The United States Supreme Court has declared same-sex marriage as the law of the land. That decision puts yet more pressure on conservative denominations like mine concerning how they will respond to new cultural realities. Can we hold on to our convictions and still engage the wider culture? I first read my church’s stance on homosexuality when I was in college in the 1980s. It struck me as highly progressive and nuanced at the time.… [more]
Last week’s racially motivated massacre of nine African-Americans at a South Carolina church has renewed debate over the Confederate flag, which accused killer Dylann Storm Roof can be seen displaying in photos. While some point to this and the flag’s association with groups such as the Ku Klux Klan as evidence that it is an expression of hate, others have argued that it’s simply a symbol of their cultural heritage. But… [more]
The outstanding new Pixar film Inside Out gives walking, talking personalities to the various emotions inside the mind of an 11-year-old girl named Riley. My favorite moment takes place about midway through the movie and involves Joy, a Tinker Bell-like sprite voiced by Amy Poehler; Sadness, a blue bespectacled blob voiced by Phyllis Smith; and Bing Bong, Riley’s imaginary friend, who has the conveniently clownish voice of Richard Kind.… [more]
During his initial hearing this past Friday, accused murderer Dylann Storm Roof heard words of forgiveness from relatives of those who were killed last week at in Charleston, S.C. Some of the members of Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, the site of the shooting, even encouraged him to repent, praying that God would have mercy on him. The reaction, as represented on Twitter, has been a mixture of awe, disbelief and rage. While some… [more]
I’m a big fan of comedy. The schedule on my DVR will tell you that when I want to relax at the end of a day, a sitcom or sketch show or comedy talk show is where I’m likely to turn. A few comments from comedians I appreciate lately have gotten me thinking about how the comedy I like the most creates a sense of relationship and community. It makes me, the audience member, feel like a friend and an insider. One example of this feeling… [more]
"How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?” – Psalm 13:1 The scene was familiar and jarring. With a massive police presence as a backdrop, African-American men and women gathered in a small prayer circle near Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. The historic Charleston, S.C., church had been the site of a massacre during its regular Wednesday night Bible study, with nine people… [more]
Several weeks ago my oldest son told me, rather frankly, “I know you didn’t really have a dad growing up, so it’s not your fault that you don't know what you’re doing.” His words - as truthful as they were comical - inspired me to spend a few moments staring out the back door towards the slim forest that lines my property. There, amidst the eastern hemlocks and stands of poplars, is a tree fort. Built with… [more]
Sunday’s season finale for Game of Thrones included awful, consciousness-searing scenes I can never un-see. A dagger thrust into a chest. A forgiving embrace interrupted by a poisonous death. Misogyny in the name of religion. Suicide. It was a pretty typical episode. I can’t wait for Season 6. As the show’s title suggests, Game of Thrones features kings and kingdoms vying for power and dominance in fictional Westoros. The… [more]
The fluidity of self-identification has been at the forefront of the cultural conversation over the past month. Rachel Dolezal, former head of a local NAACP chapter in Spokane, Wash., and prominent advocate for the black community, has come under fire for identifying as African-American when, in fact, she was born to Caucasian parents. Despite charges of deception and cultural appropriation, Dolezal has continued to claim, “I identify as… [more]
One reason 1993’s Jurassic Park became so iconic was the timing of its release. The 1990s saw a growing popular interest in paleontology, particularly among kids. These days, a third grader will rattle off the identities and powers of Marvel superheroes; back then, they were more likely to know the scientific names and relative sizes of dinosaurs. Any dinosaur-obsessed kid who goes to the new Jurassic World, the fourth film in the… [more]
Dawn: Symbolic, simple, serene, surrounded by their community.
gailvrice: I’ve been sickened by the statements of those who characterize the massacre as an attack on Christians and religious freedom, who I suspect do not want to talk about or work to remedy the evils of racism.
AlexBersin: I don’t think either Caitlyn or Rachel identify as they do because they feel dissatisfied with their existence, but rather, because they feel they don’t fit into the mold prescribed for them.
Earlene: This isn't all about sin and forgiveness. This is about this young man being appropriately diagnosed and dealt with accordingly. Then or now.
William Sadler: I fail to see anywhere in the Bible that Jesus condoned the promotion of sin - I see where Christians are to allow others to persecute (sin against) us, and that we are not to persecute (sin against) them. There is a world of difference between choosing to persecute them and not assisting them in committing a sin.
William Steele: As a missionary I began to realise the damage that can be done to couples by taking a rigid and graceless stance.