Monday, August 27, 2007
Friday, August 24, 2007
The youth came from places as far as Port Arthur, Texas for the weeklong event. They lived int eh dorms and studied Scripture, attended worship and crafted their own talents to serve God. Various speakers, including the Rev. Fred Lowery of First Baptist - Bossier, hoped to inspire and motivate the young people. A final talent show with a mass choir, praise dancers, drama and gymnastics to celebrate Blake's 80th birthday.
A number of young people also committed their lives to Christ by the end of the week. "The praise that went up in the name of Jesus was extraordinary," the release said.
In the song opening the Sabbath, the image is the congregation as the groom and the Sabbath is the bride, eagerly awaited by the faithful. "Traditionally, we even stand during the last verse, turn toward the door, and imagine the bride entering the room, like in a wedding," she said.
Catholic theology flips that around, seeing the church as the bride of Christ, so I mixed it up. Sorry! It's a pretty cool image either way.
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
According to the press release: "Amanpour reports that during the last 30 years, each faith has exploded into a powerful political force, comprised of followers – “God's warriors” – who share a deep dissatisfaction with modern society, and a fierce determination to place God and religion back into daily life and to the seats of power."
They sent me advance copies of the documentary, and it was pretty fascinating. I watched the piece on Christianity and Judaism, because the militant arms of those traditions are sometimes overlooked. The piece on Christianity is particularly noteworthy because it includes the last interview with the late Rev. Jerry Falwell. She does a decent job of walking the fine line between portraying her subjects as more devout than most without making them seem crazy. She also confronts people with criticisms of their movements, and everyone gets a chance to explain themselves.
If anyone out there watches, let me know what you think. It airs at 8 p.m. today, Wednesday and Thursday.
Monday, August 20, 2007
* During the installation prayer, De Benedetti stood under a prayer shawl, which was held up like a chuppah, which is usually used during weddings. The chuppah symbolizes the home that a couple will build together. During the installation, De Benedetti saw a spiritual home being built for the congregation.
* The prayer shawl itself had tree branches on it and the Hebrew inscription "It is a tree of life." The "it" referred to Torah (to Jews, the law; to Christians, the first five books of the Old Testament). Since Torah is actually a feminine noun, De Benedetti said the inscription could also be translated: "She's the tree of life."
* The phrase also reminded her that God gave us choices, but if we keep to God's law, it gives us life.
* As they began the standard Sabbath service piece of the evening, candles were lit and a beautiful prayer was sung welcoming the Sabbath. "We welcome Shabbat as if we were the bride and Shabbat was the groom." Shouldn't we all look forward to worship that way?
Friday, August 17, 2007
Here's one of the prayers I found earlier in the season:
Father, all the elements of nature obey your command. Calm the storms and hurricanes that threaten us and turn our fear of your power into praise of your goodness. Amen.
The ship’s Gunner was Lt. Khan. We became friends -- and soon, so close that our differences of color and religion became obscured in our affection. I was accepted by officers and crew as a shipmate: life aboard Tugril was happy and effective. Then, Tugril went back to Pakistan, I back to mine sweeping…"
Thursday, August 16, 2007
And I'm still struggling along with my own experiment. I have certainly learned to pay more attention to what I'm saying, and I guess that's the first step. The next is actually implementing that censor.
Several people have asked me where to get the bracelets, and you can go to the link above and order them for free.
So what do y'all think? Is it a worthwhile experiment or unrealistic?
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
His wife, Trixie Davis, an organizer of the event said he always dreamed of having a Pagan event for Shreveport-Bossier City. He attended several events selling silver jewelry that he made, and he wanted a similar event here to better educate the public about Paganism.
VanLieu would probably be pleased. About 500 people are expected to attend this years event to be held this weekend. Davis particularly encouraged non-Pagans to come and learn and correct any misconceptions they might have.
Several speakers will address various aspects of the religion. And they also hope to highlight the family side of the religion with a baby blessing ceremony on Saturday.
The event will be held from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday at All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church, 9449 Ellerbe Road, Shreveport.
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
This no complaining thing is difficult, especially when people around you are complaining. I've had to really be careful to bite my tongue or find the silver lining. Other times, I just end up chiming in and switching my bracelet.
Now, we'll see if I can get to Day 4...
Monday, August 13, 2007
I drive by Shreve City Baptist Church on a regular basis, and they usually have something out front that makes me smile on their sign. My favorite was a couple of years ago, when the brick mounting for the sign was damaged. (I can't remember if someone ran into it or what) But the new board still proudly proclaimed: "Sign broke. Message inside."
Last month she was finally ordained a Rabbi, the culmination of a life long dream and the subject of Sunday's living front. She sent me a few pictures from the actual ordination in New York:
The class sat in sort of a circle and, each member of the class lit a candle on a menorah.
With the candle lit, each covered their head for a moment of silent prayer. The head rabbi then approached and laid hands on the seminarian and anointed them with oil, which Rabbi Jana said was an unexpected symbol.
Since she speaks Italian, Rabbi Jana was chosen to translate for her Italian classmate, who was chosen by the class to speak at the ordination. "It was very intense and very wonderful," she said of the experience.
Friday she will officially be installed as the rabbi at B'nai Zion.
Friday, August 10, 2007
He handled it very well. This is one of those sticky issues - do you want to risk offending people or is it more important to set some sort of expectation? He made it clear that he doesn't really care how formal or informal people dress for church, and if a "lost" person comes to visit, he figures they may not know better. But for believers, he says there is a line:
"When dresses are too high or blouses too low, I believe our Lord is dishonored... When there is writing or drawings on our clothing that advertise or in some manner endorse anything that displeases our Lord, I believe he is dishonored."
He just asked folks to think about what they wear, and ask if they think God would approve.
So what do you think? Should the issue of dress be discussed by pastors? And in our informal culture, what is the line?
Thursday, August 09, 2007
Photo: Folks in Cocoa Beach, Fla., stand to take pictures and watch the launch of the Space Shuttle Endeavour Wednesday. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)
Wednesday, August 08, 2007
Tuesday, August 07, 2007
As we talked some interesting numbers came up:
* In 1987, the local United Way raised $3.4 million.
* Last year it raised just over $3 million.
* Both Monroe and Lake Charles United Ways expect to raise more than $4 million this year.
* Their best estimate is that 15,000 to 18,000 people in the 10-parish area contribute to the United Way.
* About 400 people give a total of more than $700,000.
* Caddo and Bossier Parishes have more than 300 social service nonprofits. Only about 30 receive money from the United Way.
Monday, August 06, 2007
Friday, August 03, 2007
Wednesday, August 01, 2007
A Christian? Yes, but you could also call him or her a Muslim.
These similarities are part of the reason Abderazak Benyahia was so dismayed at the graffiti that defaced the outside walls of the Islamic Association of Arabi Tuesday. A little, white house on Youree Drive, the mosque is usually quiet except at prayer times, when the members -- among them doctors, business owners and engineers -- gather to share in worship of God.
To Benyahia, a former Algerian diplomat, the incident is a way to teach people about Islam. He has seen war, chose to leave his homeland in part to find peace. "I prefer to explain my cause."
He is also adamant that Islam does not endorse violence of any kind, and that according to the Quran, killing one man is like killing all of humanity.
He reminded me that Christians and Muslims look to the same set of holy men for inspiration: Abraham, Moses, Jesus. They add Muhammad, who they see as just a man who was particularly blessed to be the messenger of God.
Thankfully, he said he has never experienced any direct threats or intimidation because of his faith. I believe folks here are mostly good people, who have a great deal of respect for anyone's faith. I hope more of them step forward after this incident.