Sunday, July 20, 2014

Adult Spirituality Group notes

This week: 
The Chapter 1 & 2 history helped paint a picture of the tumultuous revolutionary social/political context that Jesus was immersed in and communicated about, e.g.,
"As for the towns of these people that the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance," God told the Israelites, "you must not let anything that breathes remain alive. You shall annihilate them all--the Hittites and the Amorites, the Canannites and the Perizzites, the Hivites and the Jubusites--just as the Lord your God has commanded" (Deuteronomy 20:17-18).
Knowing the context helps one sift his 2,000 year message to our present day context.  (Some expressed interest in the book, (see URL) The Sins of Scripture:  Exposing the Bible's Texts of Hate to Reveal the God of Love, by John Shelby Spong.) 

Jesus was Jewish and quoted old testament scriptures in his talks.  Rose Bailey mentioned that our church should invite (see URL) Rabbi Ted Falcon, who is a member of the Interfaith Amigos, for a sermon about: 
• How renewal of the covenant/10 commandments occurs several times in the Bible to supersede violence.
• How should we interpret the Old Testament today?

For next week:
Please be ready to discuss chapter 3, p. 25+ "You Know Where I Am From" and chapter 4, p. 34+ "The Fourth Philosophy".   Thanks!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Adult Spirituality Group notes

Right now is a great time to join our Adult Spirituality Group.  We're just beginning the book, Zealot - The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth, by Reza Aslan.
(from cover slip)  "From the internationally bestselling author of No God But God comes a fascinating, provocative, and meticulously researched biography that challenges long-held assumptions about the man we know as Jesus of Nazareth. 
"Two thousand years ago, an itinerant Jewish preacher and miracle worker walked across the Galilee, gathering followers to establish what he called the "Kingdom of God".  The revolutionary movement he launched was so threatening to the established order that he was captured, tortured, and executed as a state criminal.
"Within decades after his shameful death, his followers would call him God.
"Sifting through centuries of mythmaking, Reza Azlan sheds new light on one of history's most influential and enigmatic characters by examining Jesus through the lens of the tumultuous era in which he lived: first-century Palestine, an age awash in apocalyptic fervor.  Scores of Jewish prophets, preachers, and would be messiahs wandered through the Holy Land, bearing messages from God.  This was the age of zealotry--a fervent nationalism that made resistance to the Roman occupation a sacred duty incumbent on all Jews.  And few figures better exemplified this principle than the charismatic Galilean who defied both the imperial authorities and their allies in the Jewish religious hierarchy.
"Balancing the Jesus of the Gospels against the historical sources, Aslan describes a man full of conviction and passion, yet rife with contradiction; a man of peace who exhorts his followers to arm themselves with swords; an exorcist and faith healer who urged his disciples to keep his identity a secret; and ultimately the seditious "King of the Jews" whose promise of liberation from Rome went unfulfilled in his brief lifetime.  Aslan explores the reasons why the early Christian church preferred to promulgate the image of Jesus as a peaceful spiritual teacher rather than a politically conscious revolutionary.  And he grapples with the riddle of how Jesus understood himself, the mystery that is at the heart of all subsequent claims about his divinity.
"Zealot yields a fresh perspective on one of the greatest stories ever told even as it affirms the radical nature of Jesus of Nazareth's life and mission.  The result is a thought-provoking, elegantly written brilliant portrait of a man, a time, and the birth of a religion." 
We should read the notes in the back of the book along with the extensive bibliography.  They are interesting for Rose because there is more detail and depth.

For next week:  Please read chapter 1 & 2 and be ready to discuss quotes that most engage you.  Thanks!