247: Tuesday Quiz: Can you recognize the words of the Quran?

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T
his week, for the start of Ramadan and the debut of our landmark new online series, SharingRamadan.info — we’re exploring the intriguing question: “How different do ‘we‘ look?”
    We’re drawing parallels between our diverse spiritual experiences that may, at first glance, seem very different from each other. (Come back tomorrow, for example, for an intriguing look at one particular Hindu tradition that has had a significant impact on American life.)
    TODAY, our Tuesday Quiz challenges you to distinguish passages from the Quran and the Bible. This is similar to an earlier ReadTheSpirit quiz that still is popular with readers, “The Bible or the Bard,” in which people had to sort out the words of Shakespeare from the words of the Bible.
    Below, you will find 10 short texts. You have to determine whether the words are from English translations of the Quran, the Bible, Both  — or Neither. So, you’ve got four choices today.
    (Please understand that Muslims believe the Quran was revealed by God in Arabic and anything short of the original language of the Quran loses something in the translation. But millions of Muslims regularly read the Quran in translation, so we are showing no disrespect here in offering some English versions below.)

THE 10 TEXTS:

Are they from: Quran, Bible, Both — or Neither?

1.) For those who believe and work righteousness there is every blessing and a beautiful place of return for eternity.

2.) If anyone saves a life, it shall be as though he had saved the lives of all mankind.

3.) God helps those who help themselves.

4.) We gave unto Jesus, son of Mary, all evidence of the truth and supported him with the Holy Spirit. Yet is it ever so that when there comes to you a messenger from God that you do not desire, you grow arrogant and some messengers you disbelieve and some you slay?

5.) Lo! The angels said: “O Mary! Behold, God has chosen thee and made thee pure and hath raised thee above all the women of the world.”

6.) True piety does not consist of turning your faces towards the east or the west — but the truly pious believes in God and the Last Day and the angels and revelation and the prophets; and spends his substance — however much he himself may cherish — upon kinsfolk and orphans and the needy and the wayfarer and the beggars and the freeing of human beings from bondage.

7.) “O Adam, dwell thou and thy wife in this garden, and eat freely thereof, both of you, whatever you wish; but do not approach this one tree, lest you become wrongdoers.”

8.) Behold, God requires justice, and the doing of good, and generosity toward one’s fellow men.

9.) Moses prayed for water for his people and We replied, “Strike the rock with thy staff!” Whereupon 12 springs gushed forth from it, so that all the people knew where to drink.

10.) The Day when they will hear a mighty Blast in truth: That will be the Day of Resurrection.

WHEN YOU’VE GOT YOUR ANSWERS — if you’re taking this quiz online, then you can click on the link below to have the answers pop up. If you’re taking the quiz via our daily Email service, then the answers are next — so don’t peek until you’re ready.

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THE ANSWERS:

    First of all — give yourself some leeway today in scoring this quiz and interpreting the answers. Today’s quiz is a glimpse at many of the parallels between the Quran and the Bible, so most of today’s passages are echoed in both sacred texts — in terms of the essence of what is conveyed (with one notable exception).
    To be more specific, though, all of today’s passages are taken from English translations of the Quran (except one). If you’re among our readers who like really challenging quizzes — you can grade yourself more strictly following the answers we’ve provided.

HERE GOES:

1.) Quran — from Chapter 13, Verse 29. (However, this is close to a number of biblical passages, including Psalm 15, which asks, “Lord, who may abide in Your tabernacle? Who may dwell in Your holy hill? The one who walks uprightly, and works righteousness, and speaks the truth in his heart.”

2.) Quran — from Chapter 5, Verse 32. (This famous line is repeated frequently these days by the millions of Muslims who condemn terrorism. It shows up in the Don Cheadle movie, “Traitor,” as well — haunting Cheadle’s character for the rest of his life, because he is Muslim and knows the sacred value that Islam places on each human life.)

3.) Neither. (But this line frequently shows up in quizzes about “religious literacy,” because more than half of respondents think this line is part of biblical wisdom. It’s not. Most of the world’s great religious traditions rest upon building compassionate community — not going it alone.)

4.) Quran — from Chapter 2, Verse 87. (Islam highly reveres Jesus. The Quran, in passages like these, echoes themes and phrases that also are sprinkled through the New Testament.)

5.) Both. (In the Quran, look at Chapter 3, Verse 42. In the Bible, look at Luke 1, Verse 28.) Islam takes a very high view of Mary, the mother of Jesus.

6.) Quran — from Chapter 2, Verse 177. (There are similar passages elsewhere in the Quran as well. And, yes, this does sound a lot like the biblical teachings in Isaiah, Jeremiah and the New Testament that measure our faith by the way we treat the hungry, the orphan, the widow, the stranger and the prisoner.)

7.) Quran — from Chapter 2, Verse 25. (Again, it’s very close to Genesis 2, Verses 16 to 17, but there are distinctive differences, including the chronology of the biblical story. In this portion of the Genesis creation story — Eve isn’t created when Adam is warned about the tree. In the Quran, God warns both of them at the same time.)

8.) Quran — from Chapter 16, Verse 90. (Very close, though, to Micah’s famous verse 6:8: “And what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness and to walk humbly with your God?”

9.) Quran — from Chapter 2:60. (Of course, this is the same ancient story recalled in the Bible of God telling Moses to produce water by striking the rock. The Quran specifies that the striking of the rock produced 12 springs — one for each of the 12 tribes. In accounts from Numbers and Exodus, the striking of the rock — and the reference to 12 springs — appear in different parts of Moses’ story. So, as in most of these answers today, you can be flexible in counting yourself “right” or “wrong.”)

10.) Both (In the Quran, look at Chapter 50, Verse 42. In the Bible, look at 1 Corinthians 15, Verse 52. The English words differ slightly, but this is essentially the same poetic vision of the final days. Corinthians says: “In a moment … at the last trump: For the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.”

PLEASE — Tell Us What You Think.

    Not only do we welcome your notes, ideas, suggestions and personal
reflections — but our readers enjoy them as well. You can do this
anytime by clicking on the “Comment” links at the end of each story.
You also can Email ReadTheSpirit Editor David Crumm. We’re also reachable on Facebook, Digg, Amazon, GoodReads and some of
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groups.

186: QUIZ: Whatever Our Faith May Be, We’re All on a Pilgrimage Aren’t We?

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     “People of faith have periodically interrupted their normal lives with an intentional experience of discomfort, dislocation and intensity — a kind of reenactment of the original journey of Abraham, by engaging in voluntary pilgrimage.”

    from Brian McLaren’s “Finding Our Way Again: The Return of the Ancient Practices”

    Tomorrow, you’ll meet Brian McLaren in our in-depth Conversation about the remarkable series of books he’s kicking off this summer — but here’s a simple way to demonstrate the timely nature of this series of books about ancient practices.
    Walk into a Borders or Barnes and Noble bookstore and try to find a book about pilgrimage as a spiritual practice. Look really hard! I just did this myself and could only find books with items in the index that generally pointed toward: “Pilgrimage in Islam.”
    I know that there are other books available online about individual pilgrimage routes and destinations — and we do recommend books about sacred sites around the world — but most of these books aren’t readily available on bookstore shelves.

    Despite this apparent scarcity of books on pilgrimage, millions of people from many faiths make pilgrimages each year. So, what do you know about this timeless spiritual yearning?

THE QUESTIONS:

1.) Nearly all Americans have encountered at least the title of “The Canterbury Tales,” the 14th-Century story that many students still are required to sample in school. What was this “Canterbury” that these pilgrims were trying to reach in the story by Chaucer?
A. A mythical land with streets of gold
B. A Crusader kingdom established near Jerusalem
C. A cathedral with a shrine to a martyred archbishop

2.) In the heart of Jerusalem for nearly 2,000 years, Christians have made pilgrimages to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher (the main doors to the church are shown in the photo below). Why do pilgrims visit? According to Christian tradition …

A. It’s the church where Jesus personally was the pastor

B. It’s the oldest Christian church in the world

C. It marks the spots where Jesus was crucified and buried

Church_of_the_holy_sepulcher
3.) The world’s largest pilgrimage also is the world’s largest religious event — period. It doesn’t happen every year, but when it does — what’s the country where these millions of pilgrims congregate?

A. China

B. Egypt

C. India

4.) Muslims are called upon by their faith to at least try to make a pilgrimage to Mecca. Where is it located?

A. Egypt

B. Iran

C. Saudi Arabia

5.) We won’t ask you where Medjugorje is situated, because it’s in that war-torn area of eastern Europe where lines have been redrawn. Currently, its in the republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The question here is: What group of people mainly make this pilgrimage?

A. Muslims

B. Jews

C. Christians

6.) Two of these three responses are almost universally a part of the pilgrimage experience, across all faiths. One may occasionally be a part of the pilgrimage experience, but it isn’t consider a universal experience of pilgrimage. Which answer doesn’t fit?

A. In addition to reaching a special place, a huge part of the pilgrimage experience is leaving behind one’s everyday world.

B. Pilgrims wear special clothing.

C. Pilgrims follow a special diet.

7.) Muslim pilgrims circle a shrine in Mecca. Many Christian pilgrimages also involve walking in patterns, including Stations of the Cross. What do Buddhist pilgrims walk around?

A. Trees in the forest.

B. A series of sacred islands in India.

C. Mounds containing relics of the Buddha.

8.) Early this week, Jews are marking Shavuot, one of the ancient festivals also including Passover that traditionally were known as pilgrimage festivals. What is Shavuot?

A. A commemoration of victory over the Philistines, when David killed Goliath.

B. A festival recalling Sampson’s faith in his final defiant victory, despite terrible odds.

C. An ancient “first fruits” festival, also recalling the gift of the Law to Moses on Mount Sinai.

9.) One of the most successful pilgrims in history was later known simply as Helena. Who was she?
A. A silent-movie star who, before World War I, saved sacred relics in central Europe that would have been destroyed.
B. The queen of Egypt who historians now say made a pilgrimage across China even before Marco Polo made his trip.
C. The mother of the Roman Emperor Constantine who visited Jerusalem to save Christian holy sites.

10.) One of the noblest acts in the history of pilgrimage was performed by a Muslim leader who visited Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulcher. What did he do?

A. Rebuilt the church after a terrible fire.

B.  Gave the church a gilded icon that, to this day, is among its treasures.

C. Declined an invitation to pray in the church, so Muslims would not transform the church into a Muslim place of pilgrimage.

    Got all the answers?

    IF you are reading the online version of today’s quiz, click on the link below to see the answers pop up. If not — don’t peek until you’re ready!

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THE ANSWERS:

1.) C. Especially after Thomas Beckett was murdered there in the 12th Century and the king later performed penance there, Canterbury Cathedral drew countless pilgrims. It still is considered a global center for the Anglican Communion and, occasionally, you’ll hear people involved in ecumenical movements with Anglicans described as “pilgrims to Canterbury.”

2.) C. There are long-running disputes about the location of Jesus death and burial. In the modern era, many pilgrims have visited a garden-like tomb outside the walls of “old” Jerusalem, called the Garden Tomb. But there’s still a scholarly consensus that the Holy Sepulcher may, indeed, mark the spots of crucifixion and burial.

3.) C. It’s in India. The name in English is spelled various ways, but it’s often spelled, Kumbh Mela. (The photo at right is part of a Kumbh Mela procession.) There is a complex cycle of these pilgrimages, but once every 12 years there is a Great Kumbh Mela that can draw more than 50 million people. It’s also the greatest periodic movement of people on the face of the earth.

4.) C. Saudi Arabia. It’s also forbidden for non-Muslims to visit the holy city — although there have been infamous cases of Western travelers, especially in earlier centuries, sneaking into Mecca. If you’re not Muslim and you got this question wrong, one reason is that there’s relatively little coverage of the Hajj in American media. Here’s a story we published during the last Hajj about this problem.

5.) C. Christians and primarily Catholics, although many other pilgrims have journeyed to the spot where six young people reported seeing Mary, the mother of Jesus, appear to them in 1981.

6.) C. There are some food traditions associated with some pilgrimage rituals — but scholars who have studied the interfaith breadth of the experience say that A and B are almost universal elements in pilgrimage. The clothing — whether special garb or symbols worn prominently on the clothing — is meant to publicly mark the pilgrims and also, in some cases, to remove social barriers between pilgrims.

7.) C. Americans tend to think of Catholics or Orthodox Christians, when the subject of sacred relics is mentioned. But this is also part of some Buddhist traditions. In January, I was in Bangkok, which is home to some of the most beautiful stupas (mound-shaped reliquaries to the Buddha). I took the photo that opened today’s quiz in Bangkok.

8.) C. Most Americans who’ve seen “The Ten Commandments” — or who are Christian and know their Lenten stories — understand something about Passover. But fewer Americans know much about the other Jewish pilgrimage festivals. In the ancient world, these were times when observant Jews were expected to pay a visit to the Temple in Jerusalem.

9.) C. Yes, St. Helena racked up more successes than virtually any other pilgrim in world history. In addition to — traditional sources say — finding “the true cross,” she also moved around various spots in the region — traditional sources say — discovering and marking sacred sites in Jesus’ life.

10.) C. The Caliph Umar is a sometimes controversial figure in Islam — but this story about his arrival in Jerusalem seems to be shared almost universally, even by Christians who love the Holy Sepulcher church.

    How’d you do?
    Tell us what you think! You can click on the “Comment” link at the end of the online version of this story. Or, you can Email ReadTheSpirit Editor David Crumm.

AND FOR MORE STORIES RELATED TO THIS WEEK’S SERIES …

    We’ve got an in-depth Conversation With Phyllis Tickle, the chief architect of the new series of books on ancient practices. The interview with Phyllis focuses on a recent book she wrote about the words of Jesus in the Christian gospels.

  This week, we started our four-day series on Monday with a look at
some of the dangers we’re facing in our diversity. We examined the resurfacing of ugly stereotypes in a climate that’s electric with anxieties about the world’s future.

    On Wednesday, we published an extended Conversation With Brian McLaren, who Phyllis chose to write the kick-off volume in her series.

181: QUIZ: Headline Says “Sex Sells,” but Bible Students Know All About That!

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A
ssociated Press headlines through the weekend trumpeted: “Sex Sells!” That’s “Sex” as in “Sex and the City,” because the movie version of the hit TV series overwhelmed box-office expectations like a tidal wave — sweeping Indiana Jones’ battered fedora from the top slot in weekend ticket sales.

    This is precisely why, here at ReadTheSpirit, we make a point of making regular visits to watch people and products at Target, Borders and other popular stores that give us “real world” barometric readings on what Americans are thinking about in their daily lives. And, that’s why most Friday evenings, we’re at a cineplex watching theatergoers.
    Anyone who walked into a theater on Friday night saw this tidal wave crashing — long before the Monday morning headlines. Theaters were jammed with groups of women dressed up and having the time of their lives. I can’t remember a louder theater lobby — even for a Disney opening!
    My favorite wire story came from Reuters, which put it this way: “The four cosmo-swilling fashionistas whipped … reigning champ Indiana Jones.”
    Here’s the background: A couple of years ago, “The Devil Wears Prada” racked up about $27 million on its opening weekend and “Sex and the City” was pegged to equal that. Everybody expected Indy Jones would rank No. 1 in weekend sales, again. But, no! The four friends hit $27 million on opening night and when the dust settled Monday, they’d cleared nearly $56 million — a whopping lead over Indy’s $46 million for the weekend.
    Now, that doesn’t mean Indy’s down for the count. In fact, this past weekend, “Indiana Jones” joined “Iron Man” as the only two movies in 2008 to total more than $200 million in theaters.

    Of course, anyone who’s a student of the Bible knows these facts of life, right?
    Months ago, we predicted that one of the hottest small-group, Bible-study books for the summer season would be a little book called “The Uncensored Bible: The Bawdy and Naughty Bits of the Good Book.”
    In February, we even published a study-guide to the book, so group leaders could plan early for these classes. Well, that little book finally goes on sale June 10 — and you can pre-order it right now by clicking on the title or the cover.
    This week, all of our ReadTheSpirit stories explore the question: “How can I keep up with our rapidly changing culture?” In this case, students of the Bible know all about sex, don’t we?

Here’s a great chance to test yourself — 10 Questions about Sex in the Bible.
    Today, we also recommend “SkyLight Illuminations: Sex Texts from the Bible,” which you also can explore further by clicking on the title or the cover. It’s a great companion book for classes studying “The Uncensored Bible.”

The_uncensored_bible_by_kaltner
THE QUESTIONS:

1.) How many times do the words “sex” or “sexual” appear in the Bible? Because there are so many different versions of the Bible, let’s zero in on a worldwide bestseller: the King James Version.
A. Fewer than 10
B. Between 10 and 100
C. More than 100

2.) In some sections of the Bible, endogamy is encouraged. What is it?
A. Regarding marriage as the natural end of single life.
B. Requiring that marriages remain within one’s social group.
C. Requiring that men stop marrying after a single spouse.

3.) King David behaved very badly after Bathsheba caught his eye. In fact, David was so hot for her that he had Bathsheba’s husband knocked off so he could marry her. There was plenty more court intrigue after that, involving their child. Who was the child that kept Bathsheba scheming until the end of David’s life?
A. Solomon
B. Isaac
C. Herod

4.) Ruth’s courtship of Boaz in the book of Ruth relates to various marriage customs of that era, but it’s also simply a great piece of literature — a romantic scene for thousands of years. What did she do?
A. She picked lilies of the field and sprinkled them on his floor.
B. She was followed by singing birds as she met him at dusk near an old barn.
C. She curled up around his feet after a long day of work — and snuggled up under his cloak.

5.) We all recall that, once Adam and Eve discovered they were naked, they grabbed leaves to cover themselves. But toward the end of Genesis 3, God actually makes some clothes for the couple. What does God use to craft these garments?
A. Angels wings
B. Rays of pure light
C. Animal skins

6.) In biblical times, there weren’t nightclubs or bars for singles to congregate, so a great place to meet a girl or a guy was:
A. a well
B. a hilltop
C. an inn

7.) For thousands of years, writers have loved the sexy poetry in “Song of Solomon” and have borrowed many of its phrases. In the 1940s, a single verse — Chapter 2, Verse 15 — produced two Hollywood movies. What were they?
A. “Rite of Spring” and “Rising Tide”
B. “The Lonely Girl” and “A Call in the Night”
C. “The Little Foxes” and “Our Vines Have Tender Grapes”

8.) Much of the Bible not only condones polygamy, but boasts of it. Can you recall how many wives King Solomon had? (Not counting his concubines.)
A. 40
B. 144
C. 700

9.) A controversial scene in Chapter 6 of 2 Samuel inspired the Shaker religious movement in the U.S. What was going on in that scene?
A. Half-nude cherubim were seen swirling around God’s throne.
B. King David was seen dancing in public.
C. Godiva saved all of Israel by riding nude in front of enemies.

10.) Let’s end on a famous note of love, today, shall we? Two of the great lovers of the Bible are Isaac and Rebekah. Bible scholars enjoy debating a number of passages involving this couple. In one evening scene in Genesis 24, Isaac and Rebekah encounter each other unexpectedly — and what sign do we have of the impact of simply seeing her love standing there?
A. She jumps off the camel she’s riding.
B. She peels him a grape.
C. She laughs and runs away.

    NOW — if you’re reading the online version of this Quiz — you can click on the LINK below — and the answers will pop up!

Sex_texts_from_the_bible_by_hornsby
THE ANSWERS:

1.) The answer is “A,” because those words never appear in the King James Version of the Bible. Now, this is fascinating. Quite curiously, we think, the most popular evangelical translation of the Bible — the New International Version — prints these words dozens of times (56 to be exact)! Who says evangelicals are stodgy?

2.) B. It’s an ancient custom to preserve a tribe or social group by requiring that men and women choose their partners from within the group. If you don’t recall those sections of the Bible — you haven’t been reading closely enough.

3.) A. We recall Solomon’s great wisdom. That great wisdom seems all the more amazing, considering his deeply scarred family life.

4.) C. If you said flowers or birds, you must be thinking Walt Disney. No, Ruth’s romance is one of the greatest snuggling scenes in all of literature.

5.) C. Talk about the ultimate in “designer fashion”! And fur, too! The scriptures say God made them from animal skins.

6.) A. Yes, these were the original “watering holes” where people stopped by regularly and were able to mingle with other people, occasionally even men with women. Check out Exodus Chapter 2 to read about Moses making quite an impression at a well. This particular oasis scene even made it into Cecil B. DeMille’s “Ten Commandments.”

7.) C. “Foxes” is the more famous of the two films, starring Bette Davis in a drama written by Lillian Hellman. It racked up 9 Oscar nominations, although it didn’t win any statuettes. “Vines” was a 1945 drama co-starring Edward G. Robinson and Margaret O’Brien. No Oscar nominations, although it was written by the famous screenwriter Dalton Trumbo, who spent the 1950s blacklisted.

8.) C. And, in addition to the 700, Solomon had 300 concubines. Check out 1Kings 11:3.

9.) B. Not only was David dancing, but most Bible scholars read the ancient text as describing David as controversially stripping down almost to the nude. It’s ironic the Shakers — a strictly celibate movement — actually sang hymns about this scene. (And Godiva? That’s from an 11th-Century story about a noblewoman publicly protesting in an attempt to convince her stubborn husband to reduce the taxes on his people.)

10.) A. Somehow, she gets off that camel in a big hurry. Translations vary and many modestly say she simply got down off the animal to meet him. However, some Bible scholars say the original Hebrew is more dramatic than that. They translate it: “She fell off her camel.”

How’d you do?
    Tell us what you think. We’ll be collecting more of your comments this week and, most likely, will share some of these notes from readers later this week. So, please think of sending us your thoughts, ideas, suggestions, reflections.
    You can click on the “Comment” link at the end of the online version of this story. Or, you always can Email ReadTheSpirit Editor David Crumm directly.

    OR, click on the “Digg” link below and add a very brief “digg” comment — even a phrase — to this story’s listing on Digg-It, which will tell even more folks worldwide that it’s worth reading:


Digg!

171: Try a Different Kind of Spiritual Quiz — If You’re Honest, Your Answer Is Right

Screw_driver_and_wrench_in_tool_kit
“God of my life, I give you thanks and praise that I have life, and that my life is filled with touches of your love. … Help me to discover my identity. Let me understand how best to use the gifts You have so lovingly lavished upon me in preparation for our journey together.”
from J. Brent Bill’s new book, “Sacred Compass: The Way of Spiritual Discernment”

    On most Tuesdays, we publish quizzes on spiritual themes. Some readers email us with complaints that the quizzes are too difficult. Others email us with thanks for the challenge. Some of our quizzes — like “The Bard and the Bible” or “A SUPER-spiritual Quiz” — have spread across the Internet.
    But we’ve never offered a quiz quite like today’s challenge.
    The good news is: If you’re honest, you’ll get it right.

    Today’s Quiz is this:
    Accept the same challenge our IKEA pilgrims faced near the end of their long, reflective journey through the housewares mega-store. No, you won’t have the benefit of the meditations our pilgrims read at various stops throughout the store. But, you can go back to Monday’s story about the pilgrimage and review how our first group of ReadTheSpirit pilgrims responded to this challenge.
    There’s only one question today:

    “What kind of tool are you?”

    Readers peppered me with emails on Monday about our IKEA story.
    A woman from Dallas Emailed: “I thought you had gone too far here, but when I read what the people said to you — I could tell they were listening to God. … I kept reading. … I think I am the pliers I saw there. We need to bring people together. I do what I can.”
    Later, a caller asked me what tool I am.
    (I’ll tell you at the end of today’s quiz.)
    Then, a couple of readers said I should have mentioned Anthony Newley. Jack Wilson said: “Are you aware of Anthony Newley’s song, ‘What Kind of Fool Am I’? I saw that show years ago in New York and I saw him sing it on TV, more than once, I think.”
    (And, yes, I am aware that we’re echoing the title of his song, which was part of the musical comedy, “Stop the World — I Want to Get Off.”)

    (If you’d care to read our entire series on “tools of discernment,” here are links: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.)

    CLEARLY, readers want to take this challenge themselves.
    So, are you:

A Screw Driver (above)

An Adjustable Wrench (above)

Carpenters_level_in_ikea_tool_kit
Or, a Carpenter’s Level

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Hammer_in_ikea_tool_kit_2
A Hammer

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A Carpenter’s PencilIkea_pencil_from_tool_kit

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Pliers_in_ikea_tool_kit_2
A Pair of Pliers

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Rubber_mallet_in_ikea_tool_kitA Rubber Mallet

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Tape_measure_in_ikea_tool_kit_2
A Tape Measure

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The_saw_in_an_ikea_tool_kit
A Saw

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    This week, we can’t reveal answers to you — because your answer already is within you.

    What am I? I’m the pencil, I think, the one who tries to sketch and mark out the shape of things emerging around us.

    Feel free to share this quiz with others. You’re free to repost it, reprint it, share it with friends. It’s a great discussion-starter for a small group — especially around the theme of discernment and vocation.

    COME BACK tomorrow for our Conversation With J. Brent Bill, whose “Sacred Compass” uses a central tool metaphor to introduce traditional techniques of spiritual discernment. We’ll also review his book tomorrow.
    Tell Us What You Think! Keep up the dialogue. You can always Email ReadTheSpirit Editor David Crumm — but we’d also love to see the conversation spill into the online world. So, think about clicking on the “Comment” link at the end of the online version of this story.

    OR, click on the “Digg” link below and add a very brief “digg” comment — even a phrase — to this story’s listing on Digg-It, which will tell even more folks worldwide that it’s worth reading:


Digg!

161: Tuesday Quiz: Do You Know the Lyrics to Sing in Spiritual Diversity?

John_lennon
H
ow do we celebrate the spirit of diversity in song? And why is this an important question?
    Well, many scholars have pointed out that music leads and shapes cultural change. Music is associated with our deepest memories. Music moves millions.
    So, today, let’s see how accurately we can recall some famous verses about the spiritual values behind diversity and community.
    Today’s quiz is a fill-in-the-blank, multiple-choice challenge.

1.) The Shakers always welcomed visitors into their utopian communities, a hospitality that nearly destroyed the movement during the Civil War. Their most famous song includes these lines:
“‘Tis the gift to be simple; ’tis the gift ______
‘Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be.”

A. to agree
B. to be free
C. to be me

2.) Walt Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass” had a rocky start as a book, but endures to this day as a major contribution to American literature. Whitman thought of poetry as akin to music. The opening line to one of his most famous verses, which included vignettes from the lives of carpenters, masons and women working, too, began this way:
“I hear American singing, the varied ____ I hear.”

A. poets
B. melodies
C. carols

3.) Bob Dylan recently won the Pulitzer Prize — quite an honor after an incredibly varied and stormy career. Many people only now are coming to appreciate the brilliant visions in his songs. Almost everyone can sing a few lines of “The Times They Are a Changin’.” But do you know the verses?
“Come mothers and fathers throughout the land
And don’t criticize what you can’t understand
Your sons and your daughters are beyond your command
Your ______ is rapidly agin’!”

A. culture
B. old road
C. lifestyle

4.) Emma Lazarus, the poet associated with the Statue of Liberty, gave us powerful poetry to shape our diverse nation. She closed with these unforgettable lines:
“Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me:
I lift my lamp beside _______.”

A. the golden door
B. America’s strong arms
C. a land of liberty

5.) Robert Frost recited “The Gift Outright” at President John F. Kennedy’s inauguration, just 2 years before the poet died at age 88. Key lines in the poem were:
“Something we were withholding made us weak
Until we found out that it was ______
We were withholding from our land of living,
And forthwith found salvation in surrender.”

A. our riches
B. ourselves
C. our freedom

6.) People may have chuckled at Mr. Rogers and his handy sweater, but this PBS host is sorely missed five years after his death. He might have been the most famous Presbyterian pastor in the world. Millions know his trademark song, but it’s the second verse that has the most brilliant touch of poetry.
“It’s a neighborly day in this beauty-wood,
A neighborly day for _____.
Would you be mine?
Could you be mine?”

A. a visit
B. a cup of tea
C. a beauty

7.) American folksinger and activist Pete Seeger often drew on traditional hymns, adapted in fresh ways. One of his most powerful was adapted from the 1860 hymn, “How Can I Keep from Singing.” Among his adaptations was a change in a key line of the hymn. The original 1860 word filled the blank below with “Christ” as the ruler of the Earth and Heavens. Pete followed a tradition that reportedly came from the Carolinas in which a different term for the divine was substituted. In making that little change, among others, Seeger turned a song of evangelical crusading into a universal hymn. The lines:
“No storm can shake my inmost calm
While to that rock I’m clinging.
Since _____ is lord of Heaven and Earth
How can I keep from singing?”

A. Truth
B. Power
C. Love

8.) Our understanding of John Lennon’s life, music and activism
continues to evolve. Many still have reservations about his role as a
modern-day prophet, but so far he’s shaping up in our historical record
as a memorable, visionary voice. His hymn for living peacefully in
diversity was “Imagine,” which included:
“Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no ____ too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace.”

A. starvation
B. more weapons
C. religion

Celebrations_by_maya_angelou
9.) Woodie Guthrie wrote another great American song that we all
know by heart — even if we all too often forget the meaning of its refrain. The
words include:
“As I was walking a ribbon of highway
I saw above me an endless skyway
I saw below me a golden valley
This land was made _______”

A. for liberty
B. for all to see
C. for you and me

10.) Let’s close with Maya Angelou’s verses written for the 50th anniversary of the United Nations. She pretty much telegraphs her theme in the title, “A Brave and Startling Truth: Dedicated to the hope for peace, which lies, sometimes hidden, in every heart.” Among the lines are these:
“We, this people, on this wayward, floating body
Created on this earth, of this earth
Have the power to fashion for this earth
A climate where every man and every woman
Can live freely without __________
Without crippling fear.”

A. sanctimonious piety
B. hunger crushing hope
C. ignorance

If you’re reading the online version of our story today, CLICK on the LINK below to see the answers pop up. If you’re reading this in an RSS feed or our free daily Email service (there’s a link on our page to sign up for these convenient services), then the answers already are visible here:

Golden_door_dvd_cover
T
HE ANSWERS …

    And, if you’ve been reading along with us at ReadTheSpirit, then you had an added boost in tackling today’s quiz. The answers to a number of questions were included in our National Day of Prayer posting last week.

1.) B. The Shakers were all about agreement within their communities — but they weren’t obsessed with forcing those outside their community to agree with them. In fact, they loved having the freedom to build their communities and the freedom to conduct commerce with the larger community, at the same time. The Shakers were famous for their inventions and marketing from flat brooms and circular saw blades to seeds in paper packets.

2.) C. Whitman saw Americans — in all their grassroots diversity — as living hymns celebrating life.

3.) B. Dylan used the metaphor of a road — because, in his next line, he told folks who didn’t embrace change to “Please get out of the new one — if you can’t lend a hand.” Not bad advice, even today, hmmm?

4.) A. “The golden door” became a powerful symbol to millions. There’s even a pretty good movie, now available on DVD, called “The Golden Door.” CLICK on the cover at right to jump to our review of the film and you can even order a copy, if you wish.

5.) B. Frost was in his 80s when JFK was inaugurated and the story goes that he wrote a poem for the occasion, but had trouble reading it. So, he recited a much earlier poem that he knew by heart. And, in a way, it was a golden moment. The poem was from the era of World War II and talked about self sacrifice as the essential component of building a national community. Poems like these — songs of the American spirit, at its best — would be great texts to study in an interfaith setting.

6.) C. What a terrific touch in his daily song — reminding his viewers, whoever they were, that each was “a beauty” he was welcoming into his neighborhood. Gosh, we miss Mr. Rogers, don’t we?

7.) C. Seeger made other adaptations, as well. If you haven’t heard his music — or haven’t listened to it in years — he’s well worth searching out online or in the CD section of stores.

8.) C. Even though Lennon grew up in a parish in the UK and was active in his youth group, his life took him to places, experiences and insights that often set him at odds with religious leaders. Sometimes, his comments were misunderstood, like his puzzled observation that the Beatles’ fans were treating the band like they were more famous than Jesus. But, by the time Lennon wrote “Imagine,” he had attained a prophetic status and deliberately was summoning provocative visions to help people see new possibilities. Whether he truly wanted to end all religious faith is debatable. But he certainly was critiquing faith that divides the world, rather than seeking to unite it peacefully.

9.) C. As we listen to the great songs about living together in all our diversity, we begin to realize that voices like Lennon’s didn’t suddenly appear out of some angry vacuum. They are part of a chorus of critics, rattling the doors of our houses of worship, calling on us to get out and help the entire community. While most of us can sing along with the first verses of Woody’s terrific song, very few of us recall this verse:
“In the squares of the city —
In the shadow of the steeple
Near the relief office — I see my people
And some are grumblin’ and some are wonderin’
If this land’s still made for you and me.”
    Somehow, we forget to sing this part of the song.

10.) A. She sounds a lot like John Lennon in these lines, too, doesn’t she?
    At ReadTheSpirit, we’re people who believe that, at our best, our spiritual values guide us toward better lives and stronger communities. But there are great dangers, as well, in this powerful realm of faith.

PLEASE, tell us what you think. You can click on the “Comment” link at the end of the online version of this story. Or, you can Email ReadTheSpirit Editor David Crumm directly.

    OR, click on the “Digg” link below and add a very brief “digg” comment — even a phrase — to this story’s listing on Digg-It, which will tell even more folks worldwide that it’s worth reading:


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156 Tuesday Quiz: Want to be Super? … Do You Know about Heroic Origins?

1_popular_mechanics_iron_man_cover
    we hit a creative nerve on Monday with our themes of heaven, transformation, resurrection — and the high hopes that superheroes set for many of us.
    After reading that story and viewing the videos, Emails from readers kept dropping into my “inbox” throughout the day.
    “I love what the rabbi said in your story today … We all should work harder to bring a little heaven here to earth. That’s better than dreaming of, what does the song say? Pie in the sky someday,” Leah Wills wrote from Chicago. “I wish I had super powers to use around here.”
    Then, the Rev. Tim Ziegler, a young pastor, emailed me to say that Iron Man was his comic book hero when Tim was a boy growing up in Ohio. Now, as an adult, he’s intrigued by the spiritual issues revolving around a guy like Iron Man (and we’ll have more on that later this week, by the way). He wrote, “You’re absolutely correct in seeing how Tony Stark
now knows all too well the ills that go along with technology when it’s
usurped in the wrong hands. Or, how it can get out of control. Or,
how we 21st-Century folk might become workers/slaves of the technology
rather than controllers of it.
    “I’m trying to line up a babysitter so I can be in a movie theater seat on opening night.”
    We said that this convergence of themes is a “preachable and teachable moment.” And, tomorrow — Wednesday — we turn to a very serious side of this issue: A Conversation With the best-selling British author N.T. Wright about his important new book about heaven, resurrection and the future of faith. Come back tomorrow to hear from Bishop Wright.

    But right now, let’s tackle The Return of the Popular Tuesday Quiz!
    In keeping with this week’s theme, we’re looking at Superhero Origins.
    At first glance, you may wonder how this relates to our overall theme — which is more about where we’re heading, than where we started. But, in fact, origins are important parts of the spiritual glue holding these themes together.
    If you wonder how seriously Americans regard superheroes — all you have to do is look at the May issue of Popular Science. That’s the brand-new May cover, shown above. Inside the issue is an amazing 14-page special report on how scientists are developing technology to give humans super powers. Not only that, but some of this technology may help disabled people. Paraplegic men and women actually may walk again with super-powered devices strapped around their legs.

The_cardinal_by_kurt_kolka     Origins are important to all of us. We all want to know where new powers may arise in our lives.
    Kurt Kolka, the creator of The Cardinal, a series of Christian-themed comics, was among many readers I talked with on Monday. Right now, Kolka is publishing online a brand-new version of the Cardinal’s origin narrative. Click on that link to read this week’s chapter in the Cardinal saga. And return to that site every Sunday for a new chapter. Kurt says the Cardinal’s origins story is likely to unfold over a period of months. This particular superhero is  a fascinating, college-age, ecumenical superhero, trying to figure out his life’s vocation.   

So, What Do You Know about Popular Superhero Origins?
    Take the following 10-question quiz, then — in the online version of this story — click on the link at the end of the questions to reveal the answers.

    1.) Batman’s back in movie theaters on July 18, battling the evil Joker. We all know that the butler Alfred played a major role in raising the young millionaire Bruce Wayne, who transforms himself into Batman. But why did Wayne become this “Dark Knight”?
    A. He’s sensitive to sunlight, because of a genetic disorder that killed his parents.
    B. The Riddler trapped his parents for years in a medieval house of horrors on a remote island.
    C. His parents were murdered by criminals after a night at a theater.

    2.) Comic book superheroes borrow liberally from religious traditions. DC Comics says that Captain Marvel possesses the wisdom of Solomon, the power of Zeus and the courage of Achilles. But this mighty figure is actually an orphaned teenager, who utters something that transforms him into the heroic captain. What does he shout?
    A. Great Caesar’s ghost!
    B. Shazam!
    C. It’s clobberin’ time!

    3.) Another superhero torn right out of the pages of world mythology is Wonder Woman, who is an exotic intersection of Olympian gods and the Amazons. There’s also an element in Wonder Woman’s origin that echoes the Bible. What is it?
    A. Eve is tempted by a serpent and, as a toddler, Wonder Woman must defeat a snake to survive into adulthood.
    B. The naming of animals is a key part of the Eden story, and Wonder Woman knows secret primeval names of animals that allows her to control them.
    C. Genesis says God made humans from the dust of the earth, and Wonder Woman started as a baby made of clay.

    4.) The Flash got his high-speed superpowers from a bizarre chemical accident, but there’s something quite unusual about the Flash’s origins. What?
    A. Like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, he can turn on and off his power with a dose of the original chemical reaction.
    B. The Flash powers move through various humans across the centuries.
    C. Flash discovered that he really was born on the star Alpha Centauri — and the chemical accident unlocked his star-born powers.

    5.) The Incredible Hulk showed up in comic books in 1962 and returns to movie theaters in a new incarnation on June 13. We know he’s Dr. Bruce Banner, a brilliant but troubled scientist. So, what happened to turn the scientist into a green titan?
    A. He was exposed to gamma rays while working on a G-Bomb.
    B. He drank toxic waste, slipped into his lab’s water cooler by Doctor Doom.
    C. He was doused in chemicals while held captive by communist Chinese forces.

Marvel_aquaman_2
     6.) Aquaman is one of the oldest superheroes, debuting in 1941 — and still going strong 67 years later. Of course, he’s an ocean-based superhero and ecological concerns now are far more pressing than they were when he first showed up in a series called More Fun Comics. Which is true about this king of the sea?
    A. He is an Atlantean, abandoned as a child and raised by dolphins.
    B. He is a scientist, locked too long in an isolation chamber that was flooded with nuclear waste.
    C. He is a southern California surfer, bathed in an exotic chemical that leaked from a ship.

    7.) Over the years, Spider-Man’s origins have been muddied up by speculative storylines, but the basic story that was sufficient for readers from his debut in 1962 was:
    A. He was part of a NASA experiment and swallowed a spider that had hitchhiked on an intergalactic space probe.
    B. He was spun in a web one night by a huge spider escaped from a lab next door.
    C. He was bitten by a radioactive spider.

    8.) Ben Grimm has emerged as one of the most famous Jewish superheroes in popular comics and movies today. That’s a remarkable development in a creative profession that was shaped for decades by Jewish artists and writers who excluded specific references to organized religion from their storylines. But, it wasn’t Judaism that gave Ben Grimm his world-famous orange color or his super-human strength. Where did that originate?
    A. He fell into a volcano where scientists were testing new weapons.
    B. He flew into outer space and was bombarded by radiation.
    C. He was repairing a nuclear reactor when someone flipped the main switch too early.

    9.) We all know Superman is an orphan of the planet Krypton that blew up — but not before Superman’s Dad, Marlon Brando … er, sorry, we mean Kal-El (who once was played by Marlon Brando) rocketed the infant to great fame in Hollywood. However, the big guy’s roots have haunted him all the days of his life, because about the only thing that can kill him are stray chunks of his home planet. This lethal Kryptonite is famously colored:
    A. Red
    B. Purple
    C. Green

    10.) Batman’s sidekick Robin turned out to be a smooth fit in the ol’ Bat Cave. Why?
    A. His parents were killed by bad guys, too. Plus, they were circus acrobats so Robin grew up knowing all the fancy moves needed to fight crime.
    B. He almost lost his life due to a genetic order, as well. Plus, after Bruce Wayne found scientists to save his life, a side effect was that Robin had nocturnal “bat” senses.
    C. Before he was Bruce Wayne’s ward, he was the Riddler’s young assistant. Plus, when he finally saw the error of his ways, he was the one who risked his life to free Wayne’s long-imprisoned parents.

    Think you’ve got all the answers?
    In the online version of this story, click on the link below to find the answers!

The_thing
H
ere are the answers!

    1.) C. Bruce Wayne understood the depths of evil from an early, impressionable age — a trauma that transformed his life into a search for justice.

    2.) B. However, the others are famous comic cries, as well. “Great Caesar’s Ghost!” is the favorite exclamation of Perry White, the newspaper editor in Superman comics. “It’s clobberin’ time!” is the trademark battle cry of Ben Grimm, the Thing in the Fantastic Four.

    3.) C. She turned out pretty well for having started as an Arts ‘n’ Crafts project. Wonder Woman was fashioned of clay and the gods brought her to life.

    4.) B. This is a pretty cool mythological idea — with lots of potential spiritual issues one could explore. The Flash’s powers do move through the centuries to various people. There have been at least three major Flashes since this collection of super-speed heroes first showed up in comics in 1940. (Another similar multi-generational superhero is Green Lantern, part of a cosmic police force.)

    5.) A. Gamma rays! And, eventually, Bruce Banner learned to use gamma rays to switch himself back and forth.

    6.) A. Aquaman is a royal figure, according to DC Comics version of mythology, but was abandoned and grew up healthy thanks to a family of dolphins.

    7.) C. And, believe it or not: At the time, Peter Parker was a student visiting a science exhibition! Parents, take note next time there’s a science-class field trip!

    8.) B. His buddy Reed Richards had this great idea for a new outer-space vehicle and Grimm agreed to help test it — along with Susan and Johnny Storm who also are part of the Fantastic Four.

    9.) C. Kryptonite is green.

    10.) A. Dick Grayson’s parents refused to submit to organized crime. It wasn’t hard to kill them, since they regularly performed risky feats on a circus high wire.

    TELL US WHAT YOU THINK, please! There’s a “Comment” link at the end of the online version of this story, but we know many readers prefer personal contact. So, you can also Email ReadTheSpirit Editor David Crumm directly.

    OR, click on the “Digg” link below and add a very brief “digg” comment — even a phrase — to this story’s listing on Digg-It, which will tell even more folks worldwide that it’s worth reading:


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126: QUIZ: What Hollywood Teaches About … the Spiritual Quest for Truth

Wizard_of_oz
It’s quiz time again and we want to know: How does Hollywood’s version of spiritual truth stack up with our own?

    This isn’t as crazy as it sounds. Hollywood’s greatest talents always have known that successful cinema is a search for timeless truth. It just took a century for technology to catch up with that creative optimism. At the core of the recent Hollywood writers’ strike was the realization that movies and TV series truly are eternal in this age of digital networking.
    As moviegoers, we’ve known this for years, haven’t we?
    Most of us have a favorite movie or two tucked away in our memory banks, intertwined inextricably with our deepest spiritual yearnings — our hopes for the future, our love of life, our sense of ourselves.
    That’s why, when the American Film Institute ran a contest looking for the Greatest Movie Quotes of all time — many of the lines have a ring of spiritual truth to them.

    Now, before we start today’s quiz, let us point out why seemingly silly stories like yesterday’s trio of St. Patrick’s Day videos — or today’s Hollywood quiz — actually are quite important in building spiritual bridges in our troubling world.

Greg_garrett_hollywood
    One big reason is this: The world is vast and our cultural distinctions are tricky to understand. We find ourselves in friction all the time, these days.
    Two cases of friction involving ReadTheSpirit cropped up on Monday.
    First, we now send out a free Monday-morning Email to readers who request it called the ReadTheSpirit Planner that provides — “at a glance” — an overview of timely spiritual issues each week. In Monday’s edition of the Planner we said that the Jewish holiday of Purim “is Thursday.” By Monday night, I had heard from quite a few Jewish readers pointing out that Jewish days run sundown to sundown — so Purim continues through the daytime of Friday.
    We knew this, of course, and we’re sorry that we didn’t explain it more clearly in our text — because most non-Jews wouldn’t know this cultural distinction. We should have done a better job of explaining this.
    Second, a reader in the UK named Fred emailed to complain about our headline over the weekend about a man who “traveled” into Orthodoxy. Fred said this clearly should have been “travelled.” Well, we exchanged some emails on this point before realizing that we’re using an American-based Websters style that has a single “l” as the preference — and Fred uses the highly respected Oxford English Dictionary, where he points out that a double “ll” is the best way to go.

    That’s 2 points of friction in 24 hours — both points involving the honest and quite natural diversity we experience when we pull together a community of readers as we’re doing here at ReadTheSpirit. We thank both Fred and our Jewish readers for raising these issues. We’re just pointing out the basic challenge that we all face as we search for truth.
    Sometimes, the truth is more complex than we expect.

    So — let’s turn the focus back to Hollywood, shall we?
    How well do you know Hollywood’s most famous attempts at expounding upon spiritual truth?
    Most of the following quotes come from the American Film Institute’s famous-quotes project. Match the quotes to the 12 movie titles.
    (If you want to know more about spirituality and cinema, we’re big fans here of Greg Garrett’s work in this area. Click on the cover to his book, “The Gospel According to Hollywood,” and you’ll jump to our review — and you can even pick up a copy via Amazon if you wish.)

The_searchers
HERE ARE THE MOVIE QUOTES:

   
1.) You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view, until you climb inside his skin and walk around in it.

    2.) You can’t handle the truth!

    3.) SHE: What are you rebelling against?
    HE: What’ve you got?

    4.) I see dead people.

    5.) This is the people’s war! It is our war! We are the fighters! Fight it, then! Fight it with all that is in us, and may God defend the right.

    6.) MAN No. 1: It’s alright. That’s in every contract! That’s what they call a sanity clause.
    MAN No. 2: You can’t fool me! There ain’t no Sanity Claus!

    7.) Would you like me to tell you the little story of the right hand, left hand? The story of good and evil? H-A-T-E. It was with this left hand that old brother Cain struck the blow that laid his brother low. L-O-V-E. You see these fingers, dear hearts? These fingers has veins that run straight to the soul of man — the right hand, friends, the hand of love.

    8.) We all go a little mad sometimes.

    9.) Let’s go home, Debbie.

    10.) If I ever go looking for my heart’s desire again, I won’t look any
further than my own back yard. Because if it isn’t there, I never
really lost it to begin with! Is that right?

The_sixth_sense
    11.) SHE: But judgment of any system of phenomena exists in any
rational, metaphysical or epistemological contradiction to an
abstracted empirical concept such as being, or to be, or to occur in
the thing itself, or of the thing itself.

    HE: Yeah, I’ve said that many times.

    12.) No matter what I ever do or say, Heathcliff, this is me — now — standing on this hill with you. This is me — forever.

HERE ARE THE MOVIE TITLES:

    “The Searchers”

    “Love and Death”

    “Wizard of Oz”

    “Wuthering Heights”

    “The Wild One”

    “To Kill a Mockingbird”

    “The Sixth Sense”

    “Psycho”

    “The Night of the Hunter”

    “A Night at the Opera”

    “Mrs. Miniver”

    “A Few Good Men”

   When you think you’ve got all the answers, CLICK on the link below in the online version of this
quiz, and the ANSWERS will pop up!

    Ready? CLICK for the ANSWERS below …

To_kill_a_mockingbird
HERE are THE ANSWERS:

   
1.) Talk about a film that’s packed with meditations on the nature of truth! Those words were put in the film by \screenwriter Horton Foote and are uttered, every time someone watches the 1962 classic again, by Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch, the father and attorney in “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

    2.) At their best, Hollywood artists often have tried to open the world’s eyes to tough truths. They haven’t always succeeded — and sometimes their version of truth has been skewed. But moviemakers often have served as modern prophets. This famous line about truth was shouted by Jack Nicholson in 1992’s “A Few Good Men, written by Aaron Sorkin and directed by Rob Reiner.

    3.) That sassy response comes from the leather-clad Marlon Brando, speaking to the small-town girl he meets in 1953’s tale of motorcycles and mayhem, “The Wild One.”

Allen_in_love_and_death
    4.) That’s little Haley Joel Osment in the 1999 film with Bruce Willis, directed by M. Night Shyamalan: “The Sixth Sense.” The movie may have suffered in reruns because, of course, most people now can’t avoid being “in on” the central truth of the film from the beginning. When it first hit theaters, though, the film danced a chilling flip-flop on our expectations of spiritual truths. Lots of folks couldn’t stop talking about the experience.

    5.) There wasn’t even a hint of the irony that’s so stylish today in Hollywood when these words were spoken in 1942’s “Mrs. Miniver.” During World War II, American leaders credited this movie about a British family surviving the German onslaught with helping to build American fervor for the war effort. Despite the devastation, the movie showed Greer Garson and her family struggling bravely to survive, to fight back — and the family even huddled with other brave British families in a bombed-out church for their weekly worship.

    6.) Hollywood was never above skewering popular American myths — even “Sanity” Claus in the still-very-funny 1935 Marx Brothers’ production, “A Night at the Opera.”

    7.) In 1955, Robert Mitchum emphasized this creepy little sermonette with tattooed fingers spelling out “LOVE” and “HATE.” The stylized production was written by James Agee and directed by Charles Laughton, far better known as an award-winning actor. The whole production sent chills through American viewers with its shockingly unusual “take” on the danger that may be lurking in our midst, even in small-town America.

A_few_good_men
    8.) Ain’t it the truth, hmmm? Except, hopefully we never go quite as mad as Tony Perkins, who uttered this line in Alfred Hitchcock’s masterpiece: “Psycho.”

    9.) By the time John Wayne utters that line in 1956’s “The Searchers,” we’ve been through an amazing odyssey with Wayne’s bitter yet heroic character Ethan Edwards. The film ranks as one of Wayne’s and John Ford’s best and deliberately challenged Americans’ notions of truth on several different levels.

    10.) That’s Dorothy Gale in “The Wizard of Oz,” played by the great Judy Garland. In the film, she also declares: “There’s no place like home.” A host of Christian meditations have been written about the film and the novels by L. Frank Baum, including a number of reflections by Frederick Buechner.

    11.) That’s Diane Keaton and Woody Allen in “Love and Death,” a skewering of a century of angst in eastern European arts and literature.

    12.) And let’s hope they do go on forever into DVD and Blu-ray and whatever futuristic digital formats Hollywood dreams up — because this couple is Merle Oberon speaking to the truly timeless Laurence Olivier in William Wyler’s 1939 version of Emily Bronte’s “Wuthering Heights” — adapted in part by the great screenwriter, Ben Hecht.

How’d you do?
    Remember — if
you enjoyed this week’s
quiz, you can print it or email the entire text it to a friend. We
only ask that you credit the quiz to “David Crumm” and
“readthespirit.com” (If you’re new to ReadTheSpirit, we often run
quizzes on Tuesdays and you can quickly find our past quizzes by
finding the “Categories” area on our Web site and clicking on the
“Tuesday Quiz” category!)

    Tell us what you think. Click Here to email me, David Crumm, or leave a Comment for other readers on our site.

    AND: COME BACK TOMORROW for our Conversation With best-selling author Bart Ehrman, the author of the provocative new book, “God’s Problem.”

    OR, click on the “Digg” link below and add a very brief “digg” comment — even a phrase — to this story’s listing on Digg-It, which will tell even more folks worldwide that it’s worth reading:


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