Spirituality & Faith


What Religions Can Learn from Microsoft

Big news from Microsoft – it has finally decided to make its Office software, specifically its suite of applications including Word, PowerPoint, and Excel, work on all computing devices including those made by its competitors, Apple’s Ipads and Google’s Android operating system. I think there’s something that religions can take from this, especially if they want to compete in the marketplace of wisdom and practices that help people flourish. This news is a break with Microsoft policies of keeping its software services locked to Windows devices. If the world wanted Office, they......

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The Ten Commandments Were Just the Beginning

I am part of a new series, The Bible Rules, on Sundays at 10pm ET on the History 2 (H2) Channel. Taping The Bible Rules was a particularly grueling experience – I mean for TV. It wasn’t like wandering around the desert for 40 years or anything, but it was definitely the first time in my life that I was interviewed for that many consecutive hours. You can watch for yourself and see, but I already know, based on the time I spent with the producers, that they’ve done something quite amazing.......

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God and Basketball

At an NBA Oklahoma Thunder game you can expect the usual hoopla of lights and noise and dancers. But for at least a couple moments preceding each game, the lights are dimmed and people are asked to rise as the arena is turned into a mega church and a local minister or priest (and very occasionally a rabbi or Native American spiritual leader) offers a stadium wide prayer to God – “non-denominational” of course. The Thunder pre-game prayer tradition began a number of years ago with an owner promising that if he......

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Video: Son of God and an Audience of Nones

From Odyssey Network’s Faith on the Record series: With the release of the movie Son of God this weekend, we reflect on the current popularity of faith and Bible-related movies and TV programs in the context of the rise of the “nones.” Odyssey Networks tells the stories of faith in action changing the world for the better. Their stories explore a wise range of issues including peace, tolerance, social justice and the environment.? Visit Odyssey Networks at www.odysseynetworks.org....

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Why (Not!) Take Your Soul to a Spa?

Sometimes clergy and other spiritual teachers do smart things. And sometimes they do less-than-smart things (I’m trying to be charitable here). But sometimes they just annoy the hell out of me. In this news report about “spas for the soul,” we get an example of all three! Read on to see what I mean. You may be asking, what is a “spa for the soul”? Is it simply a cool name for a church, synagogue, temple or mosque? Or is it a place with massages and treatments that are so good, you......

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Beyond the Letter of the Law

If you want to know one of the many reasons why the fastest growing religious identification in America is “None” and why millions of Americans are suspicious of organized religion, look at the recent events surrounding Yeshiva University – a 116 year-old institution that is perhaps the pre-eminent institution of Modern Orthodox Judaism. In December 2012, accusations became public that Rabbis at Yeshiva University High School for Boys sexually abused students over a period of two decades and that the Yeshiva University administration knowingly tolerated the exploitation of teenage boys, neither threatening......

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True Religion and Real Religion

Can “true religion” be a basis for hatred or division among people? Based on the historical record, it seems clear that the answer is, yes. Of course, that answer puts me at odds with many people, including the Prime Minister of India, who insist that “true religion” is always warm, peaceful and loving. It’s not. Or, if you prefer, the whole notion of “true religion” is a poor way to address the issues which seem to concern the PM. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh asked people this week to battle religious fanaticism. About......

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Crossing Borders: Jews and Christmas in America 2013

Over the past few days there has been a series of social media threads around the question what “we” make of the number of Jews and Jewish professionals who posted photos of themselves / their families on Facebook in front of a Christmas tree or who wrote posts on personal and public platforms about the wisdom of Christmas. I was one of those who posted – Christmas and Our Children. The tone of the threads were uniformly of “concern” “worry” “anxiety” “annoyance” and even “anger” about the blurring of boundaries and the......

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Top Faith Stories Of The Year

While no list can capture a full year, these are my top 3. ?Each reminds us that faith is more alive than ever, even as it comes in new and surprising ways — some good, some less so. Number 3 has got to be the complicated struggle for religious freedom, from violent conflicts in Syria and Egypt, to the cultural struggles here at home. ?What all share is the fact that the struggle for religious freedom is only healthy, when those struggling do so not only for their own religious freedom, but......

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The Holiness of Every Child

About fifteen years ago, I had an experience that transformed Christmas for me.? My wife and I were sitting with a couple – he was well into his 60’s and Jewish and she a good twenty years younger and from a traditional Christian home. This was his second marriage and they had two young children.? We were guests at their ski home for a few days during winter break. Sitting after dinner at the dining room table, with their kids and our kids playing in the den, we wound up having a......

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