Book to explore misconceptions about forgivenessA teacher...

RELIGION NOTES

July 01, 1993|By Reported by Frank P.L. Somerville

Book to explore misconceptions about forgiveness

A teacher at Loyola College is using a research fellowship to write a book on what he says are misconceptions about the idea of forgiveness that have adversely affected the practice of religion in the United States.

According to L. Gregory Jones, assistant professor of theology, forgiveness has too often been identified with excusing or condoning wrong behavior and attitudes.

"In the Bible," he said, "repentance and forgiveness are necessarily related. True repentance transfigures those who are sorry because it requires a conversion. Those who repent demonstrate their promise to avoid their misdeeds by sincerely changing their behavior."

Losing sight of the fact that forgiveness should be part of a way of life tied to repentance means that "we've reduced forgiveness to a kind of cheap grace," Dr. Jones said.

He has received a $30,000 grant from the Pew Charitable Trusts to complete the book, entitled "Transfiguring Forgiveness."

Misunderstanding true forgiveness has rendered the victims of abuse powerless, he said.

"A woman who is abused feels that she should do the 'Christian thing' by 'forgiving' her abuser," Dr. Jones explained, "but neglects to consider that her abuser must demonstrate repentance -- a real conversion or transfiguration that comes with a demonstrated change in behavior and attitude."

Dr. Jones expects the book, his third, to be published by early 1995.

Jewish singles:

Temple Oheb Shalom, at 7310 Park Heights Ave., is sponsoring a dating program described as a "successful and direct way" for single Jewish men and women, 18 and older, to meet.

Started in October, it now has about 350 members and has resulted in one marriage and one engagement, a spokesman said. Most members of this Jewish Singles Social Network live in the Baltimore and Columbia areas, but it has members who live as far north as Harrisburg, Pa., and as far south as Charlottesville, Va. Information: 358-5776.

A separate Jewish group, sponsored by Baltimore's Jewish Community Center, is for single men and women 45 and older. Called Contemporary Singles, it is planning a dance Wednesday evening at Warfield's in the Towson Sheraton Hotel and a shabbat dinner July 16 at Chizuk Amuno Congregation. Information: 542-4900.

Troop 26:

The 50th anniversary of the chartering of Boy Scout Troop 26 at St. Ursula's Roman Catholic Church in Parkville will be celebrated July 10. It will begin with a Mass at 5 p.m. in the lower chapel of the church, offered by the Rev. Leonard Zeller, the troop's first Eagle Scout.

A dinner will follow in the parish school auditorium, where there will be displays of photographs and other memorabilia. Anyone who has ever had an affiliation with Troop 26 is invited. Information and reservations: 661-4126

Muslim harmony:

Masjid Walter Omar, at 3401 W. North Ave., is sponsoring a three-day International Bazaar -- described by its organizers as "a call for peace and harmony" and a demonstration of "the ethnic diversity of our great city" -- tomorrow, Saturday and Sunday in Gwynns Falls Park.

The location is entered from North Avenue, one block west of Hilton Parkway. The festival will include an outdoor dinner at 6 p.m. tomorrow, with the Rev. Frank Madison Reid III, pastor of West Baltimore's Bethel AME Church, as speaker.

A scheduled appearance by former heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali was canceled. He had been in Baltimore in December to generate interest in this event and in local Islamic efforts to combat crime and drug addiction.

A spokesman for the Walter Omar mosque said its spiritual leader, Imam Ronald Shakir, was traveling this week in the Middle East with Mr. Ali. The retired boxer, who lives on a farm in Michigan, is involved in the worldwide distribution of Muslim literature.

Scheduled to address the festival at 1 p.m. Saturday is Imam W. Deen Mohammed, a son of Elijah Mohammed, who led the Nation of Islam organization from 1934 to 1975.

Information: 752-9724.

Pastor honored:

New Antioch Baptist Church, at 5616 Old Court Road in Randallstown, will celebrate the 15th anniversary of the Rev. Kenneth L. Barney's pastorate at the 8:30 a.m., 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. services July 11. Information: 521-7866.

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