This week's Torah portion includes, in the words of anthropologist Mary Douglas, a "hoary old puzzle from biblical scholarship." As Douglas put it, "Why should some locusts, but not all, be unclean?
There was nothing spectacular or dazzling about Peter or John. They were common, first-century fishermen turned disciples. Nonetheless, what they gave to a man lame from the womb was beyond value or measure.
Passover is the holiday of getting unstuck. The Israelites lived in slavery for hundreds of years in Egypt, completed dominated by Pharoah and his regime. But the message of the biblical Exodus is that what is, now, does not have to be what is in the future.
Inequality is a relentless blight. The hopelessness too often engendered when a lack of resources aligns with insufficient educational access, the easy prejudice of one's neighbors, and the ubiquity of oppression is dehumanizing and crushing.
For Christians, the controversy raises a pressing question: Does religious liberty authorize Christians to exclude some fellow citizens from social goods because we disapprove of their behavior?
The Old Testament has two different commands for using what are called phylacteries (Hebrew, tefillin): one in Deuteronomy, the other in Exodus.
It was not the assumption of different gender roles per se that I found disturbing. One could argue that such expectations were well-negotiated over centuries. It was the invisibility that irked, the taking-for-grantedness of the contribution of women to the sacred home enterprise.
This past week, I joined 11 other medical students from the University of Chicago in volunteering at a Lakota Native American reservation in South Dakota. The experience was a great opportunity to not only learn about health care challenges on reservations, but also to reflect on the intersections between religion, service, and medicine.
Confidence and fear travel through our veins, compelling us, as they act out their odd, entangled relationship. We rarely have the luxury to see where our choices will lead us. We're swept along by others' choices and barely detectable forces.
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.