Sun, 25 December 2022
Once you accept that the Christmas story as recorded by Matthew and Luke in the New Testament is not a reporting of history then we are left to wonder what the point of these mythical stories is. Clearly, far from the sweet manger scenes we have heard way too much about, this is an account of the government and religious leaders conspiring to murder the god-child by killing all of the babies in a region around Bethlehem. This is a story of a new hope born to the poor who lived in an occupied nation in which the state church is in an alliance with the state, either by active cooperation or through indifference. So, these are not history lessons. If we pay attention, the Christmas story is a mirror held up for us to see that we live in a country where the government locks thousands of migrant children into dog cages, sexually abusing some, torturing others, and allowing many to die while the church is largely compliant and silent. And we seriously wonder if this government might actually win election approval from poor church goers in a few months. Merry Christmas?
Sun, 18 December 2022
In many ways, religion resembles a long-running, uncontrolled social experiment on the human condition and social change. And a moment’s reflection reminds us that all cultural, including religious, systems, have been used to justify everything from the terrifying to the sublime. Dorothee Solle called this the “double function” of religion: “as apology and legitimation of the status quo and its culture of injustice on the one hand, and as a means of protest, change, and liberation on the other hand.” Discerning which is which, and acting accordingly, is essential if we want our present troubles to be birth pangs of a new world, rather than the death throes of humanity.
Sun, 11 December 2022
How you feel about hope likely depends on your own experiences and circumstances. It’s been portrayed as both salvation and delusion, and many things in between. Navigating hope and hopelessness, grief and despair, rest and apathy, action and futility, is something of a craft and an art. It is also why the words don’t always fit, because we are often at different places on this messy spectrum of grieving, healing, acting, or giving up. What is it that keeps us from giving up, giving in, or standing idly by while honestly facing the devastating challenges of the day?
Sun, 4 December 2022
The congress of leaders of world religions, meeting in September, drafted a resolution trying to imagine the ways in which spiritual communities might become part of the solution to the crisis of a world that is literally "tumbling" out of order. With the threat of modern wars, the potential of nuclear disaster, the collapse of the environment, and the growing refugee crisis, the traditional religions which have too often been a part of the problem must now undergo a substantive revolution themselves if they are to be a part of the solution.