A Journal for
a New Christianity
Volume 1, Number 4
4th Quarter, 2007
Foster & John Lackey, co-editors
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Dialog and Reader Responses...........................................................................................................
Reflections by Michael Hardin on the Authority and
Interpretation of Scripture
Unanswered Questions in Christian Spirituality:
REPORT ON AN
EARLY BRAIN-STORMING, SOUL-SEARCHING SESSION at Institutes for
Reducing World Poverty,
Series: Global Economics from a Christian Perspective
Greed, by John
Loving with the Love of Jesus
Love Is a Decision to Express the Love of God, to Allow Our
Barriers to Fall,
By James L.
Michael. The Jesus Papers: Exposing the Greatest Cover-Up in
(New York: Harper Collins Publishers,
Brown, Robert McAfee.Spirituality
and Liberation: Overcoming the Great Fallacy. (Philadelphia:
Shepherd, J. Barrie. A
Child Is Born: Meditations for Advent and Christmas.
(Philadelphia, Westminster Press,
This is the
fourth edition of En Christo published by the Institute for the
Study of Christian Spirituality (ISCS), 204 Busbee Road,
Knoxville, TN 37920. James L. (Jim) Foster and John Lackey,
both retired pastors, are co-editors. Jim is also the Founder
and President of the Institute. John is co-director with Bob
Rundle of The Institute for Spirituality and Global Economics.
Our intent is to create an ongoing dialogue, with any who are
interested, about the changes in Christianity that have become
increasingly obvious since we entered the new millennium as well
as the changes that still need to happen. You may respond to
any of the writers of this issue of En Christo by using
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noted that the ideas expressed by each editor and by other
contributors are their own. The editors do not censor each
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is a transliteration of the koine Greek for “In Christ.”
The focus of the journal is the experience of Christian
discipleship interpreted in contemporary and non-theistic
categories. The journal is ecumenical, even interfaith, in its
outlook and seeks common ground with lovers of God of a variety
of faith traditions.
Reviews of the following books
are solicited, though other books not on the list will also be
given consideration based on their relevance to the focus of
En Christo. We are seeking books that open up new vistas in
the way we typically think about Jesus.
All of the books listed are
available from Amazon.com or
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is a space given to readers to converse about the issues raised
by the editors and various other contributors to En Christo.
Readers are encouraged to email their responses to the
writings of other readers and authors of various articles and
reviews. The editors will include your responses in the next
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accepted responses for length, grammar and civility.
Michael Hardin of Preaching Peace, has shared the
following letter, written in response to a friend’s request:
OUR WAY HOME:
A BRIEF NOTE ON THE AUTHORITY
AND INTERPRETATION OF SCRIPTURE
asked me to write something on Jesus’ hermeneutic. That one can
even speak of Jesus’ hermeneutic is a blessing today. Between
the churches removal of Jesus behind the veil of dualism and the
academy’s burial of Jesus in historical science, it truly is a
wonder that we are able to speak the words Jesus and hermeneutic
in the same breath.
years ago when I began studying Scripture, I found that I had a
lot of questions. Every subject I tackled led to ten more
subjects, all of which I felt driven to understand just to
comprehend whatever book I was reading at the time. Over the
years, I have accumulated hundreds of thousands of questions,
the questions of the authors whose books I have read.
questions led me on some amazing journeys with breath-taking
vistas around every corner. Writers from all places and times,
backgrounds and faiths each seemed to have a piece to contribute
to the overall picture. More so, many of these writers
captivated me and I read everything they wrote that I could get
my hands on. I could sense that somewhere deep within the
questions was a solution. I knew that Jesus was that solution.
that Jesus has something to teach us and tell us about the
Creator that we have consistently missed throughout our history,
Christians included. It is the secret of the kingdom of heaven:
God is forgiving, God is not conflicted, and God is not violent.
Jesus’ Jewish spirituality recognizes this through and through.
It is the one singular thing his contemporaries did not want to
hear. It is the one singular thing we do not want to hear.
Jesus’ God is not an angry God. It is demonstrated in the way he
lives and forgives others in the name of this God. It (this life
of forgiveness) is, in a sense, ontologized within history as
the eschatological horizon of the resurrection; the resurrection
of the forgiving innocent victim. It is the one message that is
differentiated from every other form of religious discourse.
Jesus teaches us this.
is necessary for us to understand the roots and trajectories of
our sacrificial thinking as Christians. We need to deconstruct
before we can re-construct. Sort of like what the folks on the
PBS show This Old House do. They take an old house whose
structure is solid, take it down to the basics, which are sound,
and re-build on that structure. Christian theology, for me, is
like This Old House. It is tired, old, worn, beaten and
generally in great need of repair. Through the eyes of the folks
who rebuild houses and see within a decrepit building a
beautiful home that with time, effort and attention can be an
enjoyable habitation, so also I think we can do the same with
Christian theology. Theology is a beautiful science because
theology is about Jesus.
at some of the stuff on our theological house that is no longer
useful. Let’s examine whether or not we need to restructure some
of the interior of our house. Then let’s rebuild.
Ricoeur’s language we might say that if the church is mired in a
first naivete, the academy is no less stuck in critical
distance. Neither one is able to speak of Jesus credibly with
any sense of unity. It is the third stage of the understanding
process, which Ricoeur calls a ‘second naivete’ from which I
write. Since I am neither in the academy nor in the parish, I do
not feel constrained by either when I consider the question of
Jesus’ hermeneutic. The ‘historical Jesus’ is slick and
slippery, and just when you think you have a grasp, he slips
away. The ‘Christ of faith’ is a gigantic monolith, high and
exalted, encrusted with traditions. If the ‘Christ of faith’
represents the ‘first naivete’ and the ‘historical Jesus’
represents the ‘critical distance’ then how shall we describe
‘second naivete?’ In order to do so, it is crucial to shift our
perspective on the either/or of the question to this: what is
the relationship of the Jesus of faith to the Christ of history?
Must we not begin with the presupposition that as bearers of
God’s Spirit we already know the Lord Jesus? What we need to
discern are the ways both the church and the academy have
embellished the living Jesus with their Christologies.
Christological duality, which is and always has been, the big
issue in both the church and the academy, need not be necessary
if one moves the question to a position of ‘second naivete.’ But
how can we justify such on both anthropological and theological
grounds? You already know how I will answer this: by turning to
Rene Girard and Karl Barth. These are the two significant
twentieth century thinkers who moved beyond Platonic dualism to
construct a Christology that is true to Jesus. One did it from
an anthropological perspective, the other from a theological
one. But both succeeded because they both began with the cross
Christians understood that this whole resurrection/life thing
existed only because there was a crucifixion/death thing. The
resurrection was a vindication of this death that was forgiving,
and this life and ministry that was all about forgiveness. In
the resurrection God does not retaliate, God forgives. This is
the message of the early church. It encompasses the entire Jesus
reality: Jesus as Spirit and Jesus’ story were woven of the same
We also must
not forget that the perspective of the New Testament is ‘from
below’, that is, it is written from the perspective of the
persecuted. This is of strategic importance. All of the
complaints that have been made against the Christian churches
are derived from the fact that the very church which is grounded
in the forgiveness of the Cross of Jesus, and whose texts are
written from the perspective of the persecuted, does itself
persecute and justifies persecution by an appeal to these texts.
There is very little that is apostolic about the modern church.
one of the initiators of a movement within the Christian Church
to reinterpret both the Old and New Testaments in a way that
demonstrates that the God who inspired them is not a God of
judgment, but a God of mercy, compassion, and justice. He
shared this way of understanding the biblical text at a workshop
in Knoxville in October 2007. He and his wife Lorri will be
returning to Knoxville on March 15 and 16, 2008 along with two
others in the vanguard of this peace theology, theologians
Sharon Baker and Anthony Bartlett. On the 15th they
will be facilitating a day long workshop for clergy and lay
leaders on the “Non-Violent Atonement of Christ.” On the
evening of the 16th, Michael will be repeating a
workshop on “The Mimetic Theory of Peacebuilding. For
additional information about this movement, go to
http://www.preachingpeace.org. Go to
information on the March 2008 workshops.
QUESTIONS IN CHRISTIAN SPIRITUALITY:
REPORT ON AN EARLY
BRAIN-STORMING, SOUL-SEARCHING SESSION
at Institutes for
invites its readership to respond to the questions and concerns
of spirituality raised here. Please address you responses to
Jim Foster or John Lackey, using the contact option on our
pleased God to leave many things unclear,” theologian Langdon
Gilkey reminds us. Recognizing both our intellectual inadequacy
in pondering the Absolute and our dependence upon the guidance
of the Holy Spirit, seven ICS board members and colleagues
gathered to share our inner landscapes as people of faith and to
reaffirm the meaning and the quest lying in the ground of our
being. Jim Foster gave structure to our time together by
calling us to personal humility and openness as we probed
together our perceptions of unanswered questions in Christian
We began by
reflecting on the difficulty of communicating spiritual
understanding and experience at all. Some of us found that we
had arrived—without our intentionality—at a place where our
lives as Christians are lived on a different plane than we ever
suspected existed. Others of us had been nurtured,
intentionally, within the catechetical structures of the
institutional church which pointed toward intimacy with Christ.
We all felt a pressing urge to “normalize” spirituality—to
present spiritual longing and the inner journey as a basic part
of life itself.
Most of all,
we hoped to author our most compelling questions, without
bringing them to premature closure. Here is the list that
emerged from our evening together:
How do we
(how can we) communicate authentic spiritual experience?
Why do so
few individuals, who having made significant religious
commitments, make the inner journey?
How do we,
as individuals and as a community, integrate feminine and
masculine spirituality? Is the spiritual journey the same or
different for women and men?
What is the
common (or universal) core of spirituality? Is it simply a
longing for God? Is it the apophatic experience? (the knowledge
of God through complete ignorance and darkness; apothatic
theology only suggests what God is not.)
spirituality and sexuality dependent on one another? For
instance, can one have a healthy spirituality without having a
healthy sexuality and vice versa?
What does it
mean to be made in the image of God? What is the ultimate
significance of having been made in God’s image? For a
Christian? For an atheist? For a Buddhist? For a Hindu? Is
such a concept even applicable in a religious sense?
only one authentic spirituality, or more than one? Does Jesus
Christ continue to have relevance to other world religions than
Christian whether they know it or not?
Our task, we
affirmed, centers on interpretation. Just as we are called into
the continuous, intimate presence of God, we feel the urge to
communicate, however haltingly, our grace-full experiences on
the inner way. What the Holy Spirit has awakened in us, we
acknowledged, is a special perception of reality, one that has
come to define life and give us a glimpse of the holy mystery
that surrounds and sustains us. We hope to resist the
temptation to reduce the unknown to the known in our lives of
power within and among us. Our affirmation in the face of the
unknown, and perhaps unknowable, is that through the divine
economy of the universe, love is never wasted. We found that
even within the desert of our secular culture—one deeply
estranged from the world views that gave rise to the biblical
and other religious texts—this night of absence can yet become
the meeting place between God and the individual soul.
We ended our
evening with questions, with wonder, and with a sense of the
Holy Spirit gifting us with his presence during our moments
together. Perhaps even the awareness of participating in a
mystery is a form of knowledge! And, as Abraham Heschel liked
to point out, it is indifference to the wonder of being that is
the root of sin. We closed with prayer and with joy.
REDUCING WORLD POVERTY
Rundle, Director of the Institute for Spirituality and Global
note: This is a work in progress. Readers are welcome to
critique the ideas expressed here. For the protection of the
author and his ability to build on the ideas expressed here, the
following material is copyrighted by the author
years ago my wife and I first began attending the local United
Church of Christ services at the Church of the Savior. We joined
the adult discussion group that had just started studying Ross
and Gloria Kinsler’s book, The Biblical Jubilee and the
Struggle for Life. After completing the book the group
accepted the Kinslers’ challenge to continue studying the faith,
global economics and world peace connections. This study still
continues today, partly within this group. We also developed an
interdenominational group to study these issues during 2003-04.
today carry out the love Jesus spoke of and modeled primarily by
charitable efforts rather than efforts to achieve justice. I
think of these two activities being on a continuum at the
national/international level. At one end justice deals mainly
with our systems such as economics, government, education and
health. On the other end, charity deals largely with the
symptoms generated by the imperfections of these systems such as
poverty, poor health and poor education. The creation of justice
is obviously more complex and controversial.
degree of justice eliminates much of the need for charity. Since
we are a long way from this, continued funding of charitable
efforts is vital. But the effects of such charity are often
diminished by injustice. It’s essential that we feed the hungry.
But there will always be hunger until we deal with the causes of
I think the
challenge to governmental and private funders attempting to make
this a better world is to determine the appropriate balance
between funding justice aimed at cures and charity aimed at
alleviating symptoms. This is difficult enough in medical
funding where choices have to be made about how much to support
basic research versus treatment of the sick. For funders who are
supporting a broader range of activities this may be more
difficult. During the Cold War, a Central American religious
leader said that he was called a saint when he gave to the poor.
But if he asked why the people were poor he was called a
communist. If funders really want to improve the world they
must be prepared for the criticism that efforts to create more
justice are likely to bring. But it appears that most of these
funders are unable to resist sainthood.
corporation has grown beyond its level of competence. The
corporate business form has become a huge success. But in its
success lies the seeds of its destruction. It is natural that
corporate leaders try to influence public policy favoring their
activities. But their success doing this in recent decades has
greatly influenced the distribution of the world’s resources.
We are now at a stage of unsustainable maldistribution of income
and resources in the world. Corporate leaders were never meant
to make decisions about the appropriate distribution of the
world’s resources. Yet their normal pursuit of market share and
profits has led them to have the greatest power in these crucial
story about two people alone on a deserted island with only one
having food seems appropriate for our times. Without sharing
the owner will not sleep well. We too are faced with sharing or
conflict. The United States and other “advanced” economies have
the money. But in their search for continually expanding
profits and market share, they are increasing poverty,
accelerating the gap in incomes and resources in the world and
inviting terrorism. They are also destroying the earth at an
If we hope
to increase equity of income and resources among the world’s
population, it is essential that we change our current global
economic practices. These have allowed a few to accumulate
tremendous wealth but also have largely created the intolerable
income gaps and inequalities we see in our world today. Susan
George’s article, “A Short History of Neo-Liberalism” outlines
these practices very well. World poverty will continue to
increase without changes.
concluded that we have all helped create our present economic
system. We have the responsibility to work for a more just and
moral one. A quick overview of these conclusions is in such
sources as, 1) the last twenty pages of David Korten’s The
Post-Corporate World, 2) pp.249-277 of John Perkins’
Confessions of an Economic Hit Man and 3) the Introduction
and first two chapters of Jim Wallis’ God’s Politics.
world poverty calls as much for spiritual changes as economic
to resources, we are in a struggle for the hearts of the world’s
peoples. The United States primarily relies on military and
economic means currently to reach its objectives. This is not
winning hearts but helping terrorists sell their ideology. One
key to attaining a more just and moral economy is to be clear
about the values that will frame such an effort. This is why
faith-based institutions must have a leadership role in this
effort. Our study group became convinced that it is important
to introduce moral values into economic policy development. But
few religious organizations, even socially active ones like our
own denomination, appear to have much activity in the area of
economic system change. Religious groups are a key to achieving
this but need help to get fully engaged. If we truly believe
that all human lives have equal value we need to build an
economy based on this.
become increasingly frustrated in not finding religious or
secular organizations that seem to be effectively dealing with
the big white elephant in the room, our global economic system.
Most appear to work around the edges of economic justice. Many
focus much of their efforts around the symptoms of economic
injustice through charitable works. Some use largely negative
approaches in trying to create more global justice. Others like
World Vision, Oxfam, Bread for the World, and Call to Renewal
seem to be doing commendable work. But they appear to spend a
sizeable part of their resources on attempts to influence
governments without doing much to counteract strong corporate
influence. This influence often is opposed to the changes they
are trying to enact. This does not appear to be a very effective
approach to creating social and economic change. The
International Forum On Globalization provides a rich source of
ideas about alternatives but largely leaves it to many
relatively small organizations (such as represented at the World
Social Forums) to create change. Such grassroots efforts at
change are vital but I think they need support from large
organizations with major financial resources.
ourselves how a major reduction in world poverty could occur:
present way of doing business in the world increases world
can’t effectively regulate itself?
basically controls the governmental bodies that could provide
It all came
together for me recently when our discussion group started
reading Jim Wallis’s God’s Politics. His review of
faith-based social movements (civil rights, slavery, child
labor, etc.) suddenly seemed to provide a key. The model I was
searching for (but didn’t know it) is a global, faith-based
movement. This could add to the pressure from activist groups on
national and international governmental organizations to
humanize our present economic system.
I think that
broad educational programs to inform people about better
alternatives to our present economic practices are essential to
create these pressures and to loosen the grip of big money on
the governments of the world. The work of the International
Forum on Globalization provides a secular model for this. Its
publication Alternatives to Economic Globalization
(2004) lays out principals for sustainable societies and a just
economic system. This book summarizes alternative economic
systems and ideas how these may be achieved. I think adding
moral frames to their ideas will enhance their excellent work.
have not found organizations that appear to have the capacity to
create large changes in our economy, I pulled together the
following thoughts on how this might happen. These are based on
our group study and my own research.
A MODEL FOR
more just and moral global economic system that reduces
terrorism through a global, nonviolent social movement guided by
a moral framework and extensive educational programs.
Poverty is a
moral and religious issue. What would Jesus think of us U.S.
Christians? We live in the wealthiest nation in history. We have
helped to create and then tolerate a world where 30,000 children
die every day of starvation or preventable diseases in the
developing world. Poverty reduction calls for spiritual as well
as economic changes.
global business is conducted today is a major cause of poverty
and preventable deaths. One of the immense secrets behind all
the hype about our current practices is the central question
they raise. Susan George (“A Short History of Neo-Liberalism”)
puts it this way: “who has a right to live and who does not”.
breeds terrorism (even if it does not cause it) and terrorism is
winning. (See the National Intelligence Assessment released in
July 2007.) While Al-Qaeda has regained much of its strength,
particularly since the Iraq war started, support around the
world for the U.S. way of dealing with terrorism is shrinking.
Poverty also breeds poor health, starvation and hopelessness
that diminish the effects of charitable efforts.
force is an ineffective way to deal with terrorism. Violence
only creates more violence that can increase poverty.
charity does little to change the system that creates the need
for charity. But this is the area that gets most private
funding. As Jim Wallis puts it in God’s Politics, we
believe in a God of Charity but not a God of Justice.
positive changes created by some progressive business leaders,
the required major shifts in business practices will need to
come both from inside as well as outside through national and
international regulatory bodies.
and financial leaders have a hugely disproportionate influence
on governmental policies (and could also have a major role in
creating positive changes in these).
policies with strong support from the establishment,
particularly economic regulations, do not change much without a
movement that creates pressures for reform. People need to see
these policies in a different way. (A classic example in the
United States is of course the civil rights movement.)
world’s religions stress compassion as an important element of
their beliefs. There is a huge reservoir of potential support
for a movement that can tap this moral sense.
moral-based approach can help to dampen the clash of ideologies
that invariably arise while attempting fundamental shifts in our
culture. This clash usually leads to a lot of steam but little
change. Poverty rates in the United States in recent years are a
good example. Using moral frames can lead to more effective
efforts. In his book, God’s Politics, Jim Wallis
presents a picture of how this has worked in our nation.
Movements to change our policies about slavery, child labor,
women’s rights and civil rights for example were strongly tied
to a moral-based approach. As he notes, God is neither a
Republican nor a Democrat. Spiritual changes may even have a
greater impact on poverty reduction than economic ones.
in The Post-Corporate World notes our present global
economic system is on a suicidal course. It has created such
misery for many at the same time as it has produced immense
wealth for a few. This invites conflict and is destroying a
basis for wealth, our earth, at an alarming rate. Positive
changes in this system will increase the responsiveness of
governments to citizen needs and the chances for peace. If we
want peace we must take the profit out of war.
commendable major efforts to create positive economic changes in
recent decades appear to lack: the combination of progressive
economic and faith leaders with a vision of a just and moral
economy, a strategy to loosen the grip of corporations on
governments so the lobbying efforts of groups trying to create
more justice can be more effective, a major educational campaign
about what a just, moral economic system looks like, changes
essential to bring this about and how our present economic
practices fail to meet this standard.
On Steps To Achieve This Mission
funding from sources that are willing to divert some of their
charitable contributions or from new sources.
planning group to lead the steps below. It needs to be a world
body drawn for its commitment to the mission and its skills and
knowledge in the variety of sectors necessary to carry out the
mission. These include such areas as government, business,
religious organizations, social movements, unions, economists,
other academics, think tanks, organizations trying to humanize
our economy, journalists/writers, and educational/media experts.
should be a developing picture that changes with new knowledge
and new world events.) Then complete a picture of the changes
that would need to be made in our present business and
governmental policies to achieve this. (Alternatives to
Economic Globalization is an excellent source from a
secular view of a vision and necessary changes.) These changes
should first be
new organization to carry out the steps below if negotiations
are not feasible or successful with existing ones.
general campaign to change people’s thinking about our economics
based on step 3 above. This may well be the most valuable
contribution of the movement to reducing poverty. Basic tenets
of such an effort must be that ideas have consequences and moral
values are critical in creating an economy. The economic
ideology developed with great corporate support for over 50
years has convinced much of the public about the virtues and
inevitability of our current economic policies. A similar size
effort may be necessary to put this ideology in a moral frame to
help the public see its effects and the advantages of
A variety of
educational programs and materials will need to be used since
the public knows so little about economics. (This of course is
one reason the business community has had such success in
Washington and other capitals.) There seems to be a wide range
of these already available about alternative economic policies
but few we could find that tie them to religious faiths.
Three areas of our current global economic policies need
myths underlying them (such as the market is the most effective
way to allocate resources)
(2) The ways
that this system helps to create poverty (such as through trade
agreements and the policies of the World Bank) and destroy the
(3) Why many
Such a major
campaign will assist greatly in the difficult task of creating a
better world economy. For example, I would guess that many
business and financial leaders have either not connected the
potential dots between their usual practices and those 30,000
kids noted above, or resist thinking about it. They and rest of
us need help to face up to this reality and find how we can
list developed in step 3 above, select specific national or
international policy changes on which to start actions. These
may involve becoming part of a coalition already working on
changes. For example, in the United States this could mean
joining Public Citizen and other groups working on real campaign
finance reform to reduce corporate influence. This movement
could also join World Vision, Oxfam and others trying to change
policies of the World Bank and the IMF. Or it might select an
issue or policy that others are not working on and invite them
to join it. In any event, its most significant contributions may
be in adding educational campaigns around these actions and in
providing financial resources.
needs to be tied to the movement’s vision and moral frame. Such
education would usually precede the action. The myths behind the
policies involved in the selected action and how they help
create poverty may also be included. These specific educational
programs will need to be coordinated with the general
educational campaign noted above.
particularly on U.S. citizens for two reasons. We have the
greatest influence and power in our current global economic
system (and hence the greatest power to change it). People in
our nation also have the least knowledge about the negative
effects of this system.
public awareness through such vehicles as the media, think
tanks, conferences, legislative work and non-violent protests
that help illustrate both the problem and point toward
results of funded activities and reduce or eliminate those that
show few results.
Much of the
above would not be necessary if we knew an organization already
carrying out these activities. Many organizations working for
economic justice do commendable work and can bring expertise in
specific areas. But from what we know they appear to lack the
range to lead a movement such as described here. This effort
obviously will require a long-range commitment in funding but I
would guess only a rather small amount compared to available
assets for charitable endeavors. Funding for charity rather than
justice would continue to be much larger. This effort is aimed
at not only saving the world’s peoples but also the sacred globe
they call home. It can also provide many opportunities for
for Spirituality and Global Economics (SAGE)
Economics From a Christian Perspective
is about economics wherever you find it! Research by a Scripps
Howard News Service reporter found that more than 50 American
billionaires have received government farm subsidies from a
program created during the Great Depression intended to help
small farms survive. At least 56 of the richest people in the
country have pocketed more than two million dollars from this
source. Included are people like banker David Rockefeller, Sr.,
hotel magnate William Barron Hilton, and Microsoft co-founder
Paul Allen. Also six senators shared more than $700,000 in
subsidies over a decade. These people are not engaged in
agricultural pursuits. True, these handouts are legal, but it’s
still not right! Furthermore, the majority of farm subsidies
that reach those who farm go to the huge corporate farms, with
little help for the small family farm. Obviously changes are
needed in the policies of the Agriculture Department!
what is the Christian perspective on this story? In a word,
greed! This is spelled out in I Tim.6:9,10: “Those who want to
be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many senseless
and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and
destruction. FOR THE LOVE OF MONEY is a root of all kinds of
evil…in their eagerness to be rich some have wandered away from
the faith.” Those who pursue wealth as their chief end in life
are never satisfied! And so wealthy Americans put their hands
out to receive that which was intended for those who need it.
Loving with the Love of Jesus
LOVE IS A
DECISION TO EXPRESS THE LOVE OF GOD,
TO ALLOW OUR
BARRIERS TO FALL
By James L. Foster
popularly thought that love is something you “fall” into, that
when it comes to loving another, it just happens. We fall in
love with one person. We don’t fall in love with others. (Or,
if we do fall in love with more than one person, our
relationships are thereby made very complicated.) We typically
assume there is some mystery associated with falling in love and
we often attribute it to God. How we account for the equally
prevalent experience of falling out of love is another
matter that somehow does not fit the “providential” mindset
quite so easily.
Love vs. Divine Love
Scott Peck, exploring the phenomenon of falling in love from a
psychological perspective, categorically states that “falling in
love” is not real love at all, and he gives the following
love is not an act of will, it is not a conscious choice…
love is not an extension of one’s limits or boundaries…
Real love is
a permanently self-enlarging experience. Falling in love is not…
love has little to do with purposively nurturing one’s spiritual
If we have
any purpose in mind when we fall in love it is to terminate our
and perhaps insure this result through marriage.
concludes then with a speculation about what falling in love is:
in love is not love, then what is it other than a temporary and
ego boundaries? I do not know. But the sexual specificity of
leads me to suspect that it is a genetically determined
of mating behavior."
Chopra cites what he calls a “key” concept: “When you fall in
love, you fall for a mirror of your own most present needs.
The intense desirability of another person isn’t innate in that
person. Desire is born in the one who desires.”
Chopra’s observation brings us to the next logical question—the
reverse of Peck’s question, if love is not “falling in love,”
then what is it? With agape in particular (though I think also
with eros and phileo), it is an act of will, a
conscious, deliberate choice to love. We love because we choose
to love, not because we stumble into it.
Implications of Choice
that we can choose to love means that it is possible to
choose to love another person or persons regardless of whether
or not we find them attractive or desirable. It is possible to
love someone who ignores or rejects us or makes unreasonable
demands on us. It is even possible to love someone who is our
avowed enemy. It may not be likely that we would “fall in love”
with our enemy, but as spiritually enabled children of God we
have the freedom to choose to genuinely love those who do
us harm. If this is not a possibility, it makes a mockery of
Jesus’ admonition to love our enemies: “But I say to you, love
your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who
hate you, and pray for those who spite-fully use you and
persecute you.” (Matthew 5:44) It is not without reason that
this is often seen as one of the most difficult commandments,
but it may also be one of the most essential, being at the very
of heart of Jesus’ teaching.
We are free
to choose Love. As God’s sons and daughters we do not have to
conform to the world’s way of response to those we identify as
our enemies. We do not have to “get even,” or return insult for
insult or hate for hate. We can choose to live our lives on a
higher, nobler plane, on the plane of agape, Divine
Love. By the grace of God and the power of his Spirit, we are
enabled to choose.
our master, Jesus, had chosen the usual human response to his
tormentors. It is said that he had at his command legions of
angels. Could they have not wiped out the despised Roman
legions, the recalcitrant Pharisees, and all those responsible
for nailing him to the cross? But Jesus chose the way of
agape instead. By accepting the cross, Jesus empowers us to
do likewise, to actually love those who are nailing us to our
own contemporary crosses. Jesus did not die in order that we
might be freed from death or suffering, but that we might be
free to love as he loved. The call of God is not to painless
invulnerability, but to loving presence like that of our master,
a presence not immune to pain, injury, rejection or death.
We have a
choice. We need not be bound and manipulated by those who would
inflict pain or even death on us. We do not have to cringe in
fear before the “authorities.” We have the capability to love
them with Divine Love, no matter what. We can “turn the other
cheek,” not because we do not doubly feel the pain of being
struck twice instead of once, but because, our Love for our
enemy prohibits our striking back and we can accept the
blows to our bodies without in any real sense of being
Expression of God’s Grace
The grace of God becomes tangible to us in God’s Love. “By
grace are you continually saved,” writes the Apostle Paul. “It
is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8). We are “called by his
grace” (Galatians 1:15) and we have received grace “exceedingly
abundantly with faith and Love” (I Timothy 1:14). Further we
are empowered with charismata, gifts of grace (I
Corinthians 12:4), and are ourselves “stewards of the manifold
grace of God” (I Peter 4:10). And nowhere does our stewardship
of the grace of God come more to the fore than in our choice to
allow agape’ to become tangible through us. When we
choose to love another, we choose to express God’s grace by his
grace. It is his grace that enables the choice to Love and it
is his grace made manifest in Love. Grace can be defined as
“unmerited favor” and as “Divine assistance given to man.” We
receive it but we do not earn it. We extend it through Love to
others though they, too, do not earn it. In loving others with
Divine Love we become channels of that grace which we ourselves
have received. We become Divine Lovers.
When we choose to express God’s grace, to open ourselves to be
its channel, we make no small choice. Apart from God’s grace,
it is our natural inclination to erect barriers between other
persons and ourselves. By erecting such barriers we hope to
avoid the pain of their rejection. We also build barriers
around those people and things in our lives we value most
highly. We are possessive of our children and spouse. We lock
our houses to keep out unwanted intruders and put our most
treasured items in bank vaults where no one, not even we
ourselves, can enjoy them. We invest in insurance and seek
written guarantees that we will continue to possess that which
we have accumulated.
We erect psychological barriers as well. We wear blinders that
allow us to see only that which does not threaten our comfort or
sense of security, blinders that keep us from seeing and feeling
the suffering of those around us. That way we can sit
comfortably in our warm, locked houses, surrounded by our
possessions, reasonably safe from whoever may be standing
without, hungry, shivering in the cold and desperate. That is,
we can sit this way until God, in his infinite grace, breaks
through our barriers, shatters our complacency, and exposes us
to the unmitigated suffering of others created in his image,
huddled on our own doorsteps—unmitigated because we will not
open our doors.
Our barriers, which we have often spent years constructing,
become a heap of rubble at our feet when we become Divine
Lovers. Instead of being security conscious we become God’s
fools, rashly allowing ourselves to be immersed by the moral,
material, social and physical needs of the lepers who surround
us. For them, we risk our own poverty and deprivation. For
them, we risk becoming social outcasts. Why? Because the Love
of God within us compels us. Having lost our blinders, all
reality stands exposed before us, the sordid as well as the
beautiful, the suffering masses as well as the prosperous and
healthy, and moved by the compassion of God, we embrace it
It does not usually happen all at once. As God removes our
blinders he also prepares us for what is coming. He does not do
this by reinforcing the barriers. He prepares us by giving us
his strength, his sensitivity and his wisdom. His gifts of
grace—faith, healing, knowledge, and discernment—are given to
enable us to meet specific needs. As God opens our eyes, he
also opens our hearts, and that which is needed most by the
people we meet—Divine Love—comes pouring out. We can’t help
it. It’s there and it happens, when by God’s grace, we choose
the way of Love.
Divine Love—agape’—is a decision. It is not something we
fall into or fall out of. It is a decision to express the grace
of God that we ourselves have abundantly received and of which
we, as Divine Lovers, have become stewards. It is the decision
to let our barriers fall, to stand naked in the chilling wind,
becoming fellow sufferers with our Master and with humankind,
and warming our needy brothers and sisters from the inside out.
Michael. The Jesus Papers: Exposing the Greatest Cover-Up in
History. (New York: Harper Collins Publishers, 2006), 321
pages including extensive bibliography, end notes, and index.
Michael Baigent received his Bachelor of Arts degree in
psychology from Canterbury University in Christchurch, New
Zealand and his Master of Arts degree in mysticism and religious
experience from the University of Kent in England. It is,
presumably, the latter degree which led him to author and
co-author a number of books in the area of religious history,
including the bestsellers, Holy Blood, Holy Grail
and The Messianic Legacy (with Henry Lincoln and Richard
Leigh). He is described in Wikipedia as a “speculative
historian who co-wrote (with
Richard Leigh) a
number of books that question mainstream perceptions of
history and many commonly-held versions of the
life of Jesus…He has been editor of Freemasonry Today since
“Speculative historian” certainly describes the author of this
particular book. Sometimes it is difficult to discern which
parts are speculation and which are history. That Baigent is
intent on exposing and excoriating the Roman Catholic Church is
evident early on by his detailed descriptions of that church’s
sins of the past. But since Catholic history and Christian
history is the same history for the first fifteen or so
centuries following the crucifixion of Jesus, Baigent’s expose’
strikes at the heart of all Christendom. But
is it true?
Much of what
Baigent has to say has already been said very forcefully by
respected historians and Christian theologians, and, to his
credit, he has been reasonably careful to give them credit. His
speculation comes to the fore when he picks up where the history
leaves off and he imagines what a particular historical figures
“would have” been thinking had we still had their writings to
confirm it. Baigent musings on Eunapius, a pagan philosopher of
the 4th century is a case in point (p. 88).
initial premise that there are, or were, papers that proved that
Jesus was alive and well some years after his reported
crucifixion is another case in point. His description of his
unsuccessful efforts to actually see first-hand these papers
reads more like a pulp fiction mystery than it does scholarly
historical research, and it does nothing to inspire confidence
in his primary thesis that the Church engaged in a major
cover-up of Jesus’ survival of the cross.
On the other
side of the truth-speculation question, is the fact that there
is considerable extant evidence from the first and second
centuries that not all that the church fathers did and said
would pass for truth. There is more than enough evidence from
their own writing to convict many of them of a greed for power
that treated truth as dispensable in the interest of ambition
and conquest of theological opponents. Baigent does cite some
of these sources which have also been cited by legitimate
unfortunate that Baigent’s apparent need to sensationalize his
thesis with his own speculations tends to overshadow the truth
he wishes to expose. His case would be much stronger had he
stuck with the historical facts based on the evidence
contemporaneous with Jesus. The historical evidence he does
cite is quite sufficient to raise the question of what is the
truth about Jesus. That the Jesus we have from the Church
fathers is not the Jesus of history is apparent. So who is
Jesus really? Baigent’s testimony is ambiguous. At one point
he asks “Can we be sure that Jesus really existed? Is there any
proof of his reality beyond the New Testament?...how do we know
that the whole concept of Jesus Christ is not just an ancient
myth given a new spin? Perhaps it was some rewriting of the
Adonis myth or the Osiris myth or the Mithras myth: all three
were born of a virgin and raised from the dead—a familiar story
to Christians.” (p. 74) Yet, in spite of these reservations,
Baigent, in other chapters, bases much of his speculation on the
assumption that Jesus was a real person, perhaps a Zealot, who
was the source of much controversy and not a little
consternation on the part of just about everybody—Romans,
Pharisees, and even Zealots. He asserts that “Instead of
history, our New Testament gives us a sanitized, censored, and
often inverted view of the times….Jesus was born and spent his
formative years in the era of the early Zealot movement. When
he began his ministry, around the age of thirty, some of his
closest followers were known to be members of this messianic
movement, a movement in which Jesus was born to play an
important role.” (p. 63)
refers to “the star prophecy,” a Jewish prophecy that the
messiah would be both high priest and king. As messiah “Jesus
would have been expected to lead the Zealots to victory… he had
a religious and a political role to perform.” (p.39) He played
this part by entering into Jerusalem on a donkey, as prophesized
by Zechariah. “The point was not lost on the crowds who greeted
his arrival” and who recognized him “as the king of the Line of
David…” (p. 39) Baigent also makes much of the genealogies of
Jesus which show him to be heir to both the priesthood and the
kingship of Israel, of both the Line of David and the Line of
continues his “historical speculations” in chapters in which he
asserts that Jesus was initiated into the Egyptian mysteries
through which he acquired his teachings on the Kingdom of
Heaven, and that he survived the crucifixion. These ideas are
not original with Baigent. They are to be found in a variety of
1st and 2nd century writings that were not included
in the New Testament. They are findings which have been
reported by other historians and theologians, particularly over
the last two decades, as a result of the availability of Nag
Hammadi texts and the Dead Sea Scrolls.
concludes with this appeal: “Our modern world is dominated by
the ‘religions of the book’ – Christianity, Judaism, and Islam.
We can see that to base truth on the written word makes it
vulnerable to all the problems of interpretation and
translation, to say nothing of religious distortion. The danger
is that is that books foster a dependence upon belief rather
than knowledge; if there has been one underlying theme in our
journey, it has been that we need to travel the road for
ourselves and experience its hardships, pleasures, and insights
directly rather than secondhand or vicariously.” (p.286)
For all it
faults, The Jesus Papers is still worth reading, but only
with a keen awareness that it falls prone to some of the
tendencies to distortion that Baigent ascribes to the biblical
Jim Foster, Reviewer
Robert McAfee. Spirituality and Liberation: Overcoming the
Great Fallacy (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1988) 158
McAfee Brown (1920-2001)
taught initially at his alma mater Union Theological Seminary
before accepting an appointment as Professor of Religion at
Stanford University in 1962. There he became an international
leader in civil rights, ecumenical and social justice causes.
Brown campaigned against U.S. involvement in the
War and was a co-founder of the group Clergy and
Laity Concerned About Vietnam. He left Stanford in 1975 to
return to Union as Professor of World Christianity and
Ecumenism, but quickly found his new post unfulfilling. He
resigned and moved back to the Bay Area, where he taught at the
Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley until his retirement in
1984. He was the author of 29 books.
First things first. Buy this book and read it. You will have a
wonderful time and consider your money and energy more than well
Now. What is in it for you? The subtitle tells all. Brown
attacks the “Great Fallacy,” namely, the all pervasive and
demonic idea that there is some difference between Christian
spirituality and Christian action for the liberation of the
oppressed. The former is too often called withdrawal from the
world. Others take ”the outer way,” i.e. being “in the
world.” Brown insists that these differentiations, and all
dualistic formulations for that matter, are inherently a Great
Fallacy. His book “…is to provide an approach through which
spirituality and liberation can be seen as two ways of talking
about the same thing, so that there is no necessity, or even a
possibility, of making a choice between them.”
Brown systematically attacks the Great Fallacy, demolishes it,
and brings the reader to a challenging understanding that piety
and feeding the poor are together one act of spirituality, that
the inner life and community life of the faithful are, in the
end, the same thing. Further, in a very well-handled paradox,
he shows that neither is meaningful without the other.
Okay. We know all this. At least we ought to if we are
reviewers for and readers of En Christo. But no
one—absolutely no one—can say this the way Robert McAfee Brown
can. The sheer virtuosity of his performance adds special looks
at our own back yard. The reader’s reaction is, “I knew that.
Why didn’t I think of it?”
The book is suitable for a wide audience. It seems to be aimed
at the college sophomore reading level. Therefore, virtually
anyone who is literate can handle it. But the content of the
work is not kid stuff. Use it in your parishes, distribute it
through the seminaries, sneak it onto the shelves of
fundamentalist libraries, and send it to George Bush.
Now for some quibbling. Sometimes Brown’s writing achieves an
overly cute status. He will once-in-a-while play with ancient
history as if he were a stand-up comic. It is obvious (and is
confessed) that his anecdotes and illustrations are
overwhelmingly weighted toward “third-world” experience. His
examples of inspirited/liberation-courage are virtually always
about those who witness as victims or who demonstrate spiritual
power by non-violent acts. He therefore misses one of the
burning questions of liberation spirituality. Can the politics
of violence be a spiritual act? If so, in what way? (Brown
does mention Camillo Torres, but only in passing.)
This little book answers a great number of the questions which
folk raise about the meaning of spirituality: see “Unanswered
Questions in Christian Spirituality” in this issue of En
David R. Cartlidge, reviewer
Barrie. A Child Is Born: Meditations for Advent and
Christmas. (Philadelphia, Westminster Press 1988), 130
Shepherd, a Presbyterian pastor, is author of dozens of books
most of which are deeply devotional in nature. The book
reviewed here, though it is an earlier work and available
primarily in used editions, is none-the-less, a classic. It is
also appropriate to the season.
A Child Is
elegantly written prayer diary, created in the tradition of John
Baillie’s A Diary of Private Prayer. Made especially for
Advent, it contains thirty morning and evening prayers, each
full of hope and help. The lectionary readings chosen for each
day are a carefully orchestrated cadence of Old and New
Testament passages. Following each day’s entry is a blank page
for readers to pen their own prayers and reflections.
frantically extroverted pace of the Christmas season this volume
is a shining gift. “Advent we call this season—which means
‘Coming’—because in all the busy comings and goings, over the
next few weeks, we will be remembering how you came among us
long ago at Bethlehem and how—in your good time—you will come
again to bring all to fulfillment.”
(who at the time he wrote this book was pastor of Swarthmore
Presbyterian Church in Swarthmore, PA) offers us a thoughtful
means of centering, and considering the continuity of our lives
in the context of Christ’s birth. His fugue of reflection,
query and petition brings to life issues from both our inner and
outer journeys. Hope, waiting, making inner space in our busy
lives, owning both our personal darkness and light, offering
sanctuary to the suffering and acknowledging the unfolding
miracle and mystery of advent are intertwining themes.
each page is an invitation to be more deeply aware of God’s
“I would guess, Lord God
That most people know your presence,
sense at least a momentary touch of Holy Spirit
at some time in their lives. But we write it off
as indigestion, or an excess of emotion.
In the cold clear light of morning we look back
and say, ‘How could I be so foolish?’
so we spend our days in shallows, fearful
to launch out, to entrust ourselves to mystery.
the presence of God, while celebrating the apogee of history
with traditional symbols of love and affection, is a life-giving
anchor in our cultural sea of consumerism.
“And your call to me these days, Lord
is not so much to wallow in nostalgia,
to break out in a stubborn rash of
and gift giving, to get all caught up in
with candles, incense and the like You
to entrust myself, to place my story
to set my future firm beside the manger
where your Son may claim it for his
A Child Is Born focuses our attention on the pattern God
has woven for each of us. With our increased self-awareness we
are faithfully invited into a deeper openness to Christ’s
perpetual coming. This poignant, dandy, meaningful book reminds
me of nothing so much as the affirmation of Julian of Norwich
that “all will be well, all will be well and all manner of
things will be well.” This is a book to which I shall return
Linda Kusse-Wolfe, reviewer
As both a service to our
readers and a means of support for En Christo, any of the
books reviewed or listed for future review may be ordered from
Reviewed in this or previous issues:
Scott. God’s Debris: A Thought Experiment. (Kansas
City: Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2001). Reviewed in EC Vol. 1,
Michael. The Asian Jesus. (Maryknoll, New York: Orbis
Books, 2006). Reviewed in
EC Vol. 1,
James. St. John of the Cross and Dr. C. G. Jung: Christian
Mysticism in the Light of Jungian Psychology. (Chiloquin,
OR, Inner Growth Books, 1988). Reviewed in EC Vol. 1, #3.
Michael. The Jesus Papers: Exposing the Greatest Cover-Up in
History. (New York: Harper Collins Publishers, 2006)
Reviewed in EC Vol. 1, #4.
Leonardo. Passion of Christ, Passion of the World.
English translation by Robert R. Barr. (Maryknoll, N.Y.: Orbis
Books, 1987). Reviewed in EC Vol. 1, #2.
J. and John Dominic Crossan.
The Last Week: the Day-By-Day Account of Jesus’ Final Week in
HarperSanFrancisco, 2006), Reviewed in EC Vol. 1, #3.
Robert McAfee. Spirituality and Liberation: Overcoming the
Great Fallacy (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1988).
Reviewed in EC Vol. 1, #4
Anthony. The Power Delusion. (Wheaton, IL: Victor
Books Division of S P Publications, Inc., 1983). Reviewed in EC
Vol. 1, #1.
Collins, Chuck and Mary Wright. The Moral Measure of the
Economy. (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2007), Reviewed in
EC Vol. 1, #3.
Spirituality and Justice. New York: (Maryknoll,
N.Y.: Orbis Books, 1985). Reviewed in EC Vol. 1,
Marcia S. and Deborah Koff Chapin. At the Pool of Wonder:
Dreams and Visions of an Awakening Humanity. (Santa Fe,
NM: Bear & Company, 1989), 113 8˝ x 11 pages. Reviewed in EC
Vol. 1, #3.
Henri. The Road to Daybreak: A Spiritual Journey.
(New York: Doubleday, 1988). Reviewed in EC Vol. 1, #1.
Richard E. When Jesus Became God: The Epic Fight over
Christ’s Divinity in the Last Days of Rome (New York:
Harcourt Brace & Company, 1999), 267 pages Reviewed in EC Vol.
Shelby. A New Christianity for a New World: Why Traditional
Faith Is Dying and How a New Faith Is Being Born. (New
York: Harper San Francisco, 2000). Reviewed in EC Vol. 1, #2.
Daniel. The Myth of Certainty: The Reflective Christian and
the Risk of Commitment. (Waco, Texas: Word Books, 1987).
Reviewed in EC Vol. 1, #1.
for review in future issues of En Christ:
William and Paul M. Pearson. Signs of Peace: The Interfaith
(Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2006)
Brian. The End of Christianity and the Beginning of Faith:
Religion and Science for the 21st Century.
(Macon, Georgia: Smyth & Helwys, 2000)
Anthony W. Bartlett, Cross
Purposes: The Violent Grammar of Christian Atonement. (Harrisburg,
PA: Trinity Press International, 2001).
J. The God We Never Knew. (New York: Harper San
J. The Heart of Christianity: Recovering a Life of Faith.
(New York: Harper San Francisco, 2004)
J. Jesus, A New Vision: Spirit, Culture, and the Life of
Discipleship. (New York: Harper San
Francisco, New York: Harper San Francisco, 1991)
J. Jesus: Uncovering the Life, Teachings, and Relevance of
a Religious Revolutionary. (New York:
Harper San Francisco, 2007)
J. Living the Heart of Christianity: A Guide to Putting
Your Faith Into Action. (New York: Harper San
J. Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time: The Historical
Jesus & the Heart of Contemporary Faith. (New York: Harper
San Francisco, 1994).
J. Reading the Bible Again for the First Time:
Taking the Bible Seriously but Not Literally.
(New York: Harper San Francisco, 2002).
J. and N. T Wright. The Meaning of Jesus.
(New York: Harper San Francisco, 2002).
Gregg. The God Code: The Secret of Our Past, the Promise of
Our Future. (Carlsbad, California:
Hay House, Inc., 2004).
Deborah A., ed. Christianity in the 21st Century.
(New York: The Crossroad Publishing Co., 2000).
Robert McAfee. Kairos: Three Prophetic Challenges to the
Church. (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans
Publishing Co., 1990).
Andrew C. Myths We Live By: From the Times of Jesus and
Gary. Soul in Society: The Making and Renewal of Social
Christianity. (Minneapolis: Fortress
Jacques. Jesus: An Unconventional Biography. (Liguori,
Missouri: Liguori Publications, 1997)
D. Lost Christianities: The Battles for Scripture and
Faiths We Never Knew. (Oxford/New York: Oxford University
D. Lost Scriptures: Books that Did Not Make It
into the New Testament. (Oxford/New
York: Oxford University Press, 2003).
D. Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible
and Why. (New York: Harper San
Francisco, 2005, 2007).
Craig. Fabricating Jesus: How Modern Scholars Distort the
Gospels. (Intervarsity Press, 2006).
Robert. The Secret Initiation of Jesus at Qumran: The
Essene Mysteries of John the Baptist.
(Rochester, Vermont: Bear & Company, 2005)
Thomas A. Soulsong: Seeking Holiness, Coming Home.
(Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2006).
Matthew. One River, Many Wells: Wisdom Springing
from Global Faiths. (New York:
Richard Elliott. The Disappearance of God: A Divine Mystery.
(Boston: Little, Brown & Company, 1995).
W. Honest to Jesus: Jesus for a New Millennium. (New
York: Harper San Francisco, 1996).
Gallagher, Vincent A.
Cost of Low Prices: The Violence of Globalization. (Maryknoll,
NY: Orbis Books, 2006).
Griffith-Jones, Robin. The Four Witnesses: The Rebel, the
Rabbi, the Chronicler, and the Mystic. (New York:
Harper San Francisco, 2000).
William. A Quest for the Post-Historical Jesus. (New
York: Continuum, 1994).
The Pagan Christ: Recovering the Lost Light.
(Toronto: Thomas Allen
Obery M., Jr. The Politics of Jesus: Rediscovering
the True Revolutionary Nature of Jesus’ Teachings and How They
Have Been Corrupted. (New York: Doubleday, 2006).
Richard A. Jesus and Empire: The Kingdom of God and the New
World Disorder. (Minneapolis: Fortress
Philip. The Next Christendom: The Coming of Global
York: Oxford University Press, 2002).
& Michael Hardin. Stricken by God?: NonViolent
Identification & the Victory of Christ. (Abbotsford,
British Columbia: Fresh Wind Press, 2007).
Herbert and Bart D. Ehrman. The Lost Gospel: The Quest for
the Gospel of Judas Iscariot. (Washington,
D.C.: National Geographic, 2006).
Kyriacos C. Riding with the Lion: In Search of Mystical
Christianity. (New York: Viking Penguin, 1994)
Brian D. The Secret Message of Jesus: Uncovering the Truth
that Could Change Everything. (Nashville, TN: W
Publishing Group, 2006).
Nelson-Pallmeyer, Jack. Jesus Against Christianity:
Reclaiming the Missing Jesus.
(Harrisburg, PA: Trinity Press International, 2001).
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As a citizen
of the world...
I BELIEVE in
the dignity of all humanity, that each person is a being of
I BELIEVE in
the wholeness of the human race, undivided by economic,
cultural, racial, sexual or national differences.
in the stewardship of life and resources to the end that all may
mutually benefit from the earth's bounty and that no person may
have to go without food or shelter.
I BELIEVE in
the primacy of human relationships as a person committed and
responsible to other persons, regardless of their economic
status, race, creed or nationality.
I BELIEVE in
the global community, interdependent and mutually responsible
for our physical and social environments.
that we are One World and affirm that I am a citizen of this
world. My allegiance to it and its people, my brothers and
sisters, is primary over all other political entities.
therefore, committed to the promotion and care of the whole of
humanity without partiality or prejudice and with such resources
as I have at my command, both within and without.
AFFIRM that I wish, as much as I possibly can, to base my
actions on my beliefs and thus contribute to a world where
justice and compassion rule and where greed and hatred are
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