With The Zimzum of Love and his new Oprah Network TV show, Rob Bell broadens his focus but it’s all spiritual

As Rob and Kristen Bell’s book, The Zimzum of Love: A New Way of Understanding Marriage, blankets the country and Rob’s new TV show premieres on Oprah’s network tonight, it is clear his focus has shifted to speaking about spiritual principles rather than specifically Christian, or even religious, ones. His new book about marriage mentions Jesus and scripture only occasionally, which has caused some conservative Christians to freak out. But to affirm the spiritual dimension of life and speak in un … [Read More...]

Sister Simone Campbell of "Nuns On The Bus" speaking in lower Manhattan. Source: Thomas Altfather Good, 2012, Wikimedia C.C.

Vatican’s vendetta investigation of American women religious completes under Pope Francis, with praise instead

What a difference a few years makes. With the final Vatican report of Cardinal Law’s vendetta investigation of American women religious, this ugly episode is finally put to rest. He and Pope Benedict's team really should have finished it before they left power if they wanted a different outcome. Now under Pope Francis, Fr. Jim Martin reports in America,... it is a document that will most likely be welcomed by many of the women religious who are heroes to American Catholics. The report is n … [Read More...]

Sybil MacBeth’s The Season of the Nativity is a trove of ideas for fellow Advent extremists

I've always loved Christmas. Growing up in an atheist ex-Christian household, though, the religious aspects of it were limited to: a small crèche on a side table which was never referenced or examined; a star ornament on the top of the Christmas tree; my mother’s occasional mentioning that Jesus was … [Read More...]

There Is No Other: The Radical Message of St. Francis in Jon Sweeney’s New Book

At the beginning of his new book, When Saint Francis Saved The Church, Jon Sweeney warns that what is to follow will not support the "sentimental" rendering of St. Francis as a gentle animal-loving pacifist. But that's a bit of a tease. It’s not that he paints a different picture; it’s that he pain … [Read More...]

Benjamin Corey’s “Undiluted” Calls Fundamentalists to Return to Fundamentals of Love and Openness

Fundamentalism is associated with right-wing movements that say the true path is one of harshness, judgement and tribalism. But there have always been waves of reform in religions calling for a return to other types of fundamentals; they sometimes (rarely) say that the old ways to which we should … [Read More...]

Great Bible Intro Is That Much Better as E-textbook

My own stint with an e-textbook startup last year taught me about the complexity of the format. It’s not enough to be a digital copy of a paper book, with perhaps bookmarks and highlighting. There are already plenty of e-readers for that. You need to offer layers of utility and connectivity that c … [Read More...]

Protestants Can Use Prayer Beads Too

There are many ways to pray. I practice and teach centering prayer, a Christian form of meditation that uses no words or objects. (Well, just the occasional word, but that needs a longer explanation you’ll find here.) I also sometimes chant Psalms as part of the Hours. I recite fixed prayers like t … [Read More...]

The Giver brings the timely dystopian novel fully and compellingly to life on screen

The Giver, which opens this Friday, August 15, explores a familiar dystopian trope which seems to be everywhere recently -- Divergent, Hunger Games -- that society attempts to solve the problem of human frailty, anger, violence, etc. by imposing uniformity/conformity. (Depending on the author’s vis … [Read More...]

From Dinner Church to Neighborhood Hub, Building Community Through Working Side by Side

Working side by side making a meal, breaking bread, eating and sharing conversation around the dinner table, then cleaning up together creates community in a very real way. You get to know about each other, but there’s something much more profound going on. Deeply connected to the Judeo-Christian t … [Read More...]

Freedom from Struggle: Meditation To Ground You While You Work for the Liberation of Others — my talk at Wild Goose in NC 6/27 3pm

If you're coming to the Wild Goose Festival in North Carolina June 26 - 29, or still considering whether to make the trip, just a heads-up that I will be offering a centering prayer-based presentation again this year; my topic is, "Freedom from Struggle: Meditation To Ground You While You Work for … [Read More...]

Philip and the eunuch: A Reflection on Acts 8:36-38

Today's daily meditation in Living Faith is one of mine. The reading is:As they traveled along the road they came to some water, and the eunuch said, "Look, there is water! What is to prevent my being baptized?" Then he ordered the chariot to stop, and Philip and the eunuch both went down into … [Read More...]

Do not work for food that perishes but for the food that endures: A Reflection on John 6:27

Today's daily meditation in Living Faith is one of mine. The reading is:Do not work for food that perishes but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. -- John 6:27It's the bit before "I am the bread of life." Here's part of my reflection:Jesus is … [Read More...]

The Integrity of Creation

My science-loving atheist dad introduced me to the wonders of nature in our months-long summer camping vacations. I didn’t have the language then, and he didn’t use it, but he was showing me what awed him, what he saw as divine: canyons, redwoods, still mountain lakes. Several decades later, high in … [Read More...]

Pope Francis to Remind Conservatives Again Foot Washing Is About Humility Not Piety, and Not Patriarchy

Pope Francis caused a big kerfuffle among some conservative Catholics last year when he washed the feet of women and Muslims on Holy Thursday. One canon lawyer, Edward Peters, said the pope was setting a "questionable example" by not respecting the rules enough. Of course the other 99% of the world … [Read More...]