God

Keith Madsen 10-05-2017

One day after celebrating the Feast of St. Fransis of Assisi, we are reminded that we need to hear the call Francis heard to repair Christ’s church. God has blessed the world today with some great leaders. Pope Francis has shown he truly understands the legacy of his namesake. He has chosen a simpler, less ostentatious lifestyle than previous Popes, and he has spoken out strongly for the poor and for peace. He is pointing the Church, Catholic and non-Catholic, in the right direction. But he can’t do it on his own. St. Francis didn’t. There were strong leaders in this era as well as their devoted followers. That’s what we need now. Reforming the American Church of today will take people who are willing to speak up for justice, both human and environmental. It will take people who will value a loving, dynamic fellowship over a stifled, silent one, afraid to “make waves”. It will take people ready to joyously and lovingly embody the values of Christ, as did Francis of Assisi.

Patrick Hubbard 9-19-2017

Image via mother! trailer 

mother! is a disturbing portrait of God that says nothing good about God's followers. Immediately after watching the visitors kill her child, mother hears Him say that these people must be forgiven — that they didn’t mean to do it, that they only want to be close to Him. The Christian theory of redemption is supposedly one of forgiveness and sacrifice, predicated on Christ’s death and resurrection, but the death of this child doesn’t read at all triumphant. From the mother's point of view, the visitors were never supposed to be in the house in the first place — if they hadn’t intruded on her life, they wouldn’t need forgiveness for killing her child.

Paula White speaks at her church, New Destiny Christian Center, on Jan. 1, 2017, in Apopka, Fla. RNS photo by Sarah M. Brown

“They say about our president, ‘Well, he is not presidential.’ Thank goodness. Thank goodness. Thank goodness,” White said. “And I mean that with all due respect. Because in other words, he is not a polished politician. In other words, he is authentically — whether people like it or not — has been raised up by God.”

Art and Christianity give our lives import and meaning, irrespective of power, race, gender or class. Jesus did this when he overturned the Greek and Roman way of viewing the world, in which one’s social status was everything, and introduced the notion of the equal worth and dignity of all human beings. “Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all (Col. 3:11),” wrote Paul. All people made in the image and likeness of God, “lovely in limbs."

China is experiencing “one of the great religious revivals of our time,” Johnson writes. “Across China, hundreds of temples, mosques, and churches open each year, attracting millions of new worshippers. … Faith and values are returning to the center of a national discussion over how to organize Chinese life.

“This is not,” he continues, “the China we used to know.”

Joe Kay 5-15-2017

I arrived at the church and was heartened to see a full parking lot. People scurried inside with umbrellas as shields, determined to comfort Emily and her family. I’m right here for you, they seemed to be saying. Nothing's going to stop usWhere have we heard this before?

Since it was unveiled last week, President Trump’s proposed budget has been widely denounced as “immoral” and downright “evil” for boosting defense spending by billions while demanding drastic cuts to vital aid programs.

Yet if liberals and some conservatives are upset about cuts to programs that help ensure clean drinking water, give financial aid to low-income college students, and even help support Meals on Wheels — which delivers nearly a million meals a day to the sick and elderly — would Jesus have a problem with slashing assistance to the needy?

Adam Ericksen 3-17-2017

"The truth is that the care shown to me by these strangers on the Internet was itself a contradiction. It was growing evidence that these people on the other side were not the demons I’d been led to believe. These realizations were life altering." 

I thank God for these people. Not just because they reached Megan, but because they restore my trust that love is still the most transformative power in the world.

Throughout the history of theology, Mix said, Christians have swung between the idea that Earth can be the only inhabited planet because God favors humans, and its counterpart, that to assume Earth is the only inhabited planet is the height of human pride because God is limitless and all-powerful.

And that is the point of Believer — to use Aslan’s hip-deep immersion in some obscure corner of the faith world to show that people of different religious persuasions — even the ones generally considered marginal, dangerous, or just plain “out there” — have more in common than they know.

Charles L. Howard 2-24-2017

We do not believe the same thing. We are Abrahamic siblings, yes, and deeply connected in important ways, but our faiths, theology, practice, histories, views on God are different. 

But love.

Leigh E. Schmidt 2-08-2017

Image via RNS/Reuters/Kevin Lamarque

Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama recently raised eyebrows during his confirmation hearing for attorney general when he expressed doubts that secular people respected the truth as much as did those with religious convictions. Even as he insisted that there should be no religious tests for holding public office, Sessions was queasy about the potential dangers of the secular worldview.

Tim Breene 1-31-2017

When our desire for security is so great that it diminishes our humanity and our capacity, or willingness, to see the world through the eyes of another, we lose a precious part of who we were designed to be. Our hearts are hardened, calcified.

Image via RNS/Reuters/Lucy Nicholson

On Jan. 21, I’ll join thousands in D.C. for the Women’s March on Washington. My first stop will be at a local congregation, one of several hosting a prayer service and warming station for marchers. I’m an anti-racist, feminist, Christian, and for me, faith will be part of the day.

I’ve been disappointed with Christian silence, and even active resistance, to social justice imperatives, but my commitments to justice stem from my faith, and that’s why I march.

Image via RNS/Reuters/Kevin Lamarque

“This magnificent grace, this expansive grace, this ‘Amazing Grace’ calls me to reflect. And it calls me to pray. It calls me to ask God for forgiveness, for the times that I’ve not shown grace to others, those times that I’ve fallen short.”

Image via RNS/Reuters/Andres Stapff

If I’ve learned anything since my time in Rome, it’s that people — not just Catholics — are hungering to connect peace with justice. This is why those of us who traveled to Rome just before the election, accompanied by Stockton, Calif., Bishop Stephen Blaire, and Houma-Thibodaux, La., Bishop Shelton Fabre, are preparing for a regional WMPM meeting in Modesto, Calif., in February.

Shane Claiborne 12-06-2016

Image via NYCStock/Shutterstock.com

Dec. 4 was a beautiful reminder, in the long struggle for justice, that, no matter how long we wait, God hears our cry. And love and justice will win.

A few weeks ago, Chief Arvol Looking Horse issued an invitation to clergy and faith leaders to stand in solidarity with the people of Standing Rock. He said he was hoping maybe 100 would respond. But I joined thousands, in a procession of faith leaders, to gather around the sacred fire at the Oceti Sakowin Camp at Standing Rock.

I knew something special was happening here.

Image via RNS/Emily McFarlan Miller

Does Pope Francis have a position on the Dakota Access Pipeline?

That’s one question he hasn’t been asked, and he might demur if pressed on such a specific issue. But in his landmark encyclical on the environment published last year, and in other statements, Francis has strongly supported arguments of the Native American-led resistance movement on three core issues: indigenous rights, water rights and protection of creation.

the Web Editors 11-28-2016

Image via Gage Skidmore/flickr.com

On Nov. 26, Art Sisneros, a Texas presidential elector and Republican, announced in a blog post his resignation from the Electoral College and the reason behind his decision. “I do not see how Donald Trump is biblically qualified to serve in the office of the Presidency,” Sisneros wrote.

Image via Bobak Ha'Eri via Wikimedia Commons

Fuller Theological Seminary has joined a growing list of schools where administrators are being pressed by students, alumni, and faculty for designation as a sanctuary campus.

In the aftermath of Donald Trump’s election as president, some campuses are considering the moniker “sanctuary campus,” which generally means that the university will not willingly give the government information about their students, staff, or faculty who are undocumented immigrants.

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