Challenges

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Warming Up Thanksgiving Dinner

I recently gave a wa’ez (sermon) on social media, service, and faith. The organizing conceit was Sesame Street, and ideas revolved around the number 5 and the letter “P.” At the end, I had five “asks” I wanted my audience to commit to, and the feedback has been positive. While I’m editing the text to […]

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Dalit woman in Mumbai 1942

The Struggle for Dalit Rights in South Asia

Have you ever had a theme assert itself over and over in a very short period of time, as if the universe was sending you cosmic hints to pay attention? In my case, the message right now involves social justice and Nepal. I’m actually writing this from Kathmandu, Nepal where I will be spending the […]

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Maurycy Gottlieb [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

An Improvised Family: Yom Kippur with Rome’s Progressive Jews

Normally people do not go to Rome to refrain from eating. But it was Yom Kippur, and I was on my way to afternoon services at Beth Hillel, Rome’s new progressive Jewish community. My long walk to the Beth Hillel service on the Janiculum Hill started on the banks of the Tiber River. In Piazza Navona […]

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Source: Kristen Dobsen, in a reprinted article from Parent Map Magazine, May 2007 (Attribution via Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, http://wilpf.org/pv_moms_rising)

Creating Single (M)Otherhood: The Problem of Our “Morality” and How Single Mothers Embody the Ethics We Need

A recent article called “4 Ways I Knew Ray Rice Was Raised by a Single Mother” features a misogynistic enumeration of the football player’s flaws attributed to being raised by a single mom. These flaws include a “low locus of control,” an “effeminate response to conflict,” “zero accountability,” and the fact that Rice and his […]

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Image by Nicolas Raymond via Flickr Commons

“You are the Bridge”: Embodying Bridge-Building

I recently heard a story that stuck with me. A colleague was telling me about a conversation he had once had with a professor that changed his outlook on a difficult situation. He had grown up attending services and was part of a community at an Episcopal church as a child but in adulthood he […]

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A Prayer in the Beginning

Last week I was in a Moroccan restaurant in Seattle and had a unique experience: The very nice Palestinian man who ran the restaurant started speaking to me in his Shammi (Eastern) Arabic, and I responded in my good Moroccan Darija over mint tea and cookies. He was shocked to hear a non-Arab speak Arabic […]

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First Steps: A Christian’s Perspective on Ecotheology

Everyone knows about dinosaurs. I mean, dinosaurs are cool. For a species of animal that hasn’t been around several million years, they have quite the legacy. We still go to see them in museums. Kids play with figurines. They are even the stars of several different movie franchises.  Dinosaurs live in the zeitgeist of culture […]

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(Released by HST Public Affairs)

Buddhism>Atheism: How Religious Literacy Can Help the Air Force, Part II

Find Part I of this post here. Alexis de Tocqueville, a 19th century French historian, observed how Americans treated religion when he visited the United States. The longer he stayed, the more he realized that it was less important which religion any individual citizen claimed, and more so that they claimed a tradition at all, […]

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(Released by HST Public Affairs)

Buddhism>Atheism? How Religious Literacy Can Help the Air Force, Part I

This is the first in a two-part post.  Stay tuned for Part II. A few days ago, I visited my undergraduate university, the University of Southern California, and made a beeline for the Office of Religious Life. I had come on a very meaningful day: USC had just hired a humanist chaplain, and this was […]

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New England forest, Yom Kippur

From Ramadan to Yom Kippur: Temptation and Redemption

Perhaps the most profound religious experience of my life took place in the produce aisle of a Carrefour supermarket. It was my second Ramadan in Morocco. The first time around I had no intention of fasting. I was a lapsed orthodox Jew, a confirmed (if confused) atheist with a degree in Islamic theology. In short, […]

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