Rethinking Thanksgiving in an Age of Terror: Creating Interfaith Traditions

by Glenn ZuberAs we move into renewed period of terrorist fear and personal anxiety, how can U.S. Christians and their congregations respond with hope and solidarity during Thanksgiving? Most Americans, Christians included, value the Thanksgiving holiday as a respite from the real world and a chance to deepen relationships with family. Young adults away from family and hometowns will celebrate “Friendsgiving” with their friends. Many holiday feasts will no doubt include a prayers for the … [Read More...]


Christ is the Refugee: A Christmas Hymn

This Christmas season, Christians across Europe and the United States will sing carols in praise of a refugee child, carols that extol the virtues of hospitality to the stranger. We will weep over the "slaughter of the innocents" story and imagine with sentimental poignancy the flight of the Holy Family to Egypt to escape Herod's wrath. Then some of us will head home and post xenophobic fearmongering on Facebook, rejecting Syrian refugees, fanning the flames of Islamophobia, and forsaking our … [Read More...]


Syrian Refugees as Modern Day Lepers

Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. As he entered a village, ten lepers approached him and threw themselves at his feet, begging Jesus to “have pity on us.” If you were the leader of a religious movement with political change in mind and on your way to the capital city, as was Jesus and his followers; these leper people would not be your first choice in forming a coalition.After simple instructions from Jesus, they are miraculously cleansed and healed. Great news! However, as they went on the … [Read More...]


Have a Green Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. I love it because it calls us to remember the bounty of nature, and the debt of gratitude we owe to those first settlers and the native people of this continent. What’s more, the ritual of Thanksgiving is so simple that everyone can take part – sharing good food and time together with friends and relatives, and giving thanks for our many blessings.As I pause together with family and friends to give thanks for the food on our table, I will also ref … [Read More...]

Put the Refugee Jesus Back into Christmas

by the Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II and Jonathan Wilson-HartgroveFollowing the news that one of the Paris attackers was carrying a Syrian passport, 24 US governors asked the federal government to cease welcoming refugees from Syria this week. Though he had told the Carolina Journal on F … [Read More...]

Dear America, Let’s Stop Being So Afraid

Dear U.S., Things are pretty tough right now, we know that and I get that. We’ve still got a rather uncertain job market and the stocks are all over the place. There are plenty of concerns about health care, the state of public education, and questions about how we will pay for college (or the s … [Read More...]

Making the Grade: Considering Religious Tests and Syrian Refugees

Perhaps you have heard the suggestion that America should consider admitting at least some of the Syrian refugees? Yep. It's a real thing. There is a chance for this whole debate to be over and done with. There has been a path suggested for entrance to this land of freedom and hospitality for those … [Read More...]

Waiting with Anticipation: The Blessing of Advent

“Why do they already have Christmas decorations up?” “May I please have my turkey and football before the tree trimming and Christmas music?”So many of us get caught up creating the ideal Christmas. Retailers set up their winter displays after Halloween, and we find ourselves buying a Christ … [Read More...]

Paris vs. Beirut: When “Why” Is Not Rhetorical

Sometimes, I know, “Why?” is a rhetorical question. Like “How long?” the question “Why?” is a favorite in the psalms: “Why, O Lord, do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?” (Ps. 10:1). Sometimes we don’t expect or even want an answer to the question. Sometimes “Why?” is ju … [Read More...]

Finding Faith to Face Fear: A Place Where Terror Has No Dominion

This is what war looks like in the 21st century: The enemy is not confined to some particular country that we can attack. The enemy does not necessarily form an army that we can engage at a border. We cannot round them up. We cannot sever their lines of communication. They seem to be able to strike … [Read More...]

Dear Professor: Is This Class Going to Challenge My Faith and Make Me Uncomfortable?

I had a student write me after the very first meeting of my Bible and Western Civilization I class, which I'm teaching this semester at the University of Houston. While I won't reproduce the email here, the very condensed version of it went a little like this: "I'm very Christian, I like the Bible, … [Read More...]

Spotlight: New Movie Exposes Catholic Church Sexual Abuse Cover-Up

There really are so many more things to be outraged over as a Christian than a red coffee cup.Take, for instance, the new movie, Spotlight. Opening this month, Spotlight tells the true story of the the Boston Globe's "Spotlight" team of investigative journalists, who in 2002 shocked the city and … [Read More...]

#RedCups, #Mizzou, #VeteransDay

Yesterday I stopped at Starbucks for a coffee, and a little Snow Man sugar cookie for my son. The clerk in the store leaned over to him and said, "Save the head for last, it's the best part!" He did, and it was.Starbucks sells big red bags of coffee beans that read "Merry Christmas." They also … [Read More...]

A Great Generation: A Veteran’s Day Musical Tribute

In honor of Veteran's Day, we're sharing a music video from pastor and artist Tim Mooney. The song is called "Great Generation" and Mooney wrote it for his father, who was a World War II vet. We think it's a most fitting tribute to all of our beloved men and women who have served this country and … [Read More...]