SPECIAL LIMITED TIME OFFER
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.
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Offer Expires: March 24, 2015
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!
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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
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.
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!
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.