The Jesus Family Rift

As I suggested in last week’s blog, when Jesus went to preach in his hometown of Nazareth, he said or did something that made his fellow townies “filled with rage” (Luke 4:28). Whatever it was, they wanted to kill him. That’s when Jesus said that no prophet is welcomed on his home turf. Nothing more is said in Matthew, Mark, or Luke (called the Synoptic or similar Gospels) about Jesus’s family until many chapters later, when all three writers tell an almost identical story.

read more

On the Dangers of Not Giving a Fig  

Watching the NBC broadcast of “Jesus Christ Superstar LIVE” on Easter night was jarring. Not because it was bad. The New York Times called it “thoughtful, challenging,” and a “conceptual and artistic triumph.”[i] What was jarring was what I already knew was there: the anti-Semitism inherent in the story. A review by Jeffrey Salkin reflected on the ominous portrayal of priests Caiphas and Annas: “The Jews look like they might have been Darth Vader’s homeys. Pure evil.”[ii]  But who’s to blame for that? Certainly not the producers. And certainly not Webber or Rice. They were just working with the “source material” – and that would be our anti-Semitic gospels.

read more

Patience, Anger and Compassion

Patience is not a beast we can slay and master.
Rather, patience is an adversary ever rising to do battle with us again.
The universe seems to conspire to always test our mettle.
We level up, we have more patience than we ever have had, and, again, yet and assuredly again, there arises a new situation that will demand yet more and more of us. We cannot win against patience.
At best, we can keep our calm for longer and longer than ever before.

read more

On The Insidiousness of Racism, Sexism, Religious Bigotry, and Homophobia in American Culture

But when we ignore the fact that we are advantaged while others are disadvantaged, then as innocuous as it may seem we are part of the problem. Indeed, because our own prejudice and discrimination are so invisible to, and insidious within, us we are actually the biggest part of the problem. The overt racists will hopefully be dealt with by the law, but we law-abiding citizens who feel entitled to our advantaged social status while remaining ignorant or disinterested in the disadvantaged status of others can remain easily oblivious and thus conscience free.

read more

“Prayer for Abundant Living”

O God of empty tombs and resurrection living:
Make us mindful of the pervasiveness of hope, 
the determination of faith, 
and the persistence of love.  

read more

Lent: Letting Go of our Tightly Held Piety to See Our Need of Confession

When we begin to see God as the One in whom we live and move and have our being, we are able to see God as the one who dwells in with and through us. As we open ourselves to a broader understanding of God we can begin to see that the power to forgive resides in us? For it is in with and through us that our God finds expression. By letting go of our carefully held piety, perhaps we can begin to see the magnitude of the power of confession to absolve us as we evolve into all that we are created to be.

read more

Spiritual Acceptance

  Acceptance is saying “what is is.” Acceptance The more we fight with reality, the less smoothly our lives go. The spiritual word for “not fighting with reality” is acceptance. (The religious word is surrender.) The more …

read more

The Power Hidden in a Choice

The two-faced Roman god, Janus, was often portrayed as a door with one face looking toward where you have been and the other looking towards where you are going. New Year’s Day ushers us into the month of January, named for Janus, symbolically suggesting that we are leaving an old year and entering a new one. Which seems like a good idea, especially this year, as long as we don’t drag our anger, resentment, and hurt from 2017 into 2018.

read more

Thanksgiving as a Myth of Origin

Thanksgiving fits neatly into the “sacred feast” of the sort of the Hebrew Passover feast. Thanksgiving ties us to American history, family history, and religious devotion while denying actual history, especially as it relates to the relationship between Native Americans and the northern European invaders who stole their land and tried to extinguish their culture while killing off most of their population. Americans need to come to an honest awareness of our history, both the parts we can be proud of and the parts that call for confession and penance. The past does not have to be prelude. We can choose to help create a greater America.

read more

Wild Horses: The Last was First to Ride, Here Is What We Found

By Kimberly Stover for Patheos

  “Wild horses couldn’t drag me away Wild, wild horses we’ll ride them some day.” –The Rolling Stones I’ve always been in love with horses. The thought of riding a horse into the wild excites my spirit …

read more

Moral Imperative vs. Moral Equivalency as a “Religious” Inquiry

A Commentary in the Aftermath of Recent Acts of Violence, Domestic Terrorism & Yet Another Culture War

Not long ago, I received a group email message from an acquaintance. A devout Muslim, he’d written to his circle of friends to tell us he was leaving the country in a few days to undertake a pilgrimage known as the Hajj. The purpose of Ejaz’ message – and as part of his required preparations for his pilgrimage — was to ask forgiveness for any wrong he may have intentionally or unintentionally committed with anyone in his circle of friends and acquaintances.

read more

Breaking Through: The Relationship Repair Game

The Relationship Repair Game is a collection of some of the most effective conflict resolution tools and relationship repair strategies used by Mediators, Counselors, Therapists, Social Workers, and Life Coaches.

Whether you are looking for couples communication exercises or workplace conflict tools, this game guides you through your current conflict while building valuable communication skills for all relationships.

read more

Family and Politics: Why I’m Against ‘Keeping the Peace’

There are times when we need to speak up.

We live in an age of sharp division. According to the Pew Research Center, an “overwhelming majority” of Americans (86%) believe the country is more politically divided than it has ever been before. These political and ideological differences aren’t merely a matter of red or blue states; these same sharp divisions exist within many families, potentially alienating parents from children, sisters from brothers. When we disagree with those we love about some of our most closely held beliefs, must keeping the peace always mean keeping quiet?

read more

Race in America

The removal of Confederate memorials from government properties and the racist tensions created by these decisions becomes an opportunity to have a serious conversation about America’s original sin of slavery and the lingering racism that still haunts this nation. Donald Trump’s failure to provide clear leadership in the midst of the current racial crisis also demands the serious consideration of everyone who hopes for a better America.

read more

Do Your Job – Part IV

Part 4 of a 4-Part Series

In his World Peace Day Message for 2017 Pope Francis states, “To be true followers of Jesus today also includes embracing his teaching about nonviolence.” This is a fine example of a bishop being what a bishop is commissioned to be by Jesus (Mt 28:19). He is teaching the disciples of Jesus “to obey all that I have commanded you.”

read more

Do Your Job – Part III

Part 3 of a 4-Part Series

An institution is a humanly created means to achieve an end. All the activities within it are designed by human beings to reach that end. An institution is like a hammer. It is a tool devised by humans to do a job. But, the hammer in order to do the job for which it was developed, e.g. put a nail in a piece of wood, must be employed according to its own intrinsic logic. The handle is held and the head of the hammer hits the top of the nail. To use a hammer contrary to its own logic, for example, to hold the head of the hammer and hit the side of the nail with the handle, is to misuse the tool and render it ineffective to achieve the end for which it was created. Once the tool is chosen its intrinsic logic must be obeyed. 

read more

Adios, “Dios”

Saying Goodbye to “God” in Sacred Text

What good is “God?” We know well how much violence is committed in the name of “God.” If we were to delete both our traditional Western word and notion of “god” from both our speech and thinking, what are the implications for such things we ourselves know and experience to be true in our own human experience? I’m talking about conceiving of such things as love, compassion, mercy, grace, reconciliation, forgiveness, even absolution, redemption, and salvation. Part one in this series considers a scripture text considered sacred, but noticeably absent is the presence of any deity.

read more

How can Progressive Humanism Counter Islamism’s Corrosive Divisiveness?

By George Suchett-Kaye

Islamist attacks on Western democracies pose a deep philosophical and moral problem to anyone sympathising with a progressive, humanist vision of society. The Islamic fundamentalists are targeting the very heart of our democracies and, more importantly, our entire way of life. They are trying to drive a wedge between the Islamic community, which they are supposed to be part of, and the rest of us. We, as a democracy, must not fall into the trap they have set. If we do succumb to their provocations, our entire society will change forever, if it survives at all. It is ironic that the civilisation that brought Greek philosophy and Islamic science to Europe, at the end of the Middle Ages, should now be so determined to bring down the very societies that it helped to create. Whether they succeed or not will depend on our response to their provocations.

read more