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Religion

  • Enter the coming together of two worlds

     I read an interesting article by Jordan Denari, a research fellow at Georgetown University’s Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding, where she works for the Bridge Initiative, a research project on Islamophobia. The piece expanded on the confluence of two worlds: the world of Christianity, specifically the spirituality of St. Ignatius, and that of Islam. As Denari noted, “It’s a special time in the Islamic world, and in the Ignatian world, too.”For that matter, it is a special time for all of us.

  • What do we do when we experience a miracle?

    It’s a miracle! That’s all there is to it. It’s just a miracle! Have you ever said, or heard, those words? Probably each of us has experienced or been witness to some sort of extraordinary happening that defied human explanation and caused us to ponder the presence of the Almighty in our lives. We see tornadoes touch down, destroy a whole town, but leave one house intact. It’s a miracle, we say.

  • Living the Beatitudes is not for the faint of heart

    Whether we find our home on the mountaintops of life or on the plains of ordinary stuff, we receive the same message. Whether we are actively prestigious in our nation’s governmental system or arduously putting one step in front of another to meet daily challenges, the message is repeated. Blessed are the peacemakers. Happy are the peacemakers. Holy are the peacemakers.

  • A divine question that begs human response

     Denominations, which use the Revised Common Lectionary, have reached the end of a long, post-Easter cycle of readings from the Johannine community. Among the many questions posed by John’s followers is one that echoes through the ages: “Do you love me?” is the divine, age-old, everlasting, soulful question presented to Simon Peter by Jesus.

     

  • It’s important to be people who remember
  • What do you do when you always feel like a stranger?

     Sometimes, we act and live in ways that evoke odd feelings. Sometimes, living seems to be nothing more or less than a job. Sometimes, we find ourselves living in a part-time existence. We are part-time parents, part-time siblings, part-time offspring, part-time employees, part-time grandparents. With a degree of anguish, we try to isolate one from the other, to be wholly one or the other. It doesn’t work. The choice of one in isolation from another results in our feeling torn, estranged, weird, and incredibly sad.

  • What can we learn from the stories of marginalized outsiders?

     Scripture has always fascinated me and caused me to ponder the wonders of the God Who Is. It has been the source of great comfort and tremendous challenge. It has brought me to my knees and raised to unimaginable heights. It has allowed me to meet majestic insiders and marginalized outsiders, sometimes housed in the same person. In every instance, Scripture has been an invitation to be more than I thought I could be. It has also been the impetus for me to empower others similarly.

     

  • Fighting monsters is for brave warriors

     I remember meeting a math teacher at Brunswick Community College who, years ago, initiated a Fight Your Dragon process. Apparently, she had heard — too often — the cry of students who feared math and had convinced themselves it was far too difficult a challenge. They opted to take the road more traveled, the path of avoidance and denial.

     

  • What is obscenity and what do we do about it?
  • Evangelization is about naming grace

     Every decade has its buzzwords. This is true in religious circles, as well. It seems as if we need new nomenclatures to help us renew, and hopefully deepen, our understanding and commitment to any cause with which we are involved.

    Though I’d scarcely call it a buzzword, evangelization has been voiced as essential to Christianity from its beginnings. In the earliest gospel according to Mark, we read a terse command: “Repent and believe in the Gospel.” Then comes the Great Commission, “Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel.”