"Elections are coercive ... 51 percent get to tell 49 percent how to live. So, elections are not in and of itself the character of democratic life ... Elections in America have so little to do with people -- we elect commercials."
I'm 23, recite the Creed without crossing my fingers, and think seriously and critically about my faith. Furthermore, not only am I in seminary to be an ordained minister, but -- GASP! -- I'm also doing so in a mainline denomination. How can this be? It defies all logic!
There are times and places when our worship requires a sense of awe and dignity. There are times when we need less "here and now" and more transcendence and beauty. There are times when our prayer must be marked by reverence and earnestness.
In his new book, "500 Days: Secrets and Lies in the Terror Wars," Kurt Eichenwald revives the story of George W. Bush, Bible prophecy and the Iraq war. He also gives us the opportunity to reflect on the dangers of fundamentalism.
I love the Bible. I read it every day. It has affected my life in profound ways. I am a pastor and I teach and preach the Bible to my congregation every week. But the Bible is not a manufacturer's handbook, a science textbook or a guidebook for public policy.
OK, church folks. Fasten your seatbelts. But don't hunker down. There's a new study out that shows that one in five Americans has no religious affiliation. Not Baptist, not Catholic, not Lutheran, not Jewish, not Muslim.
There is within this new emergence an affinity for those matters of social and personal justice, compassion, spiritual wholeness and unity within and among all people and faiths. These were the obsessions of Jesus while here on earth.
In a time when debates about same-sex marriage, reproductive rights, capital punishment, epidemic hunger and even Big Bird dominate American discourse, it is of paramount importance that we understand the values held by the religiously unaffiliated.
Our process of making decisions that involve our faith and our civic life is flawed almost beyond repair, and our focus on what we consider Christian issues instead of on doing politics in a Christian fashion has brought us to this point of division.
Every Sunday, millions of American Christians attend a megachurch that preaches a "prosperity gospel" of health, wealth and happiness. But in this era of supersized banks and corporations, prosperity megachurches have become just another organization that assumes it is too big to fail.
Eleven years after 9/11, bigots continue to promote the idea that American Muslims plan to convert us all by sword and impose sharia, Islamic law, on America. But the Muslim American community has opened its doors. It's up to us to see where they may lead.
We learned through "Innocence of Muslims" that one film can make a difference in the way Americans and Muslims perceive each other. Now is the time for another film to make a difference -- for the better.
Alan Miller hopes for a humanist culture full of "inspiring alternatives" that "inspire and engage," and in which people's ethics and behaviors are built on, as he puts it, "something beyond themselves." It seems to me that this will require making room for SBNRs.
The two candidates, Obama and Romney, both claim to be committed Christians. With Romney's Mormonism, observers of the election are wondering, "When will the Mormon card be played, or will it be played before November?"
Selecting a superficial mixture of "nice-feeling" items from Yoga to a slice of Zen and a moment of Tao is hardly progressive as far as options for humanity is concerned. They have jettisoned the hard work, diligence and observation of organized religion for a me-me-me what-ever kind of lifestyle