Spirituality & Faith


Torture, or Enhanced Interrogation?

From Odyssey Networks’ Faith on the Record series:?On December 9, 2014, the U.S. Senate released its report on the CIA’s use of “enhanced interrogation techniques” against detainees suspected of being Al Qaeda fighters during the George W. Bush administration. I believe that whether you call it “torture” or “enhanced interrogation” is the best indicator of how you feel about this issue, and how in touch you are with your own conscience. Watch my video below for more reaction and discussion. Odyssey Networks tells the stories of faith in action changing the world......

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Science Is Not the Opposite of Religion

John Lennon had it right when he sang, “Imagine no religion.” Let me explain. According to a recent study from the Public Religion Research Institute, 41% of Americans either completely disagree (27%) or mostly disagree (14%) with this statement: “Evolution is the best explanation for the origins of human life on Earth.” Surprised? Disturbed? I’m not surprised, but I am disturbed – though perhaps for reasons you might not expect. I’m not surprised because in this country we remain a nation of believers, and most of those believers are regularly subjected to......

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Just Opened: New Theatre's 'Gospel According to Jerry'

From The Miami Herald review: “New Theatre’s The Gospel According to Jerry is a two-hander, that theatrical form in which a disparate pair talks, clashes and bonds over the course of the play. This one has two authors as well: playwright-screenwriter Richard Krevolin and Rabbi Irwin Kula. The tender-hearted piece at the South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center certainly follows the two-hander form, but the production isn’t formulaic — it’s lovely. Director Stephen Neal and his cast, John Manzelli as a rabbi named Jerry and Christina Alexander as a gospel singer/choir director named......

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Are You an FOP: Fan of the Pope?

Pope Francis has engaged and inspired millions of non-Catholics, former Catholics and alienated Catholics since assuming his position as leader of the Roman Catholic Church. He’s both a spiritual master and global celebrity; that means the world is now filled with “FOP”s – Fans Of the Pope. However, some of them may be reconsidering their views now, though I’m not sure that that’s fair. Pope Francis has spoken out about the idea that choosing to die when confronted by a terminal illness is “a sin against God”, and that supporting terminal cancer......

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What Age-Old Religions Gain from New Ideas

In this talk I gave at BIF10 in September, I focused on religion from the most practical and (as it turns out) innovative perspective: How well do our religions serve our deepest human needs? What if religions were actually measured by their ability to impact our capacity for gratitude, hope, empathy and our sense of belonging? What if we unbundled the wisdom and practices from established religions (and their metaphysics, theologies, tribes and communities) and measured them for their ability to help us flourish? Watch the video below, as I discuss these......

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Video: Removing Religious Holidays from the School Calendar

From Odyssey Networks’ Faith on the Record series: This week, the Board of Education in Montgomery County, Maryland voted 7 to 1 to eliminate references to all religious holidays in their published calendar for 2015-2016. They acted in response to a request from the community’s Muslim leaders that the Muslim holy day of Eid al-Adha be added alongside holidays such as Christmas, Easter, Yom Kippur and Rosh Hoshanah. The move is bad policy and wrong thinking – We don’t make room for each other best when we banish parts of who we......

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When We Take Ourselves Beyond Walls

As I write these words, I am observing an ancient holiday which celebrates both the importance of walls and the sacredness of permeability. Then, like millions of others around the world, I celebrated the Jewish/Biblical holiday known in Hebrew as Sukkot – the Feast of Tabernacles. The temporary huts built outdoors recall the huts used by ancient Israelites on their journey from Egypt to the Holy Land.? They are also reminiscent of God’s presence, which the Hebrew Bible describes as surrounding them on that journey. Now here’s the really interesting part: Permeability......

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Rapping the Evolution of Religion

“You’ve probably never thought about the evolutionary origins of religion before. And if you have, you certainly haven’t heard it rapped before.”?That’s the message of of Baba Brinkman‘s hip-hop-inspired, meticulously-researched Off-Broadway show “The Rap Guide to Religion.” Brinkman calls his shows “peer-reviewed rap,” having created and performed productions like “The Rap Guide to Evolution” and “The Canterbury Tales Remixed.” His latest foray is into the field of religion. Since I am always looking for interesting and intelligent perspectives on the interaction of science and religion, when a friend of mine told me......

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Video: The NFL, The U.S. Supreme Court and Religious Liberty in America

From Odyssey Networks’ Faith on the Record series: During a recent NFL game Kansas City Chiefs Safety, Husain Abdullah hit the headlines when he was penalized after performing a traditional Muslim prayer after scoring a touchdown. How does this incident link to the upcoming Holt Vs Hobbs case at the Supreme Court? If you care about religious liberty in America, you will care about this case. In my video discussion, I consider whether our institutions are hostile to Islam, or religion in general. Odyssey Networks tells the stories of faith in action......

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We Are More Than the Sum of Our Stories

TWD contributor, Amy Shouse wrote a recent post about how we rush to judgment and that “until we know a person’s whole story and take a moment to think what it might be like to ‘climb into their skin,’ we’ll miss out on discovering the empathy we have within ourselves…” She was right on. This insight is taken radically and unnervingly further on Yom Kippur, the most sacred day in the Jewish calendar, which begins tomorrow evening. Repeatedly, during this daylong practice of Reality Therapy devoted to forgiveness, we are reminded that......

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