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SERMON: The Bible For All

While I was out and about today I overheard an interesting conversation. The two people in this case were quite loud and seemed almost to be inviting others into the controversial topic they were discussing and debating.

On one side, the man said that the Bible had no relevance in his life because he didn't believe in God or the afterlife.

He appeared to be debating this with his friend by stating that he felt it was not necessary to be educated in the teachings of the Bible because his beliefs lay elsewhere.

...the history of the Bible and its influence on people, nations, cultures and events cannot be denied.

At one point he said it is very good to keep religious texts from education because it can corrupt the mind and is old fashioned or outdated. It made me wonder, does the Bible have relevance for those who are not Christians and do not believe in God?

Let's face it; the foundation of the Western world is largely built upon the Biblical text. And secular art was virtually nonexistent in the western world for centuries beginning with the fall of Rome. To remove the Bible in this context of art we would be removing our lens from which history can be read.

Truly, without the Bible we can't properly interpret the art, and without that art, be in texts, tapestries, portraits or architecture, we lose the ability to understand the history that has brought us to where we are today. If we forget the past, we are doomed to repeat it as the saying goes, so to me, the relevance of religion in the history of the western world is incredibly important.

Politics of today are influenced by those religious politics of the past. From the very idea of a separate church and state, to the issues that arise in the Middle East, we are living in a time when religious and political relationships of the past are haunting us today. Without that context, it becomes near impossible to understand tensions in the Middle East or the situation in Israel. These politics affect us even in our small neighborhoods as the population becomes an increasing mix of different cultural influences.

As a student studying history and art, I spent a year studying the art of Islam. In this time I was able to learn many things that are not necessarily clear on the news, or may seem outdated. However, the context of the people and of Islam, along with relations with the Christians in those centuries has helped me develop a better rounded understanding of our cultural differences.

Knowledge provides an environment for tolerance and understanding that should be greater than the mistrust or ill will; shedding light on things that otherwise could seem very confusing or uncalled for if uninformed.

In that same vein we all share a space to live in and it is ever smaller and more limited. The more we know about those we interact with, the more likely we can live in peace together.

If the Bible has no place in a person's philosophy, that is fine and well, but it does not excuse them from the ability to function in harmony with their neighbors. This goes both ways of course, but the history of the Bible and its influence on people, nations, cultures and events cannot be denied.

To so easily brush aside its impact is to err on the side of ignorance, which is ever the root of misfortune. We are born into a world that is full of diverse challenges and personalities; but rather than excuse ourselves from the culture that has been born from the Bible it is ever important that we be sensitive to the effects it has had on our world today as they carry into our future.

Adapted from a sermon by Will Clement as submitted to www.thecoolgroup.org

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Strangers In Paradise

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Element Name: MAN
Symbol: XY
Atomic Weight: (180 +/- 50)


Physical properties: Solid at room temperature, but gets bent out of shape easily. Fairly dense and sometimes flaky. Difficult to find a pure sample. Due to rust, aging samples are unable to conduct electricity as easily as young samples.

Chemical properties: Attempts to bond with WO any chance it can get. Also tends to form strong bonds with itself. Becomes explosive when mixed with Kd (Element: Child) for prolonged period of time. Neutralize by dousing with alcohol.

Usage: None known. Possibly good methane source. Good samples are able to produce large quantities on command.

Caution: In the absence of WO, this element rapidly decomposes and begins to smell.

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Element Name: WOMAN
Symbol: WO
Atomic Weight: (don't even go there!)


Physical properties: Generally round in form. Boils at nothing and may freeze any time. Melts whenever treated properly. Very bitter if not used well.

Chemical properties: Very active. Often unstable. Possesses strong affinity for gold, silver, platinum, and precious stones. Violent when left alone. Able to absorb great amounts of exotic food. Turns slightly green when placed next to a better specimen.

Usage: Highly ornamental. An extremely good catalyst for dispersion of wealth. Probably the most powerful income reducing agent known.

Caution: Highly explosive in inexperienced hands.

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