Category Archives: Editorials

Wearing Masks

Masks were worn in the Greek theatre for a variety of reasons. One was to enable a single individual to play multiple roles simply by changing a mask.

Masks were also used as a sort of portable microphone system, with its built-in megaphone. It was quite an effective “technology” for the huge amphitheaters before which the actors played. Actors in the Greek theatre were also men only, so they could change their gender simply with the change of a mask.

Continue reading Wearing Masks

Truth & Integrity

Proverbs is the name of the ancient book of Wisdom in the Bible. It is a collection of sayings that shed light on how to live with wisdom and discernment in the world. The ancients were preoccupied with wisdom; in fact, a whole section of the Old Testament was devoted to looking for what is true.

A large number of those proverbial sayings concern truth versus falsehood. Says the Proverbs, “A reliable witness ALWAYS tells the truth, but an unreliable one tells nothing but lies,” Proverbs 14:5. In other words, people do not tend to believe someone who lies.

Continue reading Truth & Integrity

Truth and Moishe

No one believed Moishe the Beadle (fictional character).  He was the keeper of the synagogue in Sighet, Hungary in Elie Wiesel’s famous book NightSighet was Wiesel’s hometown.

In the summer of 1941, Hungarian authorities rounded up approximately 20,000 Jews who had not been able to acquire Hungarian citizenship, and deported them to German-occupied Poland.

The Germans massacred approximately 23,000 Jews from August 27-28, 1941 in the first large-scale massacre of the Final Solution.  Moishe the Beadle was an archetype of one of these illegal aliens who was swept up in the deportation. Continue reading Truth and Moishe

What story do you buy?

I was a middle-aged lady, set in my ways, when I decided to be baptized.  And when that water poured over my head, I realized the big problem with my new religion:  God actually lives in other people.  I couldn’t be a Christian by myself.  I couldn’t choose who else was my brother and sister.

That’s a really different story from the one that’s sold to us every day, which insists each one of us is individually responsible for managing our own economic and political salvation.

–Sara Miles

Sara Miles is an author whose books include Take This Bread: A Radical Conversion; Jesus Freak: Feeding Healing Raising the Dead, and City of God: Faith in the Streets.  She served as Director of Ministry at St. Gregory of Nyssa Episcopal Church in San Francisco for ten years, and is the founder and director of The Food Pantry

God’s got this!

“God’s got this” – mostly heard when some concern has been expressed concerning someone’s health, a crisis, or unexpected negative event.  On the face of it, it sounds so religious and holy – “Relax, God’s got this.”

But is God really managing the situation?  What about when someone is burying a loved one for whom s/he prayed to be healed?  With bitter tears flowing down his/her cheek.  Does God really “have” it?  To believe that, one has to be willing to accept that God is responsible for the death.  Or what about the little dead child on the Mediterranean beach?  You can’t choose what God’s “got” when you pull out the God card. Continue reading God’s got this!

Words Without Eyes

I’ve been thinking about the role that social media plays in our lives today, and especially how it insulates us from one another and even gives opportunity for the snarkiest, rudest, and most alienating words.  “Words Without Eyes” is a reference to the words we paste on FB posts, comments to a post, and Twitter posts that destroy the fabric of our democracy.  

Words Without Eyes
21 September 2018

Words without eyes
Easily written, disembodied
Sent with the press of a key
Weaponized and deadly

No gazing at the Other,
No asking, “What do you think?”
No sitting in stillness
No legs under the table of hospitality. Continue reading Words Without Eyes

American Apocalypse

I heard for the first time in the early 80’s that American foreign policy was being influenced by the joint ideologies of religious fundamentalism and Evangelicalism.  It seemed far-fetched at the time, but the idea stayed around in my mind in the ensuing decades.

Whatever doubts might have been present were dispatched by Matthew Avery Sutton’s fine history of these movements in America in his newest book, American Apocalypse.

Sutton traces the rise of these movements in America beginning in the mid-1800’s and continuing to the present.  In articulate, dispassionate prose, Sutton lays the case for the powerful and concerted influence of the Religious Right as embodied by Fundamentalism and its partner Evangelicalism.   Continue reading American Apocalypse

Fake Religion

Carmac the MagnificentWith all the talk about fake news these days, I’m most disturbed by the rise of fake religion.

What does it look like?  It preens and struts.  “Look at how religious I am,” it seems to say.  It postures and poses, setting up pictures for the front page of the newspaper.  It wants to make sure that you notice that it’s praying or serving or worshiping. Continue reading Fake Religion

EVERYthing happens for a reason.

“It was meant to be.”

“The Universe wanted me to….”

“I was supposed to learn something from that.”

“There are no coincidences.”

“There’s a reason for everything.”

These statements are nearly universal, and there is no pattern to them. Atheists, believers, liberals and conservatives, and people characterized as either spiritual or not use some version of these statements.  Many (I would say most) believe in some form of fate, destiny, providence, or another form of external manipulative power. Continue reading EVERYthing happens for a reason.