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November 08, 1986|JOHN DART

Theologian John Cobb, one of the leaders of an ongoing Buddhist-Christian dialogue in North America, will speak on a Christian view of "ultimate reality" next Thursday in Claremont in what is billed as a small version of the interfaith discussions.

Among those responding to Cobb's 2 p.m. talk at the School of Theology at Claremont , where Cobb teaches, will be Francis Cook, an American-born Buddhist on the religious studies faculty at the University of California at Riverside. Both Cook and Cobb took part in the third North American Buddhist-Christian Dialogue last month at Purdue University.

"This is truly a theologian's dialogue," Cobb said in an interview. "It doesn't contain the urgent, practical elements of religious dialogues between Christians, Jews and Muslims," he said.

Cobb also noted that discussions between Christian, Jewish and Muslim thinkers are aided by the fact that the three monotheistic religions are in the same family--"they have a common world view." (The status of the Jewish-Christian dialogue, the most frequently occuring discussions, will be reviewed during the week of Nov. 16 at USC, University of Judaism and Hebrew Union College by Paul M. van Buren of Temple University. The Christian scholar will have a public lecture 7:30 p.m. Nov. 20 at Temple Israel of Hollywood.)

But Cobb said the Christian dialogue with Buddhists, whether they are Asian-born or Americans with a European ancestry, has "historic importance" and presents a "profound challenge" to Christian theology because of the very different Eastern religious viewpoints.

Cobb, a United Methodist minister, is also a leading exponent in this country of "process theology," a metaphysical religious philosophy inspired by the writings of philosopher-mathematician Alfred North Whitehead.


The 3,000-member West Angeles Church of God in Christ completed escrow this week on the $750,000 purchase of a movie theater across the street from its location on Crenshaw Boulevard in Los Angeles. The Kokusai Theater, which had shown Japanese-language movies for more than 30 years, will be transformed into the West Angeles Christian Arts Center and provide gospel concerts, films and other Christian activities, according to Bishop Charles Blake, the pastor. Blake's congregation, the largest in that Pentecostal denomination on the West Coast, has been acquiring property along Crenshaw Boulevard for the church's expansion since 1976.


Union Theological Seminary graduate Jack Booch , who has won both Obie and Tony Awards for direction on Broadway, is directing Archibald MacLeish's "J.B." in weekend performances at First Congregational Church of Los Angeles. The play is a contemporary adaptation of the biblical story of Job. The performances, in an equity-waiving program by professional players associated with the Commonwealth Theatre, began Friday night and continue through Nov. 30. Booch holds a master's degree in sacred theology from Union.

The Rev. Philip Zwerling, senior minister of First Unitarian Church of Los Angeles, and a critic of one of his sermons, David Lehrer, regional director of the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith, will both speak from the church's pulpit during the 11 a.m. service Sunday about "Anti-Semitism and Anti-Zionism." Zwerling explained that some groups, including the ADL, "have called my criticisms of Israel and U.S. Jewish policies anti-Semitic," a charge that Zwerling has denied.


As part of a lecture series already under way at Loma Linda University under the theme "Christian Faith and Nuclear Peace," Notre Dame theologian John Yoder will speak at 7:30 p.m. Friday at the University Church on the "Changing Shape of the Moral Problem of the War." Respondents will include June O'Conner, associate professor of religious studies at the University of California, Riverside, and three Seventh-day Adventists from the university.

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