Why Our Bodies Matter

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By Greg Carey Immediately following the election of Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio as Pope came the predictable speculation. From the United States and other wealthy nations, folks wondered what the new Pope would say about issues related to gender and human sexuality. What about birth control, homosexuality, and women’s leadership in the church? Did the new Pope really support civil unions for gay and lesbian couples in Argentina, as some reported? Others, including many from Latin … [Read more...]

The Liturgy of the Passion (Isaiah 50:4-9a)

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Dr. Walter Brueggemann The voice that speaks in Isaiah 50:4 – 9a is the poet of the exile himself. Here he offers an autobiographical reflection on his call as a prophet sent by God to the deported Jews in Babylon in the sixth century BCE. His message to the Jews is they are now free to go back home to Jerusalem. This freedom came, says the poet, because of the dispatch of Cyrus the Persian at the behest of YHWH, the Lord of all of history. … [Read more...]

Pressing on Toward Higher Goals: Philippians 3:4b-14

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By Efrain Agosto I have often wondered about the trajectories my life has taken. I was raised a Latino Pentecostal in New York City but educated in a liberal arts tradition at Columbia University in Manhattan. I was exposed to evangelical and then liberal Protestant traditions in seminary and graduate school. My theological views have changed over the years. I have moved from Pentecostal to Baptist to Congregational (United Church of Christ) church traditions. Yet at each step of the … [Read more...]

When People You Don’t Much Like Receive God’s Love

By Eric D. Barreto Our distaste for people who cut in line remains unchanged as we grow up. Whether someone gets to the front of the lunch line or the airport security check before us in an unfair way, our annoyance is raised. People who steal our parking spots during the Christmas season are the recipients of our worst thoughts. We might--just might--yell a string of expletives and death threats at anyone who has wronged us on the road or in a parking lot. It’s not just about being … [Read more...]

How to Survive the Sequester, Syria, and Other Threatening Headlines (Luke 13:1-9)

By Matthew L. Skinner Current events, like much about our lives, frequently leave us hopeless, fearful, and uncertain. Religious faith isn’t a matter of wishing away these experiences; it involves perceiving God in the midst of our hardships. I still remember one Friday night when I, an overly sensitive preteen, made a conscious decision to stop watching the nightly news with the rest of my family. I found what I saw too depressing and threatening: crime after crime, yet another house … [Read more...]

Climate Change and Setting the World on Fire

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By Melissa Browning It was Earth Day, 1988. I was in my fifth grade “Earth Science” class, a place where one might expect to talk about the importance of caring for the earth. But this was not what we were talking about that day. At least, we weren’t talking about it until one student asked our teacher about the hole in the ozone layer and whether or not she should stop using hairspray. Our science teacher replied by saying that hairspray wasn’t a problem because the end of the world … [Read more...]

Giving Up Guns for Lent (Luke 4:1-13)

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ByEric D. Barreto Obviously, Jesus didn’t own a gun, never said anything directly about firearms. He couldn’t have. Of course, that won’t solve the debates now broiling this nation about violence and the people and tools that perpetuate it. Nonetheless, the fact that Jesus has nothing to say about guns has not stopped a number of pundits from extrapolating Jesus’ ethics on gun violence. In recent days, some Christians have tried to construct a case that Jesus himself would support … [Read more...]

We’ll Walk Hand in Hand?

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By Rev. Stephanie Buckhanon Crowder, Ph.D. "The old avocations by which colored men obtained a livelihood are rapidly, unceasingly and inevitably passing into other hands; every hour sees the black man elbowed out of employment by some newly arrived emigrant, whose hunger and whose color are thought to give him a better title to the place." -Frederick Douglass “Learn Trades or Starve” (1853) The Obama Administration and a bipartisan group in the Senate are making serious turns … [Read more...]

Immigration Reform and the Challenges of Generosity (Luke 4:22-30)

By Matthew L. Skinner Charity doesn’t leave us unchanged, which is just one reason why it’s hard to make ourselves do it. To be more specific: when we extend generosity and justice to others, it alters our relationship to them. Especially when those “others” are foreign to us. Hospitality has ways of making the people who receive it come inside and stick around, whether we really want them to or not. We see this on display in Luke 4:22-30, which tells the second half of a story … [Read more...]

A Vision for America: John 2:1-11

By Reverend Dr. Alvin O'Neal Jackson “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.” John 2:10 Occupy the Dream Spurred on by the Occupy Wall Street movement, African-American leaders have banded together to forge the Occupy the Dream movement to highlight the widening gap between the rich and poor. Economic injustice was a focus of Dr. Martin Luther King's activism … [Read more...]