Kelly Palmer 2-16-2018

Jesus told his disciples to “take up their cross and follow me” a year before his trial and execution. And his disciples at that time would have heard it very differently from the way we interpret it today. To the disciples, a cross wasn't a symbol of atonement, forgiveness, or forbearance — it was an official mode of execution, by oppressors and occupiers. It was an instrument of terror. Jesus' words to the disciples were not just a warning. They were an exhortation to follow him anyway, in complete defiance of the very worst anyone could possibly do to us.

Abby Olcese 2-16-2018

Image via Black Panther Movie/Facebook

Should we be building walls, or making it easier for people seeking a better life to enter our borders? Should we use our resources to exercise military might, or to fix a system rigged against people of color and people in poverty? Wakanda knows its answer. Perhaps Black Panther can help American audiences reconsider ours.

Kelley Burd-Huss 2-15-2018

Tyra Hemans, a 19-year-old senior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, sobs as she holds signs honoring slain teachers and friends in Parkland, Fla. Feb. 15, 2018. REUTERS/Zachary Fagenson

The National Rifle Association, the conversation leader in our country's debate on gun violence, is an organization founded and operated as a trade association for the firearms industry. In short? Their chief reason for existence is to sell more guns and gun accessories. And the money reflects this reality. 

Charles L. Howard 2-15-2018

Image via Nataly Reinch / Shutterstock.com

It is an awful and awesome time to be Black in America. I hear the voices of those who came before say “it always has been son.” Yet the last few years have been especially psychologically traumatizing and awful. The images of unarmed Black bodies being shot, choked, and killed by police officers looping on television and social media and the lack of justice or accountability around many of those murders have haunted me. The resurgence of (and the unhelpful media attention given to) a racist White nationalism. The introduction of policies and executive orders that seek to dismantle progress that took decades to build. And the ascendance of a bigoted fearful president who rose to political power on lies about our first Black president, lies about other minorities, and by playing to the siege mentality of many White Americans. All of this has been added to the daily micro and macro aggressions we experience and the contorting demanded of us to calm white neighbors, colleagues and classmates. It is exhausting. Maddening. Awful

Jim Wallis 2-15-2018

FILE PHOTO: Protesters calling for an immigration bill addressing Dreamers in the Hart Office Building. Jan. 16, 2018. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

It’s not always the case that the gospel is at stake in a Senate debate. But this week it is. Starting yesterday, on Ash Wednesday, the United States Senate engaged in a debate with enormous moral stakes for who we are as a nation, and it is the moral obligation of Christians in this country to get involved.

Juliet Vedral 2-14-2018

Image via CBS/Living Biblically Facebook video screenshot 

Based loosely on A.J. Jacobs’ book The Year of Living Biblically, the show centers on Chip, a man who, after losing his best friend and learning that his wife is pregnant, decides to do a sort of “soul-cleanse” by living his life completely by the Bible. Chip, played by Jay R. Ferguson, rather than taking the advice of his priest to live generally by the Bible, chooses instead to live literally by the Bible. With the help of his “God Squad,” Father Gene (Ian Gomez) and Rabbi Gil (David Krumholtz), the grudging support/tolerance of his wife Leslie (Lindsey Kraft), his best friend Vince (Tony Rock), and his boss Ms. Meadows (Camryn Manheim) Chip explores his faith and how to live it out, often to hilarious effect.

Roy E. Barsness 2-14-2018

A recent tweet sent out by Dr. John Piper’s Desiring God ministries team sure sounded like an attack upon counseling and psychology.

On Feb. 6, Desiring God tweeted, “ We will find mental health when we stop staring at the mirror and fix our eyes on the strength and beauty of God.”

Grace Ji-Sun Kim 2-14-2018

Noriaki Kasai of Japan carries the national flag at the games' Opening Cermony. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard 

The colonial narrative that colonizers sometimes improve the lives of colonial subjects is false and is used as a propaganda tool by those who seek to justify continued invasion and colonization of the world through imperialism.

Kaitlin Curtice 2-13-2018

Copies of the President Trump's FY 2019 budget proposal are delivered to Capitol Hill. Feb. 12, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
 

This week the Trump administration released a new idea for domestic food aid. They want to send boxes to people who are recipients SNAP/food stamps, while slashing about half of what they can use via Electronic Benefit Transfer cards at grocery stores.

Image via Lawrence OP / Flickr

Valentine’s Day, in fact, originated as a liturgical feast to celebrate the decapitation of a third-century Christian martyr, or perhaps two. So, how did we get from beheading to betrothing on Valentine’s Day?

Joe Kay 2-13-2018

On the surface, the confluence of Valentines and ashes seems to produce an odd and uncomfortable couple, but it’s fitting to have one day of celebrating love in all its forms while also recognizing our mortality.

Love and dust? There’s no better pairing.

Juliet Vedral 2-12-2018

It’s because of the tendency to forget our First Love — to rely on emotions and feelings instead of true sacrifice and commitment — that we need Ash Wednesday this Valentine’s Day. 

Jana Riess 2-12-2018

White House Staff Secretary Rob Porter (L) reminds U.S. President Donald Trump he had a bill to sign after he departed quickly following remarks at his golf estate in Bedminster, New Jersey U.S., August 12, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

And I am quite sure, based on what I’ve seen in my church, that Mormon women who are abused are not always likely to be believed, and that bishops are untrained in how to deal with abuse – both of which make women less likely to come forward at all.

Christina Colón 2-12-2018

Cars drive under a partially collapsed utility pole, after the island was hit by Hurricane Maria in September, in Naguabo, Puerto Rico October 20, 2017. REUTERS/Alvin Baez/File Photo

It’s been over four months now since Maria hit the island, and 1.36 million Puerto Ricans are still without power in what is being called the “longest and largest blackout in American history.” While they wait in literal darkness, my abuela sits in a memory one.

Kim Haines-Eitzen 2-09-2018

Hermits exist in many of the world’s major religious traditions: They are individuals who choose temporary or permanent solitude in remote and isolated locations, such as mountains, caves and deserts. These locations are frequently depicted as sites for revelation and transformation.

David Mislin 2-09-2018

Political rhetoric linking the United States with a divine power emerged on a large scale with the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861. M.R. Watkinson, a Pennsylvania clergyman, encouraged the placement of “In God We Trust” on coins at the war’s outset in order to help the North’s cause. Such language, Watkinson wrote, would “place us openly under the divine protection.”

the Web Editors 2-09-2018

3. Bresha Meadows, Teen Imprisoned for Shooting Abusive Father, Returns Home

Her case garnered national headlines, provoking questions about the criminal justice system and the criminalization of black women and girls.

4. How ‘The Good Place’ Gets People Thinking About God

Two seasons in, The Good Place offers plenty of conversation prompts about the afterlife.

Jim Wallis 2-08-2018

A copy of the memo released by the House Intelligence Committee. Image via Jim Bourg/Reuters.

I believe that standing up against increasing authoritarian leadership in the United States will become a matter of faith for our communities. Faith communities believe in democracy not because we think human beings are perfect, but because we know we are not. Checks, balances, and accountabilities are essential to our public life.

John Gehring 2-06-2018

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) (C) attends a news conference with Republican leaders on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., January 18, 2018. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

Blues legend Robert Johnson, the story goes, made a deal with the devil and sold his soul on a Mississippi highway to play virtuoso guitar. House Speaker Paul Ryan’s musical tastes reportedly lean more toward Metallica than the Delta blues, but he faces a crossroads of his own that will test whether he will trade in his values to the nativist wing of the Republican Party or do what’s right for young immigrants.

Sam Boden 2-05-2018

Signs warn residents of water restrictions in Cape Town, South Africa October 17, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings. 

Perhaps climate change’s calamities will galvanize the international political scene, cracking the iron grip of the wealthy on our politics and forcing redistribution of resources. But no matter what happens, people of faith must lead the charge in envisioning a just world for all inhabitants. To slow the destruction of the earth, a fundamental reimagining of our societies is required.

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