Faith
queerandbeloved
Queer and Beloved
There’s a scene in the movie The Exorcist where the two priests talk about why the devil would choose to possess Linda Blair’s character out of all the other people in the world. Max Von Sydow’s character responds, “I think the point is to make us despair. To see ourselves as… animal and ugly. To make us reject the possibility that God could love us.” And that’s the basis for all of my anguish and despair. All of my questions, my doubts, and my fears all boil down to this one fear: that God might not love me. It happened...
faith interview sikh
Faith Interview Series: Sikhism
I pulled up to the Gurdwara in Rochester Hills, a small white and brick building. “Gurdwara” is the term for a place of worship for those of the Sikh faith. “God is One” was printed prominently on their sign near the road. Two boys playing in the parking lot pointed me to the right door and I entered the gurdwara. I was greeted by Mandheer Singh, a tall gentleman with electric brown eyes and a warm smile. Mandheer Singh is a real estate agent, is married and has two children. (Singh is the last name adopted by Sikh men to...
faith interviews bahai
Faith Interview Series: The Bahá’í Faith
About Carl Carl Marshall, a Bahá’í gentleman from Detroit, Michigan, moved his coffee across the table. “We are in the middle of a fasting month—or actually at the very end of it—so I should probably stop eating. I think the sun rises at 7:35 today.” The Bahá’í calendar has nineteen months with nineteen days in each month. During the last month of the year, which falls between March 2nd and March 21st, members participate in a fast very similar to Ramadan. My first encounter with the Baha’i faith was with a gentleman that sat next to me on a plane from...
faith interviews introduction2
Faith Interview Series: Introduction
Why It All Matters Over the next couple of weeks I am going to be posting a series of interviews with religious leaders and congregants of different religions from the metro Detroit area. Why? Well, that’s a complicated answer. I’ve been trying to pin down when I first became interested in interfaith relations. I can look back to a couple of years ago picking up a book of poetry by the Sufi poet Rumi. The way he spoke of God was so beautiful and different from what I had heard before. This lion of God watches over me, I sing...
higherstateofhappiness
A Higher State of Happiness
What is happiness? To one person it means owning eight cars. To another it means being in a great relationship. To a third it’s about getting blissed out in kirtan. Happiness means different things to different people. But, despite the discrepancy, one thing is certain — nice things and experiences only offer temporary pleasure. Cars die, relationships end, memories fade. Any definition of happiness based on attaining something or achieving a “positive” state of mind is built on a deck of cards. According to Ven. Sanghasena, a Buddhist monk and spiritual leader in India, equanimity is a higher state of...
Pride
The Man With All The Answers
When I took Systematic Theology in graduate school, Devlin Lucent was the best student in the class by far. Devlin knew all the answers. He never lost his cool. He was ridiculously good-looking. Sometimes he asked the professor questions so clever the professor would start to answer, stop, and then say, “That’s a very interesting question, Devlin. Class, what do you think?” One day I had to know why Devlin even bothered with this class. I caught up with him on the quad. “Hey, why do you ask such impossible questions?” “Just playing devil’s advocate,” he said. “Dr. Hallow is...
fiftyshades
Fifty Shades of Truth
I’ve been hearing about a book making the rounds, Fifty Shades of Grey by E. L. James. Naturally, being a writer and voracious reader, I check out books that people are talking about. I hit up Google and typed in a search and up pops this description: Fifty Shades of Grey is a New York Times bestselling erotic fiction paperback and e-book by E. L. James. Set largely in Seattle, the trilogy traces the deepening relationship between college graduate Anastasia Steel and a young business magnate, Christian Grey. It is notable for its explicitly erotic scenes featuring elements of BDSM.1...
mary mother of jesus
The Gospel According to Jesus’ Mom
Most Christians focus on every word and incident in Jesus’ life as recorded in the four Gospels.  But I’m also drawn to the people involved.  How did they relate to Jesus?  What was their story? Being the mother of three children, there is an event in the Bible I totally understand from Mary’s point of view.  She was Jesus’ mom and caught him teaching the religious teachers in the Temple in Jerusalem at the age of 12 after he had been missing for three days.  Here’s the story in Luke 2:41-52. Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the...
2096053188_2a94bbd313
The Smallest Church in the World
What is religion?  What is spirituality?  Are the two at odds with one another?  Or can a person be both spiritual and religious?  And can a person truly be one without the other? Earlier this month, Amy Julia Becker wrote a piece for the Huffington Post in which she eloquently and persuasively lays out the reasons why religion and spirituality are not at odds with one another.  She explains that she needs the freedom of spirituality and the authority of religion in order to “remember or discover meaning and purpose” within her day-to-day life. “[R]eligion and spirituality are not opposed...
satan
The Making of an Adversary: Satan and Christianity’s Unspoken Heresy
I sat in the minister’s office on a Wednesday night, nervous with my parents seated on either side of me. “Why now?” he asked. “I’m not ready,” I replied. Confusion spread across the minister’s face, and he glanced at my parents doubtfully. My dad turned toward me and asked gently, “Then why are we here, David, if you aren’t ready?” My heart pounded and I saw this moment — my most important moment — begin to slip away from me, and I knew I couldn’t let that happen. I might not get this chance again. If I didn’t seize this...
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