Religion Today

Exploring Hope: Believing the virgin birth

If a pregnant woman came up to me and said, “I’ve never had sexual relations with a man, but I conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit,” I’m not sure what I would think. After all, women don’t generally get pregnant without a man’s sperm, even in the age of science. So, based on Occam's razor (the idea that the simplest solution tends to be the correct one), most ...

 
 

Rabbinic Reflections: Ready and not

Be afraid; be a light. Never again; choose life. Be proud; expect security checkpoints. Jews today live in a strange place. We have achieved high degrees of success, and we have felt increasingly vulnerable. We have tried to make the world a better place, and we have been blamed for almost all of its ills. The experience of these polarities is enough to drive just ...

 

Exploring Hope: A tale of two stories

As a pastor, part of my job is helping people connect the dots between two true stories. The first story is the nitty-gritty reality of our individual lives. Every single person has joys, struggles, and hopes for the future. Within my congregation, I know people who are struggling with profound health conditions. I know other people who are mourning the loss of loved ...

 

Rabbinic Reflections: Getting grounded

Whiplash seems to be the reality these days. Liberal or conservative, politics have taken abrupt turns this past month. Here in the Brandywine Valley and certainly in the Florida panhandle, weather has shifted dramatically, hot and cold, category 2 to 4. Jewishly (and for schools closing for Jewish High Holy Days) life was filled with stops and starts as the holidays ...

 

Exploring Hope: How to be more adventurous

This month’s Exploring Hope column is a guest submission by Jonathan Hatt, a pastoral intern at Hope Presbyterian Church where regular columnist Will Stern is the pastor. I was never an adventurous kid. I didn’t learn to swim until I was ten, which really isn’t shocking until I add that I lived on a resort island in Florida. Furthermore, I still refuse to step foot ...

 

Rabbinic Reflections: It’s your call

Let’s reschedule Rosh HaShanah. I know the calendars all say that it begins tonight and will stretch through Tuesday; after all, it is also known as yoma arichta (the long day). Rosh HaShanah is too early this year; it is too hot still, and school has barely started. We should reschedule it. To be clear, the ancient rabbis said we can. In fact, in one infamous case, ...

 

Exploring Hope: ‘Fruit of the Spirit’

At the church I pastor in Garnet Valley, we preached through books of the Bible section by section (you can hear sermon audio on our website). Currently, we’re at the end of the apostle Paul's letter to the Galatians. It's a fascinating work that was written only 15 years after the events of Christ's life, death, and resurrection. Today, I have the privilege of ...

 

Rabbinic Reflections: Mirror of return

Today, the alarm starts ringing. It is time again to awaken, not for a particular day but for a life. The alarm clamors, sounding not just in our ears but in our souls. Today, we must begin to return not just to the Creator but to our best selves, our purpose as unique creations. The Hebrew month of Elul begins today. With it come the 30 days of preparation for the ...

 

Exploring Hope: Flattery versus truth

Scientific America, Business Insider, and the Harvard Business Review, all confirm that flattery works. Through extensive research, it has been proved that people respond to flattery even when they know it's insincere. For example, a car salesman might tell the customer that she looks fantastic in a new sports car and that it makes her look 10 years younger. The ...

 

Rabbinic Reflections: Religious freedom

With the recent announcement that Justice Kennedy is resigning from the Supreme Court, much of the media has rightly focused on Roe v Wade. What strikes me in the coverage is the place given to religion. If religion is mentioned at all, it is thrown in as a monolithic characteristic of either President Trump’s base or the Republican base. In my experience, religions, ...

 

Exploring Hope: Pessimism or optimism

In the second book of the Bible, called Exodus, the people of Israel are fleeing Pharaoh. God is doing the "impossible-according-man" so that "[his] name may be proclaimed in all the earth” (Exodus 9:16). Despite God's display of power and love, the people are facing two terrifying prospects. In one direction, they see the menacing horde of Pharaoh bearing down on ...