What is it that separates everyday trust -- everyday leaps of faith, even -- from the kinds of ironclad beliefs that inspire jihads; crusades; leper-kissing; cathedral-building? How does one become so utterly sure of an idea that rests on so many unproven assumptions?
The word conspire means "to breathe with." My hope and belief is that everyone can experience the beauty and healing power of Community. By embodying love actively and engaging the Beloved within ourselves, we can conspire to transform the entire world into a love-based Community.
On Jan. 28, 2010, I was tired, cold and hopeless. I was dirty, hungry and broken. It was impossible for me to help myself. Thankfully, the God of the Bible -- the God of love, grace and forgiveness -- knew that and He saved me from myself.
This attitude can have profound effects on our world and our deepest selves. By definition, if our orientation is toward pursuing truth rather than possessing it, we are admitting that we don't know, that there is a great deal left to learn and discover.
As a Muslim American parent, I have unique struggles in the post 9/11 landscape. But like parents of any faith, I want my daughter to find in her faith a place of comfort and security, a refuge from harshness.
Why is it that we can be "friends" with thousands on Facebook and literally find the answers to unfathomable questions, and still be searching? People today are exploring every avenue looking to add meaning and resolution to their lives.
I once belonged more to the "Nones" than anything else. I checked Jewish on the box, but that mark was more about a cultural than religious identity. In my teens, I felt disconnected from Judaism. I was a religious school dropout at 12. But at age 41, I was in a much different place.
We have a responsibility to ourselves, to our families and to the world to embrace that which is life-giving for our unique, differentiated selves. This invariably means that each of us is on an adventurous, sometimes nerve-wracking transformational journey.
Everybody knows everybody and we look out for each other, especially one segment of our little community: 76 foster kids Possum Trot families have taken in. Not bad for a town of 600, right? Some people say it's a miracle.
For fear of upsetting those on my friend list who aren't Christians, I avoid writing, liking or sharing any cartoons, updates or Memes related to Christ. This purposeful neglect not only takes me far off the walkway, but it has me digging in the dirt, searching for redemption.
Boom! The floor swayed. Glass fell at my feet. Someone shouted, "Hit the floor!" I dropped, flat on the ground. Silence. Then a stampede of feet. Police sirens. I looked up. There was a hole in the stained-glass window where Jesus' face had been.
Today, if you are "working poor" the first thing I want you to learn is "contentment." I know what many of you are thinking. Many of you are thinking that contentment means, "I am happy to be poor." But this couldn't be further from the truth.
Theologians through the ages remind us that doubt is integral to belief and even to prayer. Paul Tillich argued that "doubt is not the opposite of faith; it is an element of faith." God is present in our doubt as much as our certainty.
These are good, serious and thoughtful people, usually deeply committed to Judaism, who struggle with big religious questions in a way that makes no sense. They may think that they can wring the holiness out of their Jewish identity and practice, but they cannot.
The most wonderful tribute to Dad and to my book came many years later, last Sunday, when I got this email (used by permission of the writer) that really speaks to who Dad was and to the man I knew and loved. I've reproduce it here unedited.