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A Tower of Babble

Giving Voice to Intolerance in an Age of Pluralism

The back story to the Tower of Babel myth is that the orignial plans called for anything but babble. But where once humankind may have all spoken the same language with one unifying plan to build a place all could dwell and abide one another, it has long since ever been the case. “We live in a pluri-verse, not a uni-verse,” says Raimon Panikkar. Ours is a pluralistic age in which we have many different and opposing – even sometimes mutually incompatible — worldviews that threaten planetary human coexistence. In the midst of such chaos and confusion, how can we tolerate each other’s differences? Or, some might ask, should we even try? I consider myself a very tolerant person! The only people I cannot abide are ignorant and intolerant bigots! Does that make me intolerant as well, or merely principled? What would constitute a forbearance of principled intolerance, with a leniency of spirit? Here’s John Bennison’s latest Commentary from Words and Ways.

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Ayn Rand Was Consistent

Individualism vs Collectivism

I would say that belief in either God or spirituality goes hand in hand with collectivism. Spirituality is about “the whole enchilada.”

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Topics: Devotional and Political Concerns. 8 Points: Point 1: Teachings of Jesus, Point 3: Inclusive Community, and Point 4: Act As We Believe. Seasons & Special Events: All Seasons. Ages: Adult, Teen, and Young Adult. Texts: Matthew. Resource Types: Articles.

Win, Lose or Draw?

Jesus' Way of Confounding the Trophy-centric Ways of this World

The ancient Olympic games were a series of athletic competitions between city-states. The results determined who were the winners, and who were the losers. But during the games, any conflict between the warring states was forbidden. If ever there was a time when that Olympic torch should be lit and never be extinguished, perhaps this is it. But how? It seems international good sportsmanship inside the stadium can only be assured by heavy security on the outside; where unruly competing self-interests would seek to turn winning at all cost into a blood sport. The previous Words & Ways commentary explored a foolish kind of wisdom once espoused by a Galilean sage through his teaching, the parables he told, and even the seeming absurdity found in his miracles (see “The Foolishness of Jesus”). It is this same Jesus tradition that also proposes such counter-cultural notions that one can “win by losing,” and “the last shall be first.” Here’s John Bennison’s latest commentary from Words & Ways.

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Grudges

Let us take a short period of silence to reflect on those with whom we need to be reconciled and what action we can take to make this happen.

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8 Points: Point 1: Teachings of Jesus. Texts: Matthew. Prayers: Call to Worship. Resource Types: Prayers.

Messiah’s Resurrection and Messianic Jewish Belief

I’ve titled this as about the Resurrection, which is just one part of a complex of beliefs… but let’s return and end there… What similarities or differences do you see in Paul’s Resurrection statements and beliefs and those of the early Jerusalem Jesus-followers?

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The Foolishness of Jesus

Wisdom & Foolishness in the Perennial Tradition

Wisdom is often mistaken as knowledge, prudence or pragmatism; whereas foolishness is equally regarded sometimes to be the kind of fool-hearted thing Jesus would have characteristically espoused with many of his confounding ideas about God, God’s ways and how we ought to treat one another. Truth be told, there are plenty of people who consider themselves much too smart to take seriously some of the darn fool things Jesus actually said and meant. But Jesus was no ordinary fool. A Words and Ways Commentary by John Bennison.

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Women in Ministry—First Century and Today

Basically, the Church was developing within a strongly partiarchal and heirarchical society…. Despite the freshness and hopefulness we see in Jesus and Paul, it is not surprising that male domination would soon assert itself and claim exclusive leadership privileges. Maybe women could lead among women, of course… no real complication or threat there.

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Rigid and Relaxed Religion

Are you religious? Your answer will depend a lot on what your questioner meant by the concept of “religion” and how you view this concept.

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How to Read the Bible

2) The Hebrew scriptures, or the Old Testament, represent a religious tradition that is independent of the later Christian faith. The Hebrew scriptures aren’t about Jesus, although the Christian scriptures include many references to the Hebrew scriptures. To honor the fundamental differences between the two sets of scriptures doubles the spiritual significance of the entire Bible.

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The Complete Gospels, 4th Edition

The Complete Gospels is the first publication ever to collect the canonical gospels and their extracanonical counterpoints under one cover. The selected extracanonical gospels date from the first and second centuries, are independent of the canonical gospels, and significantly contribute to our understanding of the developments in the Jesus tradition leading up to and surrounding the New Testament gospels.

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The Lord’s Prayer from Matthew 6:9-13 (and Didache 8)

9. Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed by thy name. 10. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. 11. Give us this day our daily bread; 12. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors; 13. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

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“The Golden Rule”

“The Golden Rule” from many different religious traditions

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8 Points: Point 2: Pluralism. Seasons & Special Events: Pluralism Sunday. Texts: Matthew. Resource Types: Readings.
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