Tag Archives: Christianity

BRIEF: Professor to discuss U.S. policy and Christianity

By Tracy Simmons
SpokaneFAVS.com

On March 29 Whitworth University Professor of Modern Languages Lindy Scott will discuss the war in Iraq from the point of view of Just War Theory, Latin American governments, and Latin American churches and organizations.

It’s the third lecture in the university’s 55th annual Great Decisions Lecture Series.

“I trust that the information presented will help the audience to rethink the relationship of Christianity and U.S. foreign policy today in a more interrelated world community,” Scott says.

The series features five speakers who focus on current political, cultural and economic subjects of interest to the international community. The public is invited to attend the lectures free of charge. Scott’s lecture will be at 7:30 p.m. in the Robinson Teaching Theatre in Weyerhaeuser Hall at Whitworth.

For information call (509) 777-4937.

Seeing through the mist

By Contributor Daryl Geffken

Daryl Geffken

I travelled to Winthrop this weekend for a long-awaited family vacation.  In order to get to our destination we had to travel through the Nespelem District of the Colville Reservation.  For those of you unfamiliar with this area, it is a patch of desolate ground, strewn with volcanic rock.  No streams or rivers provide life here and several massive serpentine power lines that transfer power from Grand Coulee Dam to the rest of the state split the land.

I have taken this road several times over the years.  What struck me this trip was the fact that as we climbed onto the plateau, we entered a deep fog.  It was a mystical mist (yes, I just did that) and it carried a deep sense of isolation.  It got me thinking ; first from the Native Americans living on this reservation.  Did the clouds provide an insular feeling that denied the reality of relocation to this land?  As if trying to deny the horrible marginalization forced upon them?  I’m not sure I even know the proper way to ask this in a way to honor them.

For “my people” did this mist give us the opportunity to ignore what had occurred?  Or what continues to happen?  Up there in the clouds a people live in their “sovereign” state.  But it seems a state of destitution, broken down homesteads, poor roads and poorer people.  Was this land chosen because it can hide what we don’t want to think about?

I think we do this in our lives, too.  We create worlds of hazy shadow that protect us from our darkness.  We obscure the facts that cast us in too harsh a light creating a fuzzy, more palatable likeness if, and when, we take time for reflection.  C.G. Jung asserted that each person, on the whole, is less good than he or she wants to be. “Everyone carries a Shadow, and the less it is embodied in the individual’s conscious life, the blacker and denser it is,” he said.

Many churches seem to perpetuate this type of existence. The pressure to present oneself and family as meeting these accepted norms has created something akin to schizophrenia.  This can be seen as a stressed-out, arguing family instantly transforms while walking into a church building, asserting that, “We’re fine.”  Many church leaders are content to leave this situation alone, being every bit engaged in such deception.  Church can be a dangerous place to fully expose oneself.  Church settings have lost their ability to discern the elements at work within a person and how this can help the community grow.  One may wonder if such institutions are desirous of deeply understanding the individuals within their community.

The foundational goals of Jesuit philosophy are amazing to me.  They can be summarized as, “know yourself, build community, impact the world.”  They have provided direction in my life. More than that, they have offered clarity: You can’t know yourself until you can be real, be transparent.

Being real is living at that deepest level of honesty with yourself. It’s not just going around and exposing everything that you are to everybody you see.  It’s looking for how you present yourself in a fake way, where in your life you put a mask on to prevent others from seeing what you’re afraid of them seeing.  Where you are nervous about life.

I think that the only way to be real is to realize that someone loves you unconditionally for who you are — not your effort, not your faking it, or the masks you wear, not your potential.  Jesus is the only person in my life who fits that. Check out what the bible says about him in Romans 5:8, “God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us.”  That means that God loves me, not for what I can do for him, but because I am me.  I used to think Jesus recruited me, like he wanted me on his kickball team because of all the good I could do for him.  Or that he saw me for my potential, and if I didn’t reach that potential, he’d walk away.  That’s why Philippians 1:6 hits me so hard.  Paul talks about a faith that is “confident that he who began a good work will be faithful to complete it.”  It says God started something in me; he’s not going to walk away.  Combine that verse with my rambling thought and it may look like this to you and to me. Jesus sees all that we are, and loves us enough to sacrifice himself so that you and I can have a relationship with him and can experience real life. When we understand this, it makes us move, it makes us act.

I’m not sure I want all the expressions of my shadow to be present throughout the rest of my life.  But I’d rather build an authentic community that leads to a beneficial impact of the world.  If the requirement for this is truly knowing myself, it seems a small price to pay.

How to lose a girl in less than 10 words

By Contributor Bruce Meyer

Bruce Meyer

I can lose a girl  in less than 10 words.  There are all kinds of possibilities.  The classics are, “I watch football all day long,” or, “I still live with my mother.”  Or there’s my favorite, “I want to be a writer.”   But those all take six words.  I can do it in just four simple, harmless words.

In her book “To Kill a Mockingbird,” Harper Lee’s character Atticus Finch says it’s important to climb into another’s skin and walk around in it for a while.  For Christians, Jesus says the same thing in the Sermon on the Mount, “If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.”  However, I’ve discovered many megachurches and popular radio programs teach something very different.  These adherents scour the Web for posts that agree only with their viewpoint.  Compromise is a dirty word.  And anyone who disagrees is obviously evil, stupid or part of a scientific conspiracy (which, by the way, is impossible).

Take the dispute over evolution as an example.  Never mind what the most important historical figures in Christianity have said.  You know, like Augustine, who wrote way back in the fifth century that Genesis should not be taken as a seven-day creation account, and even devised his own early big bang theory.  Or Thomas Aquinas back in the 13th century, who showed that in every event both God and nature are 100 percent involved, paving the way for understanding the hand of God at work in evolution.  Forget also that in the early 20th century, Christian denominations had fully embraced the theory of evolution.  This changed with the rise of fundamentalism.  Now we live in a different age, one that has amnesia to the progress of the last 2,000 years.

So after long talks of families, work, and recreational pursuits, I look my date straight in the eyes and say, “I agree with evolution.”

It works every time.

Does God create new relationships when loved ones die?

By Blogger Dr. Karin Heller
Hello Karin,
We talked about “separation” a few weeks ago and how God “separates” to create new relationships.  In regards to death and “separation”, is death ever an injustice or is it always an attempt to create something new and fresh? Do you have any insight on why God wants to “create” new relationships?I lost my brother four years ago, he died a week after his 31st birthday of pneumonia.  He was a beautiful man, he was a husband, father, teacher, and coach but most of all he was loved.  I did not mourn his death because I actually chose not to believe it for about two years.  I could not grasp that he was actually gone.  I was upset with my mom because she would always say “it is God’s will” and “that’s how he wanted it.”  Eventually, I did begin the mourning process and have come a long way.  I must say that before your lecture on “separation”, I still had a little resentment towards God because he took my brother.  I understand this now and I thank you so very much.Thank you,
Monica
Dear Monica,

Dr. Karin Heller

The biblical God did not create death, but death entered into the world on account of the devil’s (the serpent’s) jealousy and man’s unwillingness to fix the problem of an animal that suddenly started behaving and talking in n inappropriate way. The biblical God is only LIFE. As such, when confronted with death, God does not give up! Death is not an obstacle for him, because he is capable of CREATING NEW RELATIONSHIPS in spite of death! God wants these new relationships because he is a God of LIFE and not of death! He alone is able to create something good out of a separation that is a disaster. Each death is a disaster … and, in addition, sometimes an injustice. There is no greater injustice than the death of innocent people. The biblical God always attempts to rescue man confronted with death! Therefore, the problem is not God, but man! Does man want to be rescued from death and meet his creator and redeemer when the hour has come to leave this world? You did not give up at your brother’s death.  I hope your brother had the same attitude! Women are very often stronger than men (males) in front of death. You want your brother to be ALIVE. Therefore, continue to look for your brother hidden in a God who is LIFE. So, if you want to find your brother, you’ve got to find God FIRST! You remind me of the two sisters of Lazarus in chapter 11 of the Gospel of John… You should read this text. This text speaks of you! The sisters of Lazarus ask Jesus to come and heal their brother, but Jesus arrives “too late” … it’s “too late” for them, because their brother had died, but Jesus pushes them to have FAITH in HIM who is the resurrection! Through your brother’s death, God calls you to grow in faith in a God who is the RESURRECTION and who IS LIFE! That’s perhaps your vocation, to bear witness to a God who is LIFE and not to run around like your mother saying “it’s God’s will” or “that’s how he wanted it”. For sure, God wanted your brother to live and more than that, God wanted him to BE ALIVE FOR GOD in a way we can never totally be in this world. That’s to what your faith should point!
– Karin
Dear Karin, 
Thank you so, so, much for you thoughtful response.  It made me emotional and your words truly helped me understand what I need to know.  I need to find God in order to find my brother, I now know that is what I need to do.  I did read John 11.  I had never read it before but I’m glad you suggested it, it’s content really shed light on not only death but life.  My brother was a Christian man, and I know he would be proud of me for trying to better understand God.  I took this class to find a better understanding of God, religion, life, and death, and I most definitely obtained that and much, much more.  Thank you so much, you have helped me in an indescribable way.Thank you,
– Monica
Dr. Karin Heller is a professor on the theology faculty at Whitworth University.Her blog, Table Talk with Dr. Karin Heller, features her responses to questions that students have asked her over the years.  Check back each week to see new posts, and if you have a question leave it in the comment section below.