396: Readers tell us about … Borg-Crossan, AIG’s guilty sins and landing on the moon 40 years ago!

Question of Conscience in Unbalanced Times
O
nce again, you’ve filled our
mailbag! So, today ReadTheSpirit reflects what you want to talk about.
It’s our Friday Reader Roundup … Oh, and if you’re missed our earlier
invitations: COME ALONG ON THE ADVENTURE: OUR LENT

Borg and Crossan
Lift up “First Paul”
— as a Challenge to the World’s Woes

 Late 4th Century bronze of Paul from Sardinia
ONE OF THE FIRST EMAILS I RECEIVED about our two-part Conversation with Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossan this week
was from “Dom” himself, right after Part 1 was published, sharing this evocative little photo of a 4-inch-tall statue of Paul from the 4th Century. The publication of their new book, “The First Paul,” and our interviews this week about their dramatically fresh “take” on Paul, prompted that kind of infectious excitement. People wanted to get involved with this dialogue about Paul!

    On Wednesday night, I went to a jam-packed appearance by author and evangelist Shane Claiborne at a big university church near our Home Office and I ran into people who had heard about the event via our Monday-morning Email newsletter: The Planner. AND, some of them also had followed the Crossan-Borg story on our Web site this week. At least one pastor had cut-and-pasted The Planner news item into his own Email and passed it around to others.
    “Shane’s right!” one student told me, standing with others in a hallway after Shane’s talk. They were headed toward a reception, hoping to have Shane sign copies of their books. “These are wild and beautiful times.” (That was Shane’s opening line that evening.)
    “Wiiild and beee-ooo-teee-ful,” her friend said, trying to mimic Shane’s East Tennesee drawl. They didn’t want me to use their names online, but the young man said: “We’re doing Shane and Rob Bell both this week.”
    And here’s where Crossan-Borg came in: “And, what’s the name of that new thing on your Web site this week about Paul?” the young woman asked. “I want to get that.”
    “It’s a book called, ‘The First Paul,'” I said.
    She asked, “Do you write a lot about this? I love Shane’s heart and I love Rob’s heart and I love what’s happening now. I’d like to read that book on Paul.”
    “The authors say that some people ‘have issues’ with Paul,” I said. “How about you guys?”
    “I don’t know about issues,” her friend said, “but Paul’s the first church. We need to get back to that. That’s what Shane’s talking about. And Rob.”

    Then, Dr. Benjamin Pratt, author of the James Bond Bible study, emailed our Home Office with the word “SUPERB” followed by four exclamation points. He called the Borg-Crossan effort “excellent, excellent,” based on reading the interviews we published and he wrote, “I have forwarded
both interviews to my Theology Book Club with the suggestion that it be
our next book after our current Sally McFague, ‘The Body of God.'”
    So — this was an exciting week! That’s just a sampling of the feedback to try to convey the electricity of sharing something as exciting as this new Paul book — and the voices of Crossan and Borg — with readers.

Human Nature,
The Sins of AIG — and …
Do “We” Belong on a WANTED poster?

 Wanted Poster
I WON’T REPEAT THE READER RESPONSES posted over at OurValues.org this week,
but there certainly has been a provocative conversation going on over at Dr. Wayne Baker’s Web site! He kicked off the week asking whether we think AIG did “the right thing” — then he turned around and asked if we’re doing the right thing ourselves.
    This led to a bigger question about human nature.
    I got involved myself over there. Take a look. You may want to add a Comment right now. OurValues readers certainly will appreciate your effort.

Flipping Around “Our Lent: Things We Carry”
To Reflect Upon …
Things That Carry Us

Pilgrimage to Jerusalem ancient traditions
A READER — THE REV. JERRY SMITH — TOOK “OUR LENT” THEME
and flipped it inside out this week — the kind of innovative twist we love to see here at ReadTheSpirit.
    Jerry Emailed us with the following reflection:

    I’ve enjoyed reading “Our Lent, The Things We Carry” but got to thinking how in addition to what we carry, there are also things that carry us—even though I know the two are not exclusive by any means. Grace, I believe, is one of the ways that we come to realize that God carries us. “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is a gift from God.” When we get all caught up in carrying others and ourselves — our correctness in believing and living and hauling around just about everything else imaginable and even a few things that aren’t — we have the assurance that God is carrying us.
    One of the things I carry is the Parable of the Two Sons, which always brings something new and unnoticed along with it every time I hear or read the parable. For me the most powerful part of the story is what the father says to the elder son when he invites the son to join the party:  “Son, you are always with me and all that is mine is yours.”  That promise continues to carry me and lightens the load.
    Keep up the good work and next time I order from Amazon I’m going to go through your site. By the way, Barbara Brown Taylor’s new book—it’s wonderful, as is everything she writes.

    BY THE WAY — We’ve now published two dozen of these simple, home-made ReadTheBibleToMe videos at the end of each daily Lent story and — by consensus of our readers — an Oscar for Best Video, so far, should go to the little girl who sat down in her church’s great big library for Monday’s video. Well worth clicking to see that gem.

Finally,
Ouch! This Will Date Some of Us …
But Spirituality is Timeless, Right?

Footprints on the Moon by Mark HaddonON MONDAY, WE PUBLISHED “THREE WISHES FOR A HOPEFUL SPRING,” which recommended three delightful books that will help families connect with the world. One of those recommended books is from Candlewick Press called, “Footprints on the Moon.”
    Click to enjoy that story, if you missed it. In a nutshell: The “Footprints” book is a vivid look back at the transformative awe that millions of Americans felt in 1969 when humans first set foot on the moon.
    I had to groan a bit at an email from a teacher in Dallas, who enjoyed the story and plans to ask her second-graders to work on an “oral history” project based on the 40th anniversary of the moon landing. (Dallas isn’t Houston, but she points out that all Texans feel special connection to that era of NASA history.) We hope she will follow through and we invite her — and any of our readers — to send us stories and pictures you remember from that truly world-changing moment.
    Here’s what she said about her plans: “This is very ‘down home’ for us, as Texans. … I’m going to assign them to write 1 page and to make a picture. It can be artwork or a collage. They have to ask a grandparent, or another older person, to tell them the story of how they experienced the moon landing.”
    Grandparent? Older person? Ouch.

    But, hey — the invitation is wide open. The moon landing 40 years ago was a positive history-changing moment. We’ve asked people to reflect on things like 9/11 and the Kennedy assassination. So, let’s focus on an uplifting milestone: Where were you for the moon landing? (If you were alive, that is.) What do you remember? Any pictures from that era that capture the moment?

PLEASE, Tell Us What You Think.
    This is a good time to sign up for our Monday-morning ReadTheSpirit Planner by Emailit’s
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    Not only do we welcome your notes—but our readers enjoy them as well. You can do this
anytime by clicking on the “Comment” links at the end of each story.
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    (Originally published at https://readthespirit.com/)

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