Rethinking Religion

Rethinking Religion

Beyond the Limits of Love: Building the Religious Counterculture

The signature orientation of liberal religion has rather been one toward increasing personal freedom from religious strictures. The joke is that the Ten Commandments have been demoted to “ten suggestions.”
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Spiritual Progressive Analysis

We Are One Body: A Christian Perspective on Justice in the City

Understanding our common connections doesn’t in itself solve the problem. When we are feeling the pinch of scarcity, human beings become territorial.
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Spiritual Progressive Analysis

Islamic Law and the Boundaries of Social Responsibility

The face of the Other should strike doubt and obligation into any person of conscience, forcing us to continue asking, “Am I doing enough?” This, of course, threatens an infinite obligation: other people’s traumas, precarity-inducing misfortunes, addictions, and struggles will never cease, especially in the city.
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Spiritual Politics

Justice in the City

The obligation to accompany another is an obligation to cross boundaries. In accompanying the dead, the boundaries that are crossed are those between life and death.
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Books

Torah Stories for Young Children

Alison Greengard and Carol Racklin-Siegel’s series of Bible stories is a thoughtfully laid-out reading experience, but one that also comes with limitations. In contrast, The Bedtime Sh’ma: A Good Night Book and Modeh Ani: A Good Morning Book, both adapted by Sarah Gershman with illustrations by Kristina Swarner and also published by EKS, are lyrical and engaging books for both the youngest listeners and early readers.
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Christianity

Whose War on Christmas? The Corrosive Power of Cheer and Commerce

Here we go again. “School Bans Santa over Religious Concerns.” “Christmas Concert Cancelled in Hawaii.” “Charlie Brown Violates U.S. Constitution?” The War on Christmas is afoot! Fox News is correct – there is a sustained effort under way to discredit the sacred truths of this holy day. The only problem is that they have fingered the wrong culprit.
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Interfaith

Beyond Interfaith Marriages to Multifaith Marriages

Self-definition is that glorious arrangement of you being you. “Interfaith” is not something a marriage or a person can be. We are still in the twenty-first century and we have parochial homes. A cradle Christian doesn’t stop being a Christian because she marries a Jew nor vice versa. Self-definition is normal, possible, obvious—and intimately necessary.
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Spiritual Progressive Analysis

Beyond Frankl: Towards a Meaningful Life

While Frankl left us with a theory about meaning, it is hard to piece together any practice to help establish a sense of meaning in life. Is meaning given to us from God, or do we pretend to have some real purpose in life in order to make it through the day?
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Spirituality

Life Is A Master Class

We live as artists of Torah in a place that contemporary culture has no room for. In the self-identified Torah-world, Torah living is no longer an art; it’s a sublimation. The question to ask ourselves is “How are we living our lives?”
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Christianity

Crucifixion and the Blues

Some say the crucifixion is abhorrent—too bloody, too brutal, too cruel to contemplate. We have to shield our eyes and look away or—as in Mel Gibson’s blockbuster movie The Passion of the Christ, stare fascinated through our fingers at the spectacle. In either case, we avoid reckoning with the real power of the crucifixion, which is a blues power, a truth-telling power that not only holds a mirror up to the blood, the brutality, the cruelty that is our daily fare, but also opens up a way out of the carnage.
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Christianity

An Evolutionary Integral Understanding of the Cross

The idea of substitutionary atonement ends up saying that Jesus saves us from God—Larry Swaim article on “The Death of Christianity” is right. That’s a pickle for Christians who are supposed to believe that God is love and not vengeful retribution. Here is the question: “If Jesus preached we are to love our enemies, does God practice what Jesus preached?” If you are a follower of Jesus, you would think that the answer must surely be, “Yes!”
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Christianity

Moving Beyond a Cross Fetish: The Empty Tomb and Creation Spirituality

There can be no question that, because the cross has played so one-sided and dualistic a role for centuries, it must be let go of in order to re-emerge in its fuller meaning within the dialectic of tomb-cross.
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Christianity

A New Symbol for Christianity

In my understanding, Jesus died the horrific and disgraceful death of a political criminal because he preached that “the last shall be first.” Those in power were so threatened by that message, and by how Jesus lived it out, that they had to kill him. If the cross as symbol has given anyone the idea that the violence that killed Jesus was good—or, worse, that it was God’s will—then I am all for abandoning that symbol.
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Christianity

A Call for Redemptive Rhetoric

A mentor of mine recently told me that a huge divide is on the horizon for those of the Christian faith—one that centers on the meaning of the cross and the message of atonement. Even the act of verbalizing that thought out loud is considered sacrilege by many in my Christian tradition. To question something as integral to Christian religious history and heritage as the cross will result, to put it mildly, in a variety of responses from a variety of perspectives.
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Christianity

Could the Christian Church Contend with a Living Jesus?

It is hard to imagine any inducement that might draw Jesus—that dangerous Jewish prophet—to affiliate with the Christian Church. For the life of me, I don’t know why Jews don’t take Jesus back. We Christians have made such a mess of it.
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