Faith and Politics

Ernesto Tinajero 04-25-2011
Ah, the voice of Ayn Rand from St. Petersburg, Russia rises again with the opening of a new movie based on her novel, Atlas Shrugged.
Kent Annan 04-25-2011

I just watched a 60 Minutes expose on Greg Mortenson, co-author of Three Cups of Tea and co-founder of the nonprofit the Central Asia Institute. Watching this news story that accused Mortenson of fabricating key stories in his book, lacking organizational/financial transparency and effectiveness, and receiving "excessive" personal benefits from his organization felt like a punch in the gut, even if it's of the too familiar heroes-come-crashing-down variety.

It must have felt like a punch to many. None of us like to give our hard-earned pennies or dollars or peace prize money to someone who betrays our confidence.

I felt it in my gut, too, because Mortenson and I have a lot in common. We've both published two memoirs about our experiences and work for education in the developing world -- he in Afghanistan, and me in Haiti. We both travel to speak about our work -- albeit he on a much grander, best-selling-er scale than me. Once I stood for half an hour in a book line to talk with him for two minutes and he seemed touchingly humble and friendly.

Julie Polter 04-25-2011
While Earth Day and Good Friday being on the same date this year was a relatively rare alignment, thankfully for many people the everyday companionship of religious belief and care for creation i
Jeannie Choi 04-22-2011

Monks. Al Franken. Oysters. Here's a little roundup of links from around the Web you may have missed this week:

Jake Olzen 04-22-2011
As Lent ends and the Holy Triduum begins, my mind turns to resurrection. Perhaps a bit too soon as the Good Friday death of Jesus and his descent into darkness is still impending.
Nancy Sleeth 04-22-2011
Here are 10 ways to make Earth Day a church day for your congregation, small group, or family.
Duane Shank 04-21-2011

This evening I will lead a Passover Seder observance in my Christian community. We've done it for years and always find it inspiring to reflect on God's liberation from slavery. And it's the occasion for a delicious potluck feast.

This week I saw an article written last spring on Jews' concerns over Christians celebrating Passover. It seems that more Christian churches are using "Christianized" versions of the seder, reinterpreting the meal's symbols to reflect Christian beliefs. Said one rabbi, "They take our symbols, our holiday, our ritual and start investing them in Christian meaning."

Jim Wallis 04-21-2011
On Easter weekend, I will break my fast. I will have spent almost four weeks drinking only liquids. But, as is often true of fasts, what has been gained is far greater than anything given up.
Jeffrey Wilson 04-21-2011
Last year, I was deeply troubled by the Gulf Oil Spill, having been born and raised on the Florida Gulf Coast.
Taylor Johnson 04-21-2011

During my last year of college, my pastor lent me the book Living Gently in a Violent World, co-authored by Jean Vanier and Stanley Hauerwas. This book is an exploration on how followers of Christ ought to live in broken world.

The introduction of the book recounts the story of Jean Vanier teaching a course on pastoral care. During one class, Vanier asked the students to share some of their spiritual experiences. One of the students, Angela (who was deaf) began to share a dream she had where she met Jesus in heaven. She recalled talking with Jesus for some time and never experiencing so much joy and peace. "Jesus was everything I had hoped he would be," she said, "And his signing was amazing!" Vanier explains to the reader that "for Angela, heaven's perfection did not involve being 'healed' of her deafness. Rather, it was a place where the social, relational, and communication barriers that restricted her life in the present no longer existed."

Jim Wallis 04-20-2011

[Editors' note: During the season of Lent we will be posting excerpts from the Rediscovering Values Lenten Study Guide. We invite you to study God's word with us through these posts.]

Rose Marie Berger 04-19-2011

The Afghan Youth for Peace held a candle-lighting prayer vigil to remember all of their family who have died as a result of aggression from the U.S. war, the Taliban, local war lords, and terrorist groups.

"Are their no other options for the people?" they ask.

Andrew Simpson 04-19-2011

One year after the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, life has not returned to normal in the Gulf.

Eugene Cho 04-19-2011

I'm very fond of this season in the Christian calendar because I can mention the word "ass" during my blog post and sermon and still keep all the fundamentalists off my back.

Margaret Benefiel 04-18-2011
This past Palm Sunday marked the beginning of Holy Week for Christians -- a week of remembering Jesus' suffering and death.
Almost three weeks ago I stopped eating and started fasting, calling people of faith and conscience to do the same.
Patty Whitney 04-18-2011
For three months last year the Gulf Coast oil spill was the major topic of news reports all over the world. From the explosion on April 20, 2010, until the capping of the gushing well on July 15, 2010, the headlines were consumed with images and dialogue about the tragedy unfolding before our very eyes. Shortly after the news of the capping, the government reported that “most” of the oil was gone, and that things were getting back to normal. The camera crews packed up. The reporters turned in their hotel room keys and gathered their deductible tax receipts. And they all left. Kumbaya, the oil was gone, and the world was normal again. The world could move on to other, more pressing interests. That is … the rest of the world could move on to other, more pressing interests.
The gospel according to the movie True Grit (2010) is as follows: "You must pay for everything in this world one way or another.