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Some Things Said… (Apr 06) (3)

Judas Unredeemed

Modern men and women have always had a soft spot for Judas Iscariot. Unlike Dante Alighieri who in his “Inferno” consigned poor Judas to the lowest spot in hell, his head locked between Satan’s jaws, our contemporaries are more likely to let him off with a slap on the wrist or, better yet, to exonerate him altogether.

It’s enough to remember the 1973 play “Jesus Christ Superstar,” and Judas’s solo “Damned for All Time.” In it Judas sings, “I have no thought at all about my own reward / I really didn’t come here of my own accord.” Four years later Taylor Caldwell published her novel “I, Judas,” and attempted to humanize Judas, depicting him as the victim of a diabolical lie, rather than the perpetrator of divine betrayal.

The publication last Thursday of an English-language translation of an ancient text entitled “The Gospel of Judas” by the National Geographic Society will further stoke the fires of the pro-Judas movement. An initial scholarly assessment of the 31-page Coptic text lends credence to the authenticity of the document, which appears to date back to the third or fourth century A.D. The manuscript purportedly surfaced in Geneva in 1983 and has only now been translated, in happy coincidence with the release next month of the film version of Dan Brown’s “The Da Vinci Code…” –excerpted from an article by Thomas D. Williams in The Wall Street Journal, 04.10.06

(There is another listing below on this subject, ed.)

The Road to Perversion Is Paved With Pornography

Part I: ‘Regular guys’ becoming sexual predators of children.

Millions of men and boys are falling for the destructive myth that looking at “adult” porn is normal, healthy and harmless for “regular guys.” Way too many are finding themselves handcuffed between two cops, under arrest for sexual conduct with a kid. The hook-ups with kids are occurring on the main streets of U.S. cities and the dark alleys of the virtual world.

Experts estimate that 50,000 sexual predators prowl the Internet for children every day. As long as myth trumps truth, the next estimate could be 10 times what it is today. Stopping predators before they ravage our kids and grandkids will be insurmountable.

The easy access to millions of pages of online porn is speeding up the dependence and escalation to harder-core material and more.

The centerfolds no longer gratify? There’s an unending supply of harder-core images instantly available within a few mouse clicks and free for the taking. Want deviant? There’s deviant beyond anything uncorrupted minds can fathom. Want some younger “stuff”? There’s “pseudo” child porn where young-looking adults dress and act like teens and even toddlers sucking a pacifier and hugging stuffed animals. Want real child porn when the pretend doesn’t do it anymore? It’s traded for free by perverts in Internet chat rooms and encrypted Web sites, and for sale, and raking in billions. Want kids? There’s a virtual playground full of kids ready to chat, instant message, and eager to send digital photos and videos to other “kids.” Want a pimp for a hook-up with a kid? No need to risk being seen picking up a kid in a red light district. Their pimps and slave masters are online… –excerpted from an article by Jan LaRue, Esq. at the Concerned Women for America website 04.13.06, read the article here

California Education Bill Would Mandate Schools Endorse Homosexuality

Senate Bill 1437 has passed from the California Senate Judiciary Committee and can at any moment be voted on by the whole Senate. If signed into law, it would force all public school teachers to present to students a one-sided message about homosexuality, bisexuality and transgender issues.

The bill would ban lessons, discussions and activities that reflect adversely upon one’s sexual orientation, which would end any open discussion about the issue of homosexuality in public classrooms and effectively silence the Christian voice on the issue.

To compound this bias, the bill calls for all facets of education to be stripped of any non-endorsing messages about homosexuality… –excerpted from an article by Mona Passignano, at the Focus on the Family website

The Gospel of unbelief

It happens twice a year, at Christmas and Easter. The newsweeklies sometimes carry cover stories. The newspapers print items calling the reason for these seasons into question.

This Easter is no exception, but the intensity level seems to have increased.

This year’s first attack came from St. Paul Minnesota where local officials decided to ban the Easter Bunny from City Hall. They said it might offend some non-Christians, as if the Easter Bunny has anything to do with Easter’s real significance. Apparently it escaped the notice of the city council that the Easter Bunny might offend Christians, because, like Santa Claus, it is a counterfeit. If they want to be consistent, perhaps the council should change the name of the city from St. Paul to, say, Paul Bunyan.

Newspapers also carried a story about a Florida State University scientist who speculated that Jesus didn’t really walk on water; he walked on ice. The scientist theorized there must have been an unusual cold snap 2,000 years ago that froze the Sea of Galilee. This begs the question how Jesus was able to pull off such a stunt when Peter also walked on water, before his lack of faith sank him.

The New York Times piled on by trumpeting the discovery of a fossil in Arctic Canada as a “missing link,” which it editorialized “puts the lie to creationist beliefs…” –excerpted from an article by Cal Thomas at Townhall.com 04.11.06, read the entire article here

The Gospel Truth

The secret account of the revelation that Jesus spoke in conversation with Judas Iscariot during a week three days before he celebrated Passover. … Jesus said to him, “Step away from the others and I shall tell you the mysteries of the kingdom. It is possible for you to reach it, but you will grieve a great deal.” — The Gospel of Judas

The Gospel of Judas, which remained virtually unknown to us from the time it was written 1,700 years ago until its publication this week, says that when Judas Iscariot handed Jesus over to the Romans, he was acting on orders from Jesus to carry out a sacred mystery for the sake of human salvation: “Jesus said to Judas, ‘Look, you have been told everything. You will exceed all of them. For you will sacrifice the man that clothes me.’ ”

For nearly 2,000 years, most people assumed that the only sources of tradition about Jesus and his disciples were the four gospels in the New Testament. But the unexpected discovery at Nag Hammadi in 1945 of more than 50 ancient Christian texts proved what church fathers said long ago: that Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are only a small selection of gospels from among the dozens that circulated among early Christian groups. But now the Gospel of Judas — like the Gospel of Thomas, the Gospel of Mary Magdalene and many others — opens up new perspectives on familiar gospel stories. –excerpted from an editorial by Elaine Pagels in The New York Times 04.08.06

On Gospels from anybody else…

I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed.

As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed. For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a servant of Christ.

But I make known to you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ. –the Apostle Paul to the church in Galatia, C. 1 vs. 6 through 12

The Play’s the Thing At Pittsburgh Church Targeting New Crowd – Drama relates Bible stories in a gritty urban setting; even pastors have tattoos

Pittsburgh — At a rehearsal of his play about Jesus’ death, Jim Walker, the co-pastor of Hot Metal Bridge Faith Community, sidled up to the actor playing Satan and urged him to be bolder. The pastor tried to inspire the shy student playing Judas. “He’s Satan!” Mr. Walker cried, arms wide. “You hate this guy!”

“Judas’ Kiss,” is Mr. Walker’s biblical “Groundhog Day,” in which Judas is condemned to relive his betrayal of Christ over and over. It will be performed Sunday for the congregation — an eclectic group of drunks and college kids, suburbanites and street people, Catholics and scrawny punk artists with New Testament citations tattooed on their chests.

No one preaches at Hot Metal Bridge. Plays are its liturgy. Mr. Walker, a soon-to-be ordained United Methodist minister, leads the church with his friend Jeff Eddings, a Presbyterian seminarian. “Instead of coming to our church and listening to a sermon, you can be part of the sermon,” Mr. Walker says. On Sunday when many ministers all over the country will be complaining about church attendance the rest of the year, Hot Metal will be grappling with where to put the 300 people who pack the Goodwill Industries cafeteria every Sunday, not just Easter and Christmas.

Hot Metal Bridge is part of the emergent church movement that rejects rigid orthodoxy and strives to use hip language and culture to draw in young Americans who stopped, or never started, attending church.

Some ministries have sprung up around a central interest, such as yoga. One Minneapolis group attracts drummers. A Los Angeles group favors dance. In New York, the Communion of the Arts hopes artists will flock to its first Sunday service on Easter in Times Square. Leadership Network, a Dallas-based church consulting firm, says about 1,000 congregations define themselves as part of the movement. -excerpted from an article by Suzanne Sataline from The Wall Street Journal, 04.13.06.

(My all time favorite is still the Church of the Covered Dish… ed.)

Article contributed by Richard Vandagriff and Mark Zaveson