God’s church is more than a collection of giving units. As the bride, she is united to Jesus Christ. Sometimes Christian leaders refer to their congregants as “giving units,” that is, as those who contribute financially to the church institution. It is so easy in our free market society to measure God’s people primarily by what they contribute to the church collection plate. After all, our society often places supreme value on the effective exchanges of goods and services; such… Read more

Today, on Palm Sunday, Christians around the world wave palm branches in remembrance of people greeting Jesus on his entry into Jerusalem: “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” (Matthew 21:9; ESV) People around the world also join palms in prayer in remembrance of Coptic Christians killed today by deadly blasts in two churches in Egypt. Regardless of our ecclesial affiliation, we who are Christians must not only join palms… Read more

Whenever one considers natural and/or moral disasters, one can easily come away overwhelmed and despondent. What moves us to action to aid those who suffer in the wake? Hope certainly has something to do with moving beyond the threat of paralysis or inactivity in many if not all situations. Public opinion across the world will continue to weigh in on whether President Trump should have ordered the destruction of the airfield in Syria that reportedly housed the planes used in… Read more

“Mom was right: You are what you eat.” Could it also be true that we become what we view? Here I’m reminded of the short story, The Great Stone Face, published by Nathaniel Hawthorne in 1850. The story is based on an old legend claiming that someone would arise in their midst that would look like the Great Stone Face—a rock formation on a nearby mountainside that had the air of a living human countenance from the right distance and… Read more

The prayer often attributed to St. Francis of Assisi referred to as the “Peace Prayer” includes the words, “Where there is hatred, let me sow love.” Even though it is often claimed that St. Francis did not pen the prayer, it still resonates and penetrates our hearts as if he or someone like him did. And yet, we need to ask what is meant by love. We all have notions of love, but what kind of love does the prayer envision?… Read more

In view of the heated engagement nationally and globally concerning environmental protections and the economy, I reached out to an environmental studies professor at a Christian university to seek his perspective on comprehensive health. My hope is that the cool-headed exchange in the interview that follows will help clear up some of the smog surrounding pressing issues. These issues concern human health, the well-being of our planet, and economic vitality. Steven A. Kolmes is Director of the Environmental Studies Program, Professor of… Read more

Creative Commons The American Psychological Association specifies several ways to build resilience in the face of trauma. One of them is “make connections.” Here is what the APA says about the need to make relational connections: Good relationships with close family members, friends or others are important. Accepting help and support from those who care about you and will listen to you strengthens resilience. Some people find that being active in civic groups, faith-based organizations, or other local groups provides social… Read more

The prayer often attributed to St. Francis of Assisi referred to as the “Peace Prayer” begins, “Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.” Even though it is often claimed that St. Francis did not pen the prayer, it still resonates and penetrates our hearts as if he or someone like him did. But how often do we pray for peace when we are engaged in intense conflicts? I wonder what St. Francis would say if he were here today, when countries like… Read more

Have you ever participated in a “White Elephant” gift exchange at Christmas? Here’s how Secret Santa defines the game: The game derives its name from the term white elephant as defined by something of dubious or limited value or an object no longer of value to its owner but of value to others. Thus, in its basic form the game calls for people to bring “gag” gifts or gifts they received that they have no use for. Whenever I participate… Read more

How just and how advanced is a society that does not provide affordable, quality health care for all its members? Our answer may depend on whether you and I consider human health a fundamental human need and right. Is the solution to allow market forces to dictate what is right and just? If so, Wall Street and Washington, D. C. have become one. In that event, there would be no recourse to regulating market forces when such forces can’t keep… Read more

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