50th Anniversary of the Red Sea Parting

By Rabbi Dr. Shmuly Yanklowitz and Susan Barnett.This year marks the 50th anniversary of one of the most iconic scenes in film history. In the 1956 Academy Award-winning film, The Ten Commandments, the young Charlton Heston parts the Red Sea and the Israelites make their heroic escape from ancient Egypt. During the modern Passover celebration of this Exodus, when the Jews reached the safety of the far shore and the Egyptian armies were drowning in the sea, the rabbinic tradition teaches, … [Read more...]

Has Science Made God Irrelevant?

By Thomas M. Doran. I once read a science fiction story about a galaxy-roving human race that had run its ancient God to ground in a garden on an abandoned planet Earth. Rather than supplanting God in wisdom and power, these men came off as aping the serpent in the ancient story: “We have outgrown you. We want to be liberated from you. We want to be like you, but on our terms.”In much of the ancient and medieval worlds, the Creator was thought to be a grand clockmaker. The Su … [Read more...]

The Palmarian Church: New Rome or Fanatical Sect?

By Maria Hall. On a hilltop on the plains of Andalucía in Southern Spain, the huge gothic basilica of Palmar de Troya stands forever alone – a symbol of yet another sect which had distanced itself from mainstream Catholicism. An imposing wall surrounds the basilica, reminding the world of its isolation, not only religious but actual. Carmelite priests and nuns live in silence within the walls, cut off from the world, yet dedicated to praying for its conversion. No one associated … [Read more...]

Why I Got Arrested at the U.S. Capitol

By Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II.I was arrested today in Washington, DC, for insisting that the Federal government defend the 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and protect Americans’ voting rights.As a pastor, a leader of the Forward Together Moral Movement, and state chapter President of the North Carolina NAACP, I do not take arrest lightly. Anytime we see a problem, our first response must be to understand it. Nothing is worse than being loud and wrong. After doing our h … [Read more...]

Morgan Connects to God, But Is There More?

By Brian Pennington. I know he didn’t mean to, but last night, Morgan Freeman tripped over one of my major pet peeves. Not once, but a dozen times. All professors have them—pet peeves about things students routinely say or write that just set us off because they touch on some widespread misunderstanding of a concept or misuse of a phrase that drives us crazy. One of my grammatical pet peeves, for example, is “based off,” as in, “The movie was based off of the book.” A voice explo … [Read more...]

Trump, Nietzsche, and the Jewish Tradition

By Rabbi Francis Nataf. An American acquaintance recently told me that there is only one question every Israeli was asking him on his last visit—what’s with America and Trump? Like him or not, Donald Trump has captured the world’s imagination in a way very few have done before. Almost consciously setting himself up as a buffoon and a ruffian, he has nonetheless become a very serious contender for the world’s most powerful office.In response, an army of pundits has struggled t … [Read more...]

Morgan Freeman’s Apocalypse: Lifting the Veil

By Brian Pennington.Last night, Morgan Freeman returned for the second installment of The Story of God, the National Geographic Channel’s stab at the television’s Quest for Meaning genre of infotainment programming. With Freeman zipping back and forth across the globe in the private jet he commands, he doggedly pursues elusive cosmic truths. This week, Freeman was fixated on “Apocalypse,” and he wasn’t sparing an ounce of jet fuel until he had grasped the meaning of humanity’s fascination … [Read more...]

National Geographic Channel Debuts a Very Familiar “Story of God”

By Brian K. Pennington.God sells. As we rediscover every spring and winter, when grocery store check-out aisles, lined with the special issues of major news magazines, announce “new” discoveries about Jesus’ resurrection or the identity of the three wise men, the infotainment industry knows that audiences love religion. Last night, the National Geographic Channel debuted its own attempt to grab a piece of the god market, but they went big: NG didn’t just hawk God. They got the Voice of Go … [Read more...]

A Pastor, a Rabbi, and an Imam

Stop me if you’ve heard this one – a priest, a rabbi and an Imam walk into a diner… and have a fun, light-hearted, and sometimes irreverent conversation about the big spiritual questions at the heart of the National Geographic Channel’s “Story of God with Morgan Freeman.”  Rabbi Deborah Shuldenfrei, Pastor Touré Roberts, and Imam Jihad Turk tackle topics such as creation, the end of the world, and what awaits us after this life – each injecting their own style and religious perspective into the d … [Read more...]

Faith-Based Food Traditions and Religious Identities

 By Roberta Rosenthal Kwall. A Catholic chicken farmer in Kansas is making a revolutionary step forward in kosher eating, and not just because of what he brings to the dinner table. The Good Shepherd Poultry Ranch will be shipping 1,500 of its chickens in May to a rabbinically-supervised slaughterhouse in upstate New York, making kosher heritage poultry available for commercial sale for the first time since the advent of factory farming. The proprietor of the Good Shepherd ranch, … [Read more...]


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