Together, these four parables in Matthew refuse to let us think that the Christian life equals passivity. Each parable commends readiness, whether that readiness involves actively caring for those in God's "house" or meeting the needs of people who suffer.
There was a second reason why the Founders feared that bringing religion into politics would have a divisive effect on our young nation -- the rise of political and religious opportunists, who would inflame political issues to further themselves.
You know, my parents serve our community too. My mother was a school guidance counselor in Charles County and my dad is a physician in Southern Maryland. I'm sure if you got to know them, you'd realize how wrong you are about your own people. And yeah, I say your own people, because whether you like it or not, we're just as American as you are.
We filed out the church doors to the memory garden where a small hole had been dug. The minister laid my parents' urn into the hole and invited family members to place a spadeful of dirt on it.
I can't help thinking about all those Halloween nights I missed because of what my parents believed about God.
I think Jesus would trick or treat. Okay, I don't believe he would actually dress up and go door to door holding a plastic bag wide open. But, I do think his porch light would be on.
Followers of Jesus need to strive for this holiness, which many of us glimpse in Tim Cook's brave statement about his hope for a world in which every person is valued and loved.
On Halloween we have the opportunity to interact with the Christ in our midst as we extend radical hospitality to our neighbors and strangers. Will Christ be allowed into our neighborhoods this Halloween?
The thought behind the outcry being that marriage has always been the exact same institution ever since the dawn of time or at least since the dawn of the Bible. Same-sex marriage, it is argued, is a radical departure from this unbroken tradition. But does the Bible actually present "marriage as an unchanging picture?"
Interestingly, my parents think the kids are cute in their costumes and don't have a word to say about whether I should let them trick or treat. I'm baffled that they ever saw evil in innocent childhood fun, and maybe they are, too.
Halloween is a celebration of artificial fear. No goblins or witches are really going to cause harm to us. For Christians, the deeper and more genuine fear may come from within our own faith.
Why is it so commonly accepted to have everyday workers in real world situations represent their faith whenever possible, but if a Christian chooses a career in the music industry, their music must be conforming to church praise and worship lyrical standards and style?
"There are three kinds of Christians that outsiders to the faith respect: pilgrims, activists, and artists. The uncommitted will listen to them far sooner than to an evangelist or apologist."
As we approach your 14th birthday, it is with great trepidation and anxiety that I write this letter to you. I am so proud of the young lady you have become, but I feel I am fighting against the clock to instill in you the life lessons I hold so dear.
During times of conflict and political or religious civil unrest, the power of the human spirit's capacity for non-violent protest and kindness still shines through.
What we do know, though, is that in this age of headlines and catchphrases, in this era of 140 characters and small, square photos on smart phones, we'd do well to judge not as Twitter judges, but as Christ does.