Whose Image is Stamped on Your Heart? (Matthew 22:15-22)

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By Doug Mendenhall.  People talk about how they give to those in need. Two decades ago, when we were both young and dangerous, one of the first jobs my wife held was as a collections officer for the Internal Revenue Service. For several years, she was sent to pry Uncle Sam’s due from tax dodgers and protesters in rural Appalachia. They may have grumbled, but it turned out not to be a fair match; she gave no quarter and usually came back with the dollars. Looking back, it sticks with me th … [Read more...]

What’s So “Domestic” About Violence? (Philippians 4:1-9)

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By Stephanie Buckhanon Crowder.People share their opinions and experiences about a growing concern—bullying.  I carry a purple purse. I actually bought it three years ago to treat myself to something new. Many women have complimented it, honestly to my surprise. Not that the purse is atrocious, but it does not carry a Gucci, Michael Kors, Coach, Chanel or any other tony label. It is just a purple purse that fits me and holds my essentials, and sometimes those of my children. Until re … [Read more...]

What If the Earth Was God’s Vineyard? (Matthew 21:33-46)

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By Shanell T. Smith.   Faith groups join in the People's Climate March.  Dare to go there with me, if you will. What if we imagine God’s vineyard as described in Matthew 21 to be this beautiful world we inhabit? What will happen if we reject it—if we continue to treat it with disrespect, fail to listen to its natural woes, dismiss the warning signs it gives us? What if God is keeping score? Oh. Dear. Might I remind us all, that if we do not tend to this earth, we are only … [Read more...]

In Compassion and Sympathy: A Christian Response to Religious Violence

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By Jacob D. Myers.  Addressing the rise of religious violence and the role that faith leaders have in working to a solution.“If then there is any encouragement in Christ, any consolation from love, any sharing in the Spirit, any compassion and sympathy, make my joy complete: be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.” Philippians 2:1-2 I write this essay on the eve of a US led air campaign that marks “the biggest direct military intervention in Syr … [Read more...]

Why Work to Change the World? (Matthew 21:23-32)

By Matt Skinner.  Americans talk about race. It’s hard to follow through on our commitments. It’s hard to do what we know to be right. We don’t need Jesus to remind us of all that. Most of us figured it out easily enough on our own. What, then, does Jesus contribute to our understanding of what a well-lived life looks like? Can he help people of faith be agents of change, people who look at our fouled-up world and make differences that will benefit other people and will give voice to G … [Read more...]

Blessing Those Who Have Cursed Us (Jonah 3:10—4:11)

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By Eric D. Barreto.   Volunteers channel faith, compassion, and muscle into new homes for the poor. Sometimes, we teach children the oddest Bible stories. It is certainly curious that we would decorate baby nurseries with images from the story of Noah’s Ark. The smiling elephants in the comically tiny boat must always be blocking out the mass of humanity and animal life drowning under a seemingly never-ending deluge. The story of Jonah is another favorite in the Sunday School classroom. … [Read more...]


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