Social Issues

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By unidentified [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

How Do We Tolerate the Intolerant?

What do tolerant people do with the intolerant? We tolerate them. We ignore them. We insult them. We try to change them:        By explaining.        By demonstrating.        By oppressing. We rationalize their existence: People disinterested in interfaith dialogue are ignorant, uncultured, or disengaged. ISIS is not really Islamic […]

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Ethics in the Shadow of Gethsemane

Every year at Harvard Divinity School, there is an annual competition for 2nd and 3rd year MDiv students called the Billings Preaching Competition. Being raised Catholic, preaching was never really a thing for me to think about, since women cannot be ordained to the priesthood yet, and never really entered my mind. However, I decided […]

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Tree_of_Death_by_michaelJdavanzo

“I see the smiling faces, I know I must have left some traces”: A Reflection On Death, God, And Friends

Death is a topic that a lot of us avoid like the plague. It’s not something people are willing to talk about or engage with on a theoretical level, let alone directly when someone you know dies. I get it–death is really weird. Absolutely no one knows what happens after you die, because it isn’t […]

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South Carolina, #BlackLivesMatter, and the Bible

I was born and raised in South Carolina. I love my home state; there are so many genuine, kind, wonderful people there who I care about deeply. But to be honest, most of the time when I see South Carolina trending on the news, it’s about something embarrassing. Like that guy who kept having sex with […]

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Loyola High School v. Quebec and the Implications of “Neutral” Pedagogy

On Thursday March 19, 2015, the Supreme Court of Canada released it’s ruling on the six year pending case of Loyola High School v. Quebec. Loyola High School, a private Catholic school, sought an exemption for the teaching of the mandatory religious education program called the Ethics and Religious Culture Program (ERC), introduced as a compulsory […]

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Disability and God Talk

An earlier version of this piece was published here. I am passionate about creating truly inclusive and accessible Jewish communities in which all Jews can find a spiritual home, and in which we can all bring our full selves to bear on the life of our community. I want to create communities in which the […]

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Holy Week of Resistance, Used with permission

Can the Cross Be an ‘Inclusive’ Symbol of Violence?

In a recent post on his facebook page, Rev. Cornel West of Union Theological Seminary invited all people of conscience to join in a National Day of Mass Direct Action against racist state violence. The event is part of Union’s Holy Week of Resistance which seeks to #ReclaimHolyWeek (a week celebrating the death and return-to-life of […]

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#SelmaIsNow: Interfaith Justice Work

On March 8, 2015, I was in Selma, Alabama, along with about 70,000 other people. Together, we were marching, consecrating the act that brave women and men had engaged in 50 years before to march for voting rights in the face of police brutality. I was lucky enough to be there because I had received a scholarship […]

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Michael Elam, MDiv and DeShannon Barnes-Bowens

The Power of Being Seen

I remember the scene in my head like it was yesterday. I walked up to a stranger, looked her in the eye and said, “I am here to be seen.” Her response was, “And I see you.” Then I proceeded to approach several other people in the room – one at a time, repeating the […]

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His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama 
Source: Christopher Michel @ChrisMichel (Attribution via www.ikipedia.org)

Chinese Atheism and the Political Theology of Reincarnation

While it may have flown under many people’s radar, a small but fascinating brouhaha took place earlier this month between the 14th Dalai Lama, Tibet’s spiritual leader, and Padma Choling, the Chinese imposed governor of occupied Tibet. The debate involves whether or not the Dalai Lama would reincarnate in Tibet, or instead bring a final […]

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