Early Television Set

Religious themes currently permeate the film and television industries in the United States.  The film Noah still floats toward the top of the charts leading to interesting conversations about authenticity and scriptures.  Close behind Noah, the film God’s Not Dead highlights the struggle of a religious devotee encountering religious antagonism on a university campus.  Also […]

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Current Articles

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The Meaning of Vaisakhi, The Biggest Sikh Celebration

This article was originally published on Newsweek’s The Daily Beast. Every April, communities across the world come together to celebrate Vaisakhi. For centuries, Vaisakhi has marked the spring harvest, and Punjabi farmers have celebrated this occasion with community gatherings and festivals. Vaisakhi took on special significance for the Sikh community in 1699, when the tenth […]

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Why would a synagogue invite a Muslim woman speaker? Why not?

I must admit that it is unusual for a Muslim woman to speak at a synagogue; hence no wonder that many people would want to know more about such a story. But for me, the invitation by Congregation Beth El earlier this month to speak to one of their groups about women in Islam came […]

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What Does “Dayenu” Mean Today?

One of my favorite parts of the Passover seder is the singing that takes place after we finish eating. There are so many great, fun songs, from “Ehad Mi Yodeah” to “Chad Gadya.” Perhaps my favorite song is “Dayenu.” The words are fairly easy to sing in Hebrew, and the chorus is so catchy that […]

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Jews being burnt for allegedly desecrating the host in Rintfleisch, Germany, 1298.

The Myth of a Judeo-Christian Tradition

In the United States, it’s common to hear frequent and impassioned references to the concept of ‘Judeo-Christian’ culture, ethics, or values. Any cursory review of American media will demonstrate that the concept is used on both sides of the proverbial aisle – this nebulous Judeo-Christian ideal is evoked in defense of both liberal and conservative […]

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What is darkness? What is light?

Last Sunday, March 30, Dean of Duke Chapel Luke Powery preached a sermon titled “Seeing in the Dark.” In it he described the way Christian scriptures tend to associate darkness with struggle, blindness, and unbelief, while they associate light with beauty, vision, and righteousness. Readers can walk away with the simple idea that light is […]

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Receiving Life and Dealing with Death: Impurity!

Yeshayahu Leibowitz explains that the reason to couple the Torah portions of Tazri’a and Metzora (Leviticus 12:1-15:33) in the Jewish communal reading of the Torah is that they both deal with biology of Man, with the biological filth of human existence. A central element in both portions is impurity. A woman who gave birth is considered […]

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Why Church?

For a class I am currently taking about young adult ministry, we were given the simple prompt, “Why church?”  Below is my response to this simple yet profound question of whether or not the Church truly has anything to offer young adults (or anyone, for that matter).  Why church?  This question can be asked with […]

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About State of Formation

State of Formation, founded as an offshoot of the Journal of Inter-Religious Studies (JIRS), is a program of CIRCLE, The Center for Interreligious and Communal Leadership education at Hebrew College and Andover Newton Theological School.

Andover Newton Theological Seminary Hebrew College

Inter-Religious Studies