Nativity

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Collective identity is the root cause of so much that is, and has always been, ugly, petty, foolish and even soul-killing about organized religion: the tribalism, the judgments, the us-versus-them jockeying for position, the holier-than-thou attitudes, the fetishizing of local liturgical practices (“We do it this way but they don’t!”), and all the rest. These things have contributed significantly to the radical reduction in the numbers of churchgoers nationwide in recent decades; to say that they do more harm than good is an understatement. Continue reading

What now?

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The slaying of the nine saints of Mother Emanuel is changing the community of South Carolina, and beyond, in ways that we simply cannot yet fully see.

We know that events can change a community. This is no new or great or profound revelation; it’s simply the way of life. General agreement exists for the following two statements:

The Spoleto Festival, founded in 1977, has changed the Charleston community.

Hurricane Hugo in 1989 changed the Lowcountry. Continue reading

Acts of forgiveness may be key to real power

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The whole notion of forgiveness has been in the front of many people’s minds in the weeks since the massacre at Emanuel AME Church. Just how, they wonder, could family members of the victims, one after another, forgive the accused shooter so quickly after such a reprehensible deed?

One pastor explains forgiving is the natural, almost instinctive reaction of people who live lives based on a deep faith in God. Because of faith, they already feel forgiven for the sins they confess to their maker. When an evil was done to members of their family, forgiveness was a the way for the faithful person to cope and react. Continue reading