In Lent, we should strive to hear them, be kind and open. Try to understand that beneath their sometime outer hardness and obstinacy is an acute sensitivity and tenderness, a genuine openness to God's spirit.
For Douglass, there was an intimate link between individual conversion and social reform. The path of reform flowed outward from self to society. Before eradicating social evil, you first had to purify the self.
Forget about the puny Mayans, the Great and Powerful Oz ... err ... WBC has spoken. Abandon hope, sell your possessions. Better yet, leave your possessions (in my name please), run to the mountains and hide in the caves.
Religious leadership isn't easy. Just ask any of the rabbis who attempt to address controversial issues within their institutions, take on the challenge of moral leadership and manage relationships with members. Or ask the prophet Balaam, the unexpected hero of this week's Torah portion.
The would-be prophet cowers before the throne and whimpers, "Woe is me! I am lost, for I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips." No posturing. No preachiness. No self-righteousness.
Pastors should indeed celebrate the beauty, joy and miraculous mystery of life, but to focus on this while not tempering this with an acknowledgment of struggle, doubt and, yes, suffering, is to offer false prophecy.
You know how sometimes a respected elder begins to sound, well, a little cranky? God kicked off the new year by growling in the ears of several people with media platforms. And I gotta tell you, going by what they say, I'm concerned.
Let's do a little comparison. Let's look at a few of Moses' predictions to see if we believe that they actually came to pass and then contrast them with the perennially popular 16th century French prophet Nostradamus.
In the last Survivor episode, Shambles' plot to depose the Viper Queen had triumphed, thanks to a flip-vote by John, who avoided a random draw that might send any of them home. This week began Shambles' gleeful return to camp.