"The Two Most Important Days In Your Life" is about being born, physically and then, later, deeper down, on the inside, in your character. Being born happens to all of us. It's the mysterious gift that gets it all going.
This understanding of evil enabled me to strengthen my faith in God. I see Jesus, and other great spiritual teachers, as models for what we can become, by evolving beyond this kind of obsolete survival behavior.
If God is so Great, why can't He just create a world without any pain whatsoever? I don't want people to stop talking to God. I'm not even angry at God for something terrible like cancer. I just want people to think.
From the moment I first turned the television on, I couldn't get comfortable with the heroism narrative. The Boston Marathon bombings didn't speak to me of the goodness of humanity in the face of evil, but the corruption of our species and the ways we try our best to control it.
No, in moments like these, all our differences -- age, background, nationality, ethnicity, gender, and yes, religion and beliefs -- are secondary. First and foremost we are human beings. And we want to help.
It is our civic and moral duty as Americans, and as people of faith, to reach out to our fellow citizens and to call on our Senators to act. Compassion is not a passive virtue. We are called on by God to give voice to all who have lost loved ones to gun violence. We are called to act.
I've always believed that when you pray for God's will, you are praying simply for the strength and wisdom to choose what God would want you to choose. In other words, you aren't praying for God to intervene in this world. You're praying to enable yourself to do what God would have you do.
In the midst of the terror, in the void of his howling absence, in my absolute lack of control, God had been hotly present. Shaken out of myself by the visitation of horror, the world slowed enough for me to really look at it.
Even when children learn to care about others' welfare, they are often taught to restrict caring to their own group. For caring to become inclusive, to expand beyond members of one's group, significant contact with members of other groups is of great value.
Violence and evil are no strangers to our world, and they are never going away. However, if we learn to recognize the sources of derelict behavior, we may be able to intervene and prevent good people from making tragic decisions.
As a child in Romania, I watched the Communist authorities come into our house and pull my grandfather from my grandmother's arms -- taking him to a prison where he was eventually kicked to death by a guard.
Whilst the word 'evil' is used as if it is an explanation ("He did X because he is evil"), in fact evil is just a word meaning "the absence of good", getting us into a dangerous circularity ("He did X because he is not good").
As the debate about gun control and regulation escalates this year, the reality of gun life in our cities has not surfaced in the largest media outlets. Fear of guns and fear of gun owners tend to dictate the boundaries and terms of our discussions. What if we stopped living in fear?
The conundrum is how much it matters that someone who has done such real good for real people is now revealed to have built much of his achievement and image on a foundation of deception, cheating and lies.
As reports of Columbine spread around America and soon took it by storm, the country began a process of investigating the motives behind the killers. Just as with Sandy Hook, the how was much more obvious than the why.
In the wake of this terrible tragedy, may those of us who have watched in horror at the pain of those families and the loss of those children have the strength not to seek comfort but to embrace challenge.
Parents, children and teachers woke up last week in Newtown, Conn., and had no idea that life as they knew it was over. But what I must say this morning is this: Darkness does not win. Jesus was born, lived and died so that darkness does not win.