October 20, 2014

I put on my 3-D glasses as Ridley Scott appeared on the screen. In his dapper accent, he thanked his audience of film critics at the 42nd Street AMC, and explained that we would be seeing unlocked footage of a few scenes from his unfinished film Exodus: Gods and Kings, which releases in December. He said the classic biblical story of Moses leading the Hebrews out of slavery under the heavy hand of his ‘brother’ Rhamses in Egypt, was at its core… Read more

December 9, 2013

Iranian Musician Anis Oveis Risks Everything for Music —————— Outside in the night air, a security guard keeps watch for authorities. Inside, a beautiful young woman fidgets with her scarf, making sure her hair is completely covered. The band Mavara, for which she plays keyboard, takes the stage, but at the first sign of trouble they are ready with a plan to shut everything down. They are nervous, not just because they are about to perform, but because they don’t… Read more

October 17, 2013

“Sin. There is no sin. A man does what he wishes with his property.” The whip hisses and pops, tearing open the flesh of a slight-framed, barely pubescent slave girl. Stripped naked and hog-tied to the whipping post, terror and resignation cohabit her face. Patsey once sat humming naively in the fields, fashioning dolls from the others’ discarded corn husks, a deranged benefit of Master Edwin Epps’ alternative use of her body. Her innocence is not just his property, but… Read more

August 13, 2013

Raising healthy girls and successful young women means not just instilling strong faith, but giving them faith in themselves.  —– Musicals have a tradition of being, at heart, love stories. A show’s energy is generated not only by rousing music, but by the audience anxiously rooting for the damsel to escape the clutches of the villain (whatever form that takes), for the star-crossed lovers to defeat the odds and stroll off into the sunset. Rarely disappointing, in an upbeat finale,… Read more

July 21, 2013

Can a Muslim man help young Christian women find Jesus? Like so many of us, acclaimed author Reza Aslan had that unforgettable, life-changing moment: a come to Jesus moment. At the age of 15, the Iranian-born Aslan, whose family fled the revolution and left religion behind, found Jesus in the blue skies of 1980s Northern California. He had a divine encounter with a savior that created, as it is wont to do, a passionate evangelist who shared the good news… Read more

July 1, 2013

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. — 1 John 4:18 Where do you find fear in your thinking and actions? Those are the places we must set our sights to discover and where we must focus our spiritual efforts to heal, since we will not be able to truly think or act with love in those spaces. Real… Read more

June 20, 2013

What happens when a few good men decide manhood needs an overhaul?  Last month I mentioned the enlightening and sometimes shocking discussion that unfolded during the all-male panel moderated by Eve Ensler [a sold-out event at the Paley Center for Media] called “Breaking the Male Code: After Steubenville, A Call to Action.” (You can see the panel roster and bios at that link.) Our country having just last weekend celebrated fatherhood at its most idealistic, it feels like a good time to… Read more

May 12, 2013

Mother God, Today we honor the mothers of the world and we honor our Mother God. We honor the deep strength, the sheer grace, the unending love, the watchful eye of the fierce, unwavering protector. We honor the lioness, the stalwart vigil kept, the spirit fire lit, the tears bravely spilt, the strategic sacrifice, the billowing, brilliant mind which thinks, which dreams, which leads us in the harsh struggle for the greater good. For the pain of birth and the… Read more

May 6, 2013

After my last post about the Patheos theme of “Defining Moments” Mike Helbert left the comment, “It’s been awhile!” (Thanks for your note Mike!) It’s been awhile because I’ve been speechlessly saddened over the past several weeks as I listened to news story after story about young women committing suicide after being raped, often not fully understanding what happened until the rapists sent pictures of the attacks viral. These 13- through 16-year-old girls were criminally violated, socially humiliated, psychologically destroyed… Read more

April 27, 2013

My three most significant defining moments over the past decade have had one thing in common: they involved the decision to listen to some “crazy” people and ignore some “smart” ones. Learning to discern whose wacky wisdom to take to heart and whose sober advice to set aside has been a precarious curve, but the outcome has proven worth the risks. It all began in 2004 in a nail salon in Chelsea, near my first apartment in New York City…. Read more

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