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Paul for the People: John Dominic Crossan Imagines a “Letter to the Americans” in His New Video Series

By Peter Laarman for Religion Dispatches

Crossan follows 201o’s “The Challenge of Jesus” with the newly released “The Challenge of Paul,” available free of charge to up to 1,000 congregations, colleges, or seminaries.

Intrigued by the idea of bringing high-end critical pedagogy to the people, I asked Crossan how his passion for biblical studies led him to want to engage with laypeople – and what that experience has been like.

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Working With God to Create the Education State

Part 2 of 2

A central theme of the Bernie Sanders Presidential campaign was growing income inequality. Credit Suisse Global Wealth Databook published data that supports Senator Sanders’ claim. They recently reported that at the end of 2013 the United States was the most unequal in terms of wealth distribution among the top twenty developed nations. Seventy-five percent of all wealth in this country is held by the top ten percent of its people. Comparative figures for Canada, 57%; Australia, 50%; Japan, 49%; the United Kingdom, 53%; and Germany 61%.The United States also ranks lowest for economic mobility among the twenty wealthiest nations. It is almost impossible for those living in the bottom 20% to move into the middle class.

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4 Tools to See the Biblical Big Picture

Scripture is like a tree. Some parts are the roots, some are the branches and others form the trunk. You will run into problems if you correctly read a line that serves as a leaf but try to present it as if it were the trunk. This is partly what it means when experts advise us to read Scripture within its proper context(s). You could even read your favorite lines word-for-word but end up misunderstanding them if you fail to see where they fit within the whole body. This is, of course, the same mistake the Pharisees made. They were so right–and yet at the same time so very wrong.

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Interview with Robin Meyers: Do you have a message for progressive Christians?

Interview with Robin Meyers: Do you have a message for progressive Christians?

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Urdu-language Multifaith Golden Rule Poster

This Urdu-language multifaith poster featuring Golden Rule texts in 13 religions is published by Scarboro Missions with support from members of the Urdu-speaking community in Canada and around the world. The Urdu language originated in India in the thirteenth century as a blending of languages – chiefly Persian, Arabic and Sanskrit along with many local dialects. Urdu eventually developed as a language of culture, poetry and song. Upon the partition of India in 1947, Urdu became the official language of Pakistan and remains prevalent in India due to its linguistic similarity to Hindi and the immense popularity of Bollywood films. Today, nearly one billion people understand spoken Urdu, not only in South Asia but also in the Middle East, Europe, North America and other parts of the world as a result of large-scale migration from the Indian subcontinent.

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Resistance Bible Study

(This is the introduction to a weekly Bible study I’m starting for students at USC. A few days ago, I finished reading a remarkable little book that my dear cousin Judy sent me: On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century by Timothy Snyder, a Yale history professor who incisively diagnoses the present danger posed by Trump and the Republicans to the survival of democracy in this country, and offers prescriptions for action. I closed the book, took a deep breath, and resolved to do something new and different toward that end. This “Resistance Bible Study” is the result. I’ll keep you posted on how it goes! Any “musings” readers wishing to do their own version of this, please go for it – and keep me posted, too.)

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Support LGBTQ students with these resources

86% of LGBTQ students report being harassed at school. Jewlyes Gutierrez, a transgender teenager, reported bullying to her vice-principal for two years without recourse. Pushed to physically defend herself, she faced criminal assault charges while her two attackers only received suspensions.

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Empowering your Spiritual life

A talk given by Rabbi Brian at the Embrace Festival produced by Progressive Christianity. Portland, Oregon. May 5, 2017.

What is empowering? What is the spiritual life?

The definition of the word empower is to give someone the authority to do something and to make them stronger and more confident, especially in controlling their life and claiming their rights.

I am Rabbi Brian – an ordained rabbi on a mission from God – a rabbi with John Lennon’s inclusivity and a Blues Brothers mission. My mission, to empower people in their spiritual lives – so that they can feel the seat of their religious authority within them.

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Videos featuring four pioneers in Jewish-Christian dialogue

These short videos chronicle the contributions of four pioneers in Jewish-Christian dialogue efforts of the last several decades. Featured here are Dr. Edward Kessler (England), Sr. Charlotte Klein NDS (Germany), Dr. Victor Goldbloom (Canada) and Sr. Mary Boys SNJM (USA).

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An Online Course to Create Deep Dialogue

By way of this self-paced course, one can improve one’s capacity to:
Define dialogue, and apply it to one’s daily life.
Use critical thinking about an issue of importance.
Demonstrate increased knowledge of one’s own worldview and that of another person.
Recognize the difference between a stereotype and a generalization and learn to deconstruct a stereotype to defuse prejudice and construct useful, respectful generalizations.
Act with creativity and compassion.

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Practical pointers for interfaith dialogue – the United Kingdom experience

This handy interfaith toolkit is full of useful resources and provides a bird’s eye view of interfaith activity in the United Kingdom. Themes touched on include why dialogue?, dialogue practicalities, dialogue on difficult issues, dialogue over food, limits to dialogue and bi-lateral, tri-lateral & multi-lateral dialogue.

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Teaching Kids Life IS Good: An Interactive Book Designed to Build Children’s Self Esteem, Confidence, Character … and Lifelong Success!

Teaching Kids Life IS Good is what results when an experienced youth mentor and a distinguished elementary school teacher team up to help children dramatically enhance their character, confidence, attitude, and self esteem.

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Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism: A Bishop Rethinks the Meaning of Scripture

A controversial author brilliantly reclaims the Bible from the literal interpretation of fundamentalists

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Four tips on deepening engagement

It’s a long step from having one’s name on a church roster to being deeply engaged in that faith community.

An engagement rate of 100% is unreachable. But the current engagement rate of maybe 25% isn’t working out well – for constituents or for churches. Many people want more, but they find engagement elusive, especially when Sunday worship is the only avenue offered. They want significant relationships, or direct mission duty, or small group activity. Getting “fannies in the pew,” as one pastor put it, doesn’t accomplish such objectives, even over time.

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What is the Bible?

How an Ancient Library of Poems, Letters, and Stories Can Transform the Way You Think and Feel About Everything

New York Times bestselling author Rob Bell provides surprising insights and answers about how the Bible actually works as a source of inspiration, showcasing a brand new way of reading this sacred text.

Diving deep into scripture, Bell explains the worst question we can ask of a text (“Why did God…?”) and the best question to ask (“Why did people find this important to write down?”) to discover how the Good Book can best guide us today.

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Pluralism 101

  We have barely begun to deal with the fundamental changes that must be effected within our Christian faith. – John Cobb(1) So here we go! Understand that this is by no means the only way that …

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Hebrew Multifaith Golden Rule Poster

The Interreligious Coordinating Council in Israel and the Scarboro Missions Interfaith Department (Toronto, Canada) are pleased to announce the publication of a Hebrew-language poster featuring texts of the Golden Rule in 13 religions.

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Would Jesus Have an Immigration Policy?

Instead, we should be providing sanctuary for these refugees and immigrants who are fleeing persecution. Whether in our nation, churches, or our homes, we are to show loving-kindness, respect, and care for the well-being of all of our siblings. Isn’t this what we would want others to do for us if the circumstances were reversed? Honestly, isn’t this what Jesus would have us do?

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