The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on April 28, 2001 · Page 21
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 21

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Salina, Kansas
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Saturday, April 28, 2001
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Page 21
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SATURDAY APRIL &8, 2001 THE SALINA JOURNAL Religion SPECIAL EVENTS / D3 . ALMANAC/D4 • COMMENT T FIRST CHURCH OF THE NAZARENE DAVID WATERS Scripps Howard News Service Holy Land is a small experience ORLANDO, Fla. — It was Maundy Thursday, and Jesus wanted to go to Jerusalem. That's what he said as he sat In a cool room and sipped a Coke after another sweaty performance as the crucified, dead and resurrected Messiah. "To see the model of Jerusalem here in the park makes me want to go and see it for myself," said Les Chevel- dayoff, 35, an actor who portrays Jesus here at Orlando's newest theme park, the Holy Land Experience. Me, too, but probably not for the same reasons. This "Holy Land" is an experience, all right. One I don't Care to repeat. First, there's not much here for the $17 price of admission. There are five exhibits that offer live dramas or films, including a six-story-high model • of Herod's Temple, circa 66 A.D. There are a couple of nice souvenir shops inside the Jerusalem Street Market exhibit, and a 60-seat restaurant that serves tasty, reasonably priced falafel, hummus and pita. And that's it. You can walk from one end of the Holy Land Experience to the other in less than a minute. So, the park is small. But what's even more troubling about the place is that ifs small-minded. The Holy Land Experience is Christian propaganda. According to the "Christian" park's inventive exhibits and dramatic presentations, all of Judaism's ancient roads lead to Jesus. "Propaganda may be too nice a word for what they've done," said John Dominic Crosson, an Orlando-area Catholic priest and one of the world's leading Jesus scholars. "I call it a spiritual holocaust." I'd also call it a botched opportunity At the very least, park creators could have respected Christianity's Jewish foundation enough not to walk all over it. They didn't. At best, they could have showcased the religion of Jesus — the fascinating and complex Judaism of the Second Temple era. They didn't do that, either. Instead, they reduced history's first monotheistic faith to a familiar but flawed preview of coming attractions, namely the New Testartient. What a shame. "We gentiles face the constant danger of letting Jesus' Jewishness, and even his humanity slip away" Christian author Philip Yancey wrote in "The Jesus I Never Knew." "In historical fact, we are the ones who have co-opted their Jesus. I can no more understand Jesus apart from his Jewishness than I can understand Gandhi apart from his Indianness. "I need to go back, way back, and picture Jesus as a first-century Jew with a phylactery (prayer box) on his wrist and Palestinian dust on his sandals." That's not the picture you get here. Not that the folks who own the place are luring customers to their $16.5 million "living Biblical museum" under entirely false pretenses. "The Holy Land Experience is a Christian facility that purposes to exalt and uplift our Lord Jesus Christ," it says on a sheet of paper given to each visitor. The paper also explains the park's dress code (no halter- tops, short shorts or swimsuits), worship code (do not disturb), behavior code (no drunks or perverts), and food and beverage code (leave yours, buy ours). What it fails to explain is the park's theological code. The park is a ministry of Zion's Hope, an Orlando-based organization whose primary mission is to convert Jews to Christianity See HOLY LAND, Page D2 Pastoral partnership First Church of the Nazarene marks 25 years with Colaws By AMY SULLIVAN The Salina Journal TOM DORSEY / The Salina Journal Betty and Rene Colaw are celebrating their 25th anniversary at First Church of the Nazarene. T BIRMINGHAM CHURCH BOMBING Rene and Betty Colaw packed up their belongings in 1976 and headed toward their home state to work for people they'd never met. By phone, Salina's First Church of the Nazarene had asked Rene to be their new pastor Usually a church board interviews the candidate in person. "They didn't see us, and we didn't see them," Rene said. When the offer came, the Co- laws didn't hesitate to accept. "We just knew it was the right thing to do, and it's proved to be true," Rene said. They've worked with each other and at the church for 25 years. •Rene, 60, preached. Betty, 61, managed the business end: the income, payroll, taxes, newsletters and bulletins. Until recently she proofread Rene's sermons. The arrangement worked for them and the church. So much so that members will celebrate the Colaws' 25th anniversary at the church with a special service Sunday morning. That will be followed by a potluck dinner and a time for members to share their thoughts about the Co- laws, said church board member Larry Billings, 1915 Ingman. Organizers aren't telling the Colaws much about Sunday's events. "They just told us to be here the last Sunday in April," Rene said. They have heard that invitations were sent to current and former church members who live near and far — some the Colaws haven't seen in years. Billings worshipped at the church long before the Colaws came, and he's bold enough to tell them if he wanted them to leave. "I'm not telling them to go anytime soon," he said with a laugh. During sermons, Rene talks with the congregations, instead of at them, Billings said. "He asks a lot of questions Anniversary event • WHAT: 25th anniversary celebration honoring Pastor Rene and Betty Colaw • WHERE: First Church ' of the Nazarene, 1425 S. Ohio . WHEN: 10:45 a.m. worship, 12:30 p.m. potluck and 2 p.m. recognition service Sunday and gets people's feedback even during the message. He wants to know where people are at," Billings said. Battle with ovarian cancer Church members have seen a number of changes in the past 25 years, including additions to the sanctuary and office. They've also seen changes in the Colaws. For five years, they've prayed for Betty as she's battled ovarian cancer. Just this week, Betty resigned her job as church business manager because of her health. She looks healthy, but after surgery and chemotherapy to fight three relapses, she tires easily. Doctors were surprised when she survived surgery in 1996 after she was diagnosed. "She died (in surgery). They coded her. They spent two hours working on her and brought her back," Rene said. "When they tell Betty she can't do it, she just tells them she can." The cancer has come back three times. Each time, the treatment was chemotherapy The time between treatments and when the cancer returns keeps getting shorter. Betty decided against more chemotherapy. NoW the cancer will take its course. See PASTOR, Page D2 Visit meikes deadly bombing more real Trial rekindles interest in civil rights movement and blast that killed four girls By JAMIE KIZZIRE Scripps Howard News Service BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Although he knew about the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church bombing, seeing the church and the exhibit at the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute was strange for Frank Torbert III. "It's a weird feeling," said Torbert, 17, Pittsburgh. "It's a different experience to be there where it happened. It's hard to think about it, to know someone died in there." Torbert was with a group of 87 high school students on a tour of historically black colleges. The tour, sponsored by the Pittsburgh alumni chapter of Omega Psi Phi fraternity, stopped at the institute last week. Everyone making the last turn through the civil rights exhibits of the institute sees the church across the street through a large window. Many visitors to the institute, such as those from Pittsburgh, walk across the street and visit the basement of the church Scripps Howard News Service Students in Birmingham's Civil Rights IMovement Summer School Course examine items on display in the basement of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, which has risen to prominence again with the trial of Thomas Blanton Jr. where they can stand where the four girls stood when the Klan bomb exploded. With the trial of Thomas Blanton Jr, 62, who is charged with murder in the 1963 bombing in which four black girls were killed, the trip offered a chilling history lesson for the group. Marcus Oliver, 16, said the trip helped him learn more about the bombing case. "It's good that they're (prosecutors) finally doing something that should have been done a long time ago," he said. Chaperone Martin Hampton, 39, said being at the site helped. "I'm familiar with the civil rights movement and the events that took place, but my children are far removed," he said. "This gives you a feeling and a connection. You can say 'I was there.' " Making a link to history Creating a connection with history is a goal of the institute, said Horace Huntley, director of the institute's oral history program. Among its displays is a stained-glass window from the church, although it's not the window in the church during the Sept. 15, 1963, bomb blast. Just below the window in the display is an inscription: "In memory of the four girls who lost their lives in the bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church." See CHURCH, Page D2 T BOOK OF ACTS Author sees Acts as legal defense for Paul John W. Mauck says scripture likely written in the early A.D. 60s By RICHARD N. OSTLING T)ie Associated Press For the ancient Roman Empire, for its Jewish subjects and for the budding Jewish sect that became Christianity hugely tumultuous events were packed into less than a decade: • A.D. 62: Israel's high priest orders execution by stoning for Jesus' brother James, the leader of Jerusalem's Christians. In Rome, Emperor Nero loses seasoned advisers and becomes a more manic tyrant. • 64: A fire levels much of Rome, and Nero launches the first persecution of Christians, blaming them to remove suspicion from himself. • 65: A plot to overthrow Nero fails, provoking turmoil. • 66: Israel revolts against Rome and Vespasian commands the counterattack. • 67 (probable date): Rome executes the apostles Paul and Peter • 68: Nero commits suicide. Mauck contends that someone wrote Acts mainly to brief Paul's lawyer or Roman officialdom on matters in the Jewish state. and civil war erupts. • 69: Vespasian takes control as emperor • 70: Roman troops seize Jerusalem and permanently change Judaism by reducing the Temple to rubble. The New Testament Book of Acts, a history of the early church, reflects none of this. The temple is shown in daily use, there's no whiff of coming revolution, and the account ends with Paul under house arrest in Rome, calmly awaiting trial. . The book expresses joy and peace rather than persecution, Joseph A. Fitzmyer notes in "The Acts of the Apostles," an important Acts commentary. Such factors cause Illinois attorney and lay Presbyterian John W. Mauck to conclude that Acts was written in the early A.D. 60s. That dating is crucial for his claim that Acts was a legal brief or investigative report for Paul's upcoming trial. He presents the theory in "Paul on Trial: The Book of Acts as a Defense of Christianity" See ACTS, Page D2 SUGGESTIONS? CALL &RET WALLACE, ASSISTANT EDITOR, AT 823-6363 01^ 1-800-827-6363 OR E-IVIAIL AT sjbwallace@saliournal.com

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