Friday, June 24, 2011

Jehovah's ho!

Posted By on Fri, Jun 24, 2011 at 2:38 PM

  • whologwhy.

There are 30 Jehovah's Witnesses from the Western Slope of Colorado and Colorado Springs? Never would have guessed that.

Well, there are, and apparently they will soon be trekking to Pueblo, to the Colorado State Fairgrounds, for their own “Let God’s Kingdom Come!” Convention.

If you're interested in what this whole witness thing is all about, you're invited to join them in their celebration:

Jehovah’s Witnesses are inviting all in the area to attend a program focusing on a government that millions, perhaps billions, pray for. God’s Kingdom government, which is requested in the world-famous model prayer taught by Jesus Christ, will be the focus of the 2011 “Let God’s Kingdom Come!” District Convention to be held at Colorado State Fair Events Center in Pueblo, Colorado.

Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that the request for God’s Kingdom in the model prayer, recorded in the Bible at Matthew 6:10 (also known as the Lord’s Prayer or the Our Father), has profound meaning. They also believe that the answer to that prayer will bring significant changes to the earth and mankind. The Witnesses’ convention program promises intriguing details from the Bible’s explanation of such developments. Starting June 16th, and continuing for the next couple of weeks, Jehovah’s Witnesses will put forth extra effort to extend a personal invitation to everyone from Aspen, Carbondale, Grand Junction, Montrose, Norwood, Hotchkiss, Gunnison, Falcon, Fountain, Colorado Springs, and Woodland Park to attend the convention with them. The three-day event to be held in Pueblo, Colorado will begin Friday, July 1, 2011, at 9:20 a.m. The daily themes are based on passages of Scripture including Matthew 4:17, Matthew 6:33, and 2 Peter 1:11. Strengthening one’s faith in the reality of that Kingdom will be the focus of the program. There is no admission fee. Conventions of Jehovah’s Witnesses are supported entirely by voluntary donations.

Locally, the area’s 30 congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses will be supporting the activity of distributing printed invitations to the convention. An estimated 3,400 people will come to the Colorado State Fair Events Center in Pueblo, CO for the Bible-based program.

Throughout the United States, there will be 381 conventions in 98 cities. Worldwide, there are over 7,500,000 Witnesses in more than 107,000 congregations.

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Thursday, June 9, 2011

More from Jim Daly

Posted By on Thu, Jun 9, 2011 at 4:00 AM

In the interview that became this week’s cover story, Focus on the Family leader Jim Daly and J. Adrian Stanley covered a lot of ground. While most topics were represented in the final printed version, a lot of pretty good stuff ended up on the cutting-room floor, so to speak.

For those interested in reading more about the current state of Focus, here are some of those additional questions and answers (with the occasional interjection from Focus PR guy Gary Schneeberger).


Indy: I’m wondering about the “Day of Dialogue,” which was meant to counter the “Day of Silence,” a day meant to honor and observe kids who are bullied because they are LGBT. A lot of people see the Day of Dialogue as an endorsement of the bullying that the Day of Silence is meant to counter. And, of course, with the bullying-related suicides we’ve been seeing lately, this is a sensitive issue. I’m wondering, how do you view the Day of Dialogue?

JD: I think the Christian community, in our history, understands bullying. I mean, Christians, in centuries past, certainly have lost their lives for what they believe. So, it’s not new, and we would just categorically say bullying of all sorts is not a standard that any culture should embrace.
And so the Day of Dialogue is that attempt to actually do the exact opposite, to have a discussion where people may have an opposing view, but can still express it. ...

When you look at the Day of Dialogue and the temperament that’s being expressed, I think it’s very civil. I don’t see it as creating an opportunity for people to bully other people.

Continue reading »

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Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Indy Minute

Posted By on Wed, Jun 8, 2011 at 5:20 PM


Get a Taste of Colorado Springs, support local foster care families or take in the stars on a midnight bike ride through Garden of the Gods in this week's Indy Minute with Jack Ward.

Tune in to the Indy Minute — as seen on ABC affiliate KRDO News Channel 13 — each week for details on all the events that entertain and bring our community together. It's simulcast on KRDO News Radio 105.5 FM and 1240 AM.

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Monday, May 23, 2011

St. George's may live in Syn

Posted By on Mon, May 23, 2011 at 1:49 PM

If you're led by a preacher who copped a plea after being accused of stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from another church ... where better to gather than a place known as Syn?

St. George’s Anglican Church is eyeing the historic stone building at 217 E. Pikes Peak Ave., which was built as an Episcopal church in 1901. Most recently, though, it housed the Syn nightclub — one of the rowdiest places downtown. It closed in March 2010 after the city revoked its liquor license for violations.

Syn: The new St. Georges?

St. George’s broke away from Grace and St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church several years ago amid an investigation of the Rev. Don Armstrong’s handling of church funds. The congregation moved from Grace, 601 N. Tejon St., after a judge ruled the diocese, not St. George’s, was the rightful owner. Armstrong’s group relocated to 2760 Fieldstone Road, which is owned by a bank.

Parish member Bob Balink, El Paso County’s treasurer, says a group that helps people with autism is interested in buying the Fieldstone property.

And frankly, St. George’s wants to get back downtown, Armstrong says.

  • Armstrong

“I like it a lot because it’s centrally located for our congregation,” he says. “Because it was once a church, it looks and feels like a church.” The windows are arched, the ceilings vaulted, and it's very roomy, he notes. He also says St. George's is interested in the parking lot north of the building.

“We’re already in talks to see if these pieces fall together,” Armstrong says, adding the church will know more in 30 days.

Given its downtown location, Armstrong predicts the church might initiate more events, such as a lenten lunches program, or evening gatherings. Oh, and the building’s former identity isn’t lost on Armstrong, who says, “We can turn Syn into a place of redemption. That will be kind of fun.“

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Monday, April 4, 2011

Can just hear the wheels turning ...

Posted By on Mon, Apr 4, 2011 at 1:53 PM


The New York Times is reporting on the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to uphold an Arizona scheme that awarded tax credits up to $500 for donations to fund scholarships to religious schools.

The court broke on a 5-4 decision, with the issue of whether or not a tax credit constituted the unconstitutional use of taxpayer money to support specific religious sects.

The program itself is novel and complicated, and allowing it to go forward may be of no particular moment. But by closing the courthouse door to some kinds of suits that claim violations of the First Amendment’s ban on government establishment of religion, the court’s ruling in the case may be quite consequential.

Justice Elena Kagan, in her first dissent, said the majority had laid waste to the doctrine of “taxpayer standing,” which allows suits from people who object to having tax money spent on religious matters. “The court’s opinion,” Justice Kagan wrote, “offers a road map — more truly, a one-step instruction — to any government that wishes to insulate its financing of religious activity from legal challenge.”

We'll see how long it takes for this ruling to have an impact in Colorado — starting, of course, in Colorado Springs.

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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Feeling out of sorts?

Posted By on Tue, Mar 15, 2011 at 3:10 PM

I've been feeling wonky lately. And, frankly, everyone I work with seems to be a bit overwhelmed and out of sorts, too.


I came across this fascinating piece about the earthquake in Japan and our collective consciousness by Rev. Ahriana Platten, currently the acting minister at Unity Church in the Rockies, and also the director of the local Colorado Ecospiritual Center.

It made a lot of sense to me. Perhaps it will ring true for you as well.

Earthquake in the Mind of Humanity

I awoke this morning to find out about an Earthquake in Japan and subsequent tsunamis around the world. My niece and her husband are in Japan so step one was checking in on them. It appears that they are okay. Step 2? Check on friends in Hawaii who might be affected by the resulting tsunami. They seem to be fine. Step three — write to my Spiritual Community and ask them to pay attention to how they feel.

That would be the purpose of this letter.

If you are someone who understands the power and purpose of mass consciousness — if you meditate regularly — if you pray on a regular basis — if you do yoga — or take time to still yourself — or if you are a person who strongly connects to the earth through your spiritual practices, I am asking you to pay special attention to your current and future state of being.

Immediately following the Haiti earthquake and soon after the earthquake in Chile last year, I began to notice an escalation of emotion in the people around me. People were highly emotional and had no idea why. I wonder if the reason might be our connection to global consciousness. When millions of people are “shocked” by an earth happening, it affects all of us. The "mass consciousness" is flooded with fear, concern, pain and sorrow. Not only are we affected by a flood of emotions from the area affected, but also by the emotions of all the people who have loved ones they cannot reach, all the people concerned about business implications, and all those who are simply sensitive to earth changes. Our animal instincts tell us there is danger and we react emotionally. All of that emotion exists in the field of mass consciousness and we are all affected by it on some level.

There are two things to do — one for yourself and one for others:

For yourself — Take an assessment of your emotional state. Ask yourself what you are feeling and name the emotion. Take action to respond to your feelings. If you feel sad, acknowledge your sadness. Perhaps you can talk with a friend about it or journal about it. If you feel frustration or fear, ask yourself if you are in danger or if you are frustrated as a result of your own life or something outside you. If your emotions do not belong to you, either lay them down or allow them to flow through you for the benefit of the people who are so traumatized that they cannot feel at this moment. It is possible to consciously step out of the emotions that do not belong to you — and to do it, you must pay close attention to your own body and your own circumstances. Be aware of your emotions and do not ignore them. Take care of yourself. Feeling this strong emotional field is taxing and you may notice you are unusually tired. Rest. Eat lightly. Acknowledge the animal-self and soothe it in whatever way works best for you — music, a walk outside, or a comforting bath for example.

For others: Be gentle with the people around you. Those who are unfamiliar with the concept of collective consciousness may not be aware that they are being affected. All of us are likely to be short tempered or easily “set off.” You may choose to share this information with others — or simply be kinder and more forgiving than usual, keeping in mind that we may all be more "edgy" than normal.

If you want to do more to help those who are in “direct affect zones,” sit still and “tap in.” You may experience tears when you do this. Let them flow. Truly, when people are traumatized they often cannot access their own emotions. They become zombie-like and disoriented. We can help take the pressure off by making time to allow some of their emotions to flow through us. Beneath the emotions of anger and frustration, you will always find fear. Go to the fear and calm it. Let it move through you gently and easily. Release it with your breath, and with tears if the come. Surrender it to the Divine in whatever form you are most comfortable with. I like to gather it up into a cube and ask the angels to come and take it from me. Once you are done, think of the safest and most beautiful place you know. Allow your entire Being to be filled with the emotions of safety, gratitude and love. Feel the comforting presence of the Divine within you. Intentionally send those feeling into mass consciousness. Breathe them out into the world. Just as fear and sadness are filling the mind of humanity, we can send love and calming to meet it. Send what you can for whatever time you can. Even a few moments of calming energy sent to the group mind will be helpful.

Plan to continue this work daily for the next several months, whenever you think to do it. It will take awhile for things to settle. Anyone can do this work and any amount of time you dedicate to it will be helpful for you and for others. Know that whatever you do will be helpful.

Blessings and love,

Rev. Ahriana Platten

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Friday, February 25, 2011

Armstrong avoids jail time, must pay $99,247 in restitution

Posted By on Fri, Feb 25, 2011 at 4:40 PM

The Rev. Don Armstrong won't have to serve any jail time for misusing funds while he was rector of Grace and St. Stephen's Episcopal Church.

No apology necessary: the Rev. Don Armstrong
  • File photo
  • No apology necessary: the Rev. Don Armstrong

That ruling came Friday afternoon from 4th Judicial District Judge Gregory Werner, who upheld an earlier plea agreement that gives Armstrong two concurrent four-year probation terms for no-contest pleas involving his stewardship of a Grace scholarship fund called the Bowton Trust.

Werner did order Armstrong to pay $99,247 in restitution to Grace for money that went from the Bowton Trust to pay for his children's college-related expenses. Werner singled out those funds because, he said, Armstrong had fiduciary responsibility over the trust as Grace's rector.

The judge also ordered that, during his probation, Armstrong will have to do 400 hours of community service outside his current church, St. George's Anglican Church. The 61-year-old rector also must disclose all of his current finances and is prohibited from managing the finances of any church or group in a fiduciary role.

"I do not believe jail time is appropriate," Werner said in his ruling from the bench. He cited "massive confusion" in Grace's record-keeping processes through the years, as well as the fact that lay leaders of the church co-signed checks for as much as $12,000 without questioning Armstrong. That amounted to implicit approval, in the judge's view, explaining why Armstrong faces no restitution for repaying hundreds of thousands in other allegedly misused funds that came from Grace and not the Bowton Trust.

Werner denied a request from the prosecution for Armstrong to write a letter of apology to Grace, saying such a letter would never satisfy everyone, "and I'm not going to go there."

"All of us feel this has been a painful episode in Grace's history, and we're ready now to move on," said Fr. Stephen Zimmerman, the Grace rector since November 2009. "I believe the judge felt constrained by limitations of the First Amendment."

About 40 Grace members, plus a handful from St. George's, filled the courtroom for most of the two-day hearing. After Werner's decision, the Grace crowd showed no emotion, while Armstrong appeared jovial as he left the courtroom to register for his probation.

"What's done is done, and it's over with now," said Clelia de Moraes, one of Grace's lay leaders. "But we don't want what happened to us to happen to anyone else, and hopefully [because of this case's notoriety] it won't."

For more on Armstrong, read this week's stories here and here.

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Monday, January 31, 2011

Indy's Cult of Cthulhu

Posted By on Mon, Jan 31, 2011 at 9:17 AM


If there's one thing all of us at IndyBlog agree on, it's, well, nothing.

But at least a few of us are enamored with Cthulhu, the hopefully fictional elder god whose delicate painted visage watches over us from above culture editor Matt Schniper's desk.

Nearly 75 years after avant-horror writer H. P. Lovecraft's death, his unrepentantly savage creation has transmogrified into a cottage industry of cuddly tentacled stuffed animals, Lil Chtulhu tee shirts, Christmas wreaths and bobbleheads.

So really, what better way to start a Monday than with an episode of The Adventures of Lil Cthulhu and this helpful necktie tutorial?


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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Jesus freaks to inherit the earth

Posted By on Wed, Jan 19, 2011 at 5:17 PM

It appears the Jesus freaks and religious extremists of all stripes may have it right after all.

A Cambridge University genetics researcher has put together a mathematical model suggesting religious people are going to take over. In fact, the more into religion you are, the better off you are from an evolutionary standpoint.

Fact is, religious people have more children, and since religious tendencies are genetic, all those kiddies inherit the gene.

It seems to me, however, that Mr. Smarty Pants might have forgotten one little problem: If all that's left is extreme Christians and Muslims and Jews and whatever else ... couldn't we maybe expect some bloody religious wars? I mean, I don't want to be a downer or anything, but you've got to admit ...

Full story:

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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Rev. Palmer stepping down at Unity

Posted By on Wed, Dec 1, 2010 at 5:48 PM

According to a December letter sent out to Colorado EcoSpiritual Center followers, Rev. Lawrence Palmer will be stepping down at Unity Church in the Rockies, after serving as lead minister there since 2002.

The board has asked CEC leader Rev. Ahriana Platten to serve as acting minister for a one-year period beginning Jan. 1. Her first service will be Sunday, Jan. 2 at the church at 1945 Mesa Road.

Unity Church in the Rockies is the only local Unity faction, which had its beginnings in the Springs in 1922. According to, the home website for the movement, "Unity is a positive, practical, progressive approach to Christianity based on the teachings of Jesus and the power of prayer. Unity honors the universal truths in all religions and respects each individual's right to choose a spiritual path."

This approach should fit nicely with Patten's work through the CEC, an "inclusive spiritual community ... informed by the ecospiritual understanding that nature is a Divine emanation and, as such, is sacred and holy" — in fact, Unity has acted as host to some of the CEC's open-to-the-public events, such as the recent Interfaith Thanksgiving, and Platten guest-speaks at the church a handful of times per year.

Ahriana Platten
  • Ahriana Platten

The letter, written by Platten, reads as follows:

Dear Friends,

Harvesting the Future

I would like to make a special announcement - and you have to read the story first!

Every year, in February, I teach a class about blessing the seeds of the future. I lead people through the act of choosing actual seeds to represent goals and desires they’d like to manifest. When the choosing is done, each person places the seeds they’ve chosen in a medicine bag and wears that medicine bag at heart-level, filling the seeds of the future with love and envisioning a bountiful harvest to come in the fall.

Last year, I taught this class in six different locations, as close as in my own living room, and as far away as Omaha, Nebraska. I made my own medicine bag before the first class and used it as a demonstration piece for all the classes I taught.

By the time the last class was complete, my medicine bag has disappeared.

I called everywhere I had been, searched high and low — and ultimately came to the conclusion that Spirit must be suggesting that things should stay as they were for awhile. I assumed it was a year to finish up projects, take care of old “crops” and let the fields of my life lie fallow for a season.

Things had begun shifting last spring and the goal I placed in my medicine bag when I made it was that I would find the answer to the question “What is next on my path” by the time harvest season rolled around. I assumed, since the medicine pouch had disappeared, that whatever I was doing then was exactly what I was supposed to be doing and new growth was not on the horizon.

Spirit has a great sense of humor!

Move forward in time with me to this October — Harvest Season. My very dear friend, Rev. Lawrence Palmer, from Unity Church in the Rockies, informed me of his plans to step out of congregational ministry. He explained that he had served church communities for 36 years and is now being led to step out of this form of service into something new. I told him I would support him anyway I could.

A week later, I was scheduled to speak at Unity Church during the season of Ancestors. The date had been prescheduled many weeks before our conversation so I thought nothing about being there that morning - and I had no idea what was about to occur.

To understand the significance of what I am about to share, you must understand that I speak at Unity Church four or five times a year, on the average. In 2010, I spoke at the church five times.

When I arrived that October morning, I did as I always do: I set my sermon notes on Lawrence’s desk and sat down to review them before the first service began.

There, in front of me, on Lawrence’s desk, was my missing medicine bag (9 months after I lost it!).

Lawrence was in Kansas that morning so I called him and asked, as nonchalantly as I could, how long my medicine bag had been on his desk. “Since last spring” he said. How was it that I had not seen my medicine bag the four other times this year that I sat at Lawrence’s desk?

The obvious answer is, “it wasn’t time yet.” The timing of a harvest is everything. Harvest too early and the fruit is bitter and hard. Harvest too late and the fruit will spoil. I found my medicine bag at exactly the right moment to harvest the answer to my question.

Unity Church in the Rockies is “next on my path.”

Lawrence will take his leave in a few weeks and the Board of Trustees has invited me to serve as “Acting Minister” for a period of one year, beginning January 1st, 2011. At the end of the year, we’ll see what happens next. It will be up to the congregation to decide whether they’d like me to stay or not.

My first service is Sunday, January 2nd, and I’d love to have you join me as I move forward into this new adventure. Please “save the date.”

If you are here in the Colorado Springs area, the church is located at 1945 Mesa Road, and there are two services, a contemplative service at 9 am and a higher-energy service at 11 am. Your friendly face would be very welcome as I step into this calling.

If you are out of the area, each weekly service will be available online a few days after it occurs:

For now, I am resting while I can, finishing up other projects, and planning for this journey. My deep commitment to ecospirituality remains strong and I intend to continue my community outreach on this topic.

In this season of thanks and reflection, I am grateful for the Mystery that is God/Goddess/ All That Is — and grateful for the wondrous and magickal way the future is revealed to us. I am grateful for the final harvest, and for its ability to nourish us through the coming darkness of Winter.

As always, I look forward to sharing sacred space with you!


Soon-to-be Acting Minister, Unity Church in the Rockies

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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Transgender Day of Remembrance on Saturday

Posted By on Wed, Nov 17, 2010 at 9:05 AM

The growing number of GLBT teen suicides recently has been recognized and publicized by many high-profile celebrities. Dan Savage's “It Gets Better” Project encourages GLBT youth to see that there is a future for them as adults through a collection of videos like this one by the NOH8 Campaign:

Sadly, despite this public support, many transgender youth and adults are killed every year as a result of “transphobia,” or gender hatred, and never get the chance to fully experience their lives.

In honor of those who have been killed during the past year, the All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church (730 N. Tejon St.) will hold a memorial service this Saturday. Peak Area Gender Expressions is sponsoring the event, which recognizes that the day is the 12th annual International Transgender Day of Remembrance.


There will be a candlelight vigil and a transgender community panel on Saturday from 6 to 8 p.m.. Both events are open to everyone. In addition, the Sunday service at 10:30 a.m. will focus on the Transgender Day of Remembrance.

The Day of Remembrance is held in November to honor Rita Hester, whose murder on Nov. 28, 1998 remains unsolved, like many other transgender-murder cases. Her murder sparked the “Remembering Our Dead” web project and a San Francisco candlelight vigil in 1999.

So for all those who no longer have a voice of their own, spread the word.

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Thursday, October 14, 2010

More from Chagoya

Posted By on Thu, Oct 14, 2010 at 11:21 AM

From Enrique Chagoya: Borderlandia
  • From Enrique Chagoya: Borderlandia

The artist Enrique Chagoya, who has stirred up a frenzy of controversy with his depictions of religious figures including one of Jesus Christ, is now offering to paint a religious work of art for a Loveland church.

According to an article in the Loveland Reporter-Herald yesterday, Chagoya is speaking with Jonathan Wiggins, the senior pastor at Resurrection Fellowship, a Christian institution nearly 2,000 weekly worshipers strong.

The piece of art would be a gift, but Wiggins will discuss it with his congregation on Sunday before speaking publicly about the decision.

Read the full article here.

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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Atheists and Agnostics know more, per study

Posted By on Tue, Sep 28, 2010 at 4:45 PM

Fascinating study out today on religious knowledge from the Pew Forum.

  • Don Addis

Via NPR:

The Pew Forum on Religious Religion and Public Life released a survey on religious knowledge today. Atheists and Agnostics scored higher on it than anyone else, closely followed by Jews and Mormons, all Christians, Protestants and Catholics, were far behind.

That's overall, but when you get into specific religions it does show a startling lack of basic knowledge by practitioners. From the report:

More than four-in-10 Catholics in the United States (45 percent) do not know that their church teaches that the bread and wine used in Communion do not merely symbolize but actually become the body and blood of Christ. About half of Protestants (53 percent) cannot correctly identify Martin Luther as the person whose writings and actions inspired the Protestant Reformation, which made their religion a separate branch of Christianity. Roughly four-in-10 Jews (43 percent) do not recognize that Maimonides, one of the most venerated rabbis in history, was Jewish.

The study also showed that Americans have a fairly poor understanding of religions other than their own. Only about half of the people surveyed know that Martin Luther inspired the Reformation, the Dalai Lama is Buddhist, and Joseph Smith was a Mormon.

Why are Atheists and Agnostics better informed? The Los Angeles Times quotes one of the researchers who has a theory:

American atheists and agnostics tend to be people who grew up in a religious tradition and consciously gave it up, often after a great deal of reflection and study, said Alan Cooperman, associate director for research at the Pew Forum.

"These are people who thought a lot about religion," he said. "They're not indifferent. They care about it."

Also interesting is that Black Protestants and Latino Catholics scored at the bottom of the survey.

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Sunday, September 26, 2010

Should Christians practice yoga?

Posted By on Sun, Sep 26, 2010 at 11:20 AM

I read this fascinating post today on Care2 about Christians and the practice of yoga.


In Delia Quigley's piece posted Sept. 25, "Christian Belief Misunderstands Yoga," Quigley opens with:

As more people are experiencing the benefits of yoga, Christian leaders are telling their flock that yoga will lead them astray. I’ve heard this before, actually 30 years ago when I began a serious practice of yoga. According to the Christians I encountered at the time yoga was considered an abomination, a link to the devil. I was damned for practicing it and I was doubly damned for walking away from the Church. I was pretty well damned, and yet I knew in my heart that it brought me closer to the divine.

She goes on to quote Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, as saying this week via a USA Today story:

“Most [Christians who practice yoga] seem unaware that yoga cannot be neatly separated into physical and spiritual dimensions. The physical is the spiritual in yoga, and the exercises and disciplines of yoga are meant to connect with the divine.”

Quigley's thoughts?

Ultimately yoga is not about the physical body, but about revealing one’s true self and one’s connection to God, regardless of one’s religion.

I've participated in yoga classes here in the Springs with both Christians and those of other faiths, and I've never heard talk of this. But then, a quick search for "yoga" on the websites for both New Life Church and Focus on the Family comes up blank.

What do you think? Can you practice yoga as a Christian?

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Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Playing God

Posted By on Tue, Sep 7, 2010 at 10:59 AM

From the daily online magazine Religion Dispatches, a story today on Germany-based FIAA GmbH releasing the beta version of The Bible Online: Heroes, the first installment of a projected series of MMORTS (massively multiplayer online real-time strategy) “games” based on the Bible — with an RPG (role-playing game) component.


As the article says:

The game appears to be similar in some ways to Civilization-style games, a type of “god-game” in which players manage decisions from a privileged vantage point while the game’s algorithms determine success or failure based on both strategy and luck.

Some of the more intriguing ideas brought up by the article involve concepts of choice and "theologically loaded events." Will I, playing Abraham (as a woman — which could be challenging in itself), be required to start a sacrifice of Isaac? Can I commit blasphemy via chats with other players? How exactly do you win in the land of Canaan?


It will be fascinating to see how the game’s dynamics handle the problem of divine inevitability and human interaction, especially as it relates to the fixed narrative of the Bible itself. The “About” feature of the nascent website tells us that the game “is designed for users to actually experience the Book of Genesis by fulfilling quests of Abraham, which is based on the true stories of the Genesis [sic].” In order not to offend most Christians, the game will have to leave the biblical narrative intact and only allow interactivity in the narrative gaps in the biblical text, making the game potentially midrashic in performance.

Read the whole piece here.

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