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By Bruce Gleason | April 13, 2012
"Coming out" as an atheist can be a risky proposition. Friends might be confused about why you don't believe in a deity. You might even lose some. I know because I have. But were they friends to begin with if they rejected who you really are? Maybe not. Everyone knows an atheist, most everyone respects an atheist, but they are unaware that the person sitting next to them is an atheist. Some people call themselves agnostic. But we're talking about belief here, and Gnosticism has to do with what we know.
By Mark Wiley | April 6, 2012
I believe in the Easter bunny. No, not the hopped up and over-marketed Easter bunny, but the real one. When I was a little kid, I once woke up very early on Easter. I was up before the people going to Easter Sunrise. I was looking for the Easter basket. Ok, I was looking for chocolate. I searched the house in darkness, and found nothing. Nada. Zero. No basket. No eggs. No chocolate. I was traumatized. My tears woke up my parents. They took me into their room, and there was a pale green dump truck filled with chocolate.
By Rabbi Mark S. Miller | March 30, 2012
I am pleased to respond to a special request from the features editor for a column timed with the start of the 2012 Major League Baseball season. I want to begin with a favorite story about my beloved Chicago Cubs: A 7-year-old Chicago boy challenged a court ruling over who should have custody of him. The boy had been beaten by his parents, and the judge initially awarded custody to his aunt. The boy surprised the court when he proclaimed that his aunt beat him more than his parents, and he adamantly refused to live with her. When the judge suggested that he live with his grandparents, the boy cried out that they also beat him. After considering the remainder of the immediate family and learning that domestic violence was apparently a way of life among them, the judge took the unprecedented step of allowing the boy to propose who should have custody of him. And after two recesses to check legal references and confer with child welfare officials, the judge granted temporary custody to the Chicago Cubs, who the boy firmly believed were not capable of beating anyone.
By Sarah Peters | March 10, 2012
If someone were to tell See's Candies Chief Executive Brad Kinstler that the path to riches was through Christian holidays, there would be no debate. That's because his South San Francisco-based company makes the bulk of its annual revenue on Christmas and Easter, Kinstler said at the ninth annual Concordia University Faith and Business Forum on Thursday at the Hilton Orange County/Costa Mesa hotel. "In part, I can be troubled by the amount of profit made by Christian holidays," Kinstler said.
By Rabbi Mark S. Miller | March 9, 2012
Several days ago, a conservative radio personality despoiled the air waves with foul descriptions of a law school student who had made a reasoned and civil argument for her position on a health-care issue. He so vilified her that his words were repugnant to anyone who recognizes the boundaries of dignified discourse. Words matter. Noah Webster, a stickler for the proper definition of words, was responsible for standardizing American English. One day, his wife opened the kitchen door and discovered Noah kissing the maid.
By Mark Wiley | February 24, 2012
This week some of us wore dark smudges on our foreheads. Maybe you were one of us. Smudge wearers grow less each decade. Even many of those who share Christ's name graciously decline to wear smudge marks. The smudge, of course, is ash from Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. Most of us are not really Lenten folks. We would just as soon skip from celebration to celebration, from Mardi Gras to Easter. Lent is the season of confession, of really looking at yourself in the mirror, of spring cleaning and of coming clean.
By The Rev. Sarah Halverson | February 17, 2012
I tend to appeal to non-religious people. I often hear comments like, "I've never met a pastor like you" or "I didn't know a church like yours existed!" Honestly, I do not think that either I or Fairview is all that unique when it comes to pastors or churches. But I do think that non-religious people have this general notion that religious people fit into a certain box. To fit in that box one must be perceived as a non-thinker, someone who believes the Bible literally, and even thinks that it was written by the hand of God himself.
By Benjamin J. Hubbard | February 10, 2012
Teaching is a profoundly ethical and spiritual activity that demands courage and unflagging dedication. It affects the minds and spirits of students from pre-K through grad school in a transformative manner. As I reflect on my own life of teaching and that of countless colleagues, including several members of my immediate family, I am intensely aware of teaching's priceless value as well as the responsibilities it entails. In January, I began my 46th year of college teaching, 27 of them at Cal State Fullerton.
By Tom L. Thorkelson | February 3, 2012
In my work in the interfaith community over nearly 30 years, whenever the subject of religion has come up, I've often heard this comment: "Well, I am not religious, but I am spiritual. " My immediate reaction was to wonder what the speaker meant by that. Was he or she raised in a religious environment but still considered themselves a "good person" after having rejected the teachings of their family's faith? Was that person rejecting "organized religion" generally? Did he or she see some who claimed to be religious as being hypocritical?
By Msgr. Wilbur Davis | January 27, 2012
Years ago, while I was visiting a South American city's cathedral at a time when the country was under a brutal military regime, I overheard a tour guide complaining to his tour group that there were members of the clergy preaching politics. This was not the role of the church, he emphasized. "People don't come to church to hear politics," was the view he expressed. "The church should stick to religious matters. " Would you want to belong to a church that was content to sing hymns while people nearby were being tortured?
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