Moving Beyond Ritual

There wasn’t much compassion when it came to bread. It was 2006, and I attended a fellowship of rabbinical students across denominations that met every week over dinner. Our purpose was to cultivate compassionate Jewish leadership… . Continue Reading »

Secularist Cheating

You can see why the secularist might feel cheated. Every argument he makes against religious belief runs up against a great foggy X-factor called “God” and a useful hedge called “the Fall of Man” and an ace up the sleeve called “grace.” … . Continue Reading »

Anarcho-Monarchism

The only thing I know that J.R.R. Tolkien and Salvador Dalí had in common—or rather, I suppose I should say, the only significant or unexpected thing, since they obviously had all sorts of other things in common: they were male, bipedal, human, rough contemporaries, celebrities, and so on—was that each man on at least one occasion said he was drawn simultaneously towards anarchism and monarchism… . Continue Reading »

The Idols of Revisionist Theology

Past ages have accepted the preeminent power of faith, and argued over what to believe, not over whether to believe. We tend to wonder whether the passion of belief isn’t a danger, perhaps the danger to be overcome. A recent book by Mark Johnston, Saving God: Religion after Idolatry, revises Christianity to make it is less dangerous… . Continue Reading »

Israel and the Vatican

“Why in the world is the Vatican attacking Israel and reverting to radical supercessionism?” asked a theologian who knows I am involved in Jewish-Christian dialogue. Supersessionism, at least in its radical form, states that the church has replaced Jewish Israel so that the Jewish covenant no longer has continuing significance… . Continue Reading »

The True Liberty to Forget

Spend a day with your local military recruiter, and you’ll be encouraged by the number of people who go out of their way to say how much they support our troops and how much they appreciate the service of these young veterans. Then watch as the recruiters casually ask when they’ll be bringing their son or daughter to the recruiting station to learn more about serving their country… . Continue Reading »

Who’s Sorry Now?

Almost going unnoticed in the continuing analysis of last week’s election has been the absence of the sort of high-drama and neurotic self-indulgence that followed Democrat losses in 2004. Where is the “Sorry, Everybody” movement of 2010? … Continue Reading »

Death Dignified by Christ

He was a dignified man suffering all the embarrassing ways cheerful young women the age of his granddaughter deal with the body’s failure as cancer begins shutting down the organs. Dying in a hospice, you lose all rights to modesty as you lose control of your body… . Continue Reading »