December 7, 2023

Should I be worried that my faith is full of contradictions? When I question what I’ve been taught, am I wrestling with God? Sometimes I worry about myself because my faith is so full of contradictions. For example, I have found myself drifting further to the left over the last decade or so. Not that I was ever a fundamentalist, but I grew up in a conservative church that made sure I believed certain things. Now, as I regularly experiment... Read more

December 4, 2023

In a world fractured by war, let’s bring “peace on earth, goodwill to humanity.” Let’s stop dehumanizing and demonizing our enemies. I am a butcher. As a writer, I learned to kill my darlings. This literary phrase means that a writer must be willing to rip their favorite sections of writing out of their books if they don’t drive the narrative. Back in the days of typewriters, my bedroom floor looked like a charnel house, littered with the corpses and... Read more

November 30, 2023

“I know how you feel” is the worst thing you can tell someone who’s struggling. What’s the one phrase you can use instead to develop empathy?   When someone shares their struggles with you, the last thing you should say is “I know how you feel.” That’s because you don’t know how they feel. Even if you have been through something similar, you have never been them and are not capable of walking in their shoes. Is there something better... Read more

November 27, 2023

This time of year, the air fairly crackles with Christmas magic. Children believe in it. Adults encourage it. But where does it come from? So many of our movies and stories feature the concept of Christmas magic. Beyond the biblical narrative of Jesus’ birth, there’s this notion that magic and miracles take place at Christmas. In film, people wish on Christmas stars. Angels show up and grant wishes. Chance meetings end in lifelong happiness. The concept of Christmas magic is... Read more

November 23, 2023

Painting “The First Thanksgiving” by Ferris is racist propaganda misrepresenting the first meal between White settlers and Native Americans.   As we gather around Thanksgiving tables or watch children’s school assemblies, we hear stories of peaceful and harmonious interactions between Native Americans and White settlers. The painting, “The First Thanksgiving,” by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris depicts the first mythical meal shared by the two groups. In his blog, Teddy Barbier writes about the famous piece of art that functions more... Read more

November 20, 2023

“Antisemitism”—You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means. Is it antisemitic to oppose Israel’s war in Gaza?   The charge of antisemitism is easy to lay on someone critical of the Israeli policy against Palestinians. Not long ago, someone called me antisemitic for sharing facts about Israel’s policy of abuse and apartheid. But antisemitism is different than simple opposition to Israeli policy.   Is it Antisemitic to Oppose Israeli Policy? Some will... Read more

November 16, 2023

In religious deconstruction, you dismantle theologies and carefully reconstruct them. What do you do when deconstruction makes you crazy? Recently, a theology student told me about the classes that challenged her deeply held beliefs. Any good theology class will do this. I remember the seminary classes that upended my own simplistic Sunday school education. The first time you hear that Moses didn’t write the Pentateuch, it can rattle your cage. Or, if you believe the Bible is infallible but then... Read more

November 13, 2023

Today, most acknowledge the crimes against Indigenous people as genocide. In this way, Gazans are counterparts to Native Americans. My trip to the Little Bighorn was chilling. Driving across the country, we had to stop when we saw the signs for Custer’s Last Stand, also known as the Battle of the Greasy Grass. A decisive victory for the Lakota Sioux, Arapaho, and Northern Cheyenne, the battle claimed the lives of two hundred ten US soldiers as well as about fifty... Read more

November 9, 2023

Do you struggle with your sin nature? When the book of Romans says there is “no condemnation,” it means three things that will blow your mind!   Romans 7 discusses the inner conflict in the hearts of many believers. Paul says he feels torn between two desires. On the one hand, are the desires of sin, which are external to him as a believer. On the other are the desires of his spirit, which has been transformed to be like... Read more

November 6, 2023

At church, it’s easy to confuse dressing to impress people, with dressing to please God. Who do you think you’re fooling with those clothes? In my last article, “Does God Care What I Wear to Church?” I discussed a social media post made by a ministry colleague who believes, “When you enter God’s house, you should dress for the occasion!” In that post, we examined the history of dressing up for church. If, like me, you were raised in a... Read more

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