If you think about how we respond to conflict in our everyday lives, it could be in our work, our relationships, or even in our beliefs, we tend to seek peace with a peacekeeper’s mindset rather than a peacemaker’s mindset.
We might be in a conversation with someone with whom we fundamentally disagree; we may even see that their way of doing something, will, in the long run, be insufficient to meet the real demands of such and such a project, or such and such a problem. But because they are the louder voice or a larger personality, we might choose to hold our tongues and keep our opinions to ourselves. Yet, in doing so, we fail to see the ramifications of our silence.
Life can be difficult, filled with much pain and suffering. But what makes life worth living are the people in our lives— the people we give to and the people that give to us. The act of giving need not be lavish or expensive to make a difference in someone’s life. It simply needs to be the kind of giving that acknowledges the recipient's value in the world.
What is God's plan for your life? Is that even the right question to ask? Does God have plans for people, or is that something we ascribe to our experiences and pursuits to make ourselves feel important?
The Sixth Sacrament is The Sacrament of Matrimony (or marriage). This Sacrament is good news to those who've found someone for whom the stars collided and the planets aligned to unite you with your soulmate... but what about the rest of us?
Some believe that baptism makes a person a member of a church. Some believe that baptism is what keeps a person from going to Hell when they die. Still, others believe that baptism causes a miraculous change in the direction of one’s life.
If you were raised in the church, it's likely that you were taught one of these three things about baptism. But what is baptism, really?
Most of what we see being done and said in a house of worship finds its explanation in the scriptures. And that's not just for Christianity. There are scriptures for just about every belief system in the world.
Within Christianity specifically, there are different approaches when it comes to making sense of The Bible. What are they?
Why do we celebrate Pentecost? Wouldn’t we be better off learning about something more concrete, practical, and useful to our lives? If we aren't prone to seasons of celebration in our lives, Pentecost has something deeply important to teach us.
As a culture, we often place more emphasis on the Fatherhood of God than we do the Motherhood of God. Some of us may have never even heard the phrase, “the Motherhood of God” used before. But if we do a careful search of the scriptures, we see that there is a Mother-side of God that is important for us to implement into the practice of our beliefs.
Is faith a predisposition? Could a person who believes in God and spiritual things more easily than others be that way because it's wired into them? If so, what about those of us who aren't wired that way? Where is our place in all of this?
If you drive down the strip in any major city, you'll pass all kinds of businesses that perform and provide the same goods and services, but with different expressions. Restaurants, grocery store chains, different kinds of car dealerships, doctors, dentists, electronic's stores, and yes, even churches.
Where some see division, God sees unity. Where some see competition, God sees cooperation.
We all have different opinions about prayer. Some of us do it to calm ourselves. Some of us do it in moments of panic when the only thing that can fix our problems is a miracle. Some of us do it simply out of duty. Some of us do it because it makes us feel closer to God. For most of us, it’s a combination of all of the above. But what is the purpose of prayer, really?
There are all kinds of things in our lives that we see or hear that inspire us. It might be a lecture, a film, a piece of music, a work of art, or even a passage of scripture. But does inspiration stay just that? In the realm of thoughts, dreams, or “maybe-somedays?”
If we are intellectually honest beings, with all that we know about the speed of light, and if the spiritual life is compared to embracing the Light of God when it reaches us, then this means something for us as people of faith that flies in the face of a culture where we strive for things to arrive more and more quickly so that we can consume them, discard them, and then move onto something else.
We may think that Christ is coming into the world to invite us into a more thorough form of behavior modification so that we can finally be loved by God, when in reality, Christ arrives to change our thinking about God altogether, helping us to see that we were already loved in the first place.
As odd as it may sound, there’s probably no more controversial topic to discuss in the Christian Faith than the person of Jesus. It seems antithetical to say so, being a religion founded on his teachings, but it’s true. We change, so our faith also changes. And this doesn’t always sit well with everyone in our lives.
We (often) live frantic, frazzled lives, racing from one fire to another. Sure, we'd like to hear the voice of God guiding us, leading us, and inspiring us, but it seems nearly impossible to hear. What can we do to make the voice of God more easy to hear?
Faith is strange because we often put it in a category all by itself as if it has different rules than everything else in life. For many of us, our faith is like the great exception for all the rules that butt up against our tradition or dogma. Maybe we even think of faith as more superior to other things like work, relationships, learning, or going to grocery store.
But as shocking as it may sound to hear a pastor say it, it’s not. Faith is just “one of the things.” It doesn’t stand alone by itself, nor is it intended to.
It's commonplace for churches to say, "Everyone is welcome here." What does that mean, practically, though? Sure, everyone is welcome to enter the building, right? But once they get inside and decide they'd like to call that particular church community their home, just how welcome are they?
Rob Scalioni, Dr. Josie Hoover, Rabbi Greg Harris, Abdelhafid E. El Idrissi, Rev. Dr. Sharon Stanley-Rae, Cintia Cabib, Frank and Mary Frost, Rev. Rebecca Stelle, Jana Mason, Gary & Margarett Kunz, Jan Fox, David Yao, Michael A. O’Sullivan, Penny Yao