Anna Piela 5-30-2024

On Oct. 14, 6-year-old Wadee Alfayoumi was stabbed to death in a Chicago suburb. Joseph Czuba, the 71-year-old man who stabbed Alfayoumi is a longtime member of a church and, according to the Will County sheriff’s office, was motivated by anti-Muslim sentiments and Israel’s war against Hamas. According to Joseph’s wife, Mary Czuba (who has filed for divorce), Czuba had been radicalized by conservative talk radio.

I live in a Chicago suburb and am the associate regional minister of American Baptist Churches Metro Chicago. When I heard Alfayoumi had been killed, I was horrified; as a mother, a Christian, a faith leader, and most of all a human, I took the news extremely hard.

JR. Forasteros 5-29-2024

Fury Road drew on Exodus imagery in Furiosa’s flight from the Citadel, leading her people to a promised land. No surprise, then, that the earlier beats of Moses’ story have striking parallels to Furiosa’s backstory.

From his booth in the exhibit hall of the Texas GOP’s 2024 convention, Steve Hotze saw an army of God assembled before him. For four decades, Hotze, an indicted election fraud conspiracy theorist, has helmed hardline anti-abortion movements and virulently homophobic campaigns against LGBTQ+ rights, comparing gay people to Nazis and helping popularize the “groomer” slur that paints them as pedophiles. Once on the fringes, Hotze said Saturday that he was pleased by the party’s growing embrace of his calls for spiritual warfare with “demonic, Satanic forces” on the left.

Josiah R. Daniels 5-28-2024

In this week’s conversation with writer and novelist Alessandra Harris, we spoke about her love of writing and when she first realized she wanted to be a writer. She was in fourth grade and the story she had written about a genie was chosen by her teacher to receive a prize. When you’re a kid, there’s just something extremely compelling about the fantasy of encountering a genie who will grant you wishes galore. Of course, as a kid, our wishes are rather innocent and self-centered: “I wish I could meet Michael Jordan,” “I wish the Chicago Bulls could win one more championship,” and, last but not least, “I wish for more wishes.” As you grow up, you realize genies aren’t real but that doesn’t prevent you from imagining what you’d wish for if you had three, two, or even a single wish. And as we age, our wishes tend to transform into a single hope for something innocent and unselfish.

Ken Chitwood 5-28-2024

“Immigration, whether you live in the south of the state or the far north, is a part of life here,” said Adam Burke, a Lutheran pastor in the Arizona city of Prescott, which is between Phoenix and the northern city of Flagstaff. “Whether you see it or not,” he said, “it impacts Arizonans every day.”

That is why in poll after poll in early 2024 — like those conducted by Noble Predictive Insights, Morning Consult, and the UK-based Redfield and Wilton Strategies — immigration is, along with reproductive rights and the economy, a top issue among Arizona voters.

Pope Francis, widely quoted as having used a highly derogatory word to describe the LGBTQ+ community, did not intend to use homophobic language and apologizes to anyone offended by it, the Vatican said on Tuesday.

Class of 2024, you are indeed overcomers, but you’re also no strangers to grief, doubt, and other emotions we don’t often acknowledge in commencement addresses. As you accept your well-deserved diploma, I don’t need to tell you that you’re graduating in an unsettling time: uncertainty around the most consequential election of your (and my) lifetime, uncertainty around the future of our planet amid an accelerating climate crisis, and uncertainty as to the outcome of horrific and intractable wars in Gaza, Ukraine, Sudan, and so many other places. You may be uncertain about your job prospects, whether Social Security will remain solvent by the time of your retirement, or whether you will ever be able to afford a home in this overheated housing market. If you’re a Christian, you may feel uncertain about how you can stay in a faith that has so often been distorted from the gospel.

Shreya Agrawal 5-23-2024

Since Oct. 7, 2023, when Hamas launched a terror attack against Israel, young people across the country have looked with alarm at Israel’s military action and the U.S. support for it.

“As soon as that day happened, I felt I was just kind of flung into high gear,” said Logan Crews, who is a first year Master of Divinity student at Yale University. “I began talking to friends right away and just processing through what was happening.”

Sara Augustin 5-22-2024

After the South Carolina Gamecocks women’s basketball team won the NCAAW championship on April 7, 2024, the team’s deeply emotional head coach Dawn Staley attributed the historic win to God: “We serve an unbelievable God — we serve an unbelievable God.” Staley continued, “Uncommon favor, unbelievable.”

What does “uncommon favor” mean exactly? Typically, that phrase has been used in church spaces to denote an unexpected blessing. In Staley’s case, we find her crediting God for blessing her and the Gamecocks with a national championship.

Is this uncommon favor?

In ABC’s workplace comedy Abbott Elementary, Barbara Howard (Sheryl Lee Ralph) provides one example of what it looks like for Black Christian women to live out their faith in their everyday lives.