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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Birthday or Deathday?

Today is August 18. That is Dad's birthday. Mom and I decided earlier this year,on the second anniversary of his death actually, that we should start celebrating his life on his birthday. We already had our White Castles and Tab this year. You don't want to consume these products so often that they lose the "special" character. But, I think next year we'll do it on 8/18.

Here are some Dad links though.

On my blog.

Ball State Interview

Ash Scattering Road Trip Videos 1, 2, 3

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Their God?

One of the reasons I think Muslims make good stand-ins for Samaritans when Christians are reading themselves as stand-ins for Jews in Jesus' parables is that Muslims and Christians worship the same God to the same extent Samaritans and Jews worshiped the same God.

Muslims, according to both the Koran and the Bible, are descendants of Abraham through Ishmael. [See Gen. 25:12-18] Abraham and Ishmael shared some experiences together including sealing the first covenant. "On that very day Abraham took his son Ishmael and all those born in his household or bought with his money, every male in his household, and circumcised them, as God told him." [See Gen. 16-17] I wanted to provide citations to the Koran, but am not sufficiently familiar with the text and couldn't find a 'KoranGateway.com'

Of course, in Genisis it is Isaac who is offered as sacrifice, while the Koran reports it was Ishmael (Although, evidently not by name). You can read lots of mean stuff on the internet about which book is truly the inspired word of God. What I surveyed amounted to very rigorously identifying the twigs in the eyes of others. But, I don't think it is possible to deny that Muslims, Jews and Christians worship the same God.

We disagree about the nature of God; but frankly, I doubt the median Muslim view of God does not differ from the median Christian view of God any more than a Christian panentheist and a Christian supernatural theist. [See Marcus Borg's Outline for The God I Don't Believe In.] By the way, lots more hatred in the name of Jesus is available on the internet regarding Borg. Modern Pharisees are very opposed to those who see the world differently then they do.

In any case, I think the claim that Christians worship a different God from Jews or Muslims cannot be supported. I think it is just silly.

Monday, August 16, 2010

More on Samaritans

Here is John's story of Jesus meeting the Woman at the Well. John has some intensely personal stories. John 3 has Jesus' interaction with Nicodemus in which he makes it clear that transformation is necessary (and, btw, that literalism is stupid). This story from John 4 has Jesus meeting this woman while he is alone. I've always thought it starts off almost flirtatious. And that the woman was not particularly interested. When he starts going off on her multiple husbands it takes a turn, but then--when in other stories Jesus would tell her to get her life in order--we have this:

Sir," the woman said, "I can see that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem."

Jesus declared, "Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth."
It isn't about where you worship, or what your traditions are; it is about spirit and truth. What's that pharse we say from time to time? Oh right, Amen.