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1.27.15 … “Imagine that Christianity is about loving God. Imagine that it’s not about the self and its concerns, about ‘what’s in it for me,’ whether that be a blessed afterlife or prosperity in this life.” – Marcus Borg

Marcus Borg (Liberal Scholar on Historical Jesus), obituary, NYTimes.com:  I do not agree with his conclusions. but I do believe his work was important.

Marcus J. Borg, a scholar who popularized a liberal intellectual approach to Christianity with his lectures and books about Jesus as a historical figure, died on Wednesday at his home in Powell Butte, Ore. He was 72.

His publisher, HarperOne, said the cause was idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.

Professor Borg was among a group of scholars, known as the Jesus Seminar, who set off an uproar with its very public efforts to discern collectively which of Jesus’ acts and utterances could be confirmed as historically true, and which were probably myths.

His studies of the New Testament led him not toward atheism but toward a deep belief in the spiritual life and in Jesus as a teacher, healer and prophet. Professor Borg became, in essence, a leading evangelist of what is often called progressive Christianity.

“His own vision was not simply derived from opposing fundamentalist or literalist Christianity,” Mr. Crossan said. “It was a very positive vision. He could talk about Jesus and he could talk about Paul and the positive vision they had.”

In his last book, the memoir “Convictions: How I Learned What Matters Most” (2014), Professor Borg wrote: “Imagine that Christianity is about loving God. Imagine that it’s not about the self and its concerns, about ‘what’s in it for me,’ whether that be a blessed afterlife or prosperity in this life.”

via Marcus Borg, Liberal Scholar on Historical Jesus, Dies at 72 – NYTimes.com.

religion before the modern period, civilization,  Karen Armstrong,  Sam Harris and Bill Maher: “It fills me with despair, because this is the sort of talk that led to the concentration camps” – Salon.com.

First of all, there is the whole business about religion before the modern period never having been considered a separate activity but infusing and cohering with all other activities, including state-building, politics and warfare. Religion was part of state-building, and a lot of the violence of our world is the violence of the state. Without this violence we wouldn’t have civilization. Agrarian civilization depended upon a massive structural violence. In every single culture or pre-modern state, a small aristocracy expropriated the serfs and peasants and kept them at subsistence level.This massive, iniquitous system is responsible for our finest achievements, and historians tell us that without this iniquitous system we probably wouldn’t have progressed beyond subsistence level. Therefore, we are all implicated in this violence. No state, however peace-loving it claims to be, can afford to disband its army, so when people say religion has been the cause of all the major wars in history this is a massive oversimplification. Violence is at the heart of our lives, in some form or another

via Karen Armstrong on Sam Harris and Bill Maher: “It fills me with despair, because this is the sort of talk that led to the concentration camps” – Salon.com.

9 Things You Should Know About Vintage Christianity, OnFaith, lists:  Interesting list … something to think about.

“I am dedicated to unoriginality.” So said historical theologian Thomas Oden in his classic work, Classical Christianity. He goes on: “I plan to present nothing new or original in these pages . . . My aim is to present classical Christian teaching of God on its own terms, undiluted by modern posturing.”

I echo Oden. Because, as I mentioned a few weeks ago, this year is the year to go backwards in order to move forwards in our faith.

To regress, by rediscovering and retrieving the vintage Christian faith.

But what do I mean by vintage Christianity? Before we can explore it, let’s define it. And since everyone seems to be doing listicles these days, here are nine things you need to know about the vintage Christian faith …

via 9 Things You Should Know About Vintage Christianity | OnFaith.

Modern Farmer Ceases Publication, NYTimes.com:  I hate it when I miss something good.

Modern Farmer Combines Serious Coverage With LambCam, Hits Jackpot – Businessweek.

The magazine itself was part of an emerging genre of food-related publications like Lucky Peach and Cherry Bombe, which offer readers a media experience that is as much tactile as it is about content.

“It is part of a genre of very niche publications that say one thing we can do is create this beautifully designed artifact,” said the author and magazine veteran Kurt Andersen.

The problem, he said, may simply have been one of audience and execution.

“I don’t want to speak ill of the dying, but what is the plausible audience in such a magazine?” he asked. “It was too kind of nitty-gritty and old-fashioned, back-to-the-land hippie magazine for the food-farm porn market, and yet too ‘What about the dairy situation in the Philippines?’ for people who are really raising chickens for a living.”

via Modern Farmer Ceases Publication – NYTimes.com.

Each issue of Modern Farmer, the stylish agrarian quarterly, has an austere portrait of an animal on the cover. So far, there have been six. The animals look remote and self-satisfied, as if nothing you said could matter to them, just like human models. The first cover had a rooster with an eye resembling a tiny dark paperweight. The second had a goat looking haughtily askance. The third was of a sheep whose gaze is so penetrating that she seems to be trying to hypnotize you. The fourth was of a pig in profile whose ears flop forward like a visor; according to a note by the photographer, a pig’s flopped ears trap smells as it searches for food. The fifth had a hulking farm dog with a ruff like a headdress, and the sixth has a serene-looking cow with a black face and a white forehead and nose. Ann Marie Gardner, the magazine’s founder and editor, says that she always thought she would have animals on the cover. The art director, Sarah Gephart, says, however, that she had nearly finished designing the magazine when Gardner told her that the cover would have animals. “We thought it would be people,” Gephart said.

Modern Farmer appeared in the spring of 2013. After three issues, it won a National Magazine Award; no other magazine had ever won so quickly. According to Gardner, though, Modern Farmer is less a magazine than an emblem of “an international life-style brand.” This is the life style of people who want to “eat food with a better backstory”—from slaughterhouses that follow humane practices, and from farmers who farm clean and treat their workers decently. Also, food cultists who like obscure foods and believe that fruits and vegetables taste different depending on where they are grown. Also, aspirational farmers, hobby farmers, intern farmers, student farmers, WWOOFers—people who take part in programs sponsored by the World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms movement—and people who stay at hotels on farms where they eat things grown by the owners. Plus idlers in cubicles searching for cheap farmland and chicken fences and what kind of goats give the best milk. Such people “have a foot in each world, rural and urban,” Gardner says. She calls them Rurbanistas, a term she started using after hearing the Spanish word rurbanismo, which describes the migration from the city to the countryside. Rurbanistas typify the Modern Farmer audience.

via Modern Farmer Plows Ahead – The New Yorker.

Ann Clark, CMS, Davidson alumni:

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Veteran Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools administrator Ann Clark was named superintendent Tuesday while the school board searches for a long-term leader – but Clark will not be considered for that job.

Instead, Clark said she plans to retire from the district in 2016 when a new superintendent is selected and ready to take office.

Clark’s new position will cap a three-decade career rising through the CMS ranks. Her selection also fills the void left by former Superintendent Heath Morrison, who resigned in November after an investigation into claims that he bullied staff members. The months since then have been marked by uncertainty among the district’s 18,000 employees and the Charlotte community.

“Ann will provide the stability and direction we need,” school board Chairwoman Mary McCray said.

Clark, who had been the deputy superintendent, said it was her decision not to be considered for the position long term. She said she had planned to file the paperwork Dec. 1 to retire this spring, but after Morrison’s departure she decided it would be in the district’s best interest for her to stay.

via Ann Clark to serve as CMS superintendent until 2016 | CharlotteObserver.com.

2015 NBA All-Star Game starters,  ESPN, Steph Curry: On a more cheerful note …

The star of the NBA-leading Warriors, Curry ended up with more than 1.5 million votes, more than 42,000 ahead of James, who had a 13,285-vote lead over the sharpshooter at the previous update. James was the leading vote-getter last year, preceded by Kobe Bryant in 2013. Curry, who just two years ago was an All-Star snub, becomes the first Warriors player elected to consecutive starts since Chris Mullin in 1991-92.

via 2015 NBA All-Star Game starters announced – ESPN.

9 Mystery Books , lists, Downton Abbey:

There’s a reason more than 10 million people tuned in Downton Abbey’s fifth season premiere — and it’s not because of the pretty costumes! From dark family secrets to untimely deaths to salacious gossip, Downton Abbey delivers an unparalleled level of mystery and drama week after week.

We rounded up nine mysteries set in the Edwardian period and beyond that promise all of the drama Downton Abbey fans have come to know and love! Check out the full list below, complete with publishers’ descriptions and reviews

via 9 Mystery Books to Read If You Like Downton Abbey.

C.S. Lewis, BBC Broadcasts During WWII:

During the second world war, people in Britian were facing life and death issues every day.  The director of religious programming, at the BBC, asked C.S. Lewis to give some “Broadcast Talks” about faith.

At first, Lewis was unsure – he liked neither the radio nor traveling to London.  He finally relented, because he thought it was his duty.  His first talks were so successful that the BBC wanted him to do more – and he agreed.

via C.S. Lewis – BBC Broadcasts During WWII.

Milton Friedman, macroeconomics:  Interesting.

Friedman’s negative income tax proposed that we eliminate poverty with one fell swoop by providing everyone with a livable income, no matter what their employment status is.

Wow, right?

Before we move forward, let’s acknowledge that there’s something not quite perfect about an old white guy coming in to save the “helpless poor people” (see The White Savior Industrial Complex). But Friedman’s idea of a negative income tax is worth discussing not because he’s such a nice guy; it’s worth discussing because it’s a valuable policy idea.

A variation of Friedman’s plan is often referred to as a guaranteed basic income.

via An Interviewer Doesn’t Know How To Handle His Guest Because He Got Something Quite Unexpected.


0 Responses to “1.27.15 … “Imagine that Christianity is about loving God. Imagine that it’s not about the self and its concerns, about ‘what’s in it for me,’ whether that be a blessed afterlife or prosperity in this life.” – Marcus Borg”



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