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Jules

Faithbook Jules

"Let instruction and knowledge mean more to you than silver or the finest gold." Proverbs 8

How Do You Imagine God?
God in America and USA WEEKEND Magazine are partnering to explore Americans' images of God.

How do you imagine God? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator God is the powerful, universal force of eternal energy that powers the universe and everything in it and beyond it. He is the pure light that illuminates all. God is within us and beyond us at the same time. God is far beyond our understanding.

My Beliefs

I believe ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator You must consciously choose who and what you serve in life- not IF you serve. Serving others through God does not diminish us, but builds us up to our fullest humanity ("this yoke is light") and yields a warm depth to your heart and your spirit that is truly priceless. (People tend to be afraid to surrender to this gentle voice, understandably, because the leap of faith IS a leap into the darkness which means loss of control, self will, and leads literally to a new life.) Also, the church is made up of believers both within and without the actual building, but the most important thing is the keystone of Jesus/ Christ and acting with compassion and mercy in all you do. Christ Jesus was given as our ultimate example and the source of all love and compassion for the entire human family. I also strongly believe that all faithful people should read, study, and truly know the scriptures and their historical contexts so they can truly grow in knowledge, wisdom, and understanding.
My most powerful moment of belief was ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator I believe most fully when I see people who despite insurmountable challenges and unrelenting circumstances in their life are still kind, decent, and courageous; doing the best they can to live a good life and help others.
My greatest moment of doubt was ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator I feel grave doubts about God's plan when I consider inner city poverty, racism, the absolute evil of gang violence and drug addiction, sexist patriarchal beliefs, greed, people who starve and die of horrific diseases, and world warfare.
My spiritual life means... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator Spirituality to me means being patient and kind, accepting the imperfections in myself, and embracing human frailty. It means peace and even joy in the midst of suffering and pain.
The biggest misconception about my faith/belief system is ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator Most people tend to think that there is only one way to be a Christian and all Christians are alike. Also, they tend to think that Christians are trying to force their beliefs on others.
My spiritual role model is ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator Jesus. Keep it Simple. Stand behind what you believe. Don't compromise your principles. Commit yourself to your destiny. Teach by who you are. Don't participate in the world's barbary, but exemplify compassion and love.
The tenet/practice/teaching I appreciate most about my faith is ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator Hope. God gives us hope in the future. Life. God gives us new life and salvation from death and the grave. Peace. God gives us peace of mind in a turbulent and chaotic world.

My Faith History

As a child I believed ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator God was like my dad.
My spiritual journey has been ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator a daily fight with my own will and pride and anger. (Jonah 7)
I was raised as ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator A Lutheran (with Scandinavian roots)
Are your beliefs or practices different from your parents? If so, how and why? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator Yes, my beliefs are different from my parents. I'm very focused on growth and inclusiveness, courage to face new or different aspects of faith, traveling and learning all I can learn in life. Whereas a lot of Christians go by tradition and doctrine mainly and don't study up as much as they could.

How I Practice My Faith

Does your family practice more than one religion or faith? If so, how do you blend the traditions? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator I blend aspects of many religions together with my Christian faith because I feel that there is infinite knowledge to gain from others all over the world and that you should remain open to growth. Also, God is all knowing and so nothing I can find out could shock/ offend him. So, I am a follower of Christ Jesus, but I embrace many different cultures and religions. I guess I have a mainly "new age" or mystical understanding of Christ and how he relates to the human person. I also find inspiration in Buddhist and Hindu enlightenment imagery, Taoism and it's Ch'i (eternal energy), as well a healthy respect for China's Confucian virtues of order and family. I have an understanding of the tenets of Islam also, but personally gain more from the Muslim people I have met than from the religion itself. However, within Christianity I follow the tradition of Humanism (not the traditional European focus of Descartes' "Reason" above experience). I am also, of course, a proponent of Post Modern Christian Feminism and the unearthing of women's roles in the church and the bible. I am especially focused on the Pre-Christian Goddess traditions of which some were transposed onto the Mother Mary; and even into the current "mariology"). Currently, I am very focused on the Eastern Tradition of the Church (Greek- which settled in Turkey, Ukraine, Russia, etc) vs Western Tradition (Roman- settling of course in Western Europe and the US). Greek culture had a focus on wisdom and personified this term as a woman named Sophia. This is supported for me in Proverbs 8-9 although it is mainly theologically overlooked.
How easy or difficult is it to live your faith? Why? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator I find it easy to live my faith, but hard to describe to other people or get them to understand why I do not fight tooth and nail through life. I feel like I am already fulfilled and enjoy life moment to moment. I really live it, I'm really present, and I really see people and enjoy taking my time through life. Although I do have to fight against my own selfish, greedy, and belligerent will like anyone else (which can be a full time job too!)
In my house, the thing that most represents my faith is ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator My Bible. A Contemporary English Version, I got it in New Orleans in 1997 when I was 17. My church mission group went there for a nation wide convention and the city was covered with teenagers wearing yellow armbands representing ELCA Lutherans. Since then my cheerful pastor has had a stroke, the people of New Orleans have seen one of the worst tragedies in American history (including people dying in the Superdome where we held our meetings), and my soft cover bible has become, beat up, worn, and covered in multiple layers of underlines, highlights, and bookmarks. It's been quite a while since I was 17, but I often remind myself that faith requires action, not just good intentions. If we as Christians do not live our faith, act on it, and become strong, then our faith will die. Then we are no longer a light, but a nail in the coffin of people who are truly seeking God and his goodness and mercy.
The song/book/film that most represents my faith is ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator The Question of God- Documentary The Jesus Experience- Documentary Something About Mary Magdalene- Documentary A History of God- Book by Karen Armstrong Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth (with Bill Moyers)- Documentary Now- Eckhart Tolle The Case for Christ with Lee Strobel- Documentary Casting Crowns Kutless Matthew West

Religion & the Public Square

What should be the role of religion in politics? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator To me, politics should be very minimally invasive in human life. People should be empowered to be responsible and then let alone to suffer their own consequences (or gains). To me, the control is all based on money and power and profiting off of everyday working citizens. So, I believe politics has almost no business in religion, marriage, nor individual lives almost whatsoever. However, in reality the military government complexes of the world run by greedy power mongering individuals won't be going anywhere any time soon, So it is nearly impossible to separate your day to day life, and personal beliefs, from the government, but if something has to be lessened, to me it should be government, not people's individuality, privacy, religious practices, family life etc.
Should courses about religion be taught in public schools? Why or why not? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator Yes, young people are searching anyway and they need some guidance in their exploration- someone to help them find the questions. I don't understand why people of all faiths can't be in the same room and learn about all types of religion in a healthy respectful way. I think we should have more faith in our young people. As it is now all kids get is absentee parents, busy teachers, and a church life that is dying off. So, they get all their information from each other (you can imagine how that goes) or from mainstreamed Hollywood ideals, the music industry's pop culture fragments of art/poetry, and the mall's shallow consumerism messaging about what is truly desirable (all outer image, little inner life).
Should the Bible, Torah, Quran or other religious texts be taught as works of literature in public schools? Why or why not? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator Yes, God is not God if we can somehow defeat him by educating ourselves. Also, interesting to note that the supreme court does allow religious texts to be read in class as literature.
Is interfaith dialogue important? Why or why not? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator Interfaith dialogue is extremely important- esp face to face and individually. It is easy to "demonize" a group or a religious sect, but meeting people face to face most people can clearly see them as human, not the "other".
Do you feel comfortable discussing your faith with others? Why/why not? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator I feel very comfortable discussing religion, because I have spent years reading about many religions and defining my exact beliefs, but others don't always feel comfortable with discussing it because they either haven't given it a lot of thought, or don't want to feel their being "preached" to. It is a hard subject because it goes to the heart of who a person is and must be handled with extreme care and respect.
Do you feel that you have a duty, because of your faith, to put your beliefs into action? What are some of those actions? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator I do feel that faith means action. Ironically though sometimes action means just educating yourself or even not participating in something based on your principles. They may say to you do it because someone else is going to do it anyway, you might as well reap the benefits, but I say let someone else do it then, I won't be that person. I won't do that to my soul and my conscience will be clear at the end of my life.
Are religious beliefs compromised by engaging in politics? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator Yes. Religious principles are often compromised in many ways, due to the complex mixture of humans trying to get along together. However, I think that no evil is ever justified and doing wrong is doing wrong. (Do not murder is one of the 10 commandments and I'm pretty sure that should be taken literally- including war.) I think following the spirit of the law can be as important, if not more so, than following the letter of it, when it comes to some "greater good" for humanity. Example: killing regular Vienamese INDIVIDUALS to stop a SYSTEM of communism (small wonder they didn't see the greater good for humanity as they were watching their families and way of life murdered). Also, it doesn't have to be an either/or on a lot of things in life. It can really be a both/and a lot of the time if only we could look at things with a little more sophistication or maturity in this new dawning age. Sometimes political solutions really can be much simpler than they seem, but the money tied up in it all complicates things and hence COMPRIMISES good common sense legislation.
Has 9/11 had any impact on your thoughts about religion? Are you more/less interested in learning about other religions? Do you feel more/less comfortable expressing your religious beliefs? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator I myself researched more into the Q'uran after 9/11. What suprised me was that many of the characters were the same as the Bible: Adam and Eve, Abraham, David, Jesus, the angel Gabriel, Satan, etc. However, it was hard to get a good translation because the English can't capture the rhythm or poetic heart of the Arabic- although I could admire the beauty of the Arabic language ascetically (obviously I am not versed in the Arabic language). However, the Q'uran is also very repetitive and rhythmic and is really meant to be recited orally, so I do feel I was not able to grasp the heart of it. I had a better chance when I spent time talking with Muslim students, although often times just about day to day things, I was able to understand more about the culture they came from and the power of it. I did feel a discomfort with the anger expressed in many passages, however, I can't honestly say that the Old Testament is not violent either. After further contemplation I realized that at the time Muhammad wrote the Q'uran there was a lot of tribal warfare and violence and he was the one to unite the tribes and I think he spoke to his time, just like the OT spoke clearly and sometimes harshly to it's people at that time.

Jules's Favorite Pages

Rabbi_David_J_Wolpe Rabbi_David_J_Wolpe
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PastorTylerOdell PastorTylerOdell
Raphael5 Raphael5
rangerdavie rangerdavie
BBT BBT

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Published October 11, 2010

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