Tag Archives | Religion

Tin Foil Hats

Tin Foil

High noon:
I’m coming up on a red at 7th, heading west on Market. The Tenderloin.

There’s an empty Yellow just ahead of me at the light and an historic F line street car just letting off on the platform to our left. As the passengers pour out onto the island dividing the two westbound lanes here, I note one dude  – a bit frantic – check out Yellow, and then come running back to me. Dunno why dude would be getting off a train and then immediately try to hail a cab, or why he didn’t go for the empty Yellow in front, but I wave him in…

Although a bit edgy, a skinny 30-ish Pryor is wearing a clean white T nicely tucked-in that complements his chocolate skin, stylish jeans, and a large diamond earring in his left ear – presumably fake, he seems like he may be rational.… Read the rest

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Bringing Down America’s Happiest Christian Cult

Originally the Chelsea Hotel, 920 W Wilson is now the headquarters for the intentional Christian community, Jesus People USA. Photo: Cameopro77 (CC)

Originally the Chelsea Hotel, 920 W Wilson, Chicago, is now the headquarters for the intentional Christian community, Jesus People USA. Photo: Cameopro77 (CC)

“For decades, the freewheeling hippies of Jesus People USA —’God’s forever family’ — forged one of the most influential movements in Christianity. They were also Jaime Prater’s family, until he made a documentary exposing the commune’s darkest secrets,” writes Jesse Hyde at Buzzfeed:

Usually, Jaime Prater felt excited on the first day of school. He’d get up early, put on the outfit he’d laid out the night before — he liked bow ties and sweater-vests — and hurry down the hall with the other kids in his building. But this morning in September 1989 felt different. This morning he was starting the eighth grade, and he felt something closer to dread.

For as long as he could remember, Prater had lived here among the Jesus People, about two blocks from the “L” train in Uptown Chicago.

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“Jesus Was Black,” Reveals Newly Found Manuscript

black-jesus

Bob Flanagan via World News Daily Report:

A team of archeologists from the University of Tel Aviv have uncovered a collection of ancient scrolls in the West Bank region, near the Qumran Caves, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were originally uncovered in 1947, and which promise to shed a new light on the life and physical appearance of Jesus Christ.

The newly found documents which are believed to have been written by a small Jewish sectarian group, called the Essenes, retraces different elements of the Old Testament and New Testament similar to the Dead Sea Scrolls, but scholars have turned their attention to a peculiar fragment which describes the birth of the Christ figure in a new light. 

The manuscripts that have been dated between 408 BCE to 318 CE describe the son of Mary as of a “darker color” of skin than her parents, a revealing bit of information admits professor Hans Schummer.

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Is an Erotic Christian Religion 
Really Possible?

gnostic sex[Excerpted from Gnostic Mysteries of Sex: Sophia the Wild One and Erotic Christianity by Tobias Churton]

I discussed in the introduction why I have not focused on the alleged sexual excesses of the numerous Gnostic schools before. There is probably an additional reason, less easy to express. To be honest, I don’t know about you, but I find the idea of communion with God through sexual communion very difficult to conceive of clearly, either as an idea or in a practical sense, unless, that is, one takes it that there is something profoundly godly about sexual intercourse in the first place. While familiar with the crossover between romantic yearning, deep love, passion, desire, and spiritual feelings—feelings where physical acts are experienced as far more than mere sense experiences and where more appears to be involved than a physical exchange of energy or emotion, however intense—something in my thinking is still inclined to balk at the prospect of applying a sense of reality to expressions such as sacred sex, which fall too easily, it seems to me, from the lips of moderns.… Read the rest

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The Verdict is in: Guess Who’s The Worst President in US History?

Mark Rain (CC BY 2.0)

Mark Rain (CC BY 2.0)

Jeff61b via HubPages:

Americans of all stripes love to debate which president was best or worst. This is a subject that is too important to rely on opinion polls, which are skewed by individual bias and political views. While It’s difficult to rate how good or bad any president may have been in comparison to another, a careful look at the facts shows one president failed in virtually every aspect of the job to a degree unrivaled by any other.

When you review the facts below and consider his impact on our economy, foreign policy, and domestic policy, by almost any standard, it’s difficult to find any president who did more harm and left the country in worse shape than George W. Bush.

At the same time that Bush was leaving office with a 28% job approval rating, 61% of historians rated George W. Bush’s presidency as the worst in history.

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A Transcendental Ride

eye

It was a dark and stormy, clear summer’s day around high noon, as I rolled through the Elysian Fields that is the Mission District of San Francisco, when,

“Cha-ching! – 186 Liberty. Quigley. Dispatch.”

I ‘Accept’.

And I zoom across 20th Street, passing that majestic view of the city over Dolores Park, before turning a quick right onto Dolores proper, and then an immediate left up high on Liberty. As I pull up to 186, I witness what I believe to be my “Quigley” wrestling out in front of a florally manicured Victorian with several large Hefty bags.

I veer to a stop and yell out of my taxi’s shotgun window to the middle-aged woman all caked in layers of vibrant make-up and adorned with large ornate brass earrings that dangle down over her flowing, paisley-patterned robes. She’s huffing up a storm and wincing with each limping tug at her bags, as multiple necklaces of various lengths of colorful concentric rings of turquoise, crystal and earth-toned wood beads repeatedly flop against them, failing in their collective work to hold down the fort that is my potential passenger’s more than ample chest.

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How Muzak Shaped A Conformist America

Tonya Riley via All That is Interesting:

Although it might be easier to ignore in an age where nearly ever American carries thousands of songs in their pocket, the unmistakable sound of Muzak still haunts us all. An estimated 100 million people (nearly a third of America’s population) are exposed to Muzak’s background music each day, whether in an elevator, on hold with the cable company or elsewhere. Although the Muzak brand technically went bankrupt in 2009 and lost its name in 2013 after new owners moved in, its technology set the stage for almost a century of bland, instrumental music that became the soundtrack to postwar America and continues to this day.

Muzak was founded in 1934 by former Army General George O. Squier, who had led the U.S. Army’s communication efforts during World War I. Squier was elected to the National Academy of Science in 1919 after his patented multiplexing system allowed for multiple signals to be transferred over one phone line.

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Does ‘Divine Hiddenness’ Belong to Theists or to Atheists?

Josh Cowan Photography (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Josh Cowan Photography (CC BY-NC 2.0)

J. L. Shellenberg writes at OUPblog:

Theistic literature is full of references and allusions to a self-concealing deity. The psalm writer whose poems are included in the Hebrew Bible regularly calls out, in alternating notes of perplexity, impatience and despair, to a God whose felt presence apparently seemed frustratingly inconstant. But he or she still assumed that God was there.

Something similar is true in the rest of the Bible, and indeed across most of western religious history. Take the notion of a ‘dark night of the soul’ associated with Saint John of the Cross. The medieval Spanish mystic was talking about the mysterious ways of operating of a divine reality in relation to human beings who seek God. Apparently he was not in doubt at all about whether such a being belonged to reality in the first place.

But recently things have changed.

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Is Archaeology Better Off Without Religion?

“Archaeologists used to be obsessed with religion. Now they can’t be bothered with it. Is the field worse off?” asks Rose Eveleth at Aeon:

In her first year teaching at Wake Forest University in North Carolina, Leann Pace taught a class called Near Eastern Archaeology. Thirty years ago, the course would probably have been called ‘Biblical Archaeology’, as it focuses on regions important in the birth of the major Western religions. One day, a student raised her hand and asked: ‘Why do we care about the origins of this small group of people anyway?’

Photo: Ori (CC)

Photo: Ori (CC)

 

Pace told me she was shocked. ‘It was one of those moments when a student wrings you to the core,’ she said. She expected students to ask challenging questions. She expected students to feel like the class was undermining their faith, or favouring one religion over another. She was not prepared for students who didn’t understand why anyone would focus on the region at all.

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the nAiL

There’s a nail in the wall.
Well, no. Actually, it’s in a beam.
Across the alley on my neighbor’s roof.

I always liked that nail.
Sticks out about three inches.
It’s just so straight. So carefully hammered. With Love.

Sometimes, you can see its shadow on the beam, as the sun creeps across the sky over our roofs.
A jealous sundial.

Except, it’s not jealous.
It’s a nail.

www.AlexSacK.com

Check out Alex’s book San Francisco TAXI: A 1st Week in the ZEN Life…
And Follow me on Facebook and Twitter for your non-practicing Buddhist one-offs. 

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