January 31, 2020

I named this post as a play on the title of the excellent book, Swimming in the Sea of Talmud, by Rabbi Gershon Schwartz. The work is a readable, insightful introduction to, and sampling of, the wisdom in the Talmud. A few years ago, a group of ten or so of us from my local Temple met for a few weeks to read and discuss this book together – it was a delightful and enriching experience. The book recognizes the… Read more

January 23, 2020

    It’s been a couple of years since I’ve blogged here. Sometimes, you simply run out of things to say. And talking all the time isn’t always healthy – reflection, silence, observation, rumination – all have their place. Now, after a long break, I’m returning to blogging in what the ancient Chinese proverb wryly calls, “interesting times.” Living in Interesting Times Much has changed since I was last blogging. The Trump presidency has divided the nation and shown a… Read more

March 26, 2017

As a gay man who has engaged a variety of religious traditions, my experiences have been – varied. While I’m heartened when a religious institution, congregation, denomination, etc. is “open and affirming”, that initial optimism can be quickly dampened if the acceptance morphs into “tokenism.” “This is our gay member,” someone says, showing you off to emphasize their open mindedness or largesse. Granted, I’ll take being a token and accepted over being rejected anyday. Yet what troubles me often is… Read more

March 15, 2017

Jewish theology understands itself as the result of several, interconnected Covenants described in the Hebrew Scriptures. The biblical view of Covenant is similar to that of a contract, although a Covenant is much more solemn – it’s not a business arrangement, but a sacred relationship, much like a marriage. A Covenant binds two parties together, committing each to a set of responsibilities and obligations. There’s the Covenant with Abraham, then one with Noah (but that’s intended for everyone, not just… Read more

March 12, 2017

Hard Theism I know a lot of religious people. I have many Christian friends who have a deep, seemingly real relationship with Jesus and who speak about Jesus and God (the Christian one, that is) as if they are persons who they converse with regularly. I have Pagan friends who claim to be in communication with The Morrigan, the Dagda, or some other deity – and for these folks, The Morrigan is just as real as Jesus is for the… Read more

March 10, 2017

The Jewish High Holy Days are upon us. Learn about Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and other important holidays. Read more

March 8, 2017

LISTENING TO THE WORLD – JUDAISM AS PHENOMENOLOGY  From a Jewish perspective, the foundation of spirituality is the human capacity of being called by something beyond ourselves, something that both speaks to our nature and is yet embedded there. In moments of quiet honesty, we find ourselves with a given orientation – and that orientation offers itself up as an approach to our better selves – it is the voice of our own objective nature calling us toward fulfillment. We… Read more

March 5, 2017

Can we talk? I mean, really … can we dialog … about sex? This post will be slightly difficult, because many Jews differ with Christians (and vice-versa) about the meaning of human sexuality and sexual ethics. I know, I know … but let’s take things one step at a time … at least for the sake of mutual understanding. When we’re done, I welcome your questions, objections, and insights – please, feel free to comment. I want to remind the… Read more

March 3, 2017

Jewish theology has abundant philosophical and ethical principles pertaining to society, culture, economics, and human interaction. The Hebrew Scriptures, and other Jewish sacred writings, offer a myriad of teachings aimed at ordering society according to justice and mercy. On a personal note, having formally studied both Catholic Social Teaching and Jewish theology and social ethics, I can say that there is tremendous overlap. Both traditions share a similar set of principles, operate from similar foundations, and reach overlapping conclusions. There… Read more

February 28, 2017

  Many Christians’ first (and sometimes only) encounter with Judaism is through the Gospels and Christian theology. However, the Gospels largely present a form of Judaism that largely no longer exists. Additionally, the Gospels present the Pharisees as Jesus’ Jewish foil, and therefore, many of the descriptions and stories have a somewhat polemical purpose. Much of Jesus’ ministry focused on a genuine spirituality that transcended legalism and ritual purity concerns – and often the legalism of the Pharisees was exaggerated… Read more

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