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Whose conversion is this?

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Here’s a story of a Christian conversion.  Can you guess who’s talking?

So one Sunday, I put on one of the few clean jackets I had, and went over to [a church]. And I heard [a pastor] deliver a sermon …  And during the course of that sermon, he introduced me to someone named Jesus Christ. I learned that my sins could be redeemed. I learned that those things I was too weak to accomplish myself, He would accomplish with me if I placed my trust in Him. And in time, I came to see faith as more than just a comfort to the weary or a hedge against death, but rather as an active, palpable agent in the world and in my own life.

It was because of these newfound understandings that I was finally able to walk down the aisle of [this church] one day and affirm my Christian faith. It came about as a choice, and not an epiphany. I didn’t fall out in church, as folks sometimes do. The questions I had didn’t magically disappear. The skeptical bent of my mind didn’t suddenly vanish. But kneeling beneath that cross [at the church], I felt I heard God’s spirit beckoning me. I submitted myself to His will, and dedicated myself to discovering His truth and carrying out His works […]

Answer after the break. Read the rest of this entry »

Tantalized by the writing of N.T. Wright

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Mm-mm. . .

I just read a first chapter full of promise.  Know the feeling?  A chapter that makes your heart beat faster, for you catch a glimpse—as if peering through the woods—of what you’ve been looking for? Many of you know.

The book is N. T. Wright‘s The Challenge of Jesus: Rediscovering Who Jesus Was and Is. A few (of many) quotes that have left me tantalized:

We have been taught by the Enlightenment to suppose that history and faith are antithetical, so that to appeal to one is to appeal away from the other. […] When Christianity is truest to itself, however, it denies precisely this dichotomy—uncomfortable though this may be. […]  Actually, I believe this discomfort is itself one aspect of a contemporary Christian vocation: as our world goes through the deep pain of the death throes of the Enlightenment, the Christian is not called to stand apart from this pain but to share it. [15-16]

I am someone who believes that being a Christian necessarily entails doing business with history and that history done for all its worth will challenge spurious versions of Christianity, including many that think of themselves as orthodox, while sustaining and regenerating a deep and true orthodoxy, surprising and challenging though this will always remain. [p 17]

Many Jesus scholars of the last two centuries have of course thrown Scripture out of the window and reconstructed a Jesus quite different from what we find in the New Testament. But the proper answer to that approach is not simply to reassert that because we believe in the Bible we do not need to ask fresh questions about Jesus. […] And this process of rethinking will include the hard and often threatening question of whether some things that our traditions have taken as “literal” should be seens as “metaphorical,” and perhaps also vice versa. [17]

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Spot the health insurance hokum in this TV ad

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It appears that a group called Conservatives for Patients’ Rights has begun running healthcare ads designed to knock down changes in healthcare insurance before they can stand.

But good old FactCheck.org points out that the ad knocks down a straw man instead.   Some examples:

clipped from www.factcheck.org

CPR Ad: “Not So Innocent”

A conservative group’s ad implies Congress is on its way to instituting a British- or Canadian-style health system.

Summary

A group called Conservatives for Patients’ Rights began airing a television ad this week that criticizes government-run health care and falsely suggests Congress wants a British-style system here in the U.S.:

  • The ad neglects to mention that President Obama hasn’t proposed a government-run plan and, in fact, has rejected the idea.
  • It claims that a research council created by the stimulus bill is “the first step in government control over your health care choices.” The legislation actually says the council isn’t permitted to “mandate coverage, reimbursement, or other policies.”
  • The ad quotes a Canadian doctor who has been critical of his country’s system, but leaves out the fact that the doctor has praised other government-funded systems, such as those in Austria and France.

blog it
A conservative group’s ad implies Congress is on its way to instituting a British- or Canadian-style health system.

Lots more good details may be found at the link.

The health insurance industry is a marvel of cynical ingenuity: it keeps itself profitable by insuring people who are healthy (whose claims, on average, will not exceed their payments), and terminating people when they become too sick to be profitable (i.e., when those people most need health insurance).

The industry – having become fabulously wealthy by offering insurance to selected clients, while posing as a helper to Americans generally – has a great deal to lose from an honest public discussion. Expect more alarmist hokum.

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‘All wars are civil wars’

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Oil on canvas

Fenelon; Image via Wikipedia

“All wars are civil wars, because all men are brothers. Each one owes infinitely more to the human race than to the particular country in which he was born.”

-17th c. bishop and mystic François Fenelon

“Wars play out a framing story of us versus them that seeks to take precedence over the deeper and higher framing story of God’s global family table, where us and them are equally invited, equally wanted, in the biggest ‘us’ of all.”

-author and pastor Brian McLaren; both quotes are from his Everything Must Change: Jesus, Global Crises, and a Revolution of Hope.

What do you think?
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Written by Monte

March 21, 2009 at 4:12 pm

Great comments of Martin Luther King, Jr.

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In honor of Martin Luther King, several great quotes.  All are sourced at Wikipedia.

  • True peace is not merely the absence of tension: it is the presence of justice.
    President Lyndon B. Johnson and Rev. Dr. Marti...
    Image via Wikipedia
  • I refuse to accept the cynical notion that nation after nation must spiral down a militaristic stairway … I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant.
  • Nonviolence is the answer to the crucial political and moral questions of our time — the need for mankind to overcome oppression and violence without resorting to violence and oppression. Civilization and violence are antithetical concepts… man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love.
  • What is needed is a realization that power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anemic. Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best is power correcting everything that stands against love.
  • [T]hrough violence you may murder a murderer but you can’t murder murder. Through violence you may murder a liar but you can’t establish truth. Through violence you may murder a hater, but you can’t murder hate. Darkness cannot put out darkness. Only light can do that.
  • This call for a worldwide fellowship that lifts neighborly concern beyond one’s tribe, race, class, and nation is in reality a call for an all-embracing and unconditional love for all mankind. …  I am speaking of that force which all of the great religions have seen as the supreme unifying principle of life. Love is somehow the key that unlocks the door which leads to ultimate reality.

And today on the National Mall—where 40 years ago “I have a dream” became a part of the world’s lexicon of ideas—men and women again gather.  This time they face the other direction—not toward the Lincoln Memorial, but the platform on the steps beneath the dome of the U.S. Capitol.


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