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Sunday Roundup

Arianna Huffington | Posted 12.28.2014 | Politics
Arianna Huffington

This week, a world facing crises on many fronts rang in Christmas. Though this is traditionally a season of good cheer, in his holiday address at the Vatican, Pope Francis showed it could also be a time of sober reflection. The often good-humored pontiff delivered a somber message of concern for abused children, refugees, and victims of violence and war. The speech was similar in tone to his annual message to the cardinals, bishops, and priests who run the Vatican, delivered earlier in the week, in which the Pope decried 15 "ailments of the Curia." These included "careerism and opportunism," "social exhibitionism," and "spiritual Alzheimer's," seen in those who "become enslaved to the idols that they have built with their own hands." His words stand as a worthy challenge to us all to combat indifference and tap into the better angels of our nature -- no matter what religious tradition you may follow (including none at all).

Teaching the Bible as Literature in Public High School (Part 9)

Frank Breslin | Posted 12.27.2014 | Education
Frank Breslin

Aphorisms are an excellent way of encouraging critical and creative responses when teaching about the Bible. These quotations offer thoughtful reflections by world authors on a broad range of religious questions.

Jésus est né dans une cité de banlieue et sa mère portait le voile

Éric Azan | Posted 12.25.2014 | France C'est La Vie
Éric Azan

RELIGION - C'est aujourd'hui Noël et il est grand temps de mettre en lumière certains faits avérés, mais souvent oubliés de certains chrétiens vivant loin de nos cités de banlieue.

Br. Alois of Taizé on Racial Unrest, Jesus Christ, and the Gospel

Ryan Thomas Neace | Posted 12.24.2014 | Religion
Ryan Thomas Neace

And this is the heart of the Gospel! God is love. This is the truth. Jesus was also speaking of the truth of God, but the truth is that God is love. In a way this message is very vulnerable, but it has to be vulnerable, because love is vulnerable.

Don't Just Question the 10 Commandments; Question the Entire Bible

Steve Siebold | Posted 12.24.2014 | Science
Steve Siebold

Most people are familiar with the story of the Ten Commandments. The short version is that God called Moses to Mount Sinai where he gave him two tablets of stone that contained the Ten Commandments.

The Plague of Survivalism (Parshat Vayigash, Genesis 44:18-47:27)

Rabbi Niles Elliot Goldstein | Posted 12.26.2014 | Religion
Rabbi Niles Elliot Goldstein

In the Torah portion for this week (Vayigash), Joseph, having grown in power and influence in Egypt after his brothers left him for dead in the desert many years before, now reveals his true identity to his assembled siblings.

Christmas According to the Westboro Baptist Church

Susan Kraus | Posted 12.23.2014 | Religion
Susan Kraus

The Westboro Baptist Church expresses their beliefs through parodies of traditional carols or holiday songs. For its members, Christmas is simply one more example of pagan inspired idolatry, completely lacking in Biblical basis.

Protest and God's Presence (Isaiah 61:10-62:3)

Brian Bantum | Posted 12.22.2014 | Religion
Brian Bantum

While every year is filled with its triumphs and its terrors, 2014 has been a year that has felt particularly fraught. It is not because this is a year where evil and terror appeared from nowhere, surprising us in our general euphoria or mundane lives.

The Importance of Non-European Christian Imagery

Karen Zainal | Posted 12.22.2014 | Religion
Karen Zainal

I am ethnically Chinese and grew up in Muslim-majority Indonesia. For years, I was subconsciously frustrated and estranged by singularly European depictions of Christian figures.

Better Life? 3 Ways to Live a Better Life in the New Year

Steve McSwain | Posted 12.22.2014 | Religion
Steve McSwain

I can think of many things our world needs. I can think of few things the world needs more, however, than this: better people living better lives in a world gone very wrong.

The Treacherous Intersection of Faith and Child Abuse

Burke E. Strunsky | Posted 12.22.2014 | Crime
Burke E. Strunsky

Secrecy is essential to the crime of child molestation and when it encounters the sacred secrecy inherent to some religious organizations, an atmosphere is created in which the predator can thrive.

A Hanukkah 'Raga': An Ecological Reflection

Laura Bellows | Posted 12.19.2014 | Religion
Laura Bellows

Rabbi Katy Allen teaches that Hanukkah is a time to rededicate ourselves to the holy and hard work of responding to climate change. She writes that we "increase our holiness by rededicating ourselves to reducing our carbon footprint."

What Blogging on The Huffington Post (and God) Taught Me

Rumni Saha | Posted 12.19.2014 | Religion
Rumni Saha

Recently I wrote a simple piece titled "Where Is the Faith?" that made it onto The Huffington Post. What ensued as a result of this rhetorical debate were discussions and experiences that led to a higher education that I had not bargained for. Here is what I learned.

Happy Holidays: A Gift, Not a Slight

Chris Dean | Posted 12.19.2014 | Religion
Chris Dean

If you're thoughtful enough to wish me a Merry Christmas, I won't go out of my way to explain to you why I experience a hidden shiver of annoyance, but I will wish you a Happy Holiday in return.

Mormon Service Advocates Launch New Faith-Themed Website, Podcast

Joseph Peterson | Posted 12.18.2014 | Religion
Joseph Peterson

From that website they affirm that "No Poor Among Them is a project devoted to education and inspiration in the art of service and the passion to end poverty."

Soul Search: Why Pope Francis Is Barking Up the Wrong Tree

Jeff Schweitzer | Posted 12.18.2014 | Politics
Jeff Schweitzer

We have this conundrum of who has a soul and who goes to heaven because the basic premise on the question is rather absurd. The concept of a soul is fatally flawed, just as is the idea of dualism.

Blind Spots and Boiling Points: Our Shortcomings As Parents And People

Stuart Dow | Posted 12.17.2014 | Parents
Stuart Dow

Presumably, my child-centered myopia can be understood and forgiven in this context. But what are, and should be, the bounds of this sort of blindness -- especially when it manifests in other settings?

Learning To Appreciate And Respect The Beliefs Of Others

Amber Sabathia | Posted 12.17.2014 | Parents
Amber Sabathia

I once overheard my son having a conversation with his classmate. The friend asked, "What religion are you? We're Catholic." My son replied, "Well, we're kinda like Catholics, but we're Baptist." When I heard this, I knew I had to sit my children down and explain what religion truly is.

JT Burke's Paradise Circus Pops Up at the LA Art Show

Shana Nys Dambrot | Posted 12.17.2014 | Arts
Shana Nys Dambrot

For Burke, the allegory of Paradise Circus is not really about satirizing any individual faith per se, his own or anyone's -- it's more about shining a light on the absurdity of killing one another over competing theories of the unknowable.

A Darkened Christmas? In Search of a Brighter Future

Daniel Davis | Posted 12.17.2014 | Religion
Daniel Davis

Christmas is just days away. In shops and malls echoes of Bing Crosby singing "Silver Bells" serenade shoppers as they rush home with their treasures. But in all honesty, it's hard to consider Christmas 2014 to be "a season of joy."

Pushing Past the Hashtag: Why We Need to Understand That #BlackLivesMatter and MORE

Rev. Joel Montgomery | Posted 12.16.2014 | Religion
Rev. Joel Montgomery

Black lives matter, yes -- but pushing past the hashtag, we have to understand not just that black lives matter, but that ALL lives matter. All. Lives. Matter. Because people matter.

Diyas, Dreidels, and Baby Jesus

Tricia Mirchandani | Posted 12.16.2014 | Parents
Tricia Mirchandani

Our children's Bible rests against the Ramayana on her bookshelf. We pray to God at night but haven't fully fleshed out His character or discussed how He is different from Ganesh and Lakshmi and, now, Baby Jesus. For her, religion is more mosaic of characters and story lines than it is a set of tenets or beliefs.

Atheism Reaffirmed

Kate Byrne | Posted 12.16.2014 | Impact
Kate Byrne

It is with a slight degree of trepidation, but a greater degree of defiance, that I stand before you in this digital space and come out as an atheist. I choose not to seek comfort in a being that can indiscriminately strike the good with what should only strike the bad.

I'm With Stupid: Jesus and Marijuana Chain of Offense

Todd Hartley | Posted 12.16.2014 | Comedy
Todd Hartley

Answer this question truthfully for me: Who's worse these days, people who say or write offensive stuff or the people who get really offended by it? Once upon a time, I imagine the obvious answer was the offenders, but with the way things are now, I honestly think the offended may have become the bigger problem.

'Ohana No Ka Oi: Our All-American-Non-Religious Christmas Ritual

Bradley B. Onishi | Posted 12.16.2014 | Religion
Bradley B. Onishi

'Ohana is a Hawaiian word that means family but includes the distant relatives with whom one shares important things. In the past, this would mean resources such as land and crops. Today it means something different, at least to us, or at least to me.