Be-Longing
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Be-Longing

I cried out.“I no longer belong.”You heard my painful cry.You walked by on the other side.Afraid to be contaminated?Concerned about what others might say?Confident in your holiness.You threw out those you judged unholy.Now I sit with them in the ashes. I had belonged.All my life I belonged.I belonged to the church, the schools. The community was…

Stop. Look. Listen.
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Stop. Look. Listen.

When I told students in Lithuania, “I can pass for Lithuanian, but I feel more like a foreigner here than in Zambia, because I cannot speak the language,” they laughed. They let me know it was easy to tell I was not Lithuanian. I walked fast, upright and looked at people. Lithuanians walk slowly, looking…

EVIL, Backwards
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EVIL, Backwards

There are three kinds of people in the church today: deists, dualists and devoted. In 2005, sociologists Smith and Lundquist coined the phrase “Moral Therapeutic Deism” to describe a belief of American teenagers: religion is about being “good” (culturally defined) so that one can be happy; God is a minimally involved Creator. It’s an individualistic…

Where’s Jesus?
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Where’s Jesus?

When 19 children and two teachers are murdered we cry, where’s Jesus? When a white supremacist kills 10 African Americans in a supermarket, where’s Jesus? When nations wage war bringing death, destruction, famine, homelessness and economic chaos, where’s Jesus? When loved ones suffer from cancer or mental illness, where’s Jesus? One might treat this question…

Resurrection life
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Resurrection life

Most religions address the challenge of death with some concept of an afterlife. Islam presents the goal as paradise. Eastern religions speak of reincarnation, then escape into the great universal spirit. Most Materialists say, “When you’re dead, you’re dead,” with hope being in the next generations. Christians sometimes talk of life after death as “heaven,”…

What divides us
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What divides us

Picture a world divided: religiously, politically, economically and socially. Religiously, some stress faithful, traditional worship, as they learned it. Many focus on morality behavior. Others say it is about prophetic action, especially to right injustices. Politically, some like government programs from “we, the people.” Others favor local government for our community. People sometimes fight the…

Words for change
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Words for change

Change.Are you excited or frightened? Is it a command, a request, a statement? Do you see it as external or internal? In the changing of the year, we reflect on change “for auld lang syne.” Time, by definition, changes, and studies suggest the pace of change is increasing. There is economic change, social change, political…

Imaging God
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Imaging God

Picture God. We might have a mental picture, but the commandment against graven images tells us not to limit God with our pictures. The Scriptures are full of metaphors to help us relate to God: Father, King, Lord, Shepherd, Rock. When theologians describe God, they often use negatives. God is independent, immutable, infinite, indivisible, and…