Christian Scientists think of angels as bright ideas. Angels are moments of clarity and expanded consciousness, moments of fresh vision and creativity, broadened perspective, and infusions of loving inspiration. Christian Scientists, who think of God as pure Mind, a divine principle of loving consciousness, see the intellect as a portal of revelation. I come from [...]
(This is Part 3 of a 3-part series. See Part 1 and Part 2) OFFENSE Jesus was most recently portrayed in celluloid form by a Portuguese model with great hair. I’m talking about The Bible, a miniseries broadcast on The History Channel. In it we learn that Jesus was gentle and strong; that Jews really [...]
During Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur we cast our sins in to the desert, freeing ourselves from their oppressive burden, unshackling our hearts and minds so that we can begin the year anew. Six months later another new year arrives (Exodus 12:12). After a period of enslavement we find ourselves once again loosening our chains and opening our souls, ready to reencounter that which we cast away.
(This is Part 2 of a 3-part series. See Part 1 here.) AUTHORITY There is another hot issue in a discussion about religion and the Bible: the question of who has authority over the telling of a narrative? How about The Bible miniseries on The History Channel? It’s a very confident little piece, isn’t [...]
On a recent, overcast Thursday evening, I co-led a presentation in San Marcos, Texas, about creating a local, interfaith environmental network. I didn’t know what to expect; in retrospect, I guess I didn’t expect much. San Marcos is a small town compared to the other cities in which I’ve offered this presentation. I wondered whether [...]
I woke up clutching my bed frame, heart pounding, mind reeling – three nights in a row – when I read The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. I could not escape this story, both novel and film, and wondered how it could change The United States. It was one of two striking stories of civil [...]
“A woman is acquired [in marriage] in three ways…by money, by document, or by intercourse.” This is how the first mishnah in the tractate Kiddushin begins. In just this sentence alone we gain a window into how women were seen in the world of the rabbis. As each subsequent generation—from the Talmudic sages of 600 CE to 20th century feminist scholars—probe this Mishnah, the meaning of this statement is investigated, challenged, and, ultimately, transformed.
I attended the 2009 Parliament of the World’s Religions in Melbourne, Australia. I was amazed by the preponderance of sacred fashion statements (the hats!), the number of New Age practitioners from the North American West Coast, and the ubiquity of the phrase “interfaith dialogue.” As former chair of the Union Theological Seminary Interfaith Caucus, a [...]
I recently received an email from the fine editorial staff at State of Formation informing me that I am officially a lapsed contributor and my posting account might be deleted. This is very true. I have lapsed in my public reflections about all things religious. When I ask myself why I lapsed, my answers are [...]
I just returned from my last final of the semester. It was…unconventional, to say the least. Instead of sitting in a wood-paneled classroom for three hours getting intimate with a blue book, I spent the last weekend sitting on a couch by a fireplace at a Mennonite retreat center in Michigan. This was my final. [...]