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Nadia Bolz-Weber 7-18-2011

Crossphoto © 2004 Phil Whitehouse | more info (via: Wylio)Even I can't help admitting that there is a bunch of stuff in the Bible that's hard to relate to. A lot has changed in the last 2,000 to 4,000 years, and I have no form of reference for shepherds and agrarian life, and I don't know what it's like to have a king or a Caesar, and I don't know a single fisherman, much less a centurion, and I guess I can't speak for all of you but personally I've never felt I might need to sacrifice a goat for my sins. That's the thing about our sacred text being so dang old -- it can sometimes be difficult to relate to. Things have changed a bit over the millennia.

But one thing has not changed even a little bit is the human condition. Parts of the Bible can feel hard to relate to until you get to a thing like this reading from Romans 7, in which Paul says, "I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. I can will what is right, but I cannot do it. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do."

Finally. Something I can relate to. This I know about. I too do not understand my own actions. I too can't manage to consistently do what I know is right. Paul's simple description of the human condition is perhaps a most elegantly put definition of what we now call addiction.

It's no secret that I am a recovering alcoholic. By the grace of God I have been clean and sober for more than 19 years. But, boy, do I remember that feeling of powerlessness that comes from not being able to control your drinking. I'd wake up each morning and have a little talk with myself: "OK Nadia, get it together. Today is going to be different. You just need a little will power." Then, inevitably, later that day I'd say, "Well, just one drink would be OK," or, "I'll only drink wine and not vodka," or, "I'll drink a glass of water between drinks so that I won't get drunk." And sometimes it worked, but mostly it didn't. In the end, my will was just never "strong enough" Like Paul, I did the thing I hated. But that's addiction for you. It's ugly. Yet on some level I feel like we recovering alcoholics and drug addicts have it easy. I mean, our addictions are so obvious. The emotional, spiritual, and physical wreckage caused by alcoholism and drug addiction has a certain conspicuousness to it.

Debra Dean Murphy 7-07-2011

I couldn't bear to watch any of the coverage of the Casey Anthony murder trial. I heard snippets of information on occasion: intimations of incest; a car that "smelled of death"; fist fights breaking out as the curious and obsessed (or the profoundly bored?) tried to get a seat in the Florida courtroom.

Jim Wallis 6-30-2011

My iPhone died and I didn't even care. A cooler full of water and ice was dumped on my head, which soaked not only me, but also my phone. My older son Luke's Little League team, called the Nationals, had just won the Majors championship in Northwest Little League.

Nadia Bolz-Weber 5-20-2011
Is it just me, or does anyone else think it's kind of weird how we've named Thomas, "Doubting" Thomas. We don't give the other characters in the New Testament little nicknames ...
Kathy Khang 5-19-2011

Today is my one-year anniversary on vitamin L, and it's finally time to talk about.

I struggle with anxiety and clinical depression, and I take vitamin L -- or Lexapro to be exact -- to treat it. It's been one year since I decided enough was enough. I was tired of being tired. Tired of being sad. Tired of always feeling on edge about almost anything.

Last spring I finally sought out the help I needed all along, and took some concrete steps in overcoming depression and the cultural stigma mental health issues carry within the Asian American, American, and Christian cultures. And that is where I find convergence, because May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, and it is also Mental Health Awareness Month. I couldn't have orchestrated it better myself.

Jeannie Choi 4-06-2011

It was announced today that Glenn Beck will end his program on the Fox News Channel later this year in order to create a "variety of television projects for air on the Fox News Channe

Alex Awad 4-05-2011

People can take a certain amount of oppression. However, when it gets beyond their ability to tolerate, they rebel.

Jim Wallis 3-31-2011
Since our fast began this past Monday, I've been re-reading one of the classic books on spirituality by my friend Richard Foster, http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0060628391?ie=UTF8&am
Alex Awad 3-22-2011

After decades of repression by autocratic dictators, the restless masses in the Middle East and North Africa are going to the streets -- most of them nonviolently -- and asking their leaders to step down.

Jim Wallis 3-03-2011

In a credit to both Republicans and Democrats, Congress just passed a measure that will avoid a government shutdown for at least the next two weeks. This means that there is still time to protect the poor and most vulnerable during the budget debate.

Duane Shank 2-11-2011
After 18 days of ever-growing protests, Egyptian Vice-President Omar Suleiman went on state television with a terse an
Duane Shank 2-10-2011

I watched on Al Jazeera television and followed tweets (#Tahrir) from Tahrir (Liberation) Square in Cairo, Egypt as hundreds of thousands of Egyptians awaited a promised speech by President Hosni Mubarak.

Vanessa Ortiz 1-31-2011
"All men recognize the right of revolution; that is, the right to refuse allegiance to, and to resist, the government, when its tyranny or its inefficiency are great and unendurable." -- Henr
Nadia Bolz-Weber 1-20-2011
At the baptism of our Lord, heaven simply could not contain God Godself and God the Spirit who interrupt the regularly scheduled programming to bring a very important message.
Nadia Bolz-Weber 12-22-2010
In Matthew 11: 2-11, when John heard in prison what the Messiah was doing, he sent word by his disciples and said to him, "Are yo
Nadia Bolz-Weber 12-01-2010

In this season in which we find ourselves there is an anticipatory feeling in the air. A waiting, a longing, and yearning. This is a time filled with preparations and signs and symbols. Everything leads to this promised future. With our turkey stuffed bellies, we awaken from a tryptophan-induced coma of carbohydrates to the coming of what feels like the end time -- for there will be sales and rumors of sales. So stay awake my brothers and sisters because the doorbusting shopacalypse is upon us. Yet my heart was glad when they said to me, let us go at 5 a. m to the house of the Lord and Taylor. For on that holy mountain, people will stream from east and west, north and south, and all nations will come. They will turn plastic cards into shiny promises of love in the form of bigger plastic and cloth and metal and wire.  They will go down from this mountain to wrap their bits of plastic and cloth and metal and wire. They will wrap it all in paper, to wait for that day. The day of mythical, sentimentalized domesticity when the hopes and dreams of love and family and acceptance and perfect, perfect reciprocity will come to pass. And the children shall believe that they shall be always good and never bad for Santa will come like a thief in the night. No one knows the hour so you better be good for goodness sake.

Jim Wallis 11-25-2010
The political ads are finally off the air. (We can all give thanks for that!) But now there is a new wave of advertisements hitting all of us. Each one will give us a different reason to consume.

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