Genuine gratitude brings us humility and reconnects us with God and each other —especially those who need us in some way. It erases our society’s illusions about winners and losers. It directly challenges our judgments about who is deserving and who is undeserving. It reminds us of our total dependence on God for everything.
Starting with Thanksgiving’s early champion, Sarah Josepha Hale, the history of Thanksgiving is rooted in marketing. Marketers not only helped create many of the rituals and cultural myths associated with the Thanksgiving meal, but they also legitimized and maintained them.
“It offers not just a new version of the poem, but a new way of thinking about it in the context of gender and power relationships today. As Wilson puts it, ‘the question of who matters is actually central to what the text is about.’”
Gratitude, say religious leaders from many traditions, is one of the most important spiritual disciplines for a whole and healing life. And the discipline of remembering what and who you are most grateful for is especially important in difficult and even dangerous times like these. There are gratitude prayers, meditations, and walks, which focus our minds and hearts on the things and people we are most thankful for when we are most easily conscious of the things and people who make our times most difficult and even dangerous.
The story of Soule’s and Cramer’s actions and their courage to say “no” to the killing of peaceful people at Sand Creek is an important chapter of U.S. history. I maintain that it is people like Soule and Cramer who truly deserve to be remembered through monuments and memorials, and can be a source for a different kind of historical understanding: one based not on abstract notions of justice and right, but upon the courage and integrity it takes to breathe life into those virtues.
Among the victims of police brutality was none other than Christ himself. While this notion conjures up mixed emotions — including unbearable sadness — we should also take heart. Jesus experienced and overcame police brutality — so can innocent, powerless black women and men. To do so, churches with those most affected by police violence in attendance must cultivate a liberating praxis of anti-oppression retaliation, which includes teaching the characteristics of Christ’s response to law enforcement victimization. The writings of the great theologian James Cone, and others after him allowed us to rip the misguided veil of blasphemy and usher black people into a newfound solidarity with Jesus of Nazareth.
Sometimes we don’t know what to pray,
or how to talk to you about fixing what’s broken.
We pray in generalities, that you’ll
“be with us, guide us, restore us”
but sometimes, that’s not the tangible need
we really want to name.
What must it be like to survive your own execution?
It happened this week in Ohio. And it’s not the first time.
Christians often want to be good Samaritans in dealing with the symptoms of sinful systems. So we lobby for asylum seekers to be allowed into the country and we advocate for tackling climate change. The two are not unrelated — climate change can be a driver of significant migration. Consider the Carteret Islanders, who are now abandoning their homes as the rising seas swallow their islands, and seeking a new life on Papua New Guinea. And some researchers have even suggested that climate change was a factor in the Syrian crisis, as a six-year drought drove up food prices and forced people into poverty.
Auggie’s unusual appearance and suffering under the knife have made him a gentle, kind, and mostly self-aware kid. He faces constant bullying at the hands of a classmate and his friends, but because of his kindness and self-deprecating sense of humor, other students gradually begin to befriend him. As they look past his outward appearance, they can see the wonder of having Auggie in their lives and he can see the wonder that he really is.
On Nov. 4, 2017, more than 2,000 high school and college students gathered in Washington, D.C., for the 20th annual Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice (IFTJ). The IFTJ is a place for young people to learn, reflect, and advocate together, and to honor the legacy of those martyred in El Salvador.
I believe that there are moral issues, values choices, and faith matters that lie just beneath the political headlines. Conversations around those — leading to action — can get us further than our political debates. I also believe there are two great hungers in our world today: the hunger for spirituality and the hunger for justice, and the connection between the two is absolutely vital now.
This is where most of us Catholic citizens appear to be, by paying our taxes and going about our lives while our government and our military continue to possess and rely on nuclear weapons. Our Church seems to challenge that we have proportionate reason to do so. For now, we appear to be morally culpable — but less so if we genuinely begin to work toward the elimination of nuclear weapons.
In many ways, drug court functions like church. The men and women sit side-by-side in pews. They welcome newcomers. They hold each other accountable. And though there is no set time for a “passing of the peace,” when they cheer on those who have remained sober, it looks like a place of forgiveness.
There are many little-known details in early Christian storytelling about the relationship between Mary and Joseph. Early Christians believed that Mary and Joseph did not have sex — but there is much more that is worth learning from that relationship. Listen up, Jim Ziegler.
I’ve dedicated my career to helping churches prepare for disasters, including mass shootings. And I believe that responding to the Texas church mass shooting with an arms race does more to protect fear than it does to protect our churches. Here are three suggestions I want to offer the U.S. church now.
We should choose representatives who are guided by principles that spur them towards benevolence and empathy with those whom their decisions affect. We expect our politicians to be moral people, both publicly and privately, because their decisions affect how we engage in society. , Their private lives inform their public decision-making. Imagine Roy Moore deciding laws affecting sexual assault policies on college campuses, domestic abuse, or virtually anything to do with the safety of women in America. He has acted selfishly and disturbingly in the past, and we have no real assurance that he sees the harm in a 34-year-old man having a relationship with a 14-year-old girl.
If our supposedly secular culture leaps at revelations of hypocrisy, that’s because the concept is deeply embedded in the Abrahamic tradition. The early Hebrew prophets like Amos and Isaiah were all about denouncing demonstrations of piety and religious observance as worth nothing in the absence of righteous behavior.
But help is something Christian, and everyone around him, has trouble giving to those who really need it. The Square is full of characters asking for help from unwilling people, including homeless people, charity workers, and women being attacked. Even Christian, an attractive upper-class white guy, can’t get help when his wallet and phone are stolen on the street.