Posts tagged ‘Judaism’

June 1, 2011

From My Bookshelf

by Vince

I hope this turns into a daily series.

The Rabbis frequently suggested that on Mount Sinai, each one of the Israelites who had been standing at the foot of the mountain had experienced God in a different way. God had, as it were, adapted himself to each person “according to the comprehension of each.” As one Rabbi put it, “God does not come to man oppressively but commensurately with a man’s power of receiving him.” This very important rabbinic insight meant that God could not be described in a formula as though he were the same for everybody: he was an essentially subjective experience. Each individual would experience the reality of “God” in a different way to answer the needs of his or her own particular temperament. Each one of the prophets had experiences God differently, the Rabbis insisted, because his personality had influenced his conception of the divine. –Karen Armstrong (pp. 73-4) in her book The History of God.

October 15, 2010

To the Religious: Learn Religion and 1 Corinthians 15:26-28

by Vince

Wendy Kaminer explains how the less we know about religions other than our own, and even our own, the more ignorant we can be:

It seems obvious that ignorance like this enhances bigotry. The less people know about Islam the more likely they’ll take on faith the ravings of Islamaphobes like Pam Geller. A little less obvious, and surely less noticed, is the corrosive effect of misinformation about unpopular or demonized religions on civil liberty. Muslims may be most directly effected by post 9/11 abuses, ranging from torture and summary detentions to secret blacklisting, but imbuing the government with unaccountable power to engage in these practices poses clear and present dangers to everyone’s liberty.

This helps explain why MJ and I own a copy of the Koran, why we read Marcus Borg, appreciate Judaism, have respected friends that are of other faith paths, and could never stump so low as to ignorantly attempt to proselytize them. Let me be clear: this isn’t a call to a “hey man, whatever works for you is ok” conversation. I thought about this in this way before today, but after MJ and I sat it on a seminary class on 1 Corinthians 15, it had me thinking: who/what belongs to Christ?

For “God has put all things in subjection under his feet.” But when it says, “all things are put in subjection,” it is plain that he is excepted who put all things in subjection under him.

This is a neat fork in the road courtesy of the Apostle Paul. This could mean that 1) all in Christ will be made alive or 2) all things will be made alive. In the end, there is not weeping or gnashing of teeth. For:

When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things in subjection under him, that God may be all in all.

All will be subject to God except God. All that will be left will be God. Lets chew on that exegesis on this Friday night.

September 19, 2010

Religious Search Engines

by Vince

Here are three for three different religions. NPR reports:

Some Jews, Muslims and Christians are abandoning Yahoo and Google and turning to search engines with results that meet their religious standards.

Shea Houdmann runs SeekFind, a Colorado Springs-based Christian search engine that only returns results from websites that are consistent with the Bible. He says SeekFind is designed “to promote what we believe to be biblical truth” and excludes sites that don’t meet that standard.

Houdmann says a search on his site would not turn up pornography. If you search “gay marriage,” you would get results that argue against gay marriage. And if you type in “Democratic Party,” your first search result is a site on Marxism.

This sounds good, in some ways, for kids. But unless you want to be a fundamentalist, I wouldn’t suggest the Christian one.

August 12, 2010

Amare Stoudemire in Tel Aviv

by Vince

Amare has taken some time this summer to spiritually seek out his roots in the Middle East. Here is the exclusive interview:

August 11, 2010

Navigating Through Grief

by Vince

Joe Sterling shares his personal story of losing his teenage son and how he dealt with the grief (and those who offered him advice that he should stop grieving or that he should see this as all part of God’s plan):

The only advice I can give a parent who loses a child is to soldier on. You have no choice. As years go by, pleasant thoughts of the departed will replace the nightmares and the pain. The torment will always be there but it will recede.

Here’s a quote from The New York Times obit of Bob Lemon, the Cleveland Indians pitcher and Yankees manager, about the death of his son in an accident. I’ve never stopped thinking about this remark after I first read it.

“I’ve never looked back and regretted anything. I’ve had everything in baseball a man could ask for. I’ve been so fortunate. Outside of my boy getting killed. That really puts it in perspective. So you don’t win the pennant. You don’t win the World Series. Who gives a damn? Twenty years from now, who’ll give a damn?”

“You do the best you can. That’s it.”

Joe gives some great insight into his personal interactions with his Jewish Temple and how they surrounded him in this bleak period of life. He is real in acknowledging the realities of life after the mourning period is over. His story shows that his community was there for him but there is no clear cut or easy answer to dealing with such grief for the long haul. He sees value in trucking along and dealing with whatever happens in your life, but even I (who hasn’t lost a child) can’t comprehend these things until it hits me. Let me remember that next time I confront someone marching through their own battle field of grief.

July 8, 2010

Sarah’s Hair is Taking Off

by Vince

According to JewsforSarah, Sarah Palin’s hair is popular amongst Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods:

As Americans gear up for Halloween and Election Day soon after, New Yorkers are snapping up Palin-style wigs and glasses regardless of their political leanings, costume shop owners say.

And in an Orthodox Jewish neighborhood in Brooklyn, the look has become popular among some Orthodox Jewish women, who buy wigs to cover their hair for religious reasons. Made of human hair, the Palin-style wigs cost $695 or more.

July 7, 2010

Religion and Criticisms of Elana Kagan

by Vince

Wendy Kaminer discusses the Tea Party and other Senator’s beefs with Kagan:

Kagan’s religious sensibilities were attacked more directly by the NRA: “She refused to acknowledge respect for the God-given right of self-defense,” NRA Executive Vice-President Wayne La Pierre and lobbyist Chris Cox stated, explaining the NRA’s opposition to her confirmation.  I’m sympathetic to assertions of individual Second Amendment rights, although unlike the NRA, I don’t consider those rights absolute. I consider them at least potentially limited, as are all other rights, by compelling, countervailing state interests.  And if Kagan is confirmed, she’ll be responsible for interpreting the Constitution, not the Bible.  Assuming God exists, and then interpreting His gifts are tasks not included in the Supreme Court’s job description – at least not yet.

July 1, 2010

Organizing Jewish Political Muscle

by Vince

I come across a piece by Gregg Drinkwater speaking on Judaism’s GLBT views and general cohesiveness as I wear my Cal-Berkeley sweatshirt:

The American Jewish community is generally more progressive than other religious groups when it comes to gay issues.

The trouble is that we do not speak with a unified voice.

Indeed, one of the strengths–and weaknesses–of contemporary Judaism is its decentralized nature. On the one hand, this means that divergence of opinion and practice is much easier to accommodate than in organizations like the Catholic Church.  On the other hand, well, you know the joke: two Jews, three opinions.

Because of its decentralized nature, the Jewish community’s progressivism rarely translates into effective political muscle, or intra-communal organizing.

To address these questions, over 100 LGBT Jewish leaders are gathering in Berkeley, California, to build a stronger and more unified LGBT Jewish movement. Coming together for this historic LGBT Jewish Movement Building Retreat are activists representing 40 different LGBT Jewish organizations from throughout the United States.

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