Pope Francis Visits U.S.: Greed Is Your Fatal Flaw (Esther 7:1-6, 9-10, 9:20-22)


By Amy Erickson.We asked people what they thought about Pope Francis. During his visit to Bolivia in July, the pope addressed an audience of farmers, trash-pickers, craftspeople, and un-unionized workers. He expressed his compassion for the poor and the marginalized and advocated passionately for them, but he did not stop there. As he did in his encyclical on climate change, the pope identified and condemned the systemic and structural causes of their suffering: the global idolization of … [Read more...]

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


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...]

Sacrificing Our Sons and Daughters (Genesis 22:1-14)


By Rev. Dr. Cari Jackson.A veteran and military spouse speaks about the challenges facing her community."Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains that I shall show you" (Genesis 22:1 NRSV). Was God really directing Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac? Why?When this text was written, child sacrifices were fairly commonplace. Across ancient cultures, many believed that offering … [Read more...]

Shrewd Christians (Luke 16:1-13)


By Verity A. JonesWe worry now, but we’ve been concerned about the economy for a long time. The economic recovery from the recession in America has been slower than we hoped, and people continue to suffer from the collapse of so many industries and jobs and safety nets.  Much of the pain seems new for large swaths of the American population. But in reality, we’ve been worrying about money forever.The August employment report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows a slight decline i … [Read more...]