Given the current momentum of ISIS and stated intentions to expand its caliphate, it may well attempt to increase its activity in northwest Syria and southern Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and southern Turkey.
If you happen to be a follower of Jesus who believes LGBT people have suffered injustice at the hands of the church, your response to that injustice is a moral question.
It is no surprise that Islamic State has adopted some of the CIA torture methods such as waterboarding. This is the very definition of the spiral of violence, where violence used as revenge begets more and greater violence.
Maybe in our time of not-knowing, we who are white can realize that we should not try to be in charge for a change, that we should support the leadership of people of color, the experts in this movement. Maybe we can try to take a few steps forward together.
We need real leadership now in both Israel and Palestine, leaders who will not just stammer and blabber, but who will put forth courageous and realistic plans for peace, rather than simply blame the other side and go on preparing for the next war.
In our church life, there are times when water is poured on our heads or our whole bodies are immersed in pools of water. Through this sacrament we experience that same type of connection to others in our faith. That is baptism.
I don't know many people of faith who aren't troubled by the evils woven into their traditions: the violence, the war, the oppression... not to mention the "softer" but no less valid injustices of not listening, of dismissing, of invalidating those in need.
I ask you to instruct the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops to tell Catholic institutions not to fire any more LGBTQ Catholics. I ask you to speak out against laws that criminalize and oppress LGBTQ people around the globe. These actions would bring true life to your statement "Whom am I to judge?"
The battle to end the rampant and persistent discrimination against women of color in ministry in the American religious community can be won.
The world's first Festival of Faiths was held in Louisville, Ky., in November 1995. Now approaching its 20th anniversary year, the highly successful and internationally acclaimed festival is being emulated by neighboring city Indianapolis.
Connecting with the goddesses who call to you -- in the form of jewelry or art, words and music, or simply your thoughts -- can sweeten and enhance your days with bright threads of unity, wonder, and female power.
In Minnesota, this is an in-between time. Summer is over, the pool is closed, but it isn't quite fall yet. There is something awkward about it, a sense of displacement. This kind of discomfort is playing out right now in the discussion over events in Ferguson, Missouri, where 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot by a police officer.
Did Congress intend for the hate crimes statute to cover religiously motivated violence within a religious group? Does beard cutting, as temporary disfigurement, qualify as a form of bodily injury for a hate crime victim?
I am convinced that recent events in Ferguson have become a mirror to the nation. This may very well be a critical moment in history, if we take a time to stop and listen to each other.
I often argue that every marriage is mixed, since no two individuals share identical beliefs or practices. If that is so, then all our children are lucky, as long as we provide them with interfaith literacy, and encourage them to wrestle with big questions.
Like establishing a garden or writing a book, building a patio in an uncertain world is an exercise in enlisting the passage of time to advantage: an act of faith.
Whether we are sending guns or we are sending prayers, as a nation we must surround ourselves with a spiritual dome to stave off the arrows of hatred now coming our way. America needs enlightenment, not necessarily as a path to pacifism but as a path to power.
Maybe the pain of death -- of all the deaths this summer -- will finally remind us what it means to live.
Sadly, Ferguson is not just another example of racism, but of white America's denial of its racist past and present (as the so-called "counter protest" groups in Ferguson reveal). This is a cycle that must be addressed if there is to be any hope that America's racial divide can ever be healed.