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Thursday, October 22, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Faith and Values: Be an aware, active advocate of creation

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.

Faith and Values: Jesus didn’t play zero-sum games

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!”

Faith and Values: Listening is a healing art

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.

Faith and Values: For my grandchildren, a vaccine against “worthlessness”

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?

Faith and Values: Hospitality begins with the ‘other’ within

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.

Faith and Values: A politics worthy of the human spirit

I’m sick and fatigued nearly to the point of despair – only nearly! – by the divides we must navigate over matters political and religious, especially when they combine into a cesspool of disrespect and dishonesty. So let’s take a breath and uncover our deeper human spirit that’s been smothered by so much fearful dehumanizing talk and action.

Faith and Values: Begging for some truth pieces

Are you ever puzzled? I find myself puzzled most every day. It’s usually because I don’t seem to find the right truth-piece(s) to fit into the larger Truth Puzzle I seek. They aren’t easily found, even when I internally beg to find them.

Faith and Values:

The collective heart of our nation seems split in two. Part of our heart seems callous, hardened, wild with fear, bizarrely ready to lash out at perpetrators and victims alike. I only vaguely comprehend this. Life still seems too cheap for some who aren’t able to see children as true children.

Faith and Values: A tower to nowhere

The Tower of Babel story (Genesis 11:1-9) has been interpreted in a number of ways over the centuries. I became aware of a new (to me) interpretation in the Nov. 8 issue of the Christian Century. Rabbi Shai Held compellingly dismissed some of the traditional looks at that tower. He focused instead on a well-constructed view that makes this story more understandable in the religious and political climates we live in today.

Faith and Values: I truly don’t understand when believers settle for spiritual shallows

In September, I wrote a letter to our grandkids encouraging them to not stay in the spiritual shallows. They have more control there, but they experience less of what life has to offer them. I want to revisit that piece in a different way. I begin with a true pastoral story. Nearly 40 years ago, a wonderful, elderly member of the church I served at that time always greeted me after worship with “Paul, you gave me something to think about today.” She also described herself as a Christian who studied the Bible and believed every word written there. I’ll call her “Grace.”