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Scripture

Marriage Equality: Monogamy and Metaphor (Parshat Va'etchanan, Deuteronomy 3:23-7:11)

Rabbi Naamah Kelman | Posted 07.28.2015 | Religion
Rabbi Naamah Kelman

The Hebrew Bible is not egalitarian or democratic in 21st-century terms. It is rife with violence, prejudice and patriarchy. And yet, we get glimpses, precious insights of what might be, what could be, as generations of living with biblical interpretation unfold.

Theological Track Standing: A User's Guide to Unity in Church and Society (Ephesians 4:1-16)

Jacob D. Myers | Posted 07.28.2015 | Religion
Jacob D. Myers

The central point Paul wishes to drive home is that Christians ought to be a people of hope. It is to hope that God has called us (1:15). This hope does not rest upon human effort or actualization; rather, it is according to God's infinite mercy (2:8-10).

American Disability Act: Working Toward Welcome and Dignity for All

Lisa Cataldo | Posted 07.22.2015 | Religion
Lisa Cataldo

The truth is that anyone who could be called "able-bodied" (or "able-minded") could at the next minute be not so. Our physical and mental abilities are extraordinarily fragile, and in every sense temporary.

Arguing About Values, Not Facts (Parshat Devarim, Deuteronomy 1:1-3:22)

Rabbi Geoffrey A. Mitelman | Posted 07.21.2015 | Religion
Rabbi Geoffrey A. Mitelman

As we read about and engage with the contentious issues that fill our Facebook feeds, and our other online and in-person conversations, we would do well not just to focus on factual disagreements, but to ask ourselves, "What are the values guiding this person's perspective?"

When War Becomes a Way of Life (2 Samuel 11:1-15)

Raj Nadella | Posted 07.21.2015 | Religion
Raj Nadella

This week's text -- 2 Samuel 11:1-15 -- suggests that the phenomenon of ordinary people being asked to fight unnecessary wars initiated by people in power is not entirely modern

Engaging Head-On With Violent Sacred Texts (Parshat Matot-Masei, Numbers 30:2-36:13)

Rabbi Melissa Weintraub | Posted 07.15.2015 | Religion
Rabbi Melissa Weintraub

This week's Torah portion, Matot-Masei, contains violent passages from which most modern readers will want to disassociate ourselves. Many communities will choose to gloss over these passages cursorily, with discomfort if not embarrassment.

All the Charlestons: We Press On for Justice

Rev. Dr. Eric D. Barreto | Posted 07.13.2015 | Religion
Rev. Dr. Eric D. Barreto

A year punctuated with tragedies around racial inequalities culminated in a burst of hateful violence during a Wednesday evening Bible study at the Mother Emanuel church. And as these nine faithful souls have been laid to rest, I have been struck by a refrain that many of my friends have been voicing.

Radical Compassion: Moses and the Master of Berditchev (Parshat Pinchas, Numbers 25:10-30:1)

Rabbi Or Rose | Posted 07.08.2015 | Religion
Rabbi Or Rose

If God -- the ultimate Spirit -- can tolerate the shortcomings of human beings, designate a human leader who will do the same. As Rabbi Levi Yitzhak teaches repeatedly (including in his discussion of Moses' sin at Kadesh), a true leader does not beat people down.

Towards an Ethic of Trust (Parshat Balak, Numbers 22:2-25:9)

Rabbi Michael Adam Latz | Posted 07.02.2015 | Religion
Rabbi Michael Adam Latz

Sometimes we get so wrapped up in the emotions of a moment, in our reflexive reactions to another person's behavior, that we forget the relationship we have with them. We become suspicious and angry, and then spin into a cycle of recrimination and mistrust.

Biblical Marriage, Brooms and Faux Rage

Alisha L. Gordon | Posted 06.26.2015 | Religion
Alisha L. Gordon

Funny enough, those who are often in positions of power that have directed this sail of "one man, one woman biblical standard" don't stay true to their own vows, making this Scripture that they hold in such high regard the laughing stock outside the microcosm of Christianity.

Changing the Conversation: Black Lives Do Matter (Mark 4:26-34)

Bridgett Green | Posted 06.08.2015 | Religion
Bridgett Green

How does a social movement begin? How does frustration meet courage and conviction to bring a people together to engage in transformative work? What seeds do we plant to change a nation?Social movements do not form out of thin air. They arise out of people's suffering.

Changing the Rules of the Game (Parshat B'ha'alot'kha, Numbers 8:1-12:16)

Stephen Hazan Arnoff | Posted 06.04.2015 | Religion
Stephen Hazan Arnoff

When the game is being played between people and the Divine, a little room for changes in the rules can be a good thing, even a necessary one. Adjustments in the heat of battle are an important part of the story of this week's Torah portion, B'ha'alot'kha.

Scandalous Leaders, Scandalous Power (1 Samuel 8)

Rev. Dr. Eric D. Barreto | Posted 06.01.2015 | Religion
Rev. Dr. Eric D. Barreto

There's an odd thing about political scandals, these falls from grace: They are so common that they shouldn't shock us anymore. And yet these scandals sell newspapers, draw eyes on television. We can always muster some outrage at these all too common crimes.

Revelation, the Morning After (Parshat Naso, Numbers 4:21-7:89)

Rabbi Adina Allen | Posted 05.29.2015 | Religion
Rabbi Adina Allen

As we recently marked the holiday of Shavuot, many of us in the wee hours between darkness and dawn marked our receiving of Torah on Mount Sinai by studying Torah all night. After 49 days of counting, we have finally reached the apex of the journey we began then.

Jean Vanier: A Prophet for the 21st Century (Isaiah 6:1-8)

Lisa Davison | Posted 05.26.2015 | Religion
Lisa Davison

With all that is happening in the world today, it can seem like there is no hope and everything is going down the tubes with no way to stop the flow. Human suffering and despair are present in all corners of the globe.

Our Greatest Celebration of Life

Catherine Nagle | Posted 05.22.2015 | Religion
Catherine Nagle

In due time, we're sure to find that our compassion, love, and attentiveness to those crises and responsibilities were the most powerful actions that brought us out of those storms for our greatest celebration that empowers us for the rest of our lives!

Sound and Silence (Parshat B'midbar, Numbers 1:1-4:20, Shavuot, May 23-25)

Rabbi Lisa L. Goldstein | Posted 05.21.2015 | Religion
Rabbi Lisa L. Goldstein

Shavuot, the holiday that celebrates the gift of Torah, begins on Saturday night. The Torah itself describes this occasion as being accompanied by dramatic and terrifying noise and spectacle: thunder, long shofar blasts, earthquake, fire and smoke.

Death Penalty for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev: A Call for Radical Mercy

Shane Claiborne | Posted 05.19.2015 | Religion
Shane Claiborne

It's hard to have mercy for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. It was Jesus who said, "Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy." And he certainly demonstrates that mercy on the cross as he forgives the people nailing him to it. But as a follower of Christ, mercy seems like an audacious thing to ask of us.

Sorry, Presidential Candidates: Hope Resides in Groans, Not in Your Rhetoric (Romans 8:22-27)

Matthew L. Skinner | Posted 05.18.2015 | Religion
Matthew L. Skinner

We rely on hope as a force to inch us forward. No one wants to believe that our best days as individuals or as societies are behind us. Everyone wants to be a hopeful person. Or, at least, there are plenty of people out there eager to make sure everyone feels hopeful.

Torah Gone Wild (Behar-Behukotai, Leviticus 25:1-27:34)

Rabbi Minna Bromberg | Posted 05.13.2015 | Religion
Rabbi Minna Bromberg

The Torah is very clear that the punishment for not allowing the land to rest every seventh year is exile. In other words, we can either give the land her sabbaths while we dwell here, or she will simply take them when we are long gone. Wildness will out.

Religion, Catechism, and Parables

Catherine Nagle | Posted 05.11.2015 | Religion
Catherine Nagle

Catechism classes were part of the Catholic education I received. But regardless of how much we know about religion, isn't it the same truth that we all come to sooner or later?

A Priesthood of the Imperfect (Parshat Emor, Leviticus 21:1-24:23)

Rabbi Arthur Green | Posted 05.06.2015 | Religion
Rabbi Arthur Green

What we need now is a priesthood of the imperfect -- in which all of us who are "disqualified" in one way or another (which is to say, I'd venture, all of us) accept and embrace our imperfections, learning from one another and teaching one another what we have learned in the course of our lives.

Border Crossing: Astounding Hope in Laredo (Acts 10:44-48)

Mary F. Foskett | Posted 05.04.2015 | Religion
Mary F. Foskett

The Biblical story recounted in Acts 10:44-48 is also a story of transformation and relational border crossing between people who, though not at all strangers, were practiced at holding each other at a distance.

Walking Through Cloud (Parshat Acharei Mot/Kedoshim, Leviticus 16:1-20:27)

Erica Brown | Posted 06.30.2015 | Religion
Erica Brown

When Moses finished the work, the cloud covered the Tent of Meeting and the presence of the Lord filled the Tabernacle. Moses could not enter the Tent of Meeting because the cloud had settled upon it and the presence of the Lord filled the Tabernacle.

Preaching Reflections On Freddie Gray and Baltimore

Rev. Dr. Eric D. Barreto | Posted 06.29.2015 | Religion
Rev. Dr. Eric D. Barreto

Were I preaching this Sunday, I'd strongly consider preaching from Psalm 137. This Psalm features one of Scripture's most notorious lines: "a blessing on him who seizes your babies and dashes them against the rocks!"