Reflections on the Revolution in Egypt

My most personal connection to Egypt is spending a few days in Cairo and the Sinai Peninsula during my junior year of college. We spent six weeks on an unforgettable travel study through Egypt, Jordan, Israel, and Italy. But we started our journey in Cairo, and I will confess that -- as amazing as the rest of the trip was -- it was all downhill after seeing the Pyramids on day one.Walking in the sands of Giza, in the shadow of the only remaining of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, I … [Read more...]

Justice, Kindness, God: A Lectionary Reflection for the 4th Sunday after Epiphany

In the Hebrew Scripture reading, the prophet Micah is asked how to worship rightly, but he’s not asked just one question; he’s asked four questions:“With what shall I come before the LORD, and bow myself before God on high? Shall I come before God with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousands of rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?”The questio … [Read more...]

New Governor Gets MLK Exactly Wrong

Governor-elect of Alabama Robert Bentley, speaking Monday on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in none other than Dexter Avenue Baptist Church where King himself was once pastor, said the following, less than one hour after taking office: anybody here today who has not accepted Jesus Christ as their savior, I'm telling you, you're not my brother and you're not my sister, and I want to be your brother. Not surprisingly, news headlines almost immediately exploded. MSNBC's website posted in bold: New … [Read more...]

On What Facts Are Your Opinions of MLK Based?

Last week at an event commemorating the life of Martin Luther King, Jr., Department of Defense General Counsel Jeh Johnson said the following: I believe that if Dr. King were alive today, he would recognize that we live in a complicated world, and that our nation's military should not and cannot lay down its arms and leave the American people vulnerable to terrorist attack.... Every day, our servicemen and women practice the dangerousness -- the dangerous unselfishness Dr. King preached on April … [Read more...]

Freudian Slips, "Mecca of Prejudice" and "Blood Libel"

Almost every angle of last Saturday's tragic shooting in Tucson has been parsed to the minutest degree. However, I have heard almost no commentary on Sheriff Clarence Dupnik's use of the word "Mecca" when he described Arizona as "the mecca for prejudice and bigotry." I happen to agree with most of the sheriff's remarks at that press conference, so I am mostly observing that, when speaking extemporaneously about the the recent tragedy, he -- perhaps more unconsciously than consciously -- used the … [Read more...]

Recommendations for Spiritual Practice in the New Year

1. Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals by Shane Claiborne, et al (You can preview the book for free at commonprayer.net)2. On the Threshold of Transformation: Daily Meditations for Men by Richard Rohr (I also highly recommend Rohr's short daily e-mails. Click here to subscribe.)3. Prayers for a Planetary Pilgrim: A Personal Manual for Prayer and Ritual by Edward Hays … [Read more...]

Best Netflix DVDs Watched in 2010

Since I haven't had cable for years and detest commercials, you'll notice that I use my Netflix queue mostly to keep up on television shows I've missed (albeit we're always a season behind) and films that didn't always come to a theater nearby: 1. Winter's Bone 2. The Last Station 3. The Kids Are All Right 4. Dexter 5. Jericho 6. Supernatural 7. Grey’s Anatomy 8. Kings 9. Boston Legal 10. Gilmore Girls … [Read more...]

Best Books Read in 2010

1. JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters by James W. Douglas 2. Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition by Daniel Okrent 3. The Beloved Community: How Faith Shapes Social Justice from the Civil Rights Movement to Today by Charles Marsh 4. Freedom: A Novel by Jonathan Franzen 5. Binding the Strong Man: A Political Reading of Mark's Story of Jesus by Ched Myers 6. Perfect Martyr: The Stoning of Stephen and the Construction of Christian Identity by Shelly … [Read more...]

Favorite Podcasts

When I'm commuting, exercising, or cleaning, I'm usually also podcasting. I love being able to listen to what I want, when I want -- and being able to skip an episode if it is not interesting. In the spirit of New Year's "Top Ten" lists, the following are my top ten favorite podcasts of 2010: (1) NPR: Religion - Not long ago my car radio was almost always tuned to NPR. Recently I have taken to listening selectively to my favorite NPR segments. Since I'm a big religion nerd, I love being able to l … [Read more...]

Justice Stevens, Jesus, and the Death Penalty

Retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens recently wrote a review of a new book titled Peculiar Institution: America’s Death Penalty in an Age of Abolition by legal scholar David Garland. I haven't read Garland's book, but I appreciated Stevens' review. One highlight for me was "the death penalty represents 'the pointless and needless extinction of life with only marginal contributions to any discernible social or public purposes.'”While reading this article, my mind was flooded with the … [Read more...]


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