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 →
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 →
In 1938, long before the outbreak of World War II, the Nazi government began construction of an internment camp about 50 miles north of Berlin near the tiny village of Ravensbruck. The camp was intended to hold exclusively women inmates … Continue reading →
From the time I could fit my fingers into the rotary dial on our beige family telephone, I called Granny Louise. She wrote her phone number in Horatio, South Carolina, on a strip of masking tape and stuck it on the front of the old leather suitcase I used when I went to visit her. Continue reading →