‘Listening and Learning’ means little without action

Is “listening and learning” in danger of becoming the new “thoughts and prayers”?  A twenty-year-old – which is the age group we need to hear, especially these days – told me she thinks it is, especially for white people. Just like some respond to tragedy with the promise of thoughts and prayers, her concern isContinue reading “‘Listening and Learning’ means little without action”

We can persevere!

“No winter lasts forever. No spring skips its turn.” Those words of Hal Borland came to mind not so much about the season but about the COVID-19 pandemic. I’m not suggesting the end of the pandemic or of social distancing is at hand. Rather, I mention the words of that beloved poem because they speakofContinue reading “We can persevere!”

Ramadan faces challenges this year due to social distancing

Ramadan, which this year began last Friday, April 24, is an especially important month in the Islamic calendar because it is believed to be the month when the first verses of the Koran were revealed to the prophet Muhammad, thus bestowing the revelations of God on humanity. Observant Muslims, numbering more than a billion throughoutContinue reading “Ramadan faces challenges this year due to social distancing”

Pandemic Teaches Us To Lean On Each Other

In a particularly poignant scene in Albert Camus’s The Plague – which reads like it was published three weeks instead of in 1947 – the doctor works tirelessly to lessen the suffering of those around him. But he is no hero. “This whole thing is not about heroism,” he says. “It may seem a ridiculousContinue reading “Pandemic Teaches Us To Lean On Each Other”

How Religious People Can Actually Help

Interfaith unity can reduce misconceptions Some describe the United States of America as the most religiously diverse country, while others depict it as the most religiously devout, at least of nations in the northern hemisphere. Regardless, the important issue is how we allow religion to shape us. Will religion be a source of conflict orContinue reading “How Religious People Can Actually Help”

Lessons from Hanukkah

I’m spiritually indebted to Jewish traditions, such as Hanukkah. This year, Hanukkah begins at sunset next Sunday, Dec. 22, and runs until Dec. 30. The word “Hanukkah” comes from the Hebrew verb meaning “to dedicate” and generally is translated as an eight-day festival of lights. Specifically, it refers to the dedication of the Temple inContinue reading “Lessons from Hanukkah”

It’s time to find room at the inn for everyone

William Sloane Coffin said the best sermon he never preached was at a Christmas Eve service when he pastored New York City’s Riverside Church. The poinsettias were beautiful. The people were joyful. The place was packed. It was time in the Christmas pageant for the innkeeper to deny Mary and Joseph with the resounding line,Continue reading “It’s time to find room at the inn for everyone”

Dealing with what we don’t want to see

How do we deal with what we do not want to see? Garfield is one of those comic strips that sometimes evokes more than a polite smile. In the first panel of one such strip, Garfield is sitting at the table with a feast in front of him: Turkey, dressing, biscuits, vegetables, pies and more.Continue reading “Dealing with what we don’t want to see”