But if the Messiah’s crucifixion was scandalous to Jews, it was sheer madness to non-Jews. The early cultured despisers of Christianity had no trouble mocking the very idea of worshipping a crucified man. A famous cartoon from the Palatine in Rome, dated to some point during the first three centuries of the common era, makes the point. It reads, “Alexamenos worships his god,” and features a crucified figure with a donkey’s head (below).
How easy it would have been for the early Christians to tone down the fact of the cross, to highlight instead the life-giving force of the resurrection and the power of the Holy Spirit. How “sensible” it might have been to draw a discreet veil over the manner of Jesus’s death that had preceded this sudden new life.
A world religion that forcibly prevents a person from embracing another religion and compels a person to remain in a religion unwillingly is inconsistent. When Christians punished apostates and heretics, as they did for much of Christianity’s history, the Christian faith itself was divided. When Muslims insist, as many still do, that “once a person accepts Islam out of his free will he is not allowed to leave it,” Islam, too, at is at odds with itself.
If religion is to be embraced freely, that free choice must obtain throughout the religious life of a person, not just at its beginning.
Miroslav Volf, Flourishing : Why we need religion in a globalized world
God is a non-material layer of reality all around us, “right here” as well as “more than right here.” This way of thinking thus afﬁrms that there are minimally two layers or dimensions of reality, the visible world of our ordinary experience and God, the sacred, Spirit.
One of my favorite quotations expressing this understanding of God is from Thomas Merton, a twentieth-century Trappist monk:
Life is this simple. We are living in a world that is absolutely transparent, and God is shining through it all the time. This is not just a fable or a nice story. It is true. If we abandon ourselves to God and forget ourselves, we see it sometimes, and we see it maybe frequently. God shows Himself everywhere, in everything—in people and in things and in nature and in events. It becomes very obvious that God is everywhere and in everything and we cannot be without Him. It’s impossible. The only thing is that we don’t see it.
There are subdivisions within conservative Protestant Christianity. These include especially “the prosperity gospel” and “the second coming is soon gospel,” even as some conservative Christians resolutely reject both.
The former proclaims that being Christian leads to a prosperous life here on earth. A blatant form is inscribed over the door of a mega-church with more than twenty thousand members: “The Word of God is the Way to Wealth.”
The latter emphasizes that Jesus is coming again soon for the final judgment and thus it is important to be ready. Books proclaiming this have been bestsellers for decades; forty years ago, we had Hal Lindsey’s The Late Great Planet Earth and more recently the bestselling Left Behind novels by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins. How many Christians believe that the second coming and last judgment are at hand? The one relevant poll I have heard of suggests that 20 percent of American Christians are certain that Jesus will come again in the next fifty years and that another 20 percent think it is likely.
Marcus J. Borg, Convictions: How I Learned What Matters Most
Christian Today raportează că Armata Salvării face un apel către femeile din biserică să se alăture luptei împotriva traficului de fiinţe umane. Comisarul Helen Clifton a transmis un mesaj de trezire tinerilor care au participat sâmbătă la Convenţia Internaţională de tineret din Stockholm, Suedia. „Trebuie să fim mai înţelepţi şi mai bine pregătiţi, însă fără a ne pierde pasiunea pentru cei care şi-au pierdut inocenţa cedând în faţa unei vieţi triste şi singuratice”, a afimat Clifton. „Munca necesită prevenire, continuitate, protecţie şi rugăciune.” Clifton a vorbit la peste 1000 de femei tinere la acest eveniment. Comisarul Christine MacMillan, directorul Comisiei Internationale de Dreptate Socială a Armatei Salvării(ISJC), s-a adresat în această convenţie prin DVD. „Călătoria noastră în credinţa trebuie să fie deranjată de toate aceste nedreptăţi din lume. Dacă nu este atunci inimile noastre sunt amorţite sau împietrite şi avem nevoie ca Dumnezeu să ne reînnoiască sensibilitatea”, a spus aceasta.
Mă intreb…sunt mai multe feluri de creştini…ori dacă sunt, cam câte feluri ar fi pe la noi? Oare ar putea face careva vreo clasificare? Şi, cu ce ne-ar ajuta chestia asta. În ce categorie ne-am include? Greu, tare greu…
Active Christians 19%
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