Religion Today

Exploring Hope: Good news or bad news

If you went out to the street in America and ask people what they think Christianity is all about, you would get a lot of different answers. Some might say that Christianity is about rules and regulations. Others might say that Christianity is about church buildings, robes, and ceremonies. Others might say that Christianity is about bigotry and holding on to outdated ...

 
 

Rabbinic Reflections: Mystery and majesty

“It is like spring, but I could do without the rain,” he said. I responded, “April showers bring May flowers.” He quickly retorted, “Yeah, but it is February!” Indeed, the weather has been unseasonably warm, and for all the wet, it has left us bereft of snow. Birds and plants seem to be returning despite the calendar. It is supposed to be winter here, how can nature ...

 

Rabbinic Reflections: #JewishandProud

More than 90,000 Jews on New Year’s Day gathered in MetLife Stadium and 20,000-plus last Sunday in a Solidarity March against Anti-Semitism crossing the Brooklyn Bridge. What do these gatherings have in common? They both exemplify deeply Jewish attitudes about Jewish life in a world where hatred of the Jews is all too real. One the one hand, the first gathering ...

 

Exploring Hope: Don’t mock the carols

You sit in Starbucks while Christmas carols play in the background. You go to the grocery store and hear “Joy to the World” humming softly through bad speakers. Carols are ubiquitous at this time of year. And for some, this is great. You love Christmas carols and want to start playing them before Thanksgiving (something that was anathema in my family growing up). But ...

 

Rabbinic Reflections: Light in our hands

I count myself lucky that I was not further north for my Thanksgiving road trip; 1,500 miles was quite enough with three kids and no snow. While they were watching the Star Wars movies in order in anticipation of episode IX later this month, I was attuned to how little daylight we had for them to even see something out the window. Add a rainy day and there was even ...

 

Exploring Hope: So many Bible translations

If you ever go to a bookstore and look at the Bible section, you'll be surprised by the vast number of translations – NIV, KJV, NLT, CSB, ESV, NKJV, NRSV, NASB — just to name a few. And if you’re new to Christianity, it may feel bewildering. It could even make you doubt the trustworthiness of the Bible. You say, "If there are so many translations, then certainly we ...

 

Rabbinic Reflections: Breaking for God

As we watch the leaves descend, we do not tell them to stop on their way down. We do not cushion their fall. We may try to catch a few. If enough leaves have fallen we may wish the rest would hurry down in order to make raking a one-time event. In other words, we speak very differently about leaves falling than we do about people falling. When people fall, we want to ...

 

Exploring Hope: Can all religions be true?

I occasionally come across people who say that all religions are true. They claim that God is like a mountain with many roads to the top. It doesn’t matter which road you take as long as you love others and treat them with respect. However, there is a logical problem with this idea. Jesus clearly claimed to be the only way to God. He said, “All things have been ...

 

Rabbinic Reflections: Fragile bravery

“It’s okay to be scared. You can only be brave if you are scared first.” These words rolled easily off my tongue in counseling a kindergartener as she contemplated going down the pole on the playground. The stakes were low, she wanted to be brave, and I knew the words to be true. What I didn’t realize is how important bravery might be in this historical moment. On ...

 

Exploring Hope: The God-shaped hole

I’m convinced that every single person comes into the world with a God-shaped hole in his or her heart. We have a longing for meaning, purpose, and significance. Therefore, we go through life trying to find something that will fill the void within us. Some people tried to fill the hole with pleasure. They dedicate themselves to sex or drugs. They look for the latest ...

 

Rabbinic Reflections: God’s body and soul

Friday the 13th had a full moon. What a great reminder that we are not in control; two eerie signs, especially for the superstitious, that the natural world itself has a dark side. This particular full moon marks the middle of the Hebrew month of Elul, the month of preparation for the Jewish High Holy Days. In two more weeks, as the moon wanes to nothing, Rosh ...