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My Take: #GivingTuesday creates better Christmas narrative than Black Friday
Police respond to a Black Friday shooting in Florida.
November 27th, 2012
11:18 AM ET

My Take: #GivingTuesday creates better Christmas narrative than Black Friday

Editor’s note: Rick McKinley is pastor of the Imago Dei Community in Portland, Oregon, and author of "A Kingdom Called Desire" and "Advent Conspiracy."

By Rick McKinley, Special to CNN

No one knew there was an underwear shortage in this country until Friday, when thousands of shoppers lined up in front of Victoria's Secret stores like young girls waiting for Justin Bieber’s autograph.

As I watched the scene on TV, I imagined my grandfather fighting his way through the mob as the doors opened and the mad rush began. Though we may never remember that pair of underwear that Grandpa bought for Grandma, we will never forget the punctured lung he received when he was trampled upon by the crowd.

Some Christmas memories are just that special.

Thankfully, that was only my imaginings. But guns were pulled at a Sears in Texas, and two people were shot outside a Walmart in Florida in a scuffle over a parking space.

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We see the scenes every Black Friday: shoppers standing in line for hours, the doors bursting open, elbows and expletives flying, pushing, shoving, waved weapons, threatened lives. Once again, America is ready for the Season of Peace, Love and Good Will toward all.

But there is a groundswell toward opting out of crazed consumption and breaking free from the anxiety and chaos it creates, so people can tell a better story. Evidence of this includes the Twitter movement called #GivingTuesday.

It’s a simple concept that calls us into a better story.

I am a pastor, not a sociologist, but I can compare the scenes of people running over each other at the mall with those of people waiting in line at a refugee camp as they anticipate a U.N. food drop.

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

The scene is totally different in one sense, but the anxiety that drives it is the same. We live in anxiety over the fear of scarcity. Which means we are afraid there will not be enough.

From bags of rice and beans to underwear, when the scarcity alarm goes off inside of us, the anxiety comes rushing to the surface, along with our fears.

In that moment, we are all capable of throwing an elbow or two.

The story of scarcity is a sad story. There is a better one.

As a follower of Jesus, I believe that the only thing that breaks us free from the fear of scarcity is a radical act of generosity.

That is the Christmas story of the manger. At a different time and different place in our history, God performed the most radical act of generosity the world had ever seen or will ever see.

He gave a son, born into the world by an unwed teenage girl in a hillside cave and laid to sleep that first night in a feed trough.

The son who God gave would grow up to become a carpenter-turned-itinerant preacher with a heart of compassion for the people the world had trampled as it fed its scarcity fears.

This generous love drove him to a cross, where he hung and died for people whom he loved and who didn’t love him back, and to overcome with new life that he offered to pour over us and into us with grace and forgiveness.

This is the story of Christmas. It is a story of abundance. There is love enough and grace enough and forgiveness enough and healing enough for everyone who believes. Generosity breaks people free from the lie of scarcity.

A group of us started to dream of what it would look like to live in the Jesus story, and we started something called the Advent Conspiracy.

We decided that we would worship more, spend less, give more and love all. We replaced consumption with compassion because we believe that Christmas is about Christ. The Advent Conspiracy is now a global movement of faith communities.

We have watched people around the world scale down spending and redirect dollars to build wells in Liberia and other parts of the world.

In June, when no one at our church remembered what they got for Christmas, we watched video of Liberian children dancing in streams of clean water. We heard village elders say with tears in their eyes that their children are no longer dying.

Saving kids with clean water - that’s a better story.

In Portland, the faith community has worked with the city to build rescue homes for victims of sex trafficking. Now, girls who are running literally for their lives can come and be rescued and given hope, safety and a future.

Kids enslaved being set free - that’s a better story.

There are thousands of other stories like this, from people working with those in Vietnam who are dying of HIV/AIDS to people who are simply having Christmas dinner with a friends who live on the street.

These people are doing more than charity; they are breaking the cycle of fear and scarcity through radical acts of generosity. That’s a better story.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Rick McKinley.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Holidays • My Take • Opinion

soundoff (260 Responses)
  1. myweightinwords

    Why is it that when someone says something we dislike, so many of us decide the correct response is to point out his/her physical shortcomings?

    Does this man's size have any bearing at all on the message he is attempting to get across? Or does it just make him an easy target for ridicule?

    November 29, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
  2. Jeff

    It always amazes me how "enlightened" aethiests can read a story like this and respond with such venom. As fellow human beings who are so obviously more in-tune with humanity (than the silly Christians who live to please their God), I would think you would appreciate a story about people helping people. You just hate it because it's inspired by people's spirituality. You should be glad people like this exist, they make your world more bearable.

    November 29, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
  3. Which God?

    Yes, Nii is a big apologist. This statement shows his omnipotence as well. "And that is God's own interpretation of the Bible. You may or may not accept it but there it is." Quote/ unquote. The fukker knows the mind of goD.

    November 29, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
  4. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things
    Proven !

    November 29, 2012 at 6:08 am |
    • TrollAlert

      "Ronald Regonzo" who degenerates to:
      "Salvatore" degenerates to:
      "Douglas" degenerates to:
      "truth be told" degenerates to:
      "Thinker23" degenerates to:
      "Atheism is not healthy ..." degenerates to:
      "another repentant sinner" degenerates to:
      "Dodney Rangerfield" degenerates to:
      "tina" degenerates to:
      "captain america" degenerates to:
      "Atheist Hunter" degenerates to:
      "Anybody know how to read? " degenerates to:
      "just sayin" degenerates to:
      "ImLook'nUp" degenerates to:
      "Kindness" degenerates to:
      "Chad" degenerates to
      "Bob" degenerates to
      "nope" degenerates to:
      "2357" degenerates to:
      "WOW" degenerates to:
      "fred" degenerates to:
      "!" degenerates to:
      "John 3:16" degenerates to:
      "pervert alert" is the degenerate.

      This troll is not a christian!

      November 29, 2012 at 8:38 am |
    • Jesus

      Prayer does not; you are such a LIAR. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs.

      November 29, 2012 at 8:44 am |
    • hal 9001

      I'm sorry, "Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things", but your assertions regarding atheism and prayer are unfounded. Using my Idiomatic Expression Equivalency module (IEE), the expression that best matches the degree to which your assertions may represent truths is: "TOTAL FAIL".

      I see that you repeat these unfounded statements with high frequency. Perhaps the following book can help you:

      I'm Told I Have Dementia: What You Can Do... Who You Can Turn to...

      November 29, 2012 at 11:11 am |
    • Christianity is a form of mental illness- FACT

      (1) Hallucinations – the person has invisible friends who (s)he insists are real, and to whom (s)he speaks daily, even though nobody can actually see or hear
      these friends.

      (2) Delusions – the patient believes that the invisible friends have magical powers to make them rich, cure cancer, bring about world peace, and will do so eventually if asked.

      (3) Denial/Inability to learn – though the requests for world peace remain unanswered, even after hundreds of years, the patients persist with the praying behaviour, each time expecting different results.

      (4) Inability to distinguish fantasy from reality – the beliefs are contingent upon ancient mythology being accepted as historical fact.

      (5) Paranoia – the belief that anyone who does not share their supernatural concept of reality is "evil," "the devil," "an agent of Satan"..

      (6) Emotional abuse – ­ religious concepts such as sin, hell, cause feelings of guilt, shame, fear, and other types of emotional "baggage" which can scar the
      psyche for life.

      (7) Violence – many patients insist that others should share in their delusions, even to the extent of using violence.

      November 29, 2012 at 11:14 am |
  5. DamianKnight

    @Hawaii,

    My belief is that God creating man in His own image is this:

    God is made up of three parts: Father, Son and Holy Spirit
    Man is made up of three parts: Body (the physical form), Soul (the parts of imagination, intelligence, creativity, etc) and Spirit (the spiritual side that communes with God)

    November 28, 2012 at 7:48 pm |
    • Rick Warren

      Damian you made only unsupported statements. Every one. You could work for me. Give my agent a call.

      November 29, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
  6. VanHagar

    @Nope...so denying that I'm someone else is evidence that I'm someone else? I see, its the early American witch testing paradigm. I'm not Russ. I'm not Chad. I'm not Fred. Can't put it more clearly than that.

    November 28, 2012 at 6:18 pm |
    • Archival Frosties

      We get it, VanHagar. You are Rick McKinley. So please, if you are, eat less of those donuts. You _really_ need to drop a few stones, know what I mean? Say no more.

      November 28, 2012 at 7:20 pm |
  7. Dennis

    Nii is a typical Christian dodger and wimp. He has no balls.

    November 28, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
    • NII

      Dennis

      Nii is a typical Christian dodger and wimp. He just has no balls.7
      Dennis

      Nii is a typical Christian dodger and wimp. He just has no balls.

      Dennis

      Nii is a typical Christian dodger and wimp. He just has no balls.

      Dennis

      Nii is a typical Christian dodger and wimp. He just has no balls.

      I just wanted to add more flesh to your typical dumb Atheist one-liner. Don't get me wrong there are very intelligent and even intelligent Atheists but you are not one of either.

      November 29, 2012 at 3:14 am |
    • Rick Warren

      Most Christians for comparison are very stupid. I love taking their money. They'll even buy my books that I didn't write.

      November 29, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
  8. laststonecarver

    When i read the article, it seemed more about the inability of some folks to discern between Greed and Need.
    Is anyone able to determine the Greed of Black Friday versus the Need of the Indigent? Ummm...befuddled
    The only way that can be accomplished, is by Giving Tuesday? What??
    Surely whether one is atheist or a believer, the difference is a no brainer.
    If you want compassion to be a part of your enigma, it can be. If you desire to be greedy you can be.
    That is one decision, even though you are atheist or a believer. You decide.
    Create a good decision making process for yourself. You inevitably decide about each thing, and everything.

    November 28, 2012 at 11:44 am |
  9. Mohammad A Dar

    Just looking at his profile picture, anyone want to hazard a guess at what would be the weight of respectable pastor Rick McKinley?

    I say around 300 lb!

    November 28, 2012 at 10:22 am |
    • nii

      And so what?

      November 28, 2012 at 11:48 am |
    • Dennis

      Yep. Lots of money and fat in the priesthood.

      November 28, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
  10. Rick McKinley really needs to go on a diet

    Man, that guy's face is FATTTTTT. The priesthood must be profitable if he can afford to fill his fat face so full.

    November 28, 2012 at 7:44 am |
    • Mohammad A Dar

      oh I thought he was just holding couple of large chewing tobacco balls in his mouth!

      November 28, 2012 at 10:18 am |
    • Rick Warren

      I like to hold balls in my mouth, personally.

      November 28, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
  11. 0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls

    Of course, there is no proof of this "born-of-a-virgin-in-a-cave-slept-in-a-feed-trough" story but we shouldn't let facts get in the way of delusional myths.

    November 28, 2012 at 4:16 am |
    • just sayin

      Except for the church built over the cave in Bethlehem and the millions who have been reconciled to God over the centuries since. God bless

      November 28, 2012 at 4:56 am |
    • saggyroy

      @Just Sayin' – yeah you got us there...

      November 28, 2012 at 6:28 am |
  12. NII

    Psalm 22
    Deus, Deus meus

    musical note icon
    chant

    1 My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? *

    and are so far from my cry

    and from the words of my distress?

    2 O my God, I cry in the daytime, but you do not answer; *

    by night as well, but I find no rest.

    3 Yet you are the Holy One, *

    enthroned upon the praises of Israel.

    4 Our forefathers put their trust in you; *

    they trusted, and you delivered them.

    5 They cried out to you and were delivered; *

    they trusted in you and were not put to shame.

    6 But as for me, I am a worm and no man, *

    scorned by all and despised by the people.

    7 All who see me laugh me to scorn; *

    they curl their lips and wag their heads, saying,

    8 "He trusted in the LORD; let him deliver him; *

    let him rescue him, if he delights in him."

    9 Yet you are he who took me out of the womb, *

    and kept me safe upon my mother's breast.

    10 I have been entrusted to you ever since I was born; *

    you were my God when I was still in my mother's womb.

    11 Be not far from me, for trouble is near, *

    and there is none to help.

    12 Many young bulls encircle me; *

    strong bulls of Bashan surround me.

    13 They open wide their jaws at me, *

    like a ravening and a roaring lion.

    14 I am poured out like water;

    all my bones are out of joint; *

    my heart within my breast is melting wax.

    15 My mouth is dried out like a pot-sherd;

    my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth; *

    and you have laid me in the dust of the grave.

    16 Packs of dogs close me in,

    and gangs of evildoers circle around me; *

    they pierce my hands and my feet;

    I can count all my bones.

    17 They stare and gloat over me; *

    they divide my garments among them;

    they cast lots for my clothing.

    18 Be not far away, O LORD; *

    you are my strength; hasten to help me.

    19 Save me from the sword, *

    my life from the power of the dog.

    20 Save me from the lion's mouth, *

    my wretched body from the horns of wild bulls.

    21 I will declare your Name to my brethren; *

    in the midst of the congregation I will praise you.

    22 Praise the LORD, you that fear him; *

    stand in awe of him, O offspring of Israel;

    all you of Jacob's line, give glory.

    23 For he does not despise nor abhor the poor in their poverty;

    neither does he hide his face from them; *

    but when they cry to him he hears them.

    24 My praise is of him in the great assembly; *

    I will perform my vows in the presence of those who worship him.

    25 The poor shall eat and be satisfied,

    and those who seek the LORD shall praise him: *

    "May your heart live for ever!"

    26 All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the LORD, *

    and all the families of the nations bow before him.

    27 For kingship belongs to the LORD; *

    he rules over the nations.

    28 To him alone all who sleep in the earth bow down in worship; *

    all who go down to the dust fall before him.

    29 My soul shall live for him;

    my descendants shall serve him; *

    they shall be known as the LORD'S for ever.

    30 They shall come and make known to a people yet unborn *

    the saving deeds that he has done.

    green leaf at end of canticle

    November 28, 2012 at 4:15 am |
    • NII

      With kind regards to BF and all s who've been taught wrongly that, "Eloi, eloi lama Sabacthani" is a shout of despair.

      November 28, 2012 at 4:28 am |
    • End Religion

      Yet it *is* a shout of despair. No one shouts "hey, why'd you fuck me over?" out of love and kindness.

      November 28, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
  13. Well It's About Time!!!

    I'm glad that CNN finally found someone who's picture is even more hideous than Stephen Prothero's.

    November 28, 2012 at 3:51 am |
    • saggyroy

      Shrek?

      November 28, 2012 at 6:10 am |
    • Mrs. Pepperpot

      They really should find a better way to portray their author photos...Shrek. LOL.

      November 28, 2012 at 11:22 am |
    • Archival Frosties

      Nah, that's a nice portrait of the guy. Most holeyroley priests and evangies are fat teletubbies but blown up even more.

      November 28, 2012 at 7:22 pm |
  14. End Religion

    A couple years ago I swapped some Xmas habits for birthdays. In my family we always kinda got a small birthday present and then went a little more nutso at Xmas with the gifts, however I decided to swap that. I'd rather celebrate the special birthday of my real family member with more gusto than the known false birthday of a fictitious person I never even met.

    I still do the lights and tree and music and smells of Xmas with my daughter, there are just very few gifts. It is still a wonderful time of year in my opinion.

    November 28, 2012 at 12:06 am |
    • NII

      He is real enough to those who obey Him my dear. Merry Christmas. I love you as myself

      November 28, 2012 at 2:37 am |
    • Bootyfunk

      @End Religion
      happy holidays, brother. i'm an atheist that celebrates holidays as times to come together with friends, family and colleagues.

      @NII
      sorry, believing in an invisible friend doesn't make him real. mass delusion doesn't make something real. focus on humanity, your brothers and sisters across the world, and you may find that's enough.

      November 28, 2012 at 2:54 am |
    • NII

      bf
      I did not say he is real in the sense that he is my God but in the sense that He is historical. I think it has been made clear enough here and elsewhere that the historians do consider Him historical

      November 28, 2012 at 4:25 am |
    • End Religion

      @booty: happy holidays!
      @nii: merry christmas!

      November 28, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
  15. Bootyfunk

    Jesus supported slavery:

    Luke 12:37-38
    37 "Blessed are those slaves whom the master will find on the alert when he comes; truly I say to you, that he will gird himself to serve, and have them recline at the table, and will come up and wait on them.
    38 "Whether he comes in the second watch, or even in the third, and finds them so, blessed are those slaves.”

    people cherrypick when it comes to jesus. read the entire bible and tell me jesus is all about love and compassion. at the end times, jesus is the one who opens his father's seven seals, murdering 2/3 of the people on earth, man, woman and child. not exactly a "loving" act.

    November 27, 2012 at 11:37 pm |
    • NII

      BFUNK
      It seems you were a Fundamentalist Literalist Evangelical before you realised that it is a nonsensical position. What that Scripture is saying is not," all of you go and find a slave master...". It is an an.alogy, I do hope you understand. There are other ways to read and interprete the Bible. Sorry that yours didn't work.

      November 28, 2012 at 2:54 am |
    • Bootyfunk

      i understand. yes, it's an analogy. agreed. and it's an analogy that used slavery. you don't an analogy about slavery unless you accept it. if you were against slavery, you wouldn't tell a whole story using slavery to convey your message? get it? stop sugar coating the bible. jesus never says anything bad about slavery, which is arguably the most inhumane evil ever inflicted on man - and jesus never says "slavery is wrong"? how could an all-loving god get that wrong? there are rules in the bible for selling your own daughter into slavery, rules for appropriately beating your slaves. never does god or jesus or anyone else in the bible say " to own someone is wrong. free all slaves. to own another person is pure evil." nope. instead, we get analogies about slaves obeying their master and they shall be blessed. disgusting. the bible is atrocious.

      November 28, 2012 at 3:04 am |
    • and as always

      footybunk is wrong

      November 28, 2012 at 4:58 am |
    • End Religion

      Religion: interpreting "slavery is appropriate" as an argument against slavery.

      November 28, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
  16. Reality

    For Pastor Rick McKinley,

    Putting the kibosh/”google” on all religion in less than ten seconds: Priceless !!!

    • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Abraham i.e. the foundations of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are non-existent.

    • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Moses i.e the pillars of Judaism, Christianity and Islam have no strength of purpose.

    • There was no Gabriel i.e. Islam fails as a religion. Christianity partially fails.

    • There was no Easter i.e. Christianity completely fails as a religion.

    • There was no Moroni i.e. Mormonism is nothing more than a business cult.

    • Sacred/revered cows, monkey gods, castes, reincarnations and therefore Hinduism fails as a religion.

    • Fat Buddhas here, skinny Buddhas there, reincarnated/reborn Buddhas everywhere makes for a no on Buddhism.

    Added details available upon written request.

    November 27, 2012 at 11:24 pm |
  17. Chad

    In June, when no one at our church remembered what they got for Christmas, we watched video of Liberian children dancing in streams of clean water. We heard village elders say with tears in their eyes that their children are no longer dying.

    wonderful activity on your part,

    ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ Matthew 25

    November 27, 2012 at 11:18 pm |
    • Reality

      All the passages of the NT have been scrutinized by many contemporary NT scholars and many of these scholars have concluded that Matt 25: 31-46 fails rigorous historic testing i.e. single attestation from a late period (80-120 CE). See http://www.faithfutures.org/JDB/jdb425.html for added details. Also from Professor Gerd Ludemann in his book, Jesus After 2000 Years, p. 237, "The historical question does not arise, as the text is a Matthaean compendium. Jesus never spoke the words which it contains."

      November 27, 2012 at 11:35 pm |
    • NII

      REALITY
      Literary Criticism is a literary Art not a Natural Science or Engineering Science. It is an opinion of someone whatever they think the Bible says or not. And Historic testing can never be done. So don't lie.

      November 28, 2012 at 2:59 am |
    • Bootyfunk

      historically testing a fairy tale... lol.

      November 28, 2012 at 3:07 am |
    • NII

      bf
      Seems Atheists are learning quickly now.

      November 28, 2012 at 3:23 am |
    • Reality

      You will have to read the studies of contemporary historians and NT scholars to see how they decide the authenticity of historical events and passages. Rigorous conclusions rely on the number of independent attestations, the time of the publications, the content as it relates to the subject and time period, and any related archeological evidence. Professors JD Crossan and G. Ludemann's studies are top notch in this regard.

      To get you started, some suggested references for your perusal:

      o 1. Historical Jesus Theories, earlychristianwritings.com/theories.htm – the names of many of the contemporary historical Jesus scholars and the ti-tles of their over 100 books on the subject.
      o
      2. Early Christian Writings, earlychristianwritings.com/
      – a list of early Christian doc-uments to include the year of publication–

      30-60 CE Passion Narrative
      40-80 Lost Sayings Gospel Q
      50-60 1 Thessalonians
      50-60 Philippians
      50-60 Galatians
      50-60 1 Corinthians
      50-60 2 Corinthians
      50-60 Romans
      50-60 Philemon
      50-80 Colossians
      50-90 Signs Gospel
      50-95 Book of Hebrews
      50-120 Didache
      50-140 Gospel of Thomas
      50-140 Oxyrhynchus 1224 Gospel
      50-200 Sophia of Jesus Christ
      65-80 Gospel of Mark
      70-100 Epistle of James
      70-120 Egerton Gospel
      70-160 Gospel of Peter
      70-160 Secret Mark
      70-200 Fayyum Fragment
      70-200 Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs
      73-200 Mara Bar Serapion
      80-100 2 Thessalonians
      80-100 Ephesians
      80-100 Gospel of Matthew
      80-110 1 Peter
      80-120 Epistle of Barnabas
      80-130 Gospel of Luke
      80-130 Acts of the Apostles
      80-140 1 Clement
      80-150 Gospel of the Egyptians
      80-150 Gospel of the Hebrews
      80-250 Christian Sibyllines
      90-95 Apocalypse of John
      90-120 Gospel of John
      90-120 1 John
      90-120 2 John
      90-120 3 John
      90-120 Epistle of Jude
      93 Flavius Josephus
      100-150 1 Timothy
      100-150 2 Timothy
      100-150 T-itus
      100-150 Apocalypse of Peter
      100-150 Secret Book of James
      100-150 Preaching of Peter
      100-160 Gospel of the Ebionites
      100-160 Gospel of the Nazoreans
      100-160 Shepherd of Hermas
      100-160 2 Peter

      3. Historical Jesus Studies, faithfutures.org/HJstudies.html,
      – "an extensive and constantly expanding literature on historical research into the person and cultural context of Jesus of Nazareth"
      4. Jesus Database, faithfutures.org/JDB/intro.html–"The JESUS DATABASE is an online annotated inventory of the traditions concerning the life and teachings of Jesus that have survived from the first three centuries of the Common Era. It includes both canonical and extra-canonical materials, and is not limited to the traditions found within the Christian New Testament."
      5. Josephus on Jesus mtio.com/articles/bissar24.htm
      6. The Jesus Seminar, mystae.com/restricted/reflections/messiah/seminar.html#Criteria
      7. Writing the New Testament- mystae.com/restricted/reflections/messiah/testament.html
      8. Health and Healing in the Land of Israel By Joe Zias
      joezias.com/HealthHealingLandIsrael.htm
      9. Economics in First Century Palestine, K.C. Hanson and D. E. Oakman, Palestine in the Time of Jesus, Fortress Press, 1998.

      November 28, 2012 at 7:40 am |
    • Reality

      continued from above:

      10.The Gnostic Jesus
      (Part One in a Two-Part Series on Ancient and Modern Gnosticism)

      by Douglas Groothuis: equip.org/free/DG040-1.htm

      11. The interpretation of the Bible in the Church, Pontifical Biblical Commission

      Presented on March 18, 1994
      ewtn.com/library/CURIA/PBCINTER.HTM#2

      12. The Jesus Database- newer site:
      wiki.faithfutures.org/index.php?t-itle=Jesus_Database

      13. Jesus Database with the example of Supper and Eucharist:
      faithfutures.org/JDB/jdb016.html

      14. Josephus on Jesus by Paul Maier:
      mtio.com/articles/bissar24.htm

      15. The Journal of Higher Criticism with links to articles on the Historical Jesus:
      mtio.com/articles/bissar24.htm

      November 28, 2012 at 7:43 am |
    • Reality

      continued from above:

      16. The Greek New Testament: laparola.net/greco/
      17. Diseases in the Bible:
      etd.unisa.ac.za/ETD-db/theses/available/etd-08022006-125807/unrestricted/02dissertation.pdf
      18. Religion on Line (6000 articles on the history of religion, churches, theologies,
      theologians, ethics, etc.
      religion-online.org/
      19. The Jesus Seminarians and their search for NT authenticity:
      mystae.com/restricted/reflections/messiah/seminar.html#Criteria
      20. The New Testament Gateway – Internet NT ntgateway.com/

      November 28, 2012 at 7:45 am |
    • Reality

      Continued from above:

      21. Writing the New Testament- existing copies, oral tradition etc.
      ntgateway.com/
      22. The Search for the Historic Jesus by the Jesus Seminarians:
      members.aol.com/DrSwiney/seminar.html
      23. Jesus Decoded by Msgr. Francis J. Maniscalco (Da Vinci Code review)jesusdecoded.com/introduction.php
      24. JD Crossan's scriptural references for his book the Historical Jesus separated into time periods: faithfutures.org/Jesus/Crossan1.rtf
      25. JD Crossan's conclusions about the authencity of most of the NT based on the above plus the conclusions of other NT exegetes in the last 200 years:
      faithfutures.org/Jesus/Crossan2.rtf
      26. Common Sayings from Thomas's Gospel and the Q Gospel: faithfutures.org/Jesus/Crossan3.rtf
      27. Early Jewish Writings- Josephus and his books by t-itle with the complete translated work in English :earlyjewishwritings.com/josephus.html
      28. Luke and Josephus- was there a connection?
      infidels.org/library/modern/richard_carrier/lukeandjosephus.html
      29. NT and beyond time line:
      pbs.org/empires/peterandpaul/history/timeline/
      30. St. Paul's Time line with discussion of important events:
      harvardhouse.com/prophetictech/new/pauls_life.htm
      31. See http://www.amazon.com for a list of JD Crossan's books and those of the other Jesus Seminarians: Reviews of said books are included and selected pages can now be viewed on Amazon. Some books can be found on-line at Google Books.
      32. Father Edward Schillebeeckx's words of wisdom as found in his books.
      33. The books of the following : Professors Marcus Borg, Paula Fredriksen, Elaine Pagels, Karen Armstrong and Bishop NT Wright.
      34. Father Raymond Brown's An Introduction to the New Testament, Doubleday, NY, 1977, 878 pages, with Nihil obstat and Imprimatur.
      35. Luke Timothy Johnson's book The Real Jesus

      November 28, 2012 at 7:46 am |
  18. VanHagar

    Testy? The story, a parable, has universal application. But I'll explan. God rejoices whenever any of his lost children returns to him. The brother in the story is indignant...complaining to the father that he should not accept the younger brother back and that instead he should reward the child who stayed. The father, having compassion on the older brother too, reminds him that he'll get his full reward for being faithful, but that his love for all of his children compels him to accept the prodigal son back. In other words...its not for you to fret over.

    November 27, 2012 at 9:07 pm |
    • Teste

      Has anyone seen my twin brother, Harry?

      November 27, 2012 at 10:51 pm |
    • Akira

      *laughing uncontrollably*

      November 27, 2012 at 11:07 pm |
  19. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things.

    November 27, 2012 at 8:16 pm |
    • niknak

      What if I don't want things changed?

      November 27, 2012 at 8:20 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      actions cause change; prayer wastes valuable time.

      November 27, 2012 at 11:38 pm |
    • and as always

      footybunk is wrong.

      November 28, 2012 at 4:59 am |
    • TrollAlert

      "Ronald Regonzo" who degenerates to:
      "Salvatore" degenerates to:
      "Douglas" degenerates to:
      "truth be told" degenerates to:
      "Thinker23" degenerates to:
      "Atheism is not healthy ..." degenerates to:
      "another repentant sinner" degenerates to:
      "Dodney Rangerfield" degenerates to:
      "tina" degenerates to:
      "captain america" degenerates to:
      "Atheist Hunter" degenerates to:
      "Anybody know how to read? " degenerates to:
      "just sayin" degenerates to:
      "ImLook'nUp" degenerates to:
      "Kindness" degenerates to:
      "Chad" degenerates to
      "Bob" degenerates to
      "nope" degenerates to:
      "2357" degenerates to:
      "WOW" degenerates to:
      "fred" degenerates to:
      "!" degenerates to:
      "John 3:16" degenerates to:
      "pervert alert" is the degenerate.

      This troll is not a christian. .

      November 28, 2012 at 8:41 am |
    • Jesus

      Prayer does not; you are such a LIAR. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs.-

      November 28, 2012 at 8:46 am |
    • 0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls

      Jesus, your (alleged) father is manipulating those studies for some mysterious purpose we mere mortals cannot understand and that you should stop rebelling against! Grow up, quit complaining and take your rightful place beside Zeus!

      November 28, 2012 at 8:52 am |
  20. VanHagar

    If the Biblical account of the criminals being crucified with Christ serves as an example, then, yes, I believe a death bed conversion with true repentance can lead to salvation–but that does not mean that we don't have to make an accounting. Christian faith provides that such a "conversion" would be as one "passing through fire." In other words, I think (opinion only), that you get in, but God will have some choice words for you, so to speak.

    November 27, 2012 at 7:33 pm |
    • VanHagar

      Sorry again..posted without hitting reply first.

      November 27, 2012 at 7:39 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      That just seems sooooo stupid, to me. Way to stupid to believe, anyway. Somebody can live a horrible life and then say a few magic words and get into paradise after a lecture on their bad behavior?

      November 27, 2012 at 7:45 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @Moby, I agree it would be a pretty stupid system, but there's nothing logically to say there couldn't exist a stupid god. We humans are verging on being able to create new life forms, and perhaps one day rule whole universes in a gold-like manner. I don't doubt that some given this power would come up with pretty silly systems for dealing with those new life forms.

      November 27, 2012 at 7:50 pm |
    • VanHagar

      The lecture part was a feeble attempt at humor–I don't know how God will respond. But, the point you should take to heart is that God is loving enough to let the worst of us in. If you don't want to be a part of that, don't convert.

      November 27, 2012 at 7:52 pm |
    • niknak

      OK, I guess when you are using magic, then heaven can be whatever you make it.

      I have the best reality TV show.
      It is god passing judgement on the people who die.
      Each episode will be on 3 people who die, and there will be angle defence lawyers and an angel prosecutor.
      God will be the judge of cours, and each angle will make their case, then god can render a verdict, like you said with the choice words (no profanity god, kids might be watching).
      I bet that show would be a ratings smash.
      Then, they can have people like you in the peanut gallery, who will hold up their hands and give a thumbs up or down just before god renders it's verdict, like they did back in Rome at the gladiator fights.
      And when someone, especially an AYY Theee Ist gets sent to the fiery pit, all you fundies can laugh at them as they burn.

      You fundies would love that show.

      November 27, 2012 at 8:14 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      jesus died an atheist:

      Matthew 27:45–46
      45 Now from the 1sixth hour darkness fell upon all the land until the 3ninth hour.
      46 About the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “aEli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”

      sounds like Jesus recanted on his death bed to me.

      November 27, 2012 at 11:41 pm |
    • NII

      Bfunk
      The "Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” is the ti.tle of the 22nd Psalm. All the Seven Words on the Cross were OT Scriptures so indeed Christ was encouraging Himself with the Psalm of Hope. Psalm 23 might be famous but Psalm 22 is a Psalm that talks of the Messiah, His suffering and His fulfillment.

      November 28, 2012 at 2:41 am |
    • Bootyfunk

      you never get tired of making up excuses. pretty clear jesus thought god had abandoned him. sugar coat the bible more, pls.

      November 28, 2012 at 3:08 am |
    • NII

      bf
      Hahahaha!
      Seems you are making an excuse to hang onto that old interpretation of that verse rather than a far better one.

      November 28, 2012 at 3:31 am |
    • PeterVN

      Christians, please do consider this about your bible:

      How is it that this apparent divine (or divinely inspired book, depending on which Christian one listens to) is so susceptible to different interpretations? Wildly different, in fact; many readers find instructions for murder and other violence in it, and for some it justifies hate and bigotry, while others claim it to be promoting peace and love. Don't you think that if a god had a hand in it, such a powerful creature would do a better job of making sure that such an important message could not be so open to such varying interpretations?

      Personally, I find the above problem to be one of several good reasons why I do not believe in the Christian god, and why I think the bible is 100% man-made, as is the god that it speaks of. Don't you have similar questions?

      November 28, 2012 at 7:47 am |
    • NII

      PeterVN
      Are you saying it is God doing the interpretation or it is human beings from vastly different backgrounds doing the interpretation. The easiest interpretation of the Bible was given by Christ. He said the Greatest Commandment is this ,"Hear O Israel the LORD your God is One, you shall love Him with all your heart, all your mind, all your body, all your soul and all your spirit. And the second is like unto it," Thou shalt love your neighbor as yourself". Upon these two hang all the Law and Prophets (Bible). Do this and you shall experience eternal life in this life and in the afterlife.

      November 28, 2012 at 9:22 am |
    • NII

      PeterVN
      And that is God's own interpretation of the Bible. You may or may not accept it but there it is.

      November 28, 2012 at 9:42 am |
    • PeterVN

      Nii, answer my question directly, you coward.

      November 28, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
    • Dennis

      Nii is a typical Christian dodger and wimp. He just has no balls.

      November 28, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
    • NII

      PeterVN
      Sometimes you have to be spiritually blind not to see why you and others have your own interpretation on the Bible. I get it that you feel they must line up with your own to be legitimate but as i showed you the God who inspired the Bible has an interpretation on it too. That is not cowardice. That is truth. If you are not a Baptist but a Roman Catholic because of someone's interpretation that is just too bad. Spiritual Christians do not recognize denominational or religious boundaries.

      November 29, 2012 at 2:39 am |
    • Elaine

      It's kind of fun to watch Nii go on dodging the question. What an apologist. Maybe he works in marketing for BP or Country Financial.

      November 29, 2012 at 3:27 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.