God in America
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dannybradfield

Faithbook dannybradfield

Pastor of Bixby Knolls Christian Church in Long Beach, California.

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 a spirit or force that connects all things. God is love. God is the bundle of energy that exists in the smallest subatomic particle, and God is the vastness of the universe.

My Beliefs

My spiritual role model is ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator Martin Luther King, Jr., who understood what Jesus meant when he talked about the Kingdom of God. MLK, using more modern languaged, described it as a beloved community.
The tenet/practice/teaching I appreciate most about my faith is ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator ... love for all people, including one's enemies. How the world would change if we could learn and practice that one simple thing, to love one another, to see the image of God in every person.

My Faith History

As a child I believed ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator ... in a God that was much more anthropomorphic, a God who really somehow walked in a garden and dwelled in a tent (tabernacle). Perhaps in my childhood visions God even had a white beard, although I can't remember. :-)
My spiritual journey has been ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator ...one in which I have seen my own understanding of faith grow and expand, just as the early Christian movement grew and expanded. I'm not talking in numbers, but growth and expansion in terms of understanding who is invited to be a part of that movement.

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 While we do not practice more than one religion, we are developing a growing awareness, understanding, and appreciation of other faiths. I was recently elected to the board of directors for a regional interfaith organization, and am learning every day the importance of interfaith dialogue and relationships.
How easy or difficult is it to live your faith? Why? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator It is very easy, because my desire to live my faith is present in every moment of my life, and I really don't know how else to live. Yet it is very difficult, because living one's faith is almost like living in a different plane of existence.
The song/book/film that most represents my faith is ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator At the risk of embarrassing myself, I'll tell you I've always liked the portrayal of religion in Disney's Brother Bear ... the compassion of the shaman woman exemplefies (for me) the love of the God I believe in. Plus, she's not afraid to knock some sense into the members of her community (literally) when they need it!

Religion & the Public Square

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 Religion is such an important part of history as well as current conflicts and international relations that I can't imagine it NOT being taught. The goal of religious education in public schools should be to develop an understanding and appreciation of various faiths, not to advocate one faith over another.
Is interfaith dialogue important? Why or why not? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator Yes. Why? To put it simply: the peace and security of the world depends on it.
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 Beliefs that are not expressed through action are not really beliefs. To believe something is to put one's whole heart into it, to "be-love" that something (as I've heard some Biblical scholars say).
Are religious beliefs compromised by engaging in politics? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator Jesus was more political than many people realize, and I don't believe his religious beliefs were ever compromised, so I'd have to say no. That is, beliefs aren't necessarily compromised by engaging in politics. However, I think that the current political climate leads politicians to support policies that are politically advantageous rather than seeking deeper solutions to issues that are often much more complex than they make them out to be.
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 9/11, as well as the divisiveness that seemed to mark this year's anniversary of 9/11, have made me see the importance of at least becoming acquainted with people of other religions and their beliefs. So many people have negative and false impressions about the motives of other religions, something that leads to fear, hatred, and ultimately violence.

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Major funding for God in America provided by the Pew Charitable Trusts and the John E. Fetzer Institute, Inc.  Additional funding provided by the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations. God in America is produced for PBS by WGBH Boston.
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Published October 11, 2010

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