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The Long Journey of Cultivating Gratitude (Parshat Vayetze, Genesis 28:10-32:3)

Judith Rosenbaum | Posted 11.25.2014 | Religion
Judith Rosenbaum

This week, we celebrate Thanksgiving -- which for many of us is less about gratitude and more about consumption, consumerism and perhaps some family discord. Dedicating time to be grateful is hard; American culture doesn't help us much.

It's Time Again: Depression and the Holidays (Isaiah 64:1-9)

Barbara Kay Lundblad | Posted 11.25.2014 | Religion
Barbara Kay Lundblad

The days from Thanksgiving to Christmas are a time of amplified loss and a time of amplified caring. Some congregations plan a "Blue Christmas" service to acknowledge feelings of loss, anxiety and depression. These honest, holy gatherings assure people they are not alone.

Something New, Higher and Unexpected (Parshat Toldot, Genesis 25:19 - 28:9)

Adina Allen | Posted 11.20.2014 | Religion
Adina Allen

Jews are known as the People of the Book. This designation speaks to Judaism's focus on the intellect, its emphasis on theological argumentation and dedicated study. However, it is clear from the Torah that Jews also come from a long line of people rooted in the earth.

The Most Important RSVP from Pope Francis

Catherine Nagle | Posted 11.18.2014 | Religion
Catherine Nagle

I have seen examples of people ending a marriage only to realize later that they hadn't been so bad off after all. In the Church, discernment, listening to our hearts, and deep prayer and meditation, are all called for before entering into or ending such a union.

Jesus, Poor People and the Underside of Thanksgiving (Matthew 25: 31-46) by Billy Honor

Billy Honor | Posted 11.21.2014 | Religion
Billy Honor

I love Thanksgiving. I love the food, the fellowship, the friends and family, the football and did I mention that I love the food. Unashamedly it might very well be my favorite holiday. Yet, despite all my warm feelings about Thanksgiving, I am not blind to its historical shortcomings.

Honoring the Past by Looking Forward (Parshat Chayyei Sarah, Genesis 23:1-25:18)

Rabbi Susan P. Fendrick | Posted 11.12.2014 | Religion
Rabbi Susan P. Fendrick

Reading this week's Torah reading is almost physically painful. The parasha (Torah reading) -- named after "Sarah's life," but beginning with her death -- begins with the elaborately described process of Abraham's acquiring a burial place for his wife.

Should Christians Be Afraid of Ebola or Climate Change or ISIS or...? (1 Thessalonians 5:1-11)

Rev. Dr. Eric D. Barreto | Posted 11.14.2014 | Religion
Rev. Dr. Eric D. Barreto

Ebola, war, conflict, economic turmoil, political victories, political losses: This is the stuff of the nightly news. And everywhere we look we have a new villain to worry about, a new threat against which we ought to brace, a new sense of hopelessness.

Resting Beneath the Tree (Parshat Vayera, Genesis 18:1-22:24)

Ariel Mayse | Posted 11.04.2014 | Religion
Ariel Mayse

The Maggid would ask us to apply this way of thinking to the world around us as well, and to our own lives. His teaching calls us to examine even seemingly ordinary moments, and to sense how holiness and The Divine dwell within them.

Since We Have to Wait, We'd Better Get to Work (Matthew 25:1-13)

Matthew L. Skinner | Posted 11.05.2014 | Religion
Matthew L. Skinner

Together, these four parables in Matthew refuse to let us think that the Christian life equals passivity. Each parable commends readiness, whether that readiness involves actively caring for those in God's "house" or meeting the needs of people who suffer.

When We Criticize the Church

Micah J. Murray | Posted 10.28.2014 | Religion
Micah J. Murray

Now we're searching for life in its pages, and questioning much of what we've been taught. We'll get some things wrong, for sure. But that's not because we have "a low view of Scripture"; it's because we still are looking through a glass darkly, and learning to read with eyes wide open.

Wandering and Welcoming (Lech Lecha -- Genesis 12:1-17:27)

Rabbi Sharon Cohen Anisfeld | Posted 10.28.2014 | Religion
Rabbi Sharon Cohen Anisfeld

As descendants of Abraham and Sarah, both wanderers and welcomers, may our individual and communal homes be open to strangers, and may our hearts be open to the possibilities that strangeness can awaken within us -- wherever we go, wherever we find ourselves.

The School of Life

Catherine Nagle | Posted 10.27.2014 | Impact
Catherine Nagle

Regardless of how we begin our lives, where we've been, what we've done or with whom we have studied, we all have something of value to share with the world.

All Saints' Day: Facing Death (Matthew 5:1-12)

Greg Carey | Posted 10.27.2014 | Religion
Greg Carey

All Saints' Day usually recalls our communion with of our spiritual ancestors throughout the centuries, celebrating our unity with saints as far away as North Africa in the fourth century and as close as our deceased relatives. But All Saints' Day also reminds us of our bond with all believers.

'We Are All Noah Now' (Noah, Genesis 6:9-11:32)

Rabbi Shoshana Meira Friedman | Posted 10.22.2014 | Religion
Rabbi Shoshana Meira Friedman

In order for there to be a second Creation, the first one is undone: The skies darken to hide the light, the waters come together to cover the land, the plants and animals -- except for those lucky enough to be on the ark -- perish.

Reformation Then and Now -- Dismantling Walls Today (Psalm 46)

Dirk G. Lange | Posted 10.20.2014 | Religion
Dirk G. Lange

Psalm 46 continually reminds us that the Reformation is not a celebration of identity but rather the deconstruction of walls, whether those walls be political, cultural, ethnic, economic or religious.

Others, Brothers

Jeremy Benstein, Ph.D. | Posted 10.15.2014 | Religion
Jeremy Benstein, Ph.D.

We have parents, spouses, teachers, critics, publicists and therapists. And most important, we have each other, to be supportively critical, and to help us ask ourselves the really hard and thus the really important questions.

Whose Image Is Stamped On Your Heart? (Matthew 22:15-22)

Doug Mendenhall | Posted 10.13.2014 | Religion
Doug Mendenhall

As you ponder with your pure heart and reflect it with your true nature, note that Matthew 22 is an exceedingly rich chapter, and that before it is over Jesus will get in at least two more memorable quotes.

Sukkot: Staying a Little Bit Longer

Rabbi Arthur Green | Posted 10.08.2014 | Religion
Rabbi Arthur Green

My sukkah, is up. A few of my students came by today, pulled the old wooden frame with its lattice-work sides out of the garage, and put it together. The whole construction job took about 15 minutes, but created a moment of great significance and joy.

What's So 'Domestic' About Violence? (Philippians 4:1-9)

Rev. Dr. Stephanie Buckhanon Crowder | Posted 10.08.2014 | Religion
Rev. Dr. Stephanie Buckhanon Crowder

What intrigues me most is the nomenclature we use to describe this abuse. It is "intimate partner violence" or "domestic violence" or "victimization among peers." The terms themselves are ironic and oxymoronic.

Wake Up to a New Year: A Yom Kippur Reflection

Rabbi David Jaffe | Posted 10.06.2014 | Religion
Rabbi David Jaffe

The shofar blasts on Rosh Hashanah are designed to wake us up. How do we avoid hitting the snooze button, rolling over and going back to sleep once the holiday passes? That is the goal of Yom Kippur -- to keep us spiritually awake.

The Term Homophobia Is Improper

Mark Baer | Posted 09.30.2014 | Politics
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Mark Baer

Religion aside, I firmly believe that those who argue that homosexuality is a choice do so in order to justify senseless beatings of gays and lesbians, and continued discrimination and mistreatment against them. I also believe without a doubt that it is a choice to be a nasty human being.

What If the Earth Was God's Vineyard? (Matthew 21:33-46)

Shanell T. Smith | Posted 09.29.2014 | Religion
Shanell T. Smith

Dare to go there with me, if you will. What if we imagine God's vineyard as described in Matthew 21 to be this beautiful world we inhabit? What will happen if we reject it -- if we continue to treat it with disrespect, fail to listen to its natural woes, dismiss the warning signs it gives us?

In Compassion and Sympathy: A Christian Response to Religious Violence

Jacob D. Myers | Posted 11.25.2014 | Religion
Jacob D. Myers

Christ-followers are given another angle of vision, another mirror into our souls, in the person of Jesus Christ. No passage of Scripture points more acutely to this image than one of this week's lectionary texts: Philippians 2:1-13.

Planting the Seed of Eternity: A Meditation On Rosh Hashanah and Our Planet

Rabbi David Seidenberg | Posted 11.24.2014 | Religion
Rabbi David Seidenberg

Every time we hear the shofar, it offers us a moment when we can, if we choose, reflect on what we are doing to this land and the Earth as a whole, our home and our womb -- all the more so this year, the Sabbatical Year. What will we conceive this year as we listen?

Free the Bible!

Pete Enns | Posted 11.23.2014 | Religion
Pete Enns

In our efforts to defend the Bible, we have gone too far. While strenuously believing in the Bible, we have made ourselves incapable of reading what it actually says. We have domesticated God's revolutionary Word, turning it into a human-made idol.