How the Neighborhood Church Is Transforming the Faith
Author: Diana Butler Bass
Pubpsher: Harper Collins
For decades the accepted wisdom has been that America's mainline Protestant churches are in decline, eclipsed by evangelical mega-churches. Church and religion expert Diana Butler Bass wondered if this was true, and this book is the result of her extensive, three-year study of centrist and progressive churches across the country. Her surprising findings reveal just the opposite—that many of the churches are flourishing, and they are doing so without resorting to mimicking the mega-church, evangelical style. Christianity for the Rest of Us describes this phenomenon and offers a how-to approach for Protestants eager to remain faithful to their tradition while becoming a vital spiritual community. As Butler Bass delved into the rich spiritual life of various Episcopal, United Methodist, Disciples of Christ, Presbyterian, United Church of Christ, and Lutheran churches, certain consistent practices—such as hospitality, contemplation, diversity, justice, discernment, and worship—emerged as core expressions of congregations seeking to rediscover authentic Christian faith and witness today. This hopeful book, which includes a study guide for groups and individuals, reveals the practical steps that leaders and laypeople alike are taking to proclaim an alternative message about an emerging Christianity that strives for greater spiritual depth and proactively engages the needs of the world.
This is a practical book that may help you build a personal best-of-the-best relationship with God. I mean the best-of-the-best Sound Spiritual relationship with your Creator, the One that also nourishes and guides you. Several other relationships the world cherishes and cultivates with God are religious and more often that of accumulating wealth, material gains, positions of power and control, awards and recognition, education, certificates, diplomas and degrees. Most people base a sound, progressive and successful relationship with God on the achievement of those mundane things. YOUR Primary Relationship with God is spiritual (Father, Spirit, Son or Soul) and should remain that of spiritual values and ideals such that in time you can say; I was caught up to the third heaven last night. I can hear the inner Sound of God crystal clear. I am illuminated by the inner Light of God, God is real to me. I have discovered the straight gate and the narrow path within me that lead to the Kingdom of God. I experience and share Divine Love every moment. I know how to be still to see God’s true salvation. I can mount up with wings like the Eagle. I saw myself as Soul this morning dressed in a White Garment of Light. This book teaches you how to become a true worshipper, a Godlike being. It teaches you how to worship God in Truth and in Spirit.
The most common methods of evangelism are tailor-made for extroverts. But what about the rest of us? Other Christians, including introverted, reflective people, are left with feelings of guilt and fear and the desire to become more outgoing. The problem, says Mike Bechtle, is not their personality, but that they've been taught methods of evangelism that push them too far out of their comfort zone. In Evangelism for the Rest of Us, Bechtle shows readers how to share their faith in more comfortable ways by helping them discover and define their unique strengths within their personality type. With fresh, biblical insight, this much-needed resource renews a passion for sharing Christ with others, because telling the Good News does not have to be so intimidating.
Reform Judaism has been tested by the spiritual torments and ideological upheavals of the last two centuries. Now, Reform Judaism for the Rest of Us brings into discussion key tenets and opinions that shape current thinking within the faith and introduces ideas for its future development. Author Alexander Maller believes that the core message of Reform Judaism, a modern faith inspired by the Jewish heritage and the Jewish and American Enlightenment, is entering a new phase in its history. Free from the defunct extremist ideologies of the last centuries, American Reform Judaism can expand its reach into the new millennium if it strengthens its grassroots appeal to be of, by, and for the Reform congregants. It must also have a strong Jewish divine faith orientation, be open-minded to the realities of modern living, bear a deep love of Zion, and uphold a strong defense of the Constitution. The arguments brought forth in this study stem from the authors position as a lay congregant. They also arise from the fact that he is a participant in and an observer of the continuous dialogue between rank-and-file congregants and clergy, as well as among congregations and various denominations of faith. Reform Judaism for the Rest of Us encourages congregants to adopt a sustainable, modern, deity-based orientation inspired by Jewish heritage and the American spirit.
Using Hebrew Tools without Mastering Biblical Hebrew
Author: Lee M. Fields
This is a companion volume to Greek for the Rest of Us by William D. Mounce. This book is a guide for English-only readers to understand the language of the Old Testament just enough to work with the Old Testament in more detail and to understand the scholarly literature on the Hebrew Bible. Its specific aims are to aid students to learn (1) why translations differ, (2) how to do Hebrew word studies, (3) what the basics of Hebrew exegesis are, and (4) how to read more advanced Old Testament commentaries with greater understanding. Herbrew for the Rest of Us is set up in a workbook format.
Jesus for the Rest of Us by John Selby is written for the many millions of Americans who don’t find traditional or right-wing Christian theologies fulfilling, but who want to explore the direct meditative experience of Jesus' presence and guidance in their lives. Despite an artificially-boosted high profile, fundamentalist Christians actually make up less than 7 percent of the American public. Meanwhile, a growing number of people inside and outside the Church are turning away from religious extremism and outmoded beliefs – a full third of American adults now identify themselves as "spiritual, but not religious." If you yourself have had your curiosity about Jesus squashed by fundamentalist extremism, or if you hesitate to pursue feelings of connectedness with the presence of Jesus because you don't like dogmatic beliefs, you're going to love Jesus for the Rest of Us. Former minister John Selby offers a compassionate experiential guide that will enable you to encounter Jesus' meditative presence where all words stop . . . and true spiritual experience begins. From John Selby's extensive research into the mechanics of meditation, as well as his lifelong work as a therapist and spiritual counselor, he now teaches this new meditation technique that actively nurtures the love and guidance of Jesus' presence in our hearts. A landmark text, Jesus for the Rest of Us will help you connect with the contemplative and mystical qualities of Jesus' teachings that have sustained deep spiritual experience in millions of hearts from the time of Jesus to the present. John Selby offers a remarkably simple yet powerful post-Christian meditation process, focusing on Jesus' actual presence in our lives – beyond all theology and dogma. The program, available online as well at www.johnselby.com, will appeal to everyone seeking to experience a more meaningful spiritual life through their own direct connection with the divine.
This is a compilation of articles found on the Internet which looks at who is mainly responsible for terrorism, death, destruction and genocide around the world today. Based on the numbers killed in Asia & the Middle East, the United States of America is responsible for terrorism and genocide on a colossal scale. Ground war with modern weapons and aerial bombing (4 years in Korea, 10 years in Vietnam, & 10 years each in Iraq & Afghanistan) is terrorism resulting in the deaths of millions. In wars before WWI the combatants could see who they were killing. US aerial bombing since WWII involves no risks to the US military while terrorizing & killing innocent civilians and destroying cities. the suicide bombing by a few Muslims youths get a lot of publicity in the US, so this document concentrates on the atrocities of Jews and "so-called" Evangelical Christian Right in the US. Jews, Christians and Muslims believe in the same God described in the Old Testament Bible (OTB) by God himself (the Bible is the Word of God) as a petty, retarded, vindictive genocidal maniac. Israel was created in 1948 by Eastern European Jews (converts to Judaism 1,000 years ago with no Semitic, genetic or ancestral connection to Palestine) because of the Holocaust in Europe. It was created by eradicating Palestinians from their ancestral homeland by armed robbery & genocide. Palestinians had nothing to do with the Holocaust. the most zealous supporters of US wars since WWII (particularly on behalf of Israel created in 1948) are the Right Wing Evangelical Fundamentalist Conservative Christians (RWEFCC). In the 1950s and 1960s the evil enemy (Satan & Anti-Christ) was communism. When communism disappeared, the RWEFCC switched to condemning, hating & attacking the evil Muslims. RWEFCC people believe that once Palestine & Palestinians have been eradicated and replaced with God's new only chosen people of Eastern European origin, Armageddon, the end of the world, and the Second Coming of Christ are imminent. They ignore the spiritual message of Christ. the moral and ethical justification by Zionists Christians for creating Israel by armed robbery and mass murder in 1948 is the Old Testament Bible (OTB) and Revelations in the New Testament Bible (NTB). It is supposed to be fulfillment of Biblical prophecy. the Old Testament Bible (OTB) is historical mythology, and teaches hatred, cruelty, murder, genocide, sexism, homophobia & racism. Revelations is ridiculous science & horror fiction by primitive & ignorant people of ancient times. It is nearly impossible for a politician to get elected to office in the US Bible-Belt today without the support of Zionist Christians and if they do not affirm that they also worship "Jews" as God's only chosen people and Israel as a country created by God.
Thoughtful Christians are legitimately perplexed by a number of issues relating to the church's belief and practice. They are perplexed partly because they recognize that the issues themselves are thorny, and partly because they are not sure how to test the mutually inconsistent theories and explanations affirmed by diverse voices speaking with equal assurance. Most Christians find relatively little occasion or encouragement to address their perplexities with intellectual candor and integrity. If they dare to acknowledge their theological perplexities at all, they are too often told that these perplexities are unimportant, or that they can be answered very simply, or that they should be left to the experts. Guide for the Christian Perplexed, written by members of the faculty of Wycliffe College, Toronto, aims to explore a diversity of issues and questions to do with o our knowledge of Jesus o the meaning of suffering o the function of doctrine o the understanding of Scripture o the place of other religions o the challenge of atheism o the pleasures and complications of sexuality o the nature of worship o the way to evangelize o understanding who our neighbor is locally and globally o diversities of spirituality Here you will find thoughtful reflections and answers to the questions around these issues. A study guide is included for individual and group use.
This book deals with the rites of passage into adult Christian living. To pass through these powers of anointing by the Holy Spirit, all of us must take a journey from babyhood (new birth in Christ) to growing in spiritual maturity into that perfect man or woman of God (Ephesians 4:11–12). This will not come overnight or quickly in our walk with the Lord; it will take time, and many will have to sacrifice the things of this world to achieve it. But it can be done by all who are willing to follow the Lord in this world. One hundred percent of us must start by passing through the first level of power that the Holy Spirit bestows upon all who believe in Christ Jesus. Everything in our lives will begin at the cross of Calvary, and from there, we will all go on a trip with the Holy Spirit that will forever change our lives every day. The Holy Spirit will become our teacher and guide (John 16:13) and, depending on how much of him we want, will determine the level of growth we achieve as Christians in this world. It will not come because of traditions of men or preachers proclaiming to have absolute truth but only by the Holy Spirit himself as he teaches and witnesses with your spirit the revelations of God’s Word that only he can give (Romans 8:16). I invite you to travel with me through the pages of this writing and discover the truths that are within. I take no credit for what the Holy Spirit of God has revealed; only he has the wisdom and revelations to open our eyes to his Word. And only he has the anointing power to grow us up from level to level as we progress in his knowledge and power. But here is a truth you must know: the Holy Spirit will not take you any further in spiritual growth than you are willing to allow him to (Matthew 7:11). At every level of anointing you have to pass through to grow and go on to the next level, you will have to ask of him and be willing to sacrifice what needs to be given in order to achieve it. Many who are tied up in religion and bondage to denominationalisms will try to keep you from this growth. Very few in the body of Christ will ever reach full maturity in our Lord. Most already believe that they have achieved this level because they are good Christians—they go to Church, give their tithes, help a few people, work in the church, and say their prayers every day. Outwardly, this may seem like the perfect saint of God, but the Lord is seeking more from us to pick up our cross for him and follow him. This will require commitment, a soldout attitude, sacrifices, and even death—if that’s what it takes! Twelve apostles willingly lived their lives for him and gave their lives in death. The question today is, “How far do you want to grow in Christ?” and “Do you want to live your life for him or continue to play church on earth?” This book will change the way you see yourself with Christ; it will help you come out of organized religion and walk with your Lord the way he meant it to be. Only the Holy Spirit can show you these things to come. I hope this book will challenge you to become the mature Christians God intends for all of us to become. In Christ’s love, Dr. Richard E. Weathers, PsyD