National Catholic Reporter

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Spirituality

Education congress hears calls for renewal, unity

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As he approached the podium in the giant arena, keynote speaker Mark Shriver said in a matter-of-fact tone, "All I can offer you is a story about a guy living a faith-filled life -- he wasn't perfect, but he was a good man."

Shriver, author of The New York Times best-selling memoir A Good Man: Rediscovering My Father, Sargent Shriver, talked about his father, the late Sargent Shriver, who created the Peace Corps and expanded Special Olympics around the globe.

Breaking the rules

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Jesus chose to associate with people whom the rest of his contemporaries found reprehensible. Today, we are used to this notion, and we tend to romanticize his behavior. In his own time, however, it was shocking and offensive. Jesus’ manner was so off-putting that many people could not move beyond their repulsion to hear and accept his message. In a word, he was a rule-breaker, an iconoclast, and those who would follow him with integrity are to do the same.

Standing in truth before God

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Have you ever been listening to a homily and suddenly find yourself wishing that so-and-so was here because they really need to hear this? In your mind’s wandering, have you thought so-and-so in the row in front of you should be taking notes? How often do we mentally excuse ourselves from the truth being preached and its challenges because we do not see ourselves as God sees us, as others see us, as we are?

Crossing over

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Rudolph Bultmann once described our sacred writers as people who had glimpses of the “other side,” but wrote for people “on this side.”

Though they admire the well-known scholar’s insights, most Scripture experts today would disagree with the last half of Bultmann’s statement. Certainly people who have had no experience of the other side read their writings -- anybody can read the Bible -- but these special authors originally wrote for people who had also visited the other side, who had personally touched an awesome God and lived to tell others about it.

Becoming other Christs

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At the end of his life, Moses delivers some final words to the Israelites, who are finally about to enter the Promised Land. Deuteronomy 26:4-10 concerns the proper way to offer the first fruits of their future harvests. Setting their offering before Yahweh’s altar, they’re to say, “My father [Jacob] was a wandering Aramean who went down to Egypt with a small household and lived there as an alien. But there he became a nation great, strong and numerous.”

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September 12-25, 2014

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