Eastwood's Kyle an American hero? No doubt. But Eastwood's Kyle increasingly shows us that what has become equated with "American" is increasingly dangerous, naïve, and ignorant.
Every once in a while someone asks for advice: "How do I learn more about the Bible?" In church we act like the Bible is important, but few among us feel confident we understand it -- or even that we know what's in it.
Americans enjoy football because football reflects the values of strength, courage, strategy, self-discipline, teamwork, and celebrity that American culture holds dear. It's also refreshing to watch someone else get crushed by a 260-pound linebacker after you've had a lousy week at work.
This mythological framework explained not only the events in his life, but also those of the universe. The creation of the world, the change in the seasons, and natural disasters were all explained by the myths. He need never search for an answer.
The hardening of Pharaoh's heart is one of the most confusing aspects of the Exodus story, but has perhaps the most to teach us about freedom and oppression in our world today.
I am not Charlie Hebdo. I know that I am not Charlie. I do not think that I would ever intentionally make fun of a faith tradition or belief system, except maybe my own. But, dangit, I will defend their right to do so.
I find it interesting that the Quran mentioned critical veins of the head, rather than those of other organs that are just as important. Indeed, severing other large veins in the thigh, heart, or liver, for instance, would also cause death.
R. Simcha Bunim of Przysucha (1765-1827), one of the great Hasidic masters in Poland, explained it by breaking it into two parts. The letter shin is a prefix meaning "that", and "dai" means "enough". She dai would mean, "that [which] is sufficient."
In trying times, it is important to listen for the lesson and hear the voice of God within it. The task for those of us who are attracted to such thoughts is not to see God in our stories but to imagine our story in God's, learning somehow to see our humanity in divinity.
We cannot always control what we lose or gain in life's transitions, and even the happiest transitions (like getting married or becoming parents) can be jarring. I don't always get to choose how my name will be spelled or said. But sometimes, I get to choose how I will hear it.
IMAN has worked on providing critical services to Chicago's inner city communities, and has provided opportunities for Muslims to translate their faith into social justice work that benefits the community.
The threat of climate change and the pollution of our natural resources is a theological problem. In our efforts to enhance our comfort and ease our work, we have mistaken what is good with what is merely advantageous for a narrowly circumscribed us.
The morally problematic passages in the Constitution have been overturned by various amendments and laws; similarly, one should not criticize contemporary religions on the basis of problematic passages within their sacred texts, if those passages have been rejected or nullified.
This November, I attended the first annual conference of the Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom. Afterwards, I posted on my Facebook page a picture of 100 Jewish and Muslim women--old and young; bareheaded, hijabi, and a few in yarmulkes.
Sometimes I avoid controversial movies until the brouhaha has died down, dried up and blown away like a tumbleweed in an old western. I like to watch those movies with a fresh eye, but with Noah, it turns out the fuss last Spring was actually much more entertaining than the film.
If North Korea can somewhat understandably raise a flag concerning what people might do after viewing The Interview, why are people not more concerned about the ideas put forth within the biblical stories?