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People of faith, particularly Christians, seem to be conflicted about whether protests do any good, or even if protests are “Christian.” Aren’t we supposed to be peace-lovers, even peacemakers? Certainly. So, I ask: Can peacemaking include protests? In 2 words: OF COURSE.
After retiring from parish ministry in 1995, Paul Graves quickly realized that he was going to miss writing his weekly sermons. “I used preaching, in part, as a way of ordering my own life,” Graves said.
Next month, I will begin my 26th year wandering the faith-and-values landscape. This longevity is both a shock to me and a source of serious gratitude. So please indulge my thoughts about “gratitude” today.
For some people, I suspect their collection of beliefs does resemble a fragile house of cards. In this circumstance, doubt is indeed a kind of threat.But there is a much healthier kind of doubt I suggest you consider.
Deep-down, what does all that shouting and posturing really matter? What seems to matter to the riverbanks people is their inalienable right to be angry, to be fearful. I thought our inalienable rights were to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” not anger and fear.
With only eight days until Election Day, so much of daily thought and conversation centers on political matters.
When it comes to the hot and hostile topic of racism, how can I talk so another person will listen? Maybe more importantly, how can I listen so another person will talk?
Six degrees of separation is the popular idea that all people are six, or fewer, social connections from each other. The term was first used in 1929 – and popularized in a 1993 movie of the same name – to emphasize how closely connected people are all over the world.
Art is intended to communicate value. Cultivate that value, and learn to find the artful in the ordinary, just as Norman Rockwell taught us.
Each day between now and including Thanksgiving Day, be very conscious of the little things for which you are thankful – in your home, at work, with friends, even with strangers. See each opportunity as an offering plate of sorts.
Everywhere we look, from majestic mountains or sunsets to the tiniest stamen in a flower, we need to be increasingly aware of how our world is nourished by every living organism around us. Whether we refer to “God’s creation,” the “natural world” or some other term, we are smack-dab in the middle of it. Let’s be aware.
Our religious doctrines are pockmarked with winner/loser theologies – zero-sum games on steroids. Yet along comes Jesus and effectively says, “God won’t play your zero-sum game of scarcity. Neither will I!”
God listens to the languages of our hearts – however healthy or unhealthy they may be –and then loves us, so we can use that same listening art to offer a healing moment to each other.
When identity politics drives us to exclude ourselves from others, we’ve missed Jesus’ whole point about loving our enemies.
So much of Christian theology and the rituals resulting over the centuries from that theology have focused on people basically being “worthless,” in ultimate need of salvation. Well, as I read the words and spirit of Jesus, “salvation” meant “healing” more than a ticket to heaven. So how might that worthlessness be healed? How about a vaccination?
Easter’s message can be one of restoration, reconciliation
I nearly always observe God showing up on the margins of our lives as well. That makes me wonder if our spiritual centers just may not always be where we think they are.
I tend to grow more and more impatient with the superficial ways we toss the word “hospitality” into our conversations. It is a very ancient, honorable word. But we domesticate it, reduce it to pleasant manners and forced smiling at others. Hospitality is transformative when it is authentic! Examples of biblical hospitality are many (Genesis 18:1-15; I Kings 17: 9-24; Luke 24: 13-25 to cite three). The transformative power of hospitality really shows itself, whether biblically or in today’s experience, when it finds ways to turn hostility into the friendship and freedom of hope.
Self-examination requires we look deep and wide for our “better angels.” Resolve requires we listen courageously to those better angels.
We don’t always know why another person is silent. Even when we do, our own silence is often the best gift we can offer another person.