Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Rain 46° Rain

Tag search results

Tags let us describe our content with keywords, making it easier to find what you're most interested in. Use the search box to look for tags, or explore our coverage with the lists below.

Focus atonement on God’s love, not judgment

For those of you who are “into Lent” as the run-up to Easter, I invite you to think with me about one of the primary Lenten doctrines, atonement. You might be surprised to learn that atonement has been a source of controversy since the early centuries of the Christian church. Simply put, there is no agreement on what “atonement” really means. For many Christians today, atonement’s focus is strictly on Jesus being sacrificed by God to “pay for our sins.” The “faithful skeptic” in me asks, “What does that really mean?” Does it mean that God is really so bloodthirsty that he is only willing to purify humanity if “we” enter into an agreement to kill an innocent man? I hope not. But I sense that is what too many people in and out of the church think atonement means.

Faith + Values: Christianity is not about wins and losses, but spirit

For those of us who try to be followers of Jesus to some degree, let’s begin today with some words he addressed to his favorite foils, the “scribes and Pharisees.” In Matthew 23:23, he called them play-actors. He clearly challenges their legalistic pride, self-sufficiency and resulting hypocrisy when they give their “temple tithes” but “neglect the weightier matters of the law – justice, mercy, and good faith.” They did the light lifting of legalism but forgot those “weightier matters of the law.”

Paul Graves: What is your picture of God?

How old were you when you found out Santa Claus isn’t real? How old were you when you discovered that God isn’t Santa Claus? Oops! Did that question surprise you? You didn’t know? Oh sure there are some characteristics of Santa that we might easily think started with God. But personally, I don’t think Santa’s “checking his list twice to see who is naughty or nice” is one of those. Many people think God’s character is like that, but I’m definitely not one of them.

People must see past their ego to find their true self

What if being human is more than we human beings usually settle for? When that is so, I think what we settle for is picking the “low-hanging fruit” on the trees of life all around us. We settle for easy solutions, easy ways to satisfy our wants. After all, we’re “only human.”

Faith and values: God gives grace, even when rejected

One of the religious clichés I’ve heard in recent years is that “grace is free, but it isn’t cheap.” That cliché should join arms with the variations of a patriotic cliché about the “price of freedom.” Both make their point, but like all clichés, there is more to the story. Grace is free but not cheap. OK. So let’s take a few hundred words to explore today’s spirituality question: What if there is more to free grace than we usually settle for? Whose freedom are we talking about? Ours? God’s? Contrary to our normal thinking, they aren’t the same kind of freedom.

To see what is sacred, look around you

Recently, I drove across central Washington on my way to Seattle. For over two hours, I listened to marvelous music by George Gershwin. I was struck by the wildly diverse “soul colors” of his music. Driving up out of Vantage, I listened to “Rhapsody in Blue.” As I neared the Rye Grass summit, the finish of “Rhapsody” came closer and closer. Rounding the last corner to the summit I heard that great musical ending as Mount Rainier burst into my view. Wow! What outstanding timing for my ears, eyes, and soul! A very sacred moment for me.

Innate goodness of human beings a challenge to see

Have you ever considered what “seeing with God’s eyes” might be like as you look at the world, or maybe another person? When I’ve used that imagery before, it is almost always in the context of looking outwardly, seeing life from a bigger, fuller perspective. But how about seeing with God’s eyes as we look inwardly? What is there to see in a bigger, fuller perspective? For one thing, today’s nettlesome question: What if there is more to being human than we usually settle for?

The earthly good aspect of salvation overlooked

When I began full-time ministry 45 years ago, one preacher-centered cliché I heard on occasion was that preachers were “so heavenly minded that they were no earthly good.” I believed just enough of its truth that I determined to be more earthly good than heavenly minded. Eventually, my understanding of Jesus confirmed this. Yes, friends, as reported in all four Gospels, Jesus spent much more time and energy preaching and living the kingdom of God as an earthly effort than as an afterlife. Yet the historical church – especially today – seems so obsessed with heaven that we, too, often forget our job as Jesus-followers is to nurture God’s kingdom right here … now.

Beliefs best explored with a healthy respect

What would you do if you came upon a hummingbird with its beak stuck in the thin wooden veneer of a door? That was exactly the dilemma faced by Philip Gulley one day. He tells about it in his thoughtful, respectful book, “The Evolution of Faith.” He carefully pulled the bird free and gently held it in his hand as it recovered. His wife took her turn holding the bird tenderly until it stirred. Then it flew away.

The son of God was a contrarian from birth

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the last in a yearlong series of letters Paul Graves has written to his grandchildren. They are based on the Peace Prayer attributed to St. Francis of Assisi.

Letting go can serve as reminder of being forgiven

Editor’s note: This is the 10th in a 12-part series of letters Paul Graves is writing to his grandchildren in 2012. They are based on the Peace Prayer attributed to St. Francis of Assisi. Dear Katie, Claire and Andy,

Giving of yourself can help you lose your ‘self’

Editor’s note: This is the ninth in a 12-part series of letters Paul Graves is writing to his grandchildren in 2012. They are based on the Peace Prayer attributed to St. Francis of Assisi.

Reveal God with comfort, understanding

Editor’s note: This is the seventh in a 12-part series of letters Paul Graves is writing to his grandchildren in 2012. They are based on the Peace Prayer attributed to St. Francis of Assisi. Dear Katie, Claire and Andy,

Counter sadness with joy

Editor’s note: This is the sixth in a series of letters Paul Graves is writing to his grandchildren about St. Francis’ Prayer of Peace. Dear Katie, Claire and Andy,

Rituals reminders of God’s hope for us

Editor’s note: This is the fifth in a series of letters Paul Graves is writing to his grandchildren about St. Francis’ Prayer of Peace.

Seeds of doubt can bear fruit of faith

Dear Katie, Claire and Andy, I don’t know what the unidentified French priest had in mind when he wrote the “peace prayer” of St. Francis in about 1912. I don’t know exactly what he meant when he said “where there is doubt, let me sow faith.”

Bridge of trust can help heal discord

Dear Katie, Claire and Andy, As we continue on this long journey into St. Francis’ Prayer of Peace, I invite you on a little detour. There is another version of the prayer that is also good to pray. It is used by the Alcoholics Anonymous organization, in the “11th Step” of their 12-Step program of recovery.

When judging candidates, careful you don’t condemn

Now that the Democratic and Republican conventions are behind us, let the judgments begin! People from all sides of the media, the internet and from each side of Main Street are weighing in on each candidate for president and vice-president. Plus we have congressional candidates to judge.