The Roberts’ transparency sends you reeling with emotion but pulls you back in with earthy hope. This documentary by Peter Craig is marvelous, if I can use that word to describe such a difficult yet beautiful story.
Think Tree of Life meets the Resurrection, wrapped in doubt, opening up into faith.
Join us for a screening at Alamo Draft House on April 19, 2014. Hurry, tickets are selling out!
As I continue to read Harvey Cox’s new book The Future of Faith, I wonder about how it compares with his early book The Secular City. The Secular City embraced secularism as an inveitable part of urban development and recognized the privitization of religion. The Future of Faith, however, seems to be opening up to the idea that Christianity may have a grassroots resurgence (it is in Africa and Asia) that restores some of its public potency.
This blog post was a helpful start in examining Cox’s theological journey between the two books.
George Barna reports some interesting statistics from the presidential election. Breaking the voting down into faith groups, Barna tells us what percentage of the poplulation voted for McCain, Obama, or Independent. here are few of the categories:
Evangelicals: Two-thirds of all evangelicals who were registered to vote (65%) were aligned with the Republican Party. One out of five (21%) was Democrats and just one out of ten (10%) was registered independent of a party.
Protestants: Protestant voters were evenly split between being registered as Democrats and Republicans. However, they sided with Sen. McCain by a 53% to 46% split.
Catholics: Nearly half of all registered Catholics were aligned with the Democratic Party (48%), compared to only about one-quarter associated with the Republicans (28%) and one-fifth who remained independent (20%).
Atheist/Agnostics: The second largest faith group in America is atheists and agnostics. These religious skeptics represent about one out of every ten adults. About four out of ten skeptics were registered as Democrats, four out of ten as independents and just two out of ten as Republicans.Three-fourths of atheists and agnostics (76%) gave their vote to Sen. Obama, while only 23% backed Sen. McCain.
Other Faiths: About 5% of America’s adult population associates with faiths other than Christianity (e.g., Judaism, Buddhism, Islam, etc.). Within this group, about half (47%) were registered as Democrats, 30% were independent, and one-quarter (23%) were Republicans.The ballots of this group were most often cast for Barack Obama (62%) rather than John McCain (36%).
Perhaps you’ve seen this book in your local bookstore, a #1 New York Times bestseller that was recently added to the Oprah Book Club. Oprah has taken quite a liking to Tolle’s A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose. She comments: “I keep this book at my bedside. I think it’s essential spiritual teaching. It’s one of the most valuable books I’ve ever read.” Given the popularity of the book, I decided to crack its cover.
Tolle states his purpose in writing up front: “This book’s main purpose is not to add new information or belief to your mind or to try to convince of anything, but to bring about a shift in consciousness, that is to say, to awaken” (6). I find this statement ironic. If Tolle does not want to convince us of anything, then why did he write the book? Statements like this reoccur throughout the book in an effort to distance his teaching from religion. Regarding religion he writes: “Religions, to a large extent, become divisive…They became ideologies, belief systems people could identify with and so use them to enhance their false sense of self.” (15). Though many of Tolle’s assertions are both inaccurate and misguided, his comments regarding religion are often spot on. Religion identifies an in group and an out group based on common adherence to a doctrine, to a belief system. But not only that, adherence to the doctrine becomes the highest expression of that faith. The purest form of the “religion” becomes its doctrine, not its practice. The most spiritual believer then becomes, not the loving, compassionate, kind follower, but the rigid doctrinalist. In the case of Christianity, this is where the judgmental, fundamentalist Christian comes in. His identity is so wrapped up with doctrine that they fail in following and imitating Christ. Alternatively, religious people may gather, not doctrine, but good deeds around themselves for a sense of identity. By performing countless good works (kindness, generosity, prayers, churchgoing, adopting foster children, serving the poor), they begin to think more highly of themselves because they are doing good deeds. They content themselves with doing good to correct their inherent bad. Do gooders become so wrapped up in doing good that they no longer need a Savior. Why? Because their savior is their goodness. This too is religion. Religion by doctrine or by deeds. Tolle comments: “You do not become good by trying to be good…” However, his solution to “becoming good” is also shaky–a new consciousness, an awakening to realize the dysfunctionality of our ego in order to become one with the Being/Consciousness of the universe.
Over the next three weeks I will be addressing some of the themes in Tolle’s A New Earth, which are being podcasted, if you are interested.