David Bruce

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with comments by David Bruce

I receive a lot of e-mail.  I am not able to post all the mail. I have included a good sampling, however.  If the subject is the same I might group the newer messages with similar older ones.  Also, my response may appear a few days after the original posting. I can't do HJ everyday.  You must include your "name" and e-mail address within your comment if you want it posted, otherwise it will not be posted (there is a privacy issue here and we respect that).  I do, however, encourage you to give your "name" and e-mail so others can respond to you personally.
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This page was last updated on September 4, 2001

JOHN DOMINIC CROSSAN
Subject: Peter_Jennings_Jesus
Date: Fri, 31 Aug 2001
From: "Bob Cochran"

I have recently been looking into the things said and written by John Dominic Crossan. I first learned of him perhaps six years ago, when I read Jesus Under Fire.

The most recent reading I have done includes Would The Real Jesus Please Stand Up, wherein Dr. Crossan debates Dr. William Lane Craig, and an article called "Almost The Whole Truth," by Dr. Crossan (it can be found at http://www.westarinstitute.org/Periodicals/4R_Articles/Crossan_bio/crossan_b io.html).

I have spent some time puzzling over Dr. Crossan's presumptions, presuppositions and his agenda. I don't claim to have these figured out.

While Dr. Crossan has a pleasant public personna with a goodly measure of wit and charm, and while his words are usually couched in gentility, I am offended by his claims to intellectual integrity and honesty.

In Would The Real Jesus Please Stand Up, Dr. Crossan had ample opportunity to coherently explain why he holds the presuppositions that he does. When he stated his objections to Jesus' scolding of the Pharisees (mind you, he also asserted that he didn't believe Jesus really said these mean things, even expressing regret that such material made it into the Gospels), and impled that one of Dr. Craig's statements during the debate had the same kind of mean-spiritedness that Jesus' words had, he could at least have given a decent argument as to WHY he thinks Jesus probably did not scold the Pharisees as the Gospels record. Does Dr. Crossan believe it is anti-Semitic to assert that SOME of the Pharisees in Jesus' time were hypocrites who deserved a good chewing-out, and that Jesus may indeed have given it to them publicly?

Dr. Crossan seems to be one of the chief culprits, if not THE chief culprit in promoting the revisionistic and now quite popular idea that the Jewish leaders did not seek to have Jesus executed, but that it was the Romans who decided to do it. If Dr. Crossan acknowledges Jesus' scolding of the Pharisees (which was probably done in front of witnesses, thus mightily embarrassing and infuriating the Pharisees), then he would have to acknowledge that they had ample reason to want him killed. OH, but that's politically incorrect -- you can't SAY that these days.

Maybe Dr. Crossan really believes he is intellectually honest. He occasionally allows for prejudices he may have. He even offers possible explanations for his prejudices.

I don't believe this lets him off the hook. He has made many strange assertions about what is and what is not historical about the Gospels. Many of his assertions strike me as pure conjecture (conjecture that is offered to support who-knows-what agenda) disguised as scholarly, well-researched conclusions.

That Dr. Crossan has spent an enormous amount of time studying the Bible, I have no doubt. Most of us will never be even knee-high to him in terms of Biblical scholarship. In reading his resume, one would naturally conclude that he is possessed of great discipline -- all the more reason he should be held to a high standard in explaining his odd assertions.

Maybe it is precisely his arrogance regarding the extent of his studies that makes him think he can dismiss certain things as symbolical and non-historical with little or no adequate explanation.
Bob Cochran

JEWISH GUYS
Subject: Superman
Date: Fri, 31 Aug 2001
From: Roger

While at times I'm not really sure if the whole web page isn't tongue-in-cheek (e.g. "Krypton sounds like Tikkum olam") most of your arguments are actually quite compelling. But why would two nice Jewish boys invent a hero who is Christ-like? Were S&S Jews For Jesus, perhaps, or do you think that they didn't realize the parallels themselves, and that somehow God intervened? Either way, I'm telling all my friends about your site. Thanks!

Response: It was Mario Puzo, the Catholic, that wrote the movie and not the Jewish guys. And thanks for the kind words. -David

LINKS TO UNEDITED VERSION?
Subject: Jesus the miniseries
Date: Fri, 31 Aug 2001
From: Palma

Hello I currently own a copy of the above, but apparantly it is not the unedited copy. You have links on your website to amazon.com to purchase the vhs, how can I tell if it is the unedited "international" verison of the mini series. Now that I know that version exists, I would like a copy.

Any help will be greatly appreciated.
Thank you in advance
Palma

Response: to get acopy in the U.S. -DavidI wish it was available, but there is no way

ONLY INTELLEGENT SHOW ON TELEVISION
Subject: lefemme nikita
Date: Fri, 31 Aug 2001
From: Marlene

I LOVED LEFEMME NIKITA AS IT WAS THE ONLY INTELLIGENT SHOW ON TELEVISION FOR THE ADULT AUDIENCE AND PERHAPS IT GAVE US A CHANCE TO DREAM THAT WE COULD SOMEHOW MAKE THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE ALBEIT FANTASY LAND.

RESPONSES FROM NEWSLETTER 26

PHILIPPIANS 4:8
Subject: About_R-Rated_Newsletter_26
Date: Thu, 30 Aug 2001
From: David

I only have some questions:

1.How does Philippians 4:8 relate to Mark 7:15?

2.In Mark 7:19, my version in parenthesis states "(When Jesus said this, he meant that no longer was any food unclean for people to eat.)" New Century Version. How does food relate to R-rated movies? (Kosher food, Kosher eye candy, same principle)

3.Here is an excerpt from Matthew Henry's Commentary regarding the Mark 7:15-23 section:

Now that which he goes about to set them right in, is, what the pollution is, which we are in danger of being damaged by, v. 15. (1.) Not by the meat we eat, though it be eaten with unwashen hands; that is but from without, and goes through a man. But, (2.) It is by the breaking out of the corruption that is in our hearts; the mind and conscience are defiled, guilt is contracted, and we become odious in the sight of God by that which comes out of us; our wicked thoughts and affections, words and actions, these defile us, and these only. Our care must therefore be, to wash our heart from wickedness. 3. He gives his disciples, in private, an explication of the instructions he gave the people. They asked him, when they had him by himself, concerning the parable (v. 17); for to them, it seems, it was a parable. Now, in answer to their enquiry, (1.) He reproves their dulness; "Are ye so without understanding also? Are ye dull also, as dull as the people that cannot understand, as dull as the Pharisees that will not? Are ye so dull?'' He doth not expect they should understand every thing; "But are ye so weak as not to understand this?'' (2.) He explains this truth to them, that they might perceive it, and then they would believe it, for it carried its own evidence along with it. Some truths prove themselves, if they be but rightly explained and apprehended. If we understand the spiritual nature of God and of his law, and what it is that is offensive to him, and disfits us for communion with him, we shall soon perceive, [1.] That that which we eat and drink cannot defile us, so as to call for any religious washing; it goes into the stomach, and passes the several digestions and secretions that nature has appointed, and what there may be in it that is defiling is voided and gone; meats for the belly, and the belly for meats, but God shall destroy both it and them. But, [2.] It is that which comes out from the heart, the corrupt heart, that defiles us. As by the ceremonial law, whatsoever (almost) comes out of a man, defiles him (Lev. 15:2; Deu. 23:13), so what comes out from the mind of a man is that which defiles him before God, and calls for a religious washing (v. 21); From within, out of the heart of men, which they boast of the goodness of, and think is the best part of them, thence that which defiles proceeds, thence comes all the mischief. As a corrupt fountain sends forth corrupt streams, so doth a corrupt heart send forth corrupt reasonings, corrupt appetites and passions, and all those wicked words and actions which are produced by them.

How do these thoughts coincide with your own? Could it be that Jesus is talking about things that are amoral, but used by the Pharisees to create ridiculous laws? Food, in and of itself is amoral just as music is (music, not lyrics). Being neither right nor wrong. (What was about food in Jesus' day -is about pop culture "food" in our day. The Church has become the Pharisees -so worried about the leaven of the world -so worried about the food for the eyes and ears -so worried that that our works will not merit God's grace -so worried that Rock n Roll will keep us out of Heaven -so worried that an R-rated movie will put us in Hell. Yes sir, the Pharisees know how to use guilt, manipulation, suppression, fear, and condemnation).

While I whole-hearted agree with you that we should not take ourselves out of the world, Jesus did admonish us to not be of it (No he did not -John 17 is clear- the action of not being "of" the world is something God does for us. It is not something we do). When I discuss secular music with my youth, I approach the subject much as you do. I point out the lyrics and talk to them about how they can use them to witness to their friends. I don't listen to secular music (I am sorry to hear this), because it's just too depressing (and, I find contemporary baby boomer "Christian" music depressing -Should I be directed by me feelings, as you are?), but that is what gives us as Christians such a tremendous opportunity to reach out with a message of hope. If we can relate these messages on a spiritual level without having what goes in effect us (I think this is where Mark 7:20-23 comes in), we can have a huge impact for Christ. I will not actively encourage any Christian to view R-rated movies or listen to secular music for fear that they are not as strong in there faith as I am (Hmm). I would recommend your website for insight with how to use these items as a door to open spiritual conversation. I think you are on target with how you are relating these movies to Jesus, but without a good spiritual backbone, seeing R-rate movies may make a weaker Christian stumble (and, I view idolatrous "family" centered baby boomer churches as dangerous to those weak in the faith).

I think you are experiencing the same resistance as groups like P.O.D., Jars of Clay, Six Pence None the Richer, and Chevelle from the "Christian" crowd because they don't understand the reason behind the music. These Roaring Lambs understand that you don't reach the sick by singing to the well. That's my main beef with Christian Radio. There are only a few stations that "get it right", RadioU and KADU for example. (You come so close to the truth and yet you keep an arms length away. How come?)

All this to say, keep up the good work (Thank you). I will continue to use it as a resource, but not as a green light to see whatever I want to see (you are free). If it were up to me, I'd be watching x-rated stuff (addicting time sumps, indeed), but I know that it's about what Jesus would have me do, not my own sinful desires.
Thanks! David

Response: You are so kind. Thank you. I guess it goes without saying that we 180 degrees different. It seems to me that Christianity has become more about personal "holiness" and less about Jesus. It is interesting to note that the first 4 of the Ten Commandments have to do with our relationship to God, and the last 6 have to do with our relationship with others. There is not a single commandment about personal issues. It's not about us (me and my personal issues), it's about others, it's about God. There is a danger in all these personal "holiness" issues, please read the two next letters -and weep. -David

YES, YES AND YES
Subject: Intolerance_at_church_Newsletter_26
Date: Thu, 30 Aug 2001
From: "maria"

I AM A BELIEVER WHO MOST CERTAINLY WOULDN'T STEP FOOT IN CHURCH ANYMORE. I HAVE SEEN THEM ALL. FROM THOSE WHO TOLD ME IT WAS A SIN FOR ME TO WEAR A BATHING SUIT, DRINK A GLASS OF WINE, AND BE DIVORCED. I HAVE DONE ALL THREE AND DON'T FEEL CONDEMNED BY MY GOD, JUST BY MY BROTHERS AND SISTERS. AMAZING. I CONTINUE TO BE WHAT I FEEL GOD WANTS ME TO BE, AND I CONTINUE TO ENJOY MY WINE AND WEAR MY BATHING SUIT.
SINCERELY, MARIA FROM RHODE ISLAND

Response: I know what you mean. Can you imagine wine drinking Jesus showing up at such a church? I can tell you Jesus found very good followship with the woman five times divorced at the well! -David

Very impressed with your site for I am a spiritual being who loves God and does not relate to church
Subject: Victimized_Christian_Newsletter#26
Date: Thu, 30 Aug 2001
From: maria

I have been around the block over and over from every denomination under the stars, then to "The Academy For Future Scientists" , in Los Gatos, California. Then, back to radically church beings. And, now that I have turned 50 this year, my view is God made all of us, he even made aliens. Who are we to judge anyone? You have a wonderful site and I am very impressed. I love God, although, I dislike his church people, not all, but, those who are so narrowminded to put others down. How dare any of us attempt to judge each other.

I am a screenwriter and probably will one day get hung by some radical christians for what I am creating. How very sad. Those that do the judging are usually the ones who have much to be judged. (Not that I'm judging). God must surely be proud of you! Keep up the great work.
God Bless, love Maria from Rhode Island

Response: Thank you, I hope others will understand that narrow-minded judgmental churchgoers are the poison within. It is not R-rated screenwriters that are destroying the church. We need more R-rated truth and fewer G-rated lies. God bless you in all you do! -David

SPECTACULAR! SPECTACULAR!
Subject: Moulin_Rouge
Date: Fri, 31 Aug 2001
From: Jessica

David, Here's the site address to Spectacular! Spectacular! I mentioned in my past post. http://twodiamonddogs.tripod.com It isn't too much just yet. I'm working on an extensive update on my link page at the moment.
Sincerely, Jessica

CHRIST AND PAGANISM DON'T AMALGAMATE TOGETHER AS YOU ASSERT
Subject: Mithras
Date: Thu, 30 Aug 2001
From: "Bobby"

Dear Dave,
The correlation you presume between myth and Christ is an Atheistic Lie
(Hmm!). Their is no such correlation between the writings of Paul or anyone in the Bible, to paganism, however it may manifest itself. All paganism you make reference to is the product of the apostate Catholic Church of the Roman Empire ages. They incorporated a Sunday sabbath for instance, to unify the pagans and Christians, and to separate the Christians from the Jews who were dispised at the time (they were not around). Catholics instituted paganism not the Bible (actually the pagans instituted paganism). Christmas, easter, and any other Catholic precept is not found in the scriptures (the words Bible, Trinity, are not in the Bible either). Please clarify exactly what your intent is here. The Bible has no pagan aspects in it, all are derived from hebrew theology, the pagan aspects resulted from the Catholic Church. END OF STORY. (So you are anti-Catholic, anti-Pope, anti-Mother Teresa, anti-Christmas, anti-Easter, and anti-Sunday, anti-Billy Graham, anti everything! I'll bet you are a real drag to be around. I mean, good grief. you probably even hate the cute little Easter Bunny. I suppose you'd never be a Pagan Santa Claus in the mall. Hate, hate, hate. Anti-this anti-that. Do you think this somehow gains points with God?)
May Yahweh bless,
Bobby Aleckson

Response: The early Roman Catholic Church was sheer genius. They did indeed use common points in myth to connect people to Jesus. All major myth points to Jesus. Long live pagan myth. Long live Hollywood. Long live the Catholics. I love all of it. I even like Christmas (formerly Mithras' birthday) and I so enjoy eating chocolate Pagan Easter Bunny Easter eggs on that Pagan Day AKA Easter. I think you are missing all the fun. - David, the Pagan Christian and myth lover.

MOVIE SHOWS THE TRUTH
Subject: Exorcist
Date: Thu, 30 Aug 2001
From: Stearn

First of all I would like to say that I love this film. I believe that this is the closest portrayal of satan that any movie has ever had. Satan is usually portrayed in movies as some middle aged man walking around in a suit and killing people. I don't think that is satan.

This film also shows that even christians have struggles with their faith. (Father Kerras) I don't think that it shows that christians are weak, and I don't think it glorifies evil. I believe that this movie shows the truth.

THE ANGEL STORY
Subject: The_Pledge
Date: Thu, 30 Aug 2001
From: "MG

The story is "The Angel" by Hans Christian Andersen, and can be found at http://hca.gilead.org.il/xref.html. Reading it we find more clues to the film, including hints about the beginning and end. "The Angel" tells not only of children who die but of a "poor field-flower, that once lay withered and cast away on a heap of rubbish in a narrow, dark street." The film opens with Nicholson walking in a dry desert, like a "poor field-flower withered and cast away on a heap of rubbish." His lips move and one might think he is praying. I thought of Moses in the wilderness. Hovering overhead are birds (doves?) representing angels and the lost children. As the film unfolds we see Nicholson entering a different culture, "in but not of" that world. He buys the gas station to fully enter that culture to bring salvation by waiting for the killer. He has made a promise by his "soul's salvation" to find the killer. When he is denied ("vengeance is mine, says the Lord ") he cannot keep his promise. Nicholson, like Moses, doesn't get to see the "land of promise " and, we presume, dies in the desert, having come very close to succeeding. If we apply the ending of the Anderson story to the film, we might feel better: "Then the Almighty pressed all the flowers to His heart; but He kissed the withered field-flower, and it received a voice. Then it joined in the song of the angels, who surrounded the throne, some near, and others in a distant circle, but all equally happy."

5 TRUE SECRETS!
Subject: Blair_Witch_2
Date: Thu, 30 Aug 2001
From: Neil Croke

Watching through the book of shadows i have found the 5 secrets of Esrever while most of you seem to be mixed up with the hidden words alot have found. These are all clearly visions. Rug : When stephen leaves tristans room and reenters the rug has disappeared. Water : When tristan has the vision in the water a stick-figure floats into the screen from the right. Grave : When the group are leaving the cemetary a grave on the left of the screen casts an impossible shadow of a stick-figure which quickly dissappears. Mirror : When Josh is being cross-examined at the police station when the sherif crosses the mirror a false reflection of an old man is reflected. Door : When the sherif is watching the video of josh hiding erica,s body in the closet look very closely at the door on the left, in 5 of the small pains of glass in a sideways U shape are the faces of the 5 tourist victims who were disembowled by the group. (I may be the very first to find this :D ) Also on a different note when tristan looks out the window to see the owl in the screen before hand when you can see the hole window look closly and you can clearly see a vision of the witch standing looking in at her. I also know ALOT more secrects, if you wish to know more E-mail me at ncroke@yahoo.co.uk
Neil Croke

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