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On Scripture

Seeing and Believing at Easter Time (John 20:1-18)

Greg Carey | Posted 04.15.2014 | Religion
Greg Carey

Easter Sunday marks the holiest, most exalted moment of the Christian year. In Easter services all over the world, trumpets and organs blast. Flowers transform churches with their brightness. Worship leaders boldly proclaim: 'Christ is risen!'

The Momentum of Freedom (Passover)

Ariel Mayse | Posted 04.14.2014 | Religion
Ariel Mayse

There are three stages in the ongoing process of redemption. The first is Egypt, a place -- physical or psychological -- of constriction and bondage. Freedom from this type of consciousness requires a radical thrust of energy that takes us forth from slavery.

Covering the Blood Before Us (Acharei Mot, Leviticus 16:1-18:30)

Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz | Posted 04.09.2014 | Religion
Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz

He suggests that pagans would collect the blood after slaughter and eat the animal's meat while sitting around the blood; for Rambam, we pour out and cover the blood to distance ourselves from these pagan practices of using the blood to connect with spirits.

Palm-powered Protest (Matthew 21:1-11)

Rev. Adam J. Copeland | Posted 04.07.2014 | Religion
Rev. Adam J. Copeland

On Sunday, shouts of "Hosanna" will ring in city parks and street corners, in church courtyards and city squares. Pastors will shout in the crisp morning air as they read from the day's gospel passage Matthew 21:1-11.

Empathy Activism (Metzora, Leviticus 14:1-15:33)

Rabbi Michael Adam Latz | Posted 04.01.2014 | Religion
Rabbi Michael Adam Latz

In our collective grief, we rabbis came together, raised more than half a million dollars and raised the profile of paltry funding for children's cancer research. Men and women alike. All rabbis. More than 80 of us. Now bald. Symbols of hope and grief, empathy and activism.

Rewrite Those Epitaphs

Lisa Hickman | Posted 03.31.2014 | Religion
Lisa Hickman

Reading through a list of bizarre and unique holidays is fascinating for any month. Looking at this list during Lent can provide new perspective. We know "April Fools Day" unfolds as March gives way to April.

Social Media and the Shepherd (Psalm 23)

Henry G. Brinton | Posted 03.24.2014 | Religion
Henry G. Brinton

One way to gain this peace and serenity is to unplug for a day or even for a season. Lent challenges us to turn away from the infinite audiences of the Internet and direct our hearts and minds to the one audience who always wants to be connected to us: God.

Learning to Live With Loss (Shemini, Leviticus 9:1-11:47)

Sara Hurwitz | Posted 03.24.2014 | Religion
Sara Hurwitz

We cannot hide from reality forever. We cannot occupy the role of Yosef Ha-Kohen indefinitely. For some, the veil behind which they stand might be the law, but for others it could be any number of behaviors.

Why You Ought to Leave the Church (John 4:5-42)

Matthew L. Skinner | Posted 03.17.2014 | Religion
Matthew L. Skinner

Recently, a large wealthy church decided to break up with my denomination. I'm not 100% sure I know why. But the no-regrets explanation they wrote implied that religious differences between us were too severe for them.

Jewish Memory Week: A Tale in Three Parts (Zachor, Deuteronomy 25:17-19)

Yehuda Kurtzer | Posted 03.12.2014 | Religion
Yehuda Kurtzer

Purim is not one story of Jewish memory; it is the story of Jewish memory as a perpetually evolving, perpetually animating impulse. How brilliant is our tradition for giving us this Memory Week, with its multiple narrations of the same Amalek!

Dare to Sit With Suffering (Genesis 12:1-4)

Melissa Browning | Posted 03.12.2014 | Religion
Melissa Browning

During Lent, we remember that the destruction of the cross is incomplete without the vision of the resurrection. As we connect the suffering of our world to Christ's cross, we are invited to become the hands and feet of Christ as we construct the kin-dom of God.

What Did Eve Want? (Genesis 2:15-17; 3:1-7)

Greg Carey | Posted 03.03.2014 | Religion
Greg Carey

Our popular imagination turns Eve into a receptacle for one set of our fantasies. Our fixation on Eve's sexuality causes us to overlook the story's major themes and what they might mean for our common life together.

Blending Torah and Activism (Pekudey, Exodus 38:21-40-38)

Rabbi Arthur Green | Posted 02.25.2014 | Religion
Rabbi Arthur Green

What should I do with my life? I love studying and teaching Torah, but I need to be more of an activist, to do more to save the world. Cultivating the spirit is important, but is there time to do it while the world is on fire?

God Beyond All Relationships and Agendas: Exodus 24:12-18

Walter Brueggemann | Posted 02.24.2014 | Religion
Walter Brueggemann

The question emerges: What kind of God meets Moses on this mountain? Is this the God who prescribes commands, one who sets an agenda for people to follow? Is this a comforting God, one who enfolds Moses in the arms of divine love?

Four Levels of Societal Transformation (Vayakhel, Exodus 35:1-38:20)

Rabbi Lisa L. Goldstein | Posted 02.19.2014 | Religion
Rabbi Lisa L. Goldstein

Criminality is not unique to New York in the 21st century. However, we can glean from our texts that living a religiously committed life means working on four levels of transformation: the personal, interpersonal, institutional, and societal.

How to Be Perfect (Matthew 5:38-48)

Rev. Dr. Eric D. Barreto | Posted 04.20.2014 | Religion
Rev. Dr. Eric D. Barreto

'Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.' Seriously, Jesus? Have you even met some of us? Have you seen the depths of our jealousies, the breadth of our greed? Have you noticed how insatiable our egos are? How deeply insecure we all are?

Leadership and Confrontation: Lessons from Moses and God (Ki Tisa, Exodus 30:11-34:35)

Rabbi Melissa Weintraub | Posted 04.14.2014 | Religion
Rabbi Melissa Weintraub

While these moments of heat and escalation capture the most press and attention, they obscure and distract us from at least two far more common, subtle and systemic obstacles to breaking through our stuck conversation on Israel.

A New Way of Being 'Pro-Choice'

Rev. Dr. Stephanie Buckhanon Crowder | Posted 04.12.2014 | Religion
Rev. Dr. Stephanie Buckhanon Crowder

Ella Baker had a 'pro-choice' moment. In that moment, she seized the opportunity and made a decision that would turn the tide of history. She chose to do what far exceeded herself. Her name, her work and her spirit thrive.

Making the Space to Be Present (Terumah, Exodus 25:1-27:19)

Judith Rosenbaum | Posted 03.31.2014 | Religion
Judith Rosenbaum

God's track record to this point has not been flawless. God has been impatient, aloof, and angry; God has misjudged what the Israelites need and expressed frustration when they rebel or complain. Perhaps, too, God has misjudged God's own needs.

Enjoy the Super Bowl; Be Suspicious of Its Values (Matthew 5:1-12)

Matthew L. Skinner | Posted 03.29.2014 | Religion
Matthew L. Skinner

If the outcome of Sunday's Super Bowl comes down to the game's final play, and you find yourself inclined to ask Jesus to help your favorite team win, remember: It's quite possible he doesn't know squat about tackle football.

Turning Memory Into Empathy: The Torah's Ethical Charge (Mishpatim, Exodus 21:1-24:18)

Rabbi Shai Held | Posted 03.24.2014 | Religion
Rabbi Shai Held

Exodus teaches us the baseline requirement: not to oppress the stranger. Leviticus magnifies the demand. And Deuteronomy raises the stakes even higher: Loving the stranger is a crucial form of 'walking in God's ways.'

Jethro and Pope Francis: Models of Interreligious Engagement (Yitro, Exodus 18:1-20:23)

Rabbi Daniel Lehmann | Posted 03.16.2014 | Religion
Rabbi Daniel Lehmann

They shared meals at which kosher food was provided, and the rabbi recited the special Jewish prayers marking those holy days in the Jewish calendar. This was, perhaps, the first time a pope celebrated these Jewish festivals with a rabbi at the Vatican.

An Unexpected Servant: The Leadership of Pope Francis (Isaiah 49:1-7)

Lynn R. Huber | Posted 03.15.2014 | Religion
Lynn R. Huber

This personal and institutional modesty appeals to many U.S. Catholics, especially those who had been put off by the seeming arrogance of the Vatican. Reflecting this change 88 percent of U.S. Catholics think Francis is doing a good job in his role as Pope.

Manna to Worms: Spiritual and Political Lessons from Heavenly Bread (Beshalach, Exodus 13:17-17:16)

Rabbi Nancy Fuchs-Kreimer | Posted 03.09.2014 | Religion
Rabbi Nancy Fuchs-Kreimer

Each Friday afternoon, I spread a tablecloth on my dining room table, place two braided loaves of bread on the cloth, and then cover the bread with another cloth, one of several specially designed, beautiful challah covers we have accumulated over the years.

Baptism, Righteousness and the War on Poverty: A 2014 Epiphany (Matthew 3:13-17)

Roger Nam | Posted 03.08.2014 | Religion
Roger Nam

Matthew 3:13-17 calls us to live out righteousness in a much more integrative way than arbitrary handouts or following the tweets of OXFAM. We are to prepare and eat every meal in righteousness.