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Burning Jesus, Mary, and the Prophets

Burning Jesus, Mary, and the Prophets

A “Muslim Gospel,” Khalidi points out, even overflows the pages of the Qur’an: for nearly a thousand years (from the 8th-18th centuries CE), stories and sayings attributed to Isa continued to emerge in Islamic written and oral traditions. While this Jesus is Islamic in tone, a clear Biblical voice is evident. In one of the earliest of these, “Jesus said to his people,”…

Sacred and the Strange: The Good Samaritan in Context

Sacred and the Strange: The Good Samaritan in Context

By Kate Daley-Bailey….
The Parable of the Good Samaritan (the Gospel of Luke 10:25-37) is probably one of the best- known parables from the Christian New Testament. In the U.S. the phrase ‘good Samaritan’ is commonly understood to describe someone who has gone out of their way to help another. This phrase has been thoroughly secularized and one need not be a Christian to know its meaning. You voluntarily carry your elderly neighbor’s groceries… you are a ‘good Samaritan.’ You clean up someone else’s litter on the side walk… you are a ‘good Samaritan.’

Freethinking in the words of CJ Werleman

Freethinking in the words of CJ Werleman

By Michel-Camille Bordeau….
CJ: Absolutely the Bible is a dangerous book if you do what God commands you to do. For example, if my daughter says, “God damn it!” I’m to take her to the edge of the town and bash her brains out with large rocks. If I wish to sell my daughter into sexual slavery, not only does the Bible not say there’s anything wrong with that, it gives commercial terms and conditions for doing such a thing. When we look at places like tribal Pakistan, for example, there they routinely execute people for blasphemy, a victimless crime. Now, are they barbaric, evil people? No they’re not. In fact, according to biblical law, of which the Koran is based, they’re more pious and pleasing to God than those who ignore that command. When people become cognizant of these kinds of issues, people realize this ancient book has no relevancy in today’s times.

The Economy is Sacred, Stupid

The Economy is Sacred, Stupid

By Gary Laderman, Religion Dispatches….
This Christmas, the haunting spector of impending economic calamity will compete with the candlelit nativity scenes representing the glorious birth of Christ. Indeed in this light, the recent “shellacking” of Democrats—as President Obama put it—in the midterm elections points to an obvious yet underanalyzed dimension of political life today: the economy is sacred, and “free enterprise” is a religious commitment of the highest order to most Americans when the chips are down and the recession is deep.

For Catholics, Interest in Exorcism Is Revived

For Catholics, Interest in Exorcism Is Revived

By Laurie Goodstein, The New York Times
Exorcism is as old as Christianity itself. The New Testament has accounts of Jesus casting out demons, and it is cited in the Catholic Church’s catechism. But it is now far more popular in Europe, Africa and Latin America than in the United States. Most exorcisms are not as dramatic as the bloody scenes in films. The ritual is based on a prayer in which the priest invokes the name of Jesus. The priest also uses holy water and a cross, and can alter the prayer depending on the reaction he gets from the possessed person, said Matt Baglio, a journalist in Rome who wrote the book “The Rite: The Making of a Modern Exorcist” (Doubleday, 2009).

Seeing the Lord’s Prayer in a New Light

Seeing the Lord’s Prayer in a New Light

By Mitchell Landsberg, Los Angeles Times
Crossan calls the Lord’s Prayer “a prayer from the heart of Judaism on the lips of Christianity for the conscience of the world.” To understand it, he said, it is necessary to comprehend the culture in which it was written, that of 1st century Judaism. The prayer appears in the New Testament twice, in slightly different forms: In Matthew 6:9-13, and in Luke, 11:2-4. In both cases, it is delivered by Jesus, which helps explain the revered status it holds.

Jesus and the Sukkah

Jesus and the Sukkah

By Rob Goodman, Killing the Buddha
As his final earthly act at the end of the Gospel of John, Jesus hosts a cookout. He’s seen at first from a fishing boat, waving from the shore in the gathering dawn, alive after all, yelling for Peter and his crewmates to haul in their nets and come ashore. Once on land—Peter dripping wet after swimming all the way, and the rest dragging the boat—they see that Jesus has already started a little charcoal fire on the ground, grilling fish with bread. Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.”

From Your Lips to My Ears: The Power of the Spoken Word

From Your Lips to My Ears: The Power of the Spoken Word

I bring this delightful and unexpected experience to Religion Nerd readers because I believe we often overlook this powerful art form which was once the prominent form of entertainment, communication, and the recorder of human histories. Watching Kween perform I was reminded of another poet and his epic poem so steeped in legend and history. Homer’s Iliad, that epic poem which so often catches our imagination on the big screen, was originally created to be orally transmitted to an audience by a professional and specialized performer or rhapsodist.