Prayers of the Progeny

Progeny of the Abrahamic Religions
Advent 20
Triune Tuna Pasta

Prayers of the Progeny

We discussed the Abrahamic religions, those religions based upon a belief that their believers are descended from the scriptural character known as Abraham or Ibrahim. Just as a man has progeny, the Abrahamic religions of Judaism, Islam, and Christianity have offspring. And, like a child to the parent, there are similar characteristics based upon a basic DNA of beliefs but also some variance in the different sects or versions of these three basic religions.

We will begin with Judaism as it was the first of the Abrahamic religions discussed earlier this week. (In case you are wondering the names of the three religions were placed in a hat and drawn to determine the order for discussion.) The Orthodox Jews are those who believe in God and follow the Torah as closely as possible in keeping the commandments. Technically, Orthodox Judaism is “the Judaism and the other offspring are known as branches or assemblies to which one may join. Conservative Judaism or Masorti Jew believe in the historical Jewish doctrine but believe the ways of living should be preserved but adapted to modern living and culture.

Reform Judaism includes both Liberal and Progressive Judaism. These Jewish followers are often considered to not be living according to the Halachah and their congregations are found to have different opinions and attitudes towards most things, including how they observe their faith. These Reformed Jews believe in God but hold very liberal beliefs, observe only a few of the traditional customs, and may have more informal meetings rather than the more solemn congregations in Orthodox temples. Viewpoints of both Conservative and Reformed Jews may also differ in the Divine origin of the Torah.

Messianic Jews reflect a Christian projection of accepting Jesus as the Messiah. They often have Jewish ethnicity in their ancestry but tend to hold different views about the ten lost tribes of Israel than those of Orthodox or even Reformed Jews. In response to this movement, the Ephraimites were established. They adopted Jewish and Old Testament rituals but altered them somewhat. Similar to this group are the Brit-Am. Brit-Am is a British Israeli group begun by Yair Davidiy. It sees Christianity as a tool for bringing the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel closer together. It encourages Jews to be Orthodox and keep the Law as well as supporting Christians to study the Bible, believe in God, and improve their “Israeli consciousness”.

There are three expansive categories of Islam. A Conservative Muslim believes that the Koran and the Hadith are to be followed and used for every hour and day. Liberals Muslims usually observe the five periods of daily prayers and study the Koran but might forego the traditional dress or women wearing veils or head coverings. The Innovative Muslims groups have created their own theology loosely based upon their own interpretations of the Koran. As with Judaism, Islam refers to more than just one’s religion; it is also a culture. The acronym SCHISM is used by the website “muslimhope.com” to explain the various cultural groupings of Muslims within Islam: “S – Successors, Shi’ites; C – Classic, Kharijites or Wahhabis; H – Human tradition, Sunnis; I – Inventors, Ghulat; S – Spiritual Mystics, Sufis; M – Modern Muslims.

The land of Jesus’ crucifiers gave birth to the Roman Catholic Church, based upon the travels and teachings of the successors of the apostles and the original disciples of the man known as Jesus of Nazareth, Jesus the Christ. The Protestant movement, begun by the Anglicans and Lutherans, adapted the faith for the common man and the culture so that prayers were no longer only understood or said by the priests and bishops. The Eastern Orthodox Church split from the Roman Church due to political separation and has its own set of rituals and church calendar with varying differences. The Church of Latter Day Saints, the Mormons, and the other groups such as the Anabaptists became Inventors of new rituals and changed some of the previous teachings, reverting in some instances to those not unlike to the Torah and Islam.

Christianity also has its spiritual mystics who had much in common with other mystical movements of the periods. Finally we have the modern Christian, the liberals and those who have a very lenient viewpoint of the need for organized worship. Christianity has the greatest number of followers but also of differing sects and denominations. Roughly forty percent of all Christians are considered Protestant.

On a May 1999 day on the island of Cypress, Helmut Schmidt, Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany from 1974-1982, delivered the following remarks at a conference organized by the Centre for World Dialogue. He referenced “one of the many lessons which the three holy books have in common, namely the fact that all three of them call for peace, or shalom in the Torah and salaam in the Qur’an. In the Jewish Torah (which Christians call the “Old Testament”) we read in Psalm 34: “Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it.” In the Christian New Testament, we read in the Sermon on the Mount: “Blessed are the peacemakers; they shall be called the children of God.” And the Qur’an in Sura 4 tells Muslims: “If they do not bother you and do not fight against you and if they offer peace to you, then God does not permit you to fight against them.” Chancellor Schmidt concluded “What you do not wish to be done to yourself, do not do to others.”

Triune Tuna Pasta
8 oz uncooked pasta such as penne or bowtie
1 can drained green beans, one bag frozen which has thawed or 2 cups fresh and diagonally sliced
3 tsp olive oil
1 garlic clove minced
1 can diced tomatoes or 2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes
1/3 tsp Italian seasoning
1 large can tuna (usually 8-12 oz depending on brand but can use more or less as you prefer) packed in water, rinsed, drained and flaked
Chopped parsley for garnish
Salt and pepper to taste
Cook pasta according to directions on bag or box. If green beans are still frozen, use last ten minutes of cooking pasta and add beans to pasta. Drain both beans and pasta when cooked.
In large skillet heat 2 tsp olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and stir for 2 minutes. Add tomatoes and seasonings and cook for approximately four to five minutes. Turn off heat. Add pasta and green beans, tuna, and remaining tsp of olive oil and toss gently. Garnish with parsley. [Onions, bell peppers and mushrooms can be added. Sauté with the garlic and cook until all are tender before adding the tomatoes, pasta, beans, and tuna.]

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