Thursday, May 05, 2005

Interesting survey

Found an interesting survey via this link at Off the Beaten Track... it attempts to determine which faiths are closest to your beliefs.  Look what it came up with for me. Good thing I made that switch from Catholicism a few years back, eh?

1. Mainline to Liberal Christian Protestants (100%)
2. Liberal Quakers (94%)
3. Orthodox Quaker (90%)
4. Unitarian Universalism (86%)
5. Neo-Pagan (78%)
6. Mahayana Buddhism (76%)
7. New Age (73%)
8. Theravada Buddhism (68%)
9. Mainline to Conservative Christian/Protestant (64%)
10. Hinduism (63%)

Of churches and community programs

I just got ahold of a document published by the US Dept of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), available online. I haven't had a chance to read it carefully, but one stat jumped out at me as I glanced at it:

Only 57% of congregations report involvement in some type of service or community involvement (broadly defined).

Yikes. Here's the URL:
http://www.huduser.org/Publications/PDF/faithbased.pdf

Our group continues to work. We've met with community officials, and are working with them to create a "plan." Neighborhood cleanups are in the works, as are fund raisers, picnics and programs geared toward helping people get jobs (or better jobs). My mantra these days is that this is all about relationships. If we don't build and maintain relationships with our neighbors, this will go nowhere. Programs will get us nowhere without relationships. And frankly, even if programs alone DID work, our faith should still guide us to focus on relationships.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Enthusiasm

I haven't been this excited about something since I got my first bicycle. Borg really has me thinking... And I'm especially thinking about the injunction in the NT we have the approach of a child (Matt 18:4). I wonder if being childlike includes the unbridled enthusiasm I have at the moment.

I did a search on Google for Borg, the book title and "Methodist" and got 508 hits. Looks like Methodists are talking about this book... I hope I eventually get a reply from one of my pastors regarding the possibility of doing a small group study of the book. I'm so pumped about this book.

Heart of Christianity

I've been reading Marcus Borg's book "Heart of Christianity." My take: it is very well-written, and has spoken to me like no other book on religion (aside from the Bible, of course). Just incredible. I'm sure his ideas will seem heretical to some: he acknowledges that parts of the Bible are metaphorical, that it can and should be understood with a historical and metaphorical approach, and that other major faith traditions (Judaism, Islam, & Buddhism, to name a few) might well be advocating pursuit of "the Way" that Jesus taught... that is, one might be able to get to the Way via other traditions.

I like those ideas, but I realize others will likely reject them outright. I hope that even those who do will take seriously his other main points-- that Christianity is about more than believing the right things so that we can get to Heaven after we die. Christians ought to be about the business of compassion and concern for others in THIS life. Very powerful stuff. This is a book that I just want to shout from the rooftops about. It is also a book that I just knew, even as I was reading it, would end up offending many... that is unfortunate.