical group, Fixed Point Foundation, and its effort to air an ad during the super bowl. In “Super Bowl Ads Will Leave a Religious Question Unanswered,” Oppenheimer suggests that,

Mark Oppenheimer writes for The New York Times, The New York Times Magazine, Slate, Mother Jones, Tablet, The Forward, and many other publications. He is an editor of The New Haven Review and an occasional commentator on NPR.

“Perhaps he (Larry Taunton of Fixed Point) should share some halftime pork rinds with the folks at Living the Questions, a Phoenix company that publishes liberal Christian education materials. They too had an advertisement rejected, by broadcasters who may have shared Fox’s fear that any religious message could anger some of the audience.

Last month, Living the Questions bought radio time for one of its products on stations in Portland, Ore. The one-minute ad for Saving Jesus, a 12-part video course, begins with the question, “Ever feel like Jesus has been kidnapped and taken hostage by the Christian right?”

In Portland, the advertisement was dropped after the first day by three stations owned by Entercom Radio, and dropped after 10 days, and 36 airings, by KINK-FM, owned by Alpha Broadcasting. Erin Hubert, program director for Entercom, said that although the station received only one complaint about the spot, it was dropped “because a local advertiser wanted that time.”

But David M. Felten, co-owner of Living the Questions, said his media buyer told him in a Jan. 6 e-mail that “there is a radio group in Portland that asked us to pull their online streaming spots off of the air due to some listener complaints.” And KINK-FM was also responding to feedback from listeners, said Amy Leimbach, the director of sales for Alpha Broadcasting.

“If a commercial is offensive to our listeners, regardless of who the client might be, and we get a constant barrage of complaints, we will take it off the air,” Ms. Leimbach said.

Of course, it is unclear who would be more upset by an ad defending Christianity from the “religious right”: those on the religious right, who feel slighted, or secular rock-radio listeners who resent evangelism even from liberal Christians.Ms. Leimbach refused to share any of the many e-mails she said her station received each day the ad aired.

The general reaction, she said, was “I can’t believe KINK would take a position on this,” Ms. Leimbach said. “They felt by running it, the station was taking a position on religion.”

It is not just broadcasters who fear the power of religious advertising to anger customers.

In December, the Fort Worth Transportation Authority ran bus advertisements that read, “Millions of people are good without God.”

Local Christians responded with a bus boycott, and one group hired a van bearing the message “I Still Love You. — God” to follow a city bus. Within a week, the transportation authority resolved the conflict by banning all religious advertising, including that of atheists.

And so, liberated from eternal quarrels, Fort Worth city buses — like Fox Sports and KINK-FM — will have more space to sell us potato chips and car leases.”

The whole article appeared in print on February 5, 2011, on page A12 of the New York edition of The New York Times. To read the whole article, click HERE.

Thanks again to Mark Oppenheimer for the ink on LtQ! Thanks also to Chuck Currie, whose hustle with the Portland media, social media savvy, and blog-posts were responsible for bringing LtQ’s radio “drama” to the attention of many.

For a link to the Radio Spot that caused all the hubbub, click HERE.

LtQ’s Jesus Jars Sports Illustrated, Angers Portland Radio Listeners   5 comments

PORTLAND, OREGON – What is media giant Entercom Communications afraid of? Curriculum publisher “Living the Questions” recently contracted with three of Entercom’s Portland area stations, KGON-FM (Classic Rock), KWJJ-FM (Country), KYCH-FM (Classic Hits) to run professionally produced ads as part of their online streaming radio services. Without an explanation beyond “due to listener complaint,” the ads were pulled after only one day.

Living the Questions is a respected resource of video curriculum for progressive Christian communities around the world. The Portland radio spots advertised a new series called “Saving Jesus” with the seemingly balanced introduction:

“Ever feel like Jesus has been kidnapped and taken hostage by the Christian Right? Or maybe even worse, simply cast aside as irrelevant by those on the secular left?”

Portland was chosen specifically because of its established reputation as a liberal-leaning market. However, there seems to be very well organized opposition to any message other than that deemed acceptable to the Christian Right. That or it doesn’t take much for Entercom to be threatened into compliance with the expectations and prejudices of a fraction of their listening community.

And now, after moving the ads to “substitute” Portland radio stations, Alpha Broadcasting’s KINK has pulled the ad because, according to KINK’s Amanda Quillen, programming is “getting flooded with calls & emails” “from angry listeners ‘bothered’ by the message.” Are these angry conservative Christians calling? Angry liberals?

If it is angry Christians defensive about their narrow interpretation of Jesus, how are they any different from Muslim Extremists who react so negatively to representations of the prophet that they deem offensive? What’s going on in Portland?

Portland Blogger & UCC pastor, Chuck Currie

“I’ve used the Saving Jesus curriculum and other programs from the Living the Questions series at three Portland-area churches,” said The Rev. Chuck Currie, a minister in the United Church of Christ (www.chuckcurrie.com).  “It is deeply concerning to me that Portland radio stations would refuse to air commercials for a Christian education program when they have no qualms about running negative political advertising.  Either these stations are caving to voices from the Religious Right or from those who wrongly assume that all religion is bad.  Banning advertising from progressive Christians is not at all dissimilar to how media in some parts of the country tried to keep The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and other religious voices fighting for civil rights off the air in the 1960s.”

In a similar development, a print version of the banned radio ad is scheduled to run in the same region in Time, Newsweek, and The Week at the end of January 2011. Although the ad is a simple picture of Jesus along with the questions above, the legal department at Sports Illustrated rejected the ad as too “jarring.” No further explanation was available.

“Saving Jesus” co-author, Jeff Procter-Murphy, has run into similar challenges in the past. He recalls trying to rent a billboard promoting the work of pro-LGBT clergy group, No Longer Silent: Clergy for Justice, in Phoenix. Clear Channel refused to release available billboards for the ad. As Clear Channel had the monopoly on the market, the group had no other options.

Download a pdf media release HERE

See the “Saving Jesus” magazine ad rejected by Sports Illustrated HERE:

Saving Jesus Redux Ad

 


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