These ashes are much like the things in life that didn't work out the way we intended them, the fallout of the unsavory things we have done that we wish we would never do. Sometimes no one else sees these burnt pieces of our lives.
While some scholars question James' being the author of the epistle bearing his name in the New Testament, those five chapters associated with the brother of the Lord offer a rich sense of Jewish wisdom as how to make sense of suffering, how to walk in faith, and how to care for the poor.
Perhaps we are looking for God in all the wrong places. In today's video, Sister Margaret goes to prison. She is not Jesus. She is not God. But she believes God is there in Ryker's Island, "home" to 1300 prisoners, half of them teenagers.
At this point in time, I prefer not to comment on the subject matter of this material, but from time to time I will keep you informed as to my progress.
We live in a busy, noisy world of multi-media overload, fast-paced online communication, and expectations of increased personal and professional productivity. Technology and social media have revolutionized how we communicate with and what we expect of one another.
Plain and simple: Pastor Creflo Dollar is a disgrace. Today's headlines read: "Creflo Dollar's lofty plan seeks $65M jet for global missions." And if that wasn't enough, the man bearing the name Dollar, is asking 200,000 people to contribute $200 each to purchase the plane.
On Saturday in Selma, we heard something we had never heard before. Something new had been added to the president's speech. This unlicensed, un-ordained preacher/president spoke words that returned us again to faith in God, faith in America and faith in ourselves.
Lent is a time for honesty that may disrupt the illusion of well-being that is fostered by the advocates of indulgent privilege and strident exceptionalism that disregards the facts on the ground.
Judaism is often described as a religion of law, an identity that it shares with Islam. But it is perhaps more accurate to consider Judaism as a religion defined by its commitment to embodied practice and experience.
I believe there is another world, another life beyond the one we're in now, that's available to us, a more enduring existence open to anyone able to embrace some kind of a "leap of faith," or at least see it as JK Rowling puts it in one of her "Harry Potter" novels: for a "well-organized mind: death is but the next great adventure."
Users can share photos they've already taken, and either tag a scripture that came to mind when taking the picture, or search for a scripture to match what they captured on camera. Over time, much of the Bible will have pictures attached in display of individual and artistic interpretations.
I'm giving up giving up for Lent. My Lenten discipline is solely this: to look to the north, the south, the east and the west and to remember the despair of my neighbor and carry the weight of that load on my shoulders.
Megillat Esther, which we read on the holiday of Purim this week, is a flamboyant, even farcical tale of good and evil. Its characters on the face of it are caricatures of human virtue and vice: Achashueras the foolish king who sits on the throne but exercises no true leadership or authority.
On any given Saturday, people join Habitat for Humanity teams and commit to work to help eradicate poverty housing. The individual volunteers give of their time, energy and physical ability because they want to be a part of something bigger than themselves.
This Shabbat, the weekly Torah portion embraces the consecration of the priesthood to God, and the special designated Torah reading for the Shabbat prior to Purim, known as Shabbat Zachor, commands us to remember/not forget our encounter with Amalek, who sought to destroy us.
What would happen this Lent if we reflected not just personally but corporately? Quickly, we'd be pushed to consider how our use of the earth's resources will make life exceedingly difficult for future generations.