Death, Injustice, and a Basket of Fruit (Amos 8:1-12)

By Melissa Browning.Things aren’t always what they seem. Like that time God sent Amos a fruit basket. It was a tricky move. Generally speaking, a fruit basket is a wonderful, cheerful gift. Strawberries, blueberries, plums – or in Amos’ case, ripe figs. Everybody loves summer fruit. It reminds us of picnics, and parks, and cookouts with friends. But when God sent Amos a fruit basket, it came with a foreboding little note that proclaimed the end of the world.This “dresser of sycamore t … [Read more...]

Learning from Mary in Our Age of Endless War (Luke 1:39-55)

By Matthew L. Skinner.Author and activist Shane Claiborne champions a program that turn weapons of death into instruments of hope.National Geographic magazine recently named Mary, the mother of Jesus, “the most powerful woman in the world” as an appraisal of her ongoing influence and popularity. But do Mary’s words and example have a prayer of being heard and effecting change in this time of war?Life during WartimeIndeed, this is war. America has effectively been engaged in co … [Read more...]

The Challenge of Jonah Encountering Radicalization Through Radical Inclusion

By Frances Flannery.Since the Paris attacks, many in the U.S. have drawn deeper boundary lines between “us” and “them” in an ugly way that in my lifetime I only recall seeing after 9/11.  It is true that ISIS is related to Islam in an extremist way, much as the KKK is related to Christianity (think of the burning crosses).  Yet this association has caused some politicians, pundits, and ordinary citizens to become much more suspicious of Muslims in general, despite the fact that far less than … [Read more...]

Veteran’s Day: War on Every Shore (Mark 13:1-8)

By Shively Smith.Faith communities are uniquely positioned to help military families and veterans. It is so easy to read Mark and think of war as far off—especially if you are someone living in a neighborhood or region that has a semblance of peaceful times. For non-military families and organizations it is easy to miss that “wars and rumors of wars” mean families, perhaps right next door to us, are bracing for the possibility that parents or children may be leaving soon. Annually, on Nove … [Read more...]

Our Children Are Us (Psalm 127)

By Cari Jackson. The Alhambra Police Department in California created the Youth Diversion Program to keep kids in school and out of prison. In every moment, we are every age we have ever been, according to psychologist Carl Rogers. For me this means, our bodies are like a bus riding down the highway of life and all of the passengers are who we have been at every age. As we travel through life, somethings we see, hear and experience evoke feelings of great joy, love, and calm or … [Read more...]

When War Becomes a Way of Life (2 Samuel 11:1-15)

By Raj Nadella.Victor is one veteran struggling to support his family. It has been intriguing to watch the mixed reaction to the nuclear accord with Iran that can help the United States avoid another major war. The last major war the U.S. fought—the 2003 Iraq war—cost the taxpayers nearly two trillion dollars and about half a trillion in benefits still owed to veterans. More than 4,500 Americans died fighting that war and tens of thousands of veterans and their families continue to live … [Read more...]