Convicted for her part in the 1997 murder of her husband, Kelly enrolled in and graduated from the Certificate in Theological Studies program at Arrendale State Prison for Women. Through this program, she grew into a new person with purpose and hope. She experienced forgiveness and gained confidence through grace and redemption.
Gospel Of Matthew,
Garden Of Gethsemane,
Gospel Of Luke,
Gospel Of Mark,
The particular incident I am referring to is Jesus being tempted in the wilderness by Satan for forty days, related to us in Matthew 4:1-2, Mark 1:12-13, and Luke 4:1-2.
It is against the backdrop of this very troubled time that the holiday of Purim approaches... and with it, the important message: Do not lose hope for you have been here before.
Even though the West Village offers "lesbian nights" on Fridays in hallowed locales like the Stonewall Inn and the Monster Bar NYC, it's a far cry from the dozens of spaces and nights for gay men spackled across the Five Boroughs.
Few fictional characters, particularly from television, have been as enduring in the public consciousness, memorable and profound as Spock, and few actors have both inhabited and created a character as fully and brilliantly as Leonard Nimoy did with Spock.
While I realize that Frank and Claire Underwood -- the scheming, ruthless, and fairly amoral couple at the center of the series -- hardly seem paragons of biblical virtue, hear me out.
Have you met Kelly? Not the mug shot that is in every news article, not the "first woman in 70 years to be executed in Georgia," not the woman who you might think ordered too much food for her last meal. I'm talking about Kelly Gissendaner, child of God, sinner saved by grace, a minister who was known for sharing Christ's love with both prisoners and prison guards.
So my prayer today is this. That I stop defining myself by my doing, and start defining myself by my being. That I stop measuring time by the clock on the wall, and start measuring it by the experiences I share with those around me. And that I stop seeing my life as "busy," and instead, see it for what it truly is. Full.
In a nation where rising numbers of people are dropping out of organized religion, one dynamic religious movement continues to display remarkable strength. The black church.
None amongst us is without sin; a few among us tend to misuse the power of religion on the minds of the followers. The problem was not with the religion, it was with the ones who did not get their religion right.
We are historically and pathologically obligated to replay the dramas of the Spartans and Greeks against the "other." Feeling superior, we are free to disrespect their ways to sustain our own.
The faith community must remind the world that evil can be overcome, and that individuals involved in evil systems and practices can be redeemed. But how to overcome evil is a very complicated theological question, which requires much self-reflection. In trying to figure out how to overcome evil, it is often helpful to first decide how not to.
One of the wonderfully confounding parts of the gospel to me is Jesus telling the disciples that "if any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me."
Here we are at the beginning of another presidential campaign, and like every campaign since our founding, the people who put themselves forward as possible leaders of the free world are being grilled by the media on a number of issues.
Barbara Brown Taylor,
Sister Joan Chittister,
Super Soul Sunday,
There is a part of the soul that stirs at night, in the dark and soundless times of day, when our defenses are down and our daylight distractions no longer serve to protect us from ourselves.
The powerful force of human desire for revenge, control and power needs to be met by a greater force -- religious leaders from all denominations uniting to speak out on behalf of an individual's right to practice his or her religion without fear or intimidation.
On Saturday mornings, I would explore the canyons above the university. I spent hours walking and running along the fire roads in the hills. I knew where to find hound's tongue and forget-me-not flowers, an old abandoned plum orchard and the deer trail shortcut to the bench looking out over the arboretum.
Jorge Mario Bergoglio,
Pope Francis is revolutionizing how the Vatican operates, encouraging officials to remain faithful to what they have dedicated their lives to, and to the global Catholic community. If the pope is no more than a king in his church, then there shall be no room for princes.
Our life is ordered by The Way of Jesus Christ. His teachings, such as the Sermon on the Mount, which features a radical call to enemy-love, forgiveness and purity of heart, his sayings, parables, and example become normative.
What happens when the smiling young children who greeted us with "hellos" become teenagers who have grown up in the confines of Za'atari? If they see no future, they will become vulnerable to manipulation and radicalization. We have seen it before. We're about to see it again. The world must step up and act now.