Breaking False Dichotomies


Bully Pulpits and Pulpit Bullies

When President Teddy Roosevelt coined the term “Bully Pulpit,” the term “bully” meant “outstanding” or “optimal,” not a pulpit from which one could use their office to bully their audience. New data from Pew Research indicates that a rather high percentage of American Christian religious leaders could take a lesson from the former president when it comes to how they use their own pulpits when addressing political issues. Pastors Often Discussed Election, Pandemic and Racism in Fall of 2020 The polling results, based on the content of sermons offered from the pulpits......

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Leadership Lessons and Serving the Servers in The Holy Land

Also by Rabbi Joshua Stanton You are standing in Bethlehem’s Manger Square, the Church of the Nativity looms before you, and you feel like the kid in the Disneyland commercial who says, “I’ve been waiting my whole life to see you.”   You are a Christian leader standing in the Western Wall Plaza and discover that you now understand more fully how and why so many Jews attach so deeply to this one spot in particular and to Israel in general, even as you also discover that you, as a Christian, may still feel......

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Once-in-a-Decade Revelations

Every year at Shavuot, Jewish communities all around the world celebrate the giving of Torah with raucous gatherings, enormous slabs of cheesecake, and Torah learning from dusk to dawn. Of the many fond memories I have of my time living in Jerusalem a decade ago, house-hopping throughout the night of Shavuot sits comfortably atop the list. I learned provocative, inspiring Torah from complete strangers, danced with folks from Haredi to Hiloni (strictly Orthodox to strictly secular), and emerged from my last learning session to feel the rising sun on my face while I prayed at the......

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Night Words, A Midrash For The Holocaust

The Meaning of this Day, January 27, 2021 In 2005, the United Nations General Assembly designated January 27–the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau–as International Holocaust Remembrance Day. On this annual day of commemoration, the UN urges the world community to honor the six million Jewish victims of the Holocaust and millions of other victims of Nazism. The theme guiding Holocaust remembrance in 2021 is Facing the Aftermath: Recovery and Reconstitution After The Holocaust. The never-ending process of recovery and reconstitution of individuals, communities, and systems of justice includes: accurately recording the......

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Now What?

Donald Trump is mentally ill and needs a constitutional straitjacket. He is hungry for adulation to compensate for a mind-blowing inner lack of self-worth -that even those of us most horrified by his venality have to feel a smidgeon of compassion for. His most violent followers – a minority of the 70+ million people who voted for him – rendered needy, powerless, and stripped of their dignity by serious societal stress – have through their adulating Trump felt powerful. The violence of last Wednesday and the violence of Trump’s administration is a......

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Reckoning or Reconciliation?  How About Both?

To impeach or not to impeach. That is the question. Or is it? Perhaps the more important question at this moment is not a question of what to do, but of why we do it. That has certainly been my approach, as I am asked if there are any spiritual or religious responses to the cresting chorus of those who are ready to explain the “right answer” to the question of impeachment — Focusing on the “why” more than the “what.” The question of whether or not the President should be impeached,......

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The Acceptance of Oklahoma's Day of Prayer and Fasting -- Warts and All

By decree of Gov. Kevin Stitt, Oklahoma is observing today, Thursday, December 3rd, as a day of prayer and fasting, asking God “To heal those who are sick, comfort those who are hurting and provide renewed strength and wisdom to all who are managing the effects of COVID-19.” I applaud the Governor, most of his decree, and all those who would join him in prayer and fasting, even, or especially if they don’t believe in God. Yes, I am applauding the state-sponsored establishment of a religious day, even though I believe in......

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