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Friday, December 28, 2007

Good day

Today, my dad and I took a road trip together, just like old times. I got to drive in the snow in Chicago and see my friends and their super cute kids. I also enjoyed Giordano's Shrimp Stuffed Pizza for lunch and Indiana's own White Castles for dinner. Good day.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

You Gotta Believe

I'm spending the first seven days of Christmas in Indiana with my parents and youngest brother. I'm reading a wonderful Christmas gift from my sister-in-law, Jesus by Marcus J. Borg. It occurs to me that I really should read some other theologians, at least Dominic Crossan or Hans Kung, but, hey, I'm on vacation.

In Jesus, Borg spends some time on the word "believe." I've talked before about how belief is a funny word because it can reflect more or less certainty than the word know. As in, "I believe the keys are on the table" versus "I believe honesty in a relationship is important." The first one is a belief that can be dispelled by knowing a single fact; the second can be changed, but it would require a serious of "facts" that amount to new experiences. After knowing dozens of relationships ruined by honesty I might no longer hold the belief that honesty is good for a relationship.

Borg talks about this in terms of what the object of believing is. He says that during the Enlightenment, in response to emerging scientific exploration, some members of the church shifted from believing in God and the Church, to believing that a series of facts were true. According to Borg,
Thus, until about four centuries ago, believing in God and Jess did not mean "I believe that the following statements about God and Jesus are true." Rather, to believe in God and Jesus had two primary meanings. It meant to trust in God and Jesus. . . . In addition, to "believe" meant to commit one's allegiance, loyalty, and love to God and Jesus.
The point is not just a semantic one. If you believe, as in trust and are loyal to, God and Jesus, actions of charity seem to spring out naturally. You are not afraid of those who question, why should you be, you trust God. On the other hand, if you think believing means believing facts about God and Jesus, then non-believers are a real problem for you. It makes it harder for you to believe these things are true if others don't. And--if you accept that notion of believing--your continued belief in these hard-to-believe things directly impacts your afterlife. So, you are naturally less tolerant.

What do you believe in? Does it shape the way you live your life and perceive your world?

Monday, December 24, 2007

Blue Christmas

I just heard an NPR story about a "Blue Christmas" service that was held for the first time in D.C. It was very similar to Chalice's Longest Night service. Even down to using candles in combination with writing down prayers. Also, it sounds like the attendance was similar. Of course, I think Longest Night is a better name than Blue Christmas. ;)

Trends are funny. I don't know if many churches are doing this, but there are many google news stories about such stories. Also this in the year are stories about a meta-study that busts the myth that suicides are up during Christmas. That is not to say such services aren't valuable; they are, and I hope Chalice continues to do them. It is just a funny juxtaposition.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

"In God's Name"

Just watched "In God's Name" on CBS. It is a really wonderful production, and I recommend it if it is replayed. It doesn't really provide a bunch of substance for comparative religion. Rather, it gives you an opportunity to have what a protest from the revival tradition would describe as a "witness" from each leader wash over you.

Pretty cool.