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Spiritual Revolutions: Revolutionary Spirit

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Dissident Heart

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Spiritual Revolutions: Revolutionary Spirit

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Martin Luther King Jr. developed a rule to guide the non
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Dissident Heart

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Liberating Faith

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Liberating Faith: Religious Voices for Justice, Peace, and Ecological Wisdom by Roger GottliebThis sweeping anthology shows how religion has joined with and learned from movements for social justice, peace, and ecological wisdom. Liberating Faith surveys the entire range of religious social activism: from liberation theology and feminist religion to ecotheology and peace activism. It includes theology, social critique, position papers, denominational statements, manifestos, rituals, prayers, biographical accounts, and journalistic descriptions of real world struggles, beginning with a survey of ethical teachings from traditional sources. Following sections deal with "precursor" voices before the 20th century, Gandhi's exemplary vision, overviews of the connections between religion, society, and political movements, and impassioned accounts of particular issues. Containing voices from a multitude of traditions, national settings, and perspectives.Liberating Faith includes writings by Latin American liberation theologians and radical American religious activists, statements on social justice by the Pope and environmental morality by the Eastern Orthodox Patriarch, religious critiques of collective and interpersonal violence, passionate denunciations of racism and quiet eloquence which demands that we all stand up for morality in dark times. An invaluable teaching resource and the definitive introduction to global religious social activism, this book offers a visionary alternative to both repressive fundamentalism and spiritless secularism.List of ContributorsDiane Ackerman, Nawal H. Ammar, Scott Appleby, Naim Stifan Ateek, Rich Barlow, Daniel Berrigan, Thomas Berry, Philip Berryman, Michael Bourdeaux, Stephen B. Boyd, Judy Chicago, Anne M. Clifford, James H. Cone, Harvey Cox, Dorothy Day, Michael Dodson, Nancy L. Eiesland, Asghar Ali Engineer, Mark Engler, Farid Esack, Anwar Fazal, Margaret Fell, Elisabeth Schussler Fiorenza, Ivone Gebara, Mahatma Gandhi, Cheryl Townsend Gilkes, Roger S. Gottlieb, Gustavo Gutierrez, Thich Nhat Hanh, Beverly W. Harrison, Stanley Hauerwas, Abraham Joshua Heschel, Carter Heyward, Jonna Higgins-Freese, Anita C. Hill, Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham, Inbal Kashtan, Eric Katz, Stephanie Kaza, Rami G. Khouri, Martin Luther King, Winona LaDuke, The Dalai Lama, John Paul Lederach, Pope Leo XIII, Michael Lerner, John Locke, Joanna Macy, Mary John Mananzan, Stan McKay, Thomas Merton, Ti Wei Ming, Lucretia Mott, Reinhold Niebuhr, Henri Nouwen, Jim O'Grady, Judith Plaskow, Murray Polner, Walpola Rahula, Walter Rauschenbusch, Shamara Shantu Riley, Sheila Rowbotham, Rosemary Ruether, Fernando Pages Ruiz, Vandana Shiva, Sulak Sivaraksa, Dee Smith, Dorothy Soelle, Ronald J. Terchek, Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite, Jeff Tomhave, Leo Treadway, Walter Wink, Elizur Wright, and Theodore S. Wright.
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Re: Liberating Faith

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DHWhat you do not see are the limitations of his philosophy, what about when you are dealing with non Christians. What about when you are dealing with people who hate Christianity and will not hear a good argument simply because it comes from a person that claims his motives are Christian. I again point to the fact that two thirds of our little planets human population is non Christian and many find the belief to be offensive. Using Christianity as a platform for peace is doomed to failure. Later
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Agapic Radicalism

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Frank: What you do not see are the limitations of his philosophy?Anyone who chooses non-violence over retaliation is forced to confront a terribly violent history of human malice and mistreatment of others. The same goes for anyone who leads an interpersonal exchange with compassion and empathy, being willing to show vulnerability and weakness, opening oneself to attack and ridicule. King's notion of agapic love was profoundly limiting in a world of might equals right me-first tribalistic militarized racist nationalism.Frank: what about when you are dealing with non Christians?In the words of that ancient African Christian, Augustine, "Love, and do what you will." Or, as the Prophet Micah said, "What does the Lord require of you? To seek justice, and love kindness, to walk humbly with your God." But I think Jesus captured it best:Quote:'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.' Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?' 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'Thus, the challenge for Christians (and I have not given an exhaustive explanation by any means) is not "what to do with non-Christians?" but Quote:"The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor."Frank: What about when you are dealing with people who hate Christianity and will not hear a good argument simply because it comes from a person that claims his motives are Christian.Patience, sympathy, empathy, humor, and the ability to walk away with a good conscience free of resentment.Frank: I again point to the fact that two thirds of our little planets human population is non Christian and many find the belief to be offensive.I don't know what you mean by "Christian belief". I think Christianity is a very complex phenomena that includes billions of persons and a wide variety of traditions, interpretations and ways of life. I'm offering one (also multifaceted) approach (exemplified in Dr. King and Gottlieb's Liberating Faith) that I find has done extraordinary work across the globe, bridging religious and secular communities for social justice and ecological concerns that threaten all of us. I suppose there will always be some that find this offensive.Frank: Using Christianity as a platform for peace is doomed to failure. Many thought King was doomed to failure as well. No doubt he was plagued by such doubts althroughout his life's work. It may be that all approaches to peace are doomed to failure and that humanity is simply too aggressive, violent and prone to war. This is where I think the real issues of faith arise. Not in some academic seminar debating the epistemological foundations of the existence of God. But at the barricades and on the streets and in the hearts of those who are saying to the haters and nihilists of life, as Dr. King said in his Letter from Birmingham Jail Quote:One day the South will recognize its real heroes. They will be the James Merediths, with the noble sense of purpose that enables them to face jeering and hostile mobs, and with the agonizing loneliness that characterizes the life of the pioneer. They will be old, oppressed, battered Negro women, symbolized in a seventy two year old woman in Montgomery, Alabama, who rose up with a sense of dignity and with her people decided not to ride segregated buses, and who responded with ungrammatical profundity to one who inquired about her weariness: "My feets is tired, but my soul is at rest." They will be the young high school and college students, the young ministers of the gospel and a host of their elders, courageously and nonviolently sitting in at lunch counters and willingly going to jail for conscience' sake. One day the South will know that when these disinherited children of God sat down at lunch counters, they were in reality standing up for what is best in the American dream and for the most sacred values in our Judaeo Christian heritage, thereby bringing our nation back to those great wells of democracy which were dug deep by the founding fathers in their formulation of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.
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Re: Agapic Radicalism

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It's the "Christian" part that is unnecessary. It adds an unmitigated risk to the situation. No matter how loving and caring you are, if your peace efforts are based on a belief system, you create an in-group and out-group mentality. It wasn't the god and Jesus part that made MLK a great man, it was the non-violent, goodness and self sacrifice that made him great. Non-violence, self sacrifice, and a general kindness are essential for peaceful efforts. But those traits are not dependant upon any form of spirituality.
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Re: Agapic Radicalism

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Phiend: It's the "Christian" part that is unnecessary.I don't think I've tried to argue that one must be Christian to seek peace, act justly, love kindness and walk humbly in the world...although I think Christianity offers a wide variety of ways to learn precisely how to do that. Nowhere in this thread have I argued for Christianity's exclusive claims to leading a moral or just or loving life, nor will I.Phiend: It adds an unmitigated risk to the situation.No doubt it is risky. In the ancient world, identifying with the Reign of God meant you rejected the Empire of Ceasar...and this was far more than simply making a theological claim; it was a statement of allegience and rejection of the dominant social/political structure of the day. For Dr. King, it was risky to the extreme as well. I think the kind of Christianity I refer to should be risky, and just as radical.Phiend: No matter how loving and caring you are, if your peace efforts are based on a belief system, you create an in-group and out-group mentality.As has already been adressed in this thread, choosing peace over war or violence is deeply tied to particular beliefs; and ones that fly in the face of profound evidence to the contrary. All political efforts reflect belief systems: beliefs regarding human rights, civil rights, democracy, the good society, ecological obligations, economic justice, etc. Likewise, I don't know how to avoid making alliances and allegiences in life: finding solidarity with likeminded folk who share your values and are willing to work with you for common causes and crises. I mean, frankly, if you (like occasionally flares up on these threads) think calling all Religious folk deluded cowards unable to face reality and simply superstitious dupes...is a way to avoid in group/out group mentality...well... .. .phiend: It wasn't the god and Jesus part that made MLK a great man, it was the non-violent, goodness and self sacrifice that made him great.Dr. King would profoundly disagree with you about this. But, you probably know better than he did what he meant when he worshipped, prayed to, and talked about Jesus and God. phiend: Non-violence, self sacrifice, and a general kindness are essential for peaceful efforts. But those traits are not dependant upon any form of spirituality.I agree to both points. I think serious commitment to long term non-violent activism in a terribly violent world requires more than just a bunch of good ideas about what it means to be peaceful and kind. I started this thread with some guidelines that Dr. King identified as crucial for his work in the effort. Care to share how you pursue this kind of work?
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Re: Agapic Radicalism

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Quote: I started this thread with some guidelines that Dr. King identified as crucial for his work in the effort.Quote: Martin Luther King Jr. developed a rule to guide the non
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Re: Agapic Radicalism

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Quote:'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'My problem here is that when you combine religion with social services then you automatically introduce an agenda. If you are baptized and accept Christ as your personal savior then you can eat the food we offer. If you do not use birth control nor seek abortions then you can seek comfort in our shelter. Combining proselytizing with providing services is disingenuous. Did Mother Teresa do some amazing things for needy people? Yes. Did she do so purely for the people themselves or for (not just because of) her religion? I don't know, but I suspect the latter. Personally, I want these social services to be addressed solely because it is better for humanity that scores of people do not suffer; rather than it is better for my soul that people do not suffer.Quote:Frank: What about when you are dealing with people who hate Christianity and will not hear a good argument simply because it comes from a person that claims his motives are Christian.Patience, sympathy, empathy, humor, and the ability to walk away with a good conscience free of resentment. [emphasis added] And what then has been accomplished? Quote:phiend: It wasn't the god and Jesus part that made MLK a great man, it was the non-violent, goodness and self sacrifice that made him great.Dr. King would profoundly disagree with you about this. But, you probably know better than he did what he meant when he worshipped, prayed to, and talked about Jesus and God. This is like saying I can't interpret a book a certain way, if that is not what the author intended. It doesn't matter whether MLK agrees with why society perceives him as being great, or even how MLK perceives himself. It doesn't matter to me what "he meant when he worshipped, prayed to, and talked about Jesus and God." The value of his message, for me, was in his example of non-violent protest, regardless of religion.
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MLK's Christianity.

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Martin Luther King questionned many of the basic tenets of Christianity such as the virgin birth, the original sin or the bodily resurrection. Many Christians - and not just fundamentalists - would argue that he was not a Christian. Here is a link to a blog post about MLK's Christianity (which in turn links to four relevant MLK-authored papers).theologica.blogspot.com/2...-king.html
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Re: Agapic Radicalism

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phiend: what is your argument? That some religious ways of life are honorable, important, venerable and worthy of emulation in the worlds of social justice, ecological crises and peace and reconcilliation movements.And that religious practice is more than just a bunch of ridiculous ideas and superstitious nonsense, but can be complicated ways of living involving sophisticated political analyses, astute interpersonal knowledge, keen ethical insight, and profound moral courage in the face of often terrifying odds...ways of life that protect human dignity and care of the ecosystem; as well as beautiful expressions of human intelligence in their own right.Finally, that without addressing the wholistic nature of religion (specifically of the radical agapic sort via Dr. King) I don't think any serious claims of understanding or knowledge can be made. You can talk about them all you want, but you really won't know what you're talking about.phiend: That we have to be kind, generous, and generally nice to have peace. That Peace doesn't somehow materialize from treating each other like shit?No, that peace is hard work: sometimes deadly hard work, and it doesn't pay well. If you are committed to a world of peace and social transformation a la Dr. King and Liberation Faith folk, then you can expect a lifetime of trial and challenge. Dr. King argued that a larger context of prayer, meditation, reflection on the life of Jesus, solidarity, and commitment to something larger than immediate results was required. I think he was open to other methods, but offered this as the one that worked for him.phiend: Are you trying to say that because I occasionally do what I say shouldn't be done in order to achieve peace then I should have no opinion, or that my opinion doesn't count? My efforts here on this board have very little to do with my efforts to make this world better. I personally don't think peace will be possible until the superstitious dupes can let go of their delusionsNo. I am saying that if you are wanting to avoid in group/out group polarizations, you might want to get beyond insulting those you disagree with. Delusional dupes and enlightened rationalists...can we get beyond this when discussing religion?phiend: Yeah he probably felt that it was his faith that gave him the strength to do what he did, but that is the strength of character not the specifics of his particular religion.No, he felt it was the spirit of God animating, encouraging, mobilizing and sending him forward into seemingly impossible circumstances. He had very little faith in his own character, knowing full well the vices he carried and hid. He was also entirely convinced that it was the work of the millions of faceless, tireless supporters who really made his work possible: the larger body of men, women and children joined in solidarity for a cause that far surpassed their individual capacities or agendas. Perhaps he was delusional about God...a buffoon and idiot, a stupid oaf and supersitious moron. But, even a cursory survey of his written work and actual deeds in the world will show a consistent, thriving, vibrant and lifelong faith in the God of liberation, crucifixtion and resurrection. Thanks for the connection to JREF and NCSE...I look forward to exploring them more thoroughly.irishrosen: If you are baptized and accept Christ as your personal savior then you can eat the food we offer.Is not the kind of social justice I am referring to when I highlight the life and teaching of Dr. King or the religious ways of life exemplified in Gottlieb's Liberation Faith. Actually, having spent the last ten years in the social work and community service organization field (which is overwhelmingly a faith community effort...with substantial secular support) the vast majority DO NOT proselytize before providing services. Some make demands about clean and sober requirements, obvious house rules and behavior expectations apply, and there are steps that everybody has to follow to cover needed bases...but the driving question in most service provider's mind is What Is Best For This Client and How Can I Help Them?irishrosen: The value of his message, for me, was in his example of non-violent protest, regardless of religion.I have no problem with this. I think his religious practice was a fundamental ingredient in his example. I think he would agree. I think this is not an insignificant point when trying to understand his kind of religion.
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