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On Scripture

All Saints' Day: Facing Death (Matthew 5:1-12)

Greg Carey | Posted 12.27.2014 | Religion
Greg Carey

All Saints' Day usually recalls our communion with of our spiritual ancestors throughout the centuries, celebrating our unity with saints as far away as North Africa in the fourth century and as close as our deceased relatives. But All Saints' Day also reminds us of our bond with all believers.

Reformation Then and Now -- Dismantling Walls Today (Psalm 46)

Dirk G. Lange | Posted 12.20.2014 | Religion
Dirk G. Lange

Psalm 46 continually reminds us that the Reformation is not a celebration of identity but rather the deconstruction of walls, whether those walls be political, cultural, ethnic, economic or religious.

Whose Image Is Stamped On Your Heart? (Matthew 22:15-22)

Doug Mendenhall | Posted 12.13.2014 | Religion
Doug Mendenhall

As you ponder with your pure heart and reflect it with your true nature, note that Matthew 22 is an exceedingly rich chapter, and that before it is over Jesus will get in at least two more memorable quotes.

3 Reasons Why Apostle Paul Is the Crazy Uncle No One Wants to Talk About (and 2 Reasons Why We Need to Get Over That)

Pete Enns | Posted 12.06.2014 | Religion
Pete Enns

For many Christians--especially for conservative evangelicals--Paul's writings form the core teachings of their churches, from settling church squabbles to the centrality of the death and resurrection of Christ.

What's So 'Domestic' About Violence? (Philippians 4:1-9)

Rev. Dr. Stephanie Buckhanon Crowder | Posted 12.06.2014 | Religion
Rev. Dr. Stephanie Buckhanon Crowder

What intrigues me most is the nomenclature we use to describe this abuse. It is "intimate partner violence" or "domestic violence" or "victimization among peers." The terms themselves are ironic and oxymoronic.

What If the Earth Was God's Vineyard? (Matthew 21:33-46)

Shanell T. Smith | Posted 11.29.2014 | Religion
Shanell T. Smith

Dare to go there with me, if you will. What if we imagine God's vineyard as described in Matthew 21 to be this beautiful world we inhabit? What will happen if we reject it -- if we continue to treat it with disrespect, fail to listen to its natural woes, dismiss the warning signs it gives us?

In Compassion and Sympathy: A Christian Response to Religious Violence

Jacob D. Myers | Posted 11.25.2014 | Religion
Jacob D. Myers

Christ-followers are given another angle of vision, another mirror into our souls, in the person of Jesus Christ. No passage of Scripture points more acutely to this image than one of this week's lectionary texts: Philippians 2:1-13.

Why Work to Change the World? (Matthew 21:23-32)

Matthew L. Skinner | Posted 11.22.2014 | Religion
Matthew L. Skinner

People of faith may not agree about exactly how to go about our work to address these and other issues, but we usually share a sense of outrage, pain, or dismay. Those feelings could very well be our summons to go into the vineyard.

Blessing Those Who Have Cursed Us

Rev. Dr. Eric D. Barreto | Posted 11.15.2014 | Religion
Rev. Dr. Eric D. Barreto

It is certainly curious that we would decorate baby nurseries with images from the story of Noah's Ark. The smiling elephants in the comically tiny boat must always be blocking out the mass of humanity and animal life drowning under a seemingly never-ending deluge.

Foolishness (1 Corinthians 1:18-24)

Rev. Margaret Aymer, Ph. D. | Posted 11.08.2014 | Religion
Rev. Margaret Aymer, Ph. D.

Like the testimony of Jesus on the cross, the headlines about Gazan children, South American refugees, and the police killing of unarmed juveniles -- far too often African American male juveniles -- are dismissed as a foolish waste of our time.

A Strange Summer Vacation (Romans 13: 8 - 14)

Barbara Kay Lundblad | Posted 11.02.2014 | Religion
Barbara Kay Lundblad

'What did you do on your summer vacation?' Even now students may be answering that question in essays at the start of this new school year. No matter what you did or where you went this past summer, it was almost impossible to escape the heaviness of the headlines.

God Hears the Cries of #Ferguson: A Burning Bush and a World on Fire

Rev. Keith Anderson | Posted 10.25.2014 | Religion
Rev. Keith Anderson

Today, God hears the cries of those in Ferguson and all who are oppressed. As in the story of the burning bush, God sees, hears, and knows their pain. God also acts in the face of injustice and demands the end of oppression.

Sweaty Spirituality: Fighting Obesity With Paul (Romans 12:1-8)

Jacob D. Myers | Posted 10.18.2014 | Religion
Jacob D. Myers

Why aren't we in the church leading this charge? Ought not we who have received the grace of God to participate in God's restorative work live out our devotion to God by our healthy lifestyles?

Preaching Reflections on Michael Brown and Ferguson

Rev. Dr. Eric D. Barreto | Posted 10.15.2014 | Religion
Rev. Dr. Eric D. Barreto

The frustration and disbelief, rage and disappointment, resignation and passion I heard moved me. But even more convicting was the fact that so many others were simply unaware of this event at the moment and unfazed by its repercussions.

Divine-Human Partnership (Ekev, Deuteronomy 7:12 - 11:25)

Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg | Posted 10.14.2014 | Religion
Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg

It's hard to know which should make us more afraid: the notion that the human being or God is the absolute master of history. It is difficult to decide in the name of which of these attitudes more blood has been spilled, or which is more likely to destroy the world first.

Acknowledging Our Divine Positioning (Genesis 45:1-15)

Kimberly D. Russaw | Posted 10.11.2014 | Religion
Kimberly D. Russaw

Joseph's is a story of family strife, forgiveness, reconciliation, providence, provision and humility. After two encounters with their brother (who has assumed an Egyptian name and remained incognito), Joseph's brothers return to Egypt seeking pardon from the Pharaoh's vizier.

Our Dysfunctional Families (Genesis 37: 1-4, 12-28)

Rev. David Lewicki | Posted 10.04.2014 | Religion
Rev. David Lewicki

Joseph wears his privilege too proudly. Oblivious to the fact that his older brothers despise him, he shares with them two vivid dreams. In each, the world revolves around Joseph -- the world bows down to serve him.

Could 'Loaves and Fishes' Change the Immigration Dilemma? (Matthew 14:13-21)

Verity A. Jones | Posted 09.27.2014 | Religion
Verity A. Jones

I am grateful for the religious leaders around the nation who are calling elected officials from towns and cities to our nation's capital to put on a different set of glasses and see something in this terrible situation other than scarcity.

More Than Conquerors: Romans 8:26-39 and Disability

Rev. Dr. Jaime Clark-Soles | Posted 09.20.2014 | Religion
Rev. Dr. Jaime Clark-Soles

Gus, who overtly expresses room for belief in God, bites it at age 18, leaving his moribund girlfriend and freshly blind friend to mourn in the wake of his death. Is this what "all things working together for good" looks like from God's perspective?

Do You Know How to Two Step?

Rev. Dr. Stephanie Buckhanon Crowder | Posted 09.13.2014 | Religion
Rev. Dr. Stephanie Buckhanon Crowder

This "dancing" is a cognitive, spiritual and social dissonance enveloping and guiding our lives. Such a constant state of flux, although unsettling, provides ample lessons on recovery, repentance and resilience.

At War With Ourselves

Greg Carey | Posted 08.30.2014 | Religion
Greg Carey

Paul's examination of the conflicted self stands as one of the classic statements in Western culture. Borrowing from Jesus, we often say something similar: "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak."

Sacrificing Our Sons and Daughters (Genesis 22: 1-14)

Rev. Dr. Cari Jackson | Posted 08.23.2014 | Religion
Rev. Dr. Cari Jackson

Abraham -- the father of Jews, Christians and Muslims -- is heralded for his willingness to sacrifice, to give up his son, Isaac. After all, to love God so much to be willing to give back to God that which you have longed for, prayed for and cared for is no easy matter.

Slavery, Surrogacy and Society: Making a Future in the Wilderness

Anathea Portier-Young | Posted 08.16.2014 | Religion
Anathea Portier-Young

Unfortunately, slavery is hardly new. It is at the heart of Israel's founding story. The Exodus story showcases Israel's liberation from forced labor in Egypt. Hagar's story shows us slavery in a less visible form and closer to 'home.'

Developing a Moral Vision for Climate Change: Overview of the Planet

Ingrid Lilly | Posted 08.09.2014 | Religion
Ingrid Lilly

If we could zoom in on Genesis 1, perhaps we could extend its vision of the morality of the spatial: Sea is for fish and sky is for birds and coral reefs are for urchins. Deep sea trenches are for bioluminescent fish. Arctic ice sheets are for polar bears.

The First Multi-Media Blowup Moment (Acts 2:1-21)

Karyn L. Wiseman, Ph.D. | Posted 08.02.2014 | Religion
Karyn L. Wiseman, Ph.D.

We hear loud voices coming through social media outlets. We hear the noise. At times, it is almost deafening. The voices seem to fly past each other so fast that neither side seems to be listening to the other at all.