510: Readers tell us about Paul’s legacy, violent movies and power of prayer

Once again, thanks to readers like you,
we’ve got your feedback to share …

“Paul Was Not a Christian”
Opens New Possibilities
for Interfaith Dialogue

EVEN THOUGH Dr. Pamela Eisenbaum’s new book has a deliberately provocative title, most notes and messages we received this week welcomed her book as an intriguing “new interpretation” of St. Paul.
    Nancy on Facebook wrote: “Sounds like an interesting book. Now my ‘To Read’ list is one book longer.”
    Stan, a Bible study teacher at his church in Los Angeles, wrote: “Hey, new interpretations don’t scare us. We’ve got brains. … Not that I’d agree with what I think she’s saying, but nobody’s scared.”
    Teresa S wrote a long email about the new book. She agrees with Stan and other commenters that the title of Pamela’s new book seems too calculated to provoke a reaction. “I fear that this will add to the polarizing religious dialogue that has become so cancerous in trying to help people come together.
    BUT, Teresa enthusiastically welcomes the new book. She’s part of the Anglican tradition and these new ideas don’t undermine her own understanding of Paul. Teresa writes that her own understanding of the New Testament is broad enough to appreciate Pamela’s interpretation.
    What really intrigues Teresa (and other readers) is that Paul might actually contribute to interfaith dialogue rather than throw insurmountable barricades between Christians and Jews. She writes:
    I think Pamela’s insight about interfaith dialogue is extremely insightful. To reflect on Paul is not something I ever thought of. Usually, we think of reflecting on a Hebrew Scripture figure, like Abraham. I think Pamela makes a great gesture of generosity to “step” into the Christian narrative to help find understanding between Jews and Christians. Her actions should be hugely welcomed. Thank you very much to Pamela for that.

Ultra-Violent Films Like 
“District 9” and “Inglourious Basterds”
May Have a Point—But May Not Be Justified

ALL THIS WEEK, we’ve had an array of writers and readers wrestling with the values behind ultra-violent hit movies, “District 9” and “Inglourious Basterds.” The series starts here with our “Introduction” to the two movies—and there are easy navigation links to all parts in the series. (Reader comments appear along the right side of the OurValues.org Web site.)
    One question that arose from readers, this week was: What about the kids?
    Peter D, who works with youth classes, wrote: “Thanks for your stories this week about these two movies, mainly the Brad Pitt movie. Kids and parents are asking about it. I don’t think it’s for teens. Period.”
    I agree, Peter. And, we didn’t make that distinction clear this week in our coverage. The violence in the two Hollywood movies is so extreme that adults are debating whether they want to see the films—and many are repelled, despite reviews praising the movies.
    PLEASE NOTE, though: We shared two other World War II-related media reviews this week—both strong recommendations from ReadTheSpirit. Neither one of these choices is ideal for high-school-age classes or groups—but individual students (and, of course, interested adults) will find these fascinating. They’re a documentary DVD set, “Private Century” (click on the link, then scroll down), and a big new book from Yale University Press, “The Warsaw Ghetto.”

We’re Lifting in Prayer 
And Welcome Your Prayers

WE’VE HAD A LOT OF READER INTERACTION this week about the ongoing “Lift Your City in Prayer.” Visit our resource page, which is especially geared toward our model near our home office: “Lift Detroit in Prayer.” The big rally date is coming up on September 12.
    Some readers are asking about the very popular yellow bumper stickers promoting prayer that were given out in southeast Michigan last year. They’re still on cars driving around the Detroit area to this day.
    So, will there be bumper stickers this year? No, not in every city offering prayers. (You can find a news item about a prayer rally on Chicago’s south side on our resource page, for example.) But in Michigan? The answer is: Yes, we’ve got new bumper stickers for the Detroit area this year! Come to the rally on September 12 in Detroit to get your free sticker.


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    (Originally published at https://readthespirit.com/)

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