Sunday, August 17, 2014

Adult Spirituality Group notes

This Sunday, we traveled in Chapter 6 & 7 to explore the concepts of land ownership two thousand years ago in Jesus' age.  It was very different than today.  For example:
• Every 50 years, the land went back to the "original owner".   Check out the concept of (See URL->) "Jubilee".
• In China, every 99 years the land goes back to the state.  This recently happened in Hong Kong, e.g.
Native Americans didn't have a concept for land ownership.  Nobody could "own" anything.  Things were commonly held.

Member Jan van Pelt brought several suggestions for the next book we should read.  Group members were most interested in two books written by Barbara Brown Taylor.  You're welcome to take a look at the following online book descriptions: 
(See URL->)  Altar In The World  (Two months ago she was on the cover of Time magazine.)  This book is about finding God outside of church.
(See URL->)  Learning To Walk In the Dark  (Her newest work!)  This book is about how it is out of the dark that new epiphanies happen.

For next Sunday:  (8/25)
Please have read Chapter 8 (p. 90->) and Chapter 9 (p. 103->).  Thanks!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Adult Spirituality Group notes

1.  This week, we entertained a question surmised from our reading about Jewish self-identity and their erroneous concept from old times that Israel was given to them.  (They first killed all people's on the land in Israel.) 
- Jews need to figure out how they're going to get beyond the victim/oppressor mentality.  For example, Jews have often taken unfavorable jobs, e.g., money changers.
- Jews have been out of Covenant repeatedly and been brought back.

2.  Ok, we're at the height/depth of the summer!  You should know our schedule.
For next week:  Let's read Chapter 6 (p. 46+), Prologue (p. 73+), & Chapter 7 (p. 80).

While members Rose & Pete will be on vacation, we need leaders for four Sundays:
8/24/14 - Charlotte will lead our book discussion.
8/31/14 - Our class is cancelled for Labor Day.r
9/7/14   - Charlotte will lead our book discussion.
9/13/14 - It is unclear who will lead the week's discussion.  Any volunteers?

P.S. - Charlotte made an Activist Plug -> Don't let the FCC allow a merger of telecommunication companies!  Please read the article by Bill Moyers
"Don’t Let Net Neutrality Become Another Broken Promise".

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Adult Spirituality Group notes

Hearts aglow, we began by congratulating ourselves for our nuanced study of history and doing what is pointed out in an issue, entitled (see URL->) "Wade Deep: Bible Study as a Remedy for Shallow Faith" (Circuit Rider magazine May/June/July 2004). 

We soon lathered into discussion:
Chapter 3: You Know Where I Come From
The early Christian community appears not to have been particularly concerned about any aspect of Jesus' life before the launch of his ministry.  This later on became more important.  Reza Aslan, author of our book Zealot, spells out how Jesus was born in the tiny hillside village of Nazareth, not Bethlehem.  Mathew and Luke, in the New Testament, both tried to make Jesus fit into the Jewish myths and prophecies about the coming Messiah.  For example, "The Jewish Messiah is the descendant of King David; he comes to restore Israel, to free the Jews from the yoke of Roman occupation, and to establish God's rule in Jerusalem." (p. 28)

--This chapter reminded Pete Bailey of Joseph Campbell's book, (see URL->) The Power of Myth

Chapter 4: The Fourth Philosophy
This chapter discussed the philosophy that was context to Jesus in Palestine.  Jesus toiled as a tecton, a woodworker or builder, six days a week, from sunup to sundown, to build palatial houses for Jewish aristocracy, returning to his crumbling mud-brick home at night.  He would have witnessed for himself the rapidly expanding divide between the absurdly rich and the indebted poor.

--Check out the article, (see URL->) Sunday Homily: Pope Francis on Wealth Redistribution that tackles the chasmic wealth gap today!

The fourth philosophy was centered about the notion of zeal, after which our book Zealot is named.  Zeal implied a strict adherence to the Jewish Torah and the Law, a refusal to serve any foreign master--to serve any human master at all--and an uncompromising devotion to the sovereignty of God.  Many Jews in first-century Palestine strove to live a life of zeal in his or her own way.  During Jesus' lifetime, zealotry did not signify a firm sectarian or a political party.  It was an idea, an inspiration, a model of piety inextricably linked to the widespread sense of apocalyptic expectation that had seized the Jews in the wake of the Roman occupation. (p. 41)

For Next Week:
We should definitely read both Chapter 5 (p. 46+) Where is Your Fleet to Sweep the Roman Seas and the notes (p. 233+).  The notes will enrich our understanding of author Reza Aslan's research.