According to some Christian outlooks we were made for another world. Perhaps, rather, we were made for this world to recreate, reclaim, redeem, and renew unto God's future aspiration by the power of His Spirit. - R.E. Slater
Secularization theory has been massively falsified. We don't live in an age of secularity. We live in an age of explosive, pervasive religiosity... an age of religious pluralism. - Peter L. Berger
Exploring the edge of life and faith in a post-everything world. - Todd Littleton
I don't need another reason to believe, your love is all around for me to see. – anon
Thou art our need; and in giving us more of thyself thou givest us all. - Khalil Gibran, Prayer XXIII
Be careful what you pretend to be. You become what you pretend to be. - Kurt Vonnegut
Religious beliefs, far from being primary, are often shaped and adjusted by our social goals. - Jim Forest
People, even more than things, need to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone. – anon
Certainly God's love has made fools of us all. - R.E. Slater
An apocalyptic Christian faith doesn't wait for Jesus to come, but for Jesus to become in our midst. - R.E. Slater
Christian belief in God begins with the cross and resurrection of Jesus, not with rational apologetics. - Eberhard Jüngel, Jürgen Moltmann
Our knowledge of God is through the 'I-Thou' encounter, not in finding God at the end of a syllogism or argument. There is a grave danger in any Christian treatment of God as an object. The God of Jesus Christ and Scripture is irreducibly subject and never made as an object, a force, a power, or a principle that can be manipulated. - Emil Brunner
Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh means "I will be that who I have yet to become." - God (Ex 3.14)
Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. - Thomas Merton
The church is God's world-changing social experiment of bringing unlikes and differents to the Eucharist/Communion table to share life with one another as a new kind of family. When this happens we show to the world what love, justice, peace, reconciliation, and life together is designed by God to be. The church is God's show-and-tell for the world to see how God wants us to live as a blended, global, polypluralistic family united with one will, by one Lord, and baptized by one Spirit. – anon
The cross that is planted at the heart of the history of the world cannot be uprooted. - Jacques Ellul
The Unity in whose loving presence the universe unfolds is inside each person as a call to welcome the stranger, protect animals and the earth, respect the dignity of each person, think new thoughts, and help bring about ecological civilizations. - John Cobb & Farhan A. Shah
If you board the wrong train it is of no use running along the corridors of the train in the other direction. - Dietrich Bonhoeffer
God's justice is restorative rather than punitive; His discipline is merciful rather than punishing; His power is made perfect in weakness; and His grace is sufficient for all. – anon
Our little [biblical] systems have their day; they have their day and cease to be. They are but broken lights of Thee, and Thou, O God art more than they. - Alfred Lord Tennyson

Thursday, April 2, 2015

5 Things You Didn't Know About Easter


In parts of Spain, Easter celebrations often involve Christians processing through the
streets carrying crucifixes and other religious icons | Andres Kudacki, Associated Press


5 Things You Didn't Know About Easter
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/04/01/facts-about-easter-you-didnt-know_n_6982358.html?ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000051

The Huffington Post
April 1, 2015

For Christians, Easter is a celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ -- and arguably the most important date on the religious calendar. Easter marks the end of Lent, a 40-day period of fasting and reflection. The day holds the promise of victory over death, a new life and the forgiveness of sins.

The first recorded observance of Easter happened in the second century, though it is likely that Christians were celebrating the resurrection much earlier than that. Today, the holy day has inspired a wide variety of traditions -- from Sweden’s trick-or-treating Easter witches to Venezuela’s tradition of burning effigies of Judas.

Here are five little-known facts about the Easter holiday.

1
There’s more than one theory about where Easter got its name.

PAPER BOAT CREATIVE VIA GETTY IMAGES

The word Easter has been linked to Eostre, an Anglo-Saxon goddess of spring and new life. Other scholars trace the name of the holiday to the Latin phrase “hebdomada alba,” which means “white week.” According to tradition, new Christians were baptized into the faith on Easter while wearing white clothes. The phrase evolved into “eostarum” in Old High German, becoming “Ostern” in modern German and “Easter” in English.

But in many other languages, the word for Easter is still deeply tied to Passover, the festival that celebrates the exodus of the Jews from Egypt. Jesus was crucified soon after he arrived in Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover feast.

The Orthodox Church calls Easter “Pascha.” In French, the holiday is known as “Pâques.” In Spanish, it is “Pascua,” and in Dutch, “Pasen.”

2
Easter has always been tied to the moon.

MKOTERA555 VIA GETTY


Since the Jewish calendar is based on lunar cycles, Passover falls on 14 Nisan, the 14th day of the first full moon of spring. Christians in Asia Minor used to remember the crucifixion on the 14 Nisan, and celebrate the resurrection on 16 Nisan. But this meant that Easter could fall on any day of the week. On the other hand, Christians in the West celebrated Easter on the first Sunday after 14 Nisan.

In 325, the Roman Emperor Constantine I gathered bishops from around his empire at the Council of Nicaea to hammer out a solution to this and other debates raging in the early church. The council decided that Easter would be observed on the first Sunday following the first full moon after the spring equinox.

3
Easter is the reason why we use the Gregorian calendar.

HULTON ARCHIVE VIA GETTY


By the 16th century, scholars had realized that the Roman Empire’s Julian calendar was out of sync with the solar year -- and that Easter was falling further away from the spring equinox. In an effort to close the gap, Pope Gregory XIII introduced the Gregorian calendar. But because of old religious rivalries, Protestants in Europe were dead set against the change. It wasn’t until 1752 that England adopted the Gregorian calendar. On that day, the country skipped forward 11 days overnight, going from Wednesday, September 2, to Thursday, September 14. The Gregorian calendar is still the most widely used civil calendar today.

Eastern Orthodox churches still use the Julian calendar to calculate religious holidays. As a result, while most of the Western world will celebrate Easter on April 5 this year, Orthodox churches are celebrating on April 12.

4
The Pilgrims despised Easter celebrations.

BOSTON GLOBE VIA GETTY IMAGES


Christianity in the early New England colonies was very different from Christianity in America today. The Puritans scorned religious holidays like Easter and Christmas, claiming they had pagan roots and lacked a scriptural basis. In fact, the Puritans flat-out outlawed Christmas celebrations in the Massachusetts Bay Colony from 1659 to 1681, slapping rule-breakers with a then-hefty fine of five shillings.

Some Christian denominations are still wary of religious holidays. Jehovah’s Witnesses and many Pentecostal churches, for example, still discourage their members from celebrating Easter.

5
The Easter Bunny barely scratches the surface of this holiday's traditions.

JAIME REINA VIA GETTY IMAGES

When Easter swings around in America, there’s no escaping the Easter Bunny and his colorful basket of eggs. But across the world, Christians have developed many interesting ways of marking the holiday. In Sweden, young girls dress up as Easter Witches and travel from house to house looking for treats. In some parts of Latin America and Greece, Christians burn effigies of Judas, the disciple who betrayed Jesus. In Venezuela last year, some protesters used the holiday to burn an effigy of their president, Nicolas Maduro. Bermudan Christians fly brightly colored kites on Good Friday to represent Christ’s ascension to heaven.

In Spain, some Christians don cloaks and pointed hoods to participate in eerie night-time processions. The parades are organized by local religious brotherhoods. The participants -- called penitents, or sinners -- carry crucifixes and religious icons through the streets to act out the Easter story. According to centuries-old tradition, the penitents wear capirotes, or tall pointed hats, so that their neighbors don't know the identity of the sinner behind the mask.


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