Muslims, Ground Zero, Fear and Fairness

“I sympathize with all those who are afraid of Muslim terrorists. I do not join them in that fear–statistically speaking, Americans are as likely to die in their bathtubs as they are to be killed by terrorists–but I am cursed by empathy, the writer’s ability to see how other people think, live, and love. If I were a New Yorker, perhaps I would also be upset by the news that Sufi Muslims want to build a spiritual center in lower Manhattan, not far from the site of the World Trade Center attacks. Maybe. But I doubt it.” Guest blogger and Episcopal lay preacher Greg Garrett files a passionate response to the continuing debate over the proposed “Ground Zero Mosque.” [Read more...]

Eat, Pray, Love: An Invitation for Christians?

Does the film and book “Eat, Pray, Love” present an invitation to moderate and progressive Christians to take the spiritual journeys of people more seriously in preaching, program, and outreach? Guest blogger Bruce Epperly thinks so… [Read more...]

How I Rediscovered Christianity Through Islam

“The religious “other” is not the enemy; quite the contrary: it’s through her that one’s own religious identity and practice emerge more clearly.” Theology Professor Philip Clayton explores the emerging “third way” of deepening one’s own religious beliefs in a multi-faith world. [Read more...]

Belief is a Parasite: What Alice, Old Yeller and Broken Lights Can Teach Us About Dogma

Dogma imprisons us within freedom. It gives us the caged experience of liberty. It drives us to think when we are bound we are free. The illusions that dogma perpetuate empowers us with the sense of being in control of our own destiny, as if we have a choice to follow the Creator. But the fatal flaw of dogma is that the illusions aren’t real. They lie to us. They betray us by being faithful to themselves. [Read more...]

Standing Up Straight: Lectionary Reflection on Luke 13:10-17

I stayed in a convent once for a week while leading a seminar at a nearby seminary. Many of the nuns were elderly and suffered from acute osteoporosis. This is how I imagine the woman in this story. She is bent over at the waist and to be able to see where she is going, must crane her neck at an uncomfortable angle to see anything but the floor. And yet Jesus calls her to come to him. The very thing she is unable to do, stand up straight, is the thing she can immediately do, after Jesus lays hands upon her. [Read more...]

Place and Process: History, Geonarratives and Patriotism in Tension

The world as we know it has not always been so, and the world as it is will not always be as it is. The earth is a vast, complex – and beautiful – system of recycling and self-renewal. All of which gives rise to a powerful insight – there are no places, only processes. [Read more...]

Eat, Pray, Love: Spiritual Quest or Chick Flick?

Rereading parts of the book after I saw the movie, I was impressed with the depth of its insights. Gilbert is modest in the claims she makes- this is her experience, not meant to be generalized for everyone. And yet there is something in her experience that transcends one woman’s travelogue. [Read more...]

Christians in the Movies: A Complex History

In an article I wrote for Patheos a few months back, I talked about the ways in which films have depicted Protestants throughout history. In the brief space allotted, I barely scratched the surface of a rich, complex history. In his latest book, Christians in the Movies: A Century of Saints and Sinners, Peter E. Dans provides a much broader look at the representations of Christians in films over the last century. [Read more...]

The Homeless: Violent Liberators

At one point on his journey, Jesus comments on the static state of the homeless population. He says to his listeners that the homeless will always be here with us. In another place he equates a compassionate act to those in need, as the same as if we had enacted compassion directly on to Him. Essentially, the homeless population are Jesus in the flesh. They are messengers of the Rabbi from Nazareth. [Read more...]

Anxious for Nothing

“I wonder why a bible verse that served me so well in one phase of my life proved so futile during another. Could the verses that once brought me closer to God now make me feel faithless? Was I going to have to find new sources of inspiration?” Monica Coleman reflects on spiritual reading for different seasons of life. [Read more...]

Abandonment and Responsibility: Reflections on Sunday’s Scriptures

“Does there ever come a time in life in life when God withdraws God’s care and lets us experience the full consequences of our actions? Does God’s “tough love” include withholding protection for irresponsible humans?” Bruce Epperly reflects on this Sunday’s scripture texts… [Read more...]

Conversations from Chautauqua

“When I last wrote, I was on the island of Patmos out in the Greek Aegean Sea, following John the Beloved Apostle to his little cave where, in the tenth decade of his long life, he kept company with the crows and envisioned the end of the age and the coming of a new heaven and a new earth. So it is fitting that I continue my pilgrimage to the place where new visions (or nightmares) for the End Time were going to be discussed.” Our meandering pilgrim, Rebecca Cole-Turner, continues her sacred pilgrimage in a remote corner of upstate New York. [Read more...]


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