Religion Today

Exploring Hope: Freedom in Christianity

If you are skeptical about the truth claims of Christianity, I wonder if you associate Christianity with freedom. Probably not. You may associate Christianity with giving up freedom. You believe that Christians only want to tell you who you can sleep with or what you should do with your wallet. So, what does Christianity teach about freedom? In Galatians chapter 2, ...

 
 

Rabbinic Reflections: A quiet gift

I am supposed to know better. I should know from experience, and I should know from faith. And when it came to my daughter’s bat mitzvah, I should not have forgotten the Jewish wisdom of Shabbat when trying to make Shabbat fit into the party instead of the other way around. My daughter celebrated that Jewish rite of passage known as becoming bat mitzvah (literally, ...

 

Exploring Hope: Humanity’s dream

Have you ever noticed that history classes seem to focus almost exclusively on war? Yet we could never list every war in human history because there are simply too many. Violence and conflict have characterized humanity since the beginning. For this reason, peace has been called “humanity’s eternal, elusive dream.” We see this “eternal, elusive dream” in the Bible’s ...

 

Rabbinic Reflections: The Passover table

The people who disagree most are sitting together. The stakes are really high. The recent past was fraught with machinations and secret deals. It is not just politics, not just leadership, not even worldviews; it comes down to their sense of purpose in the world. And we have a record of it. The Passover Haggadah, the guidebook for the seder meal, gives order (the ...

 

Applied Belief: The greatest April fool

On what we call Good Friday, the Devil, yes there is a Devil, celebrated the death of the man who stated he was God. Jesus hung on a cross and the Devil believed he finally had won. Since Jesus was born, Satan — the dragon of the book of Revelation — had tried to kill Jesus. “And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth so that when she bore her ...

 

Exploring Hope: Reasons NOT to visit a new church this Easter

My name is Will Stern. I’m the pastor of Hope Presbyterian, a new church launching regular services this Easter at the Darlington Arts Center in Garnet Valley. I could tell you about myself or our new church, but today, I would like to discuss three reasons you may not be interested in visiting a new church. 1: “I don't want to be the new person.” I completely ...

 

Rabbinic Reflections: Violence and holiness

"‘Should,' ‘have to,' and ‘must' are among the most violent words in the English language because they are extrinsic." Think about that quotation for a minute. If I say to you, "you should…," or "you have to…," or "you must," you are likely to feel a tightening in your body, maybe even to become defensive. The response is natural as someone, other than you is ...

 

A new church to start Easter

Where do churches come from? Most of us drive past church buildings every day and never stop to think about where they come from. In reality, every local church was once new.  In church circles, the process of starting a new congregation is called “church planting.” Like the metaphor implies, churches begin with a small seed of people who gather for worship and ...

 

Rabbinic Reflections: God’s Eagles

"I am a rabbi and a person of faith. But God has nothing to do with this," wrote a friend of mine in response to many Eagles' players attributing the Super Bowl LII victory to God. I have had this conversation about God and sports before but let us face it, the Eagles winning the Lombardi trophy is different. No, God does not have a favorite NFL team; no, God does ...

 

Applied Belief: Biblical Eagles

Whether it was God's will for the Eagles to win the Super Bowl or not this year, there is no doubt that starting with their quarterback and going down the line of Nick Foles, Chris Maragos, Zach Ertz and others know that the only thing that lasts forever is the Word of God. "The Grass withers, the flowers fade, but the Word of our God will stand forever" (Isaiah ...

 

Rabbinic Reflections: Gardening freedom in winter

“Stay warm.” With each bitter cold snap this winter, we tell each other to “stay warm.” We mean it, it is cold outside, dangerously so. We would be remiss, though, if we stopped at thinking about the temperature, wind chills, and whether the heat is working. There is also a biting chill in today’s civil discourse. Today, we need to say and hear “stay warm” as a ...