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February 25, 2011
Question: You say God made everything. You say you see God's light shining brilliantly through a text, etc. Do you also see God in the tsunami that wiped out 200,000 people, or in the murder of a 9-year-old child? — L., via godsquadquestion@aol.com Answer: Yes, I do see God in everything and hope that some day you can, too. I see God in the tsunami because the tsunami was caused by a living Earth that sustains life. The mantel over the core of Earth cracks, belches lava and causes earthquakes and tsunamis, but these are all natural events, not punishments from a vengeful God. Such events are also challenges to use our God-given intelligence — and the resources produced by that intelligence — to mitigate the effects of natural catastrophes.
NEWS
By Marc Gellman | June 10, 2011
Question : I'm a Holocaust survivor who made it to the United States through the Dominican Republic by a big miracle. As time went by, I realized one thing: God did not let the Holocaust happen; we let it happen. Recently, I read a newspaper article about the death of a 6-year-old child. This child had been suffering since the age of 2. She'd done nothing against nature. Her parents didn't even have a chance to teach her the difference between right and wrong. Why do children have to suffer before they even have a chance to enjoy life?
NEWS
By Jim Carnett | February 27, 2012
I used to idly wonder how God could possibly look after 6 billion people at the same time. I mean, how's he keeping straight who's who, and who's wrestling with what personal issue? Just to be safe, would it be prudent for me to reintroduce myself each time I pray, just so I'm not confused with some guy in Saskatoon? I'm guessing that the well-documented mayhem and strife of this world might give God some restless nights. And, what if about a half billion of us decided to pray to him at the same moment?
NEWS
By Rabbi Marc Gellman | February 15, 2013
First, let me thank my friends who now live in Florida and called me after the recent snowpocalypse in the Northeast to ask about my welfare — and to tell me that, by the way, it was 80 and sunny there. Probably because I did not lose power during the storm, I'm in a more generous and reflective mood than I was when I wrote to you, dear readers, after Hurricane Sandy. Nonetheless, I think of winter snow as a spiritual invitation. Snow reminds us to look deeper into the truth of things.
NEWS
By Marc Gellman | January 7, 2011
Q: Yesterday, my little grandson told me he was terrified of going to hell. For a moment, I didn't know how to reassure him. Then, I told him he shouldn't worry because very few people are going to hell. Most people who do bad things are actually going to heaven because they don't realize they're making mistakes. Next, I said to him. "I love you, right? If it was up to me, do you think I would send you to hell?" "Never!" he replied. "Then, how could God send you to hell when he loves you much, much more than I do?"
NEWS
March 13, 2004
For children to recite "under God" each day in public schools under the leadership of their teacher and surrounded by their peers is a state-sponsored form of religious indoctrination that should not be permitted. The Circuit Court was correct in concluding that this phrase in the Pledge of Allegiance is an unconstitutional endorsement of religious belief; that is, the belief in monotheism. Although the belief in one God is shared by Christians, Jews and Muslims, it is easy to see how inappropriate it is if we imagine students being required to say "one nation under Jesus," "under Vishnu" or "under Zeus" (examples the court used)
NEWS
By Jim Carnett | December 17, 2012
Tis the season of seasons! Christmas. One of the great evangelists of the 19th century, Charles Spurgeon, preached an unforgettable Christmas Eve sermon in London in 1854. The sermon was based on two oft-quoted verses from the prophet Isaiah. The British preacher's Old Testament text contained the familiar messianic passage: "Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son and shall call his name Immanuel. " George Frideric Handel, in "The Messiah," his majestic oratorio, lyrically marries that verse with the highly descriptive phrase from the Scriptures, "God with us. " Immanuel is, in fact, the Hebrew word for "God with us. " The verse used by Spurgeon and Handel forms the central tenet of the Christmas season, and of the Christian faith.
NEWS
By the Rev. Sarah Halverson | July 26, 2013
Last week, I declared email bankruptcy. Why? Well, my computer crashed the week before, and despite the hours upon hours I've spent trying to recover my email, it looks like I've lost all those records of communication and have had problems sending and receiving emails for the last two weeks! I know technology shouldn't have such a hold on my life, but I've felt defeated! Of course, when I really think about it, I know that this is probably not the thing that's ultimately going to defeat me. But at the same time, I recognize how powerful the feelings of powerlessness can be. While I joked about being in an "email hell" — there was some truth to it. This inability to do my work is hard to deal with.
NEWS
By Brianna Bailey | November 14, 2009
Four little words Costa Mesa Councilwoman Wendy Leece wants to add to the Council Chambers at City Hall are causing a stir. The phrase “In God We Trust” is stamped on pennies and inscribed in gold letters behind the House speaker’s rostrum in the U.S. Capitol building. Now Leece wants to add the motto to the wall behind the council dais. “We’ve got wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and more people are facing economic difficulties,” Leece said.
NEWS
By Marc Gellman, Tribune Media Services | July 6, 2012
Question: On June 17, Webb Simpson won theU.S. Open golf championship. Webb said: "I prayed more the last three holes than I've ever done in my life. " Webb was 26 and had never played in a major tournament before and had never finished higher than fourth place in a significant tournament. He said, "Praying really helped me stay calm. " My question is, did Webb cheat? - R., via godsquadquestion@aol.com Ansnwer: I love golf and I love God (of course, not in that order)
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NEWS
By Billy Graham | May 2, 2014
Q: Where is God? My Christian friend says he is somewhere up in heaven, but my yoga instructor says God dwells in every one of us, and we just need to look within to connect with the divine (which is what she calls God). Who's right? — Mrs. M.D. A: God is not limited to one place; he is what theologians call "omnipresent" — that is, he is everywhere. The Psalmist declared, "If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there" (Psalm 139:8).
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NEWS
By Rabbi Marc Gellman | May 2, 2014
Q: Recently, an acquaintance of mine died of cancer. He was a member of a social club to which I belong. I attended the wake in the afternoon, then went home and did nothing rather than attending a meeting at the social club. I'd known a week prior that this man was very ill and felt sad for him and sad about death in general. I'm in my 50s. I have five grandchildren and another son who's not yet married, so I expect I'll want to be here for his children. I look forward to spending time with all the grandkids as they grow and I'm young enough that we can do enjoyable things together.
NEWS
By Rabbi Marc Gellman | April 25, 2014
Q: What can you say to a 16-year-old boy who's an atheist? My wife and I were both brought up as Catholics, and we raised our two sons that way. They had all the appropriate sacraments — baptism, first communion, confirmation, etc. After the younger son, who's now declared himself an atheist, made his confirmation, we gave both boys some leeway in regard to attending Mass. While my wife was raised to think of herself as Catholic, in truth she does not practice and neither did her family.
NEWS
By Billy Graham | April 25, 2014
Q: When we get to heaven, will we ever have worries or bad thoughts, or think about things we really shouldn't think about? Sometimes my brain wanders all over the place, and I find myself thinking about things I know I shouldn't. Will it be different in heaven? — J.S. A: Yes, it definitely will be different in heaven! The Bible says that in heaven all sin will be banished, including not only evil actions, but also evil thoughts and emotions. The Bible says, "Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful" (Revelation 21:27)
NEWS
By Rabbi Marc Gellman | April 18, 2014
Q: I love your column. You're so open, honest and straightforward with your answers. I'm 61 (a widow for 35 years) and was raised Catholic. I watch the news each night and see the weather that's occurring in the U.S., people rioting, etc. I'm scared to death. Is the end of the world coming? How will we know? This is a great concern to me. I want to be with my family when it does. Could you please explain this to me? — J., North Branford, Conn. A: After seeing (and reviewing) the new movie "Noah" and living through this horrible winter in New York, I too have experienced some end-of-the-world mood swings, so your question resonated with me. My first suggestion for you is one I follow myself: Try watching a little less news on TV and go for a nice walk in the long-delayed but deeply welcome spring air. The change of seasons is the first and perhaps most powerful argument that the world is not about to end. In fact, the covenant God makes with Noah after the flood uses the images of springtime and nature to reinforce this promise and message of hope (Genesis 8:21-22)
NEWS
By Billy Graham | April 18, 2014
Q: My wife gets after me because she says I spend too much time at the gym. I admit I do go there every day for several hours or so after work, but God wants us to take care of our bodies, doesn't he? — M.J. A: Yes, of course God wants us to take care of the bodies he has given us, and proper exercise is certainly part of that. The Bible says, "You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies" (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). At the same time, I urge you to take seriously what your wife is saying, and ask yourself why you're spending so much time at the gym. Frankly, the reasons may be hard for you to face honestly, but you need to do it anyway, for your sake and the sake of your marriage and family.
NEWS
By Rabbi Marc Gellman | April 11, 2014
Passover will be celebrated this year beginning on Monday evening, April 14, with the first Seder — the Passover meal. Easter Sunday this year falls on April 20 for all Christian denominations, and although this single Christian date for Easter will not come again until 2017, it's clear that Passover and Easter are meant to be closely connected in our calendars of sacred time. This is because all the synoptic gospel accounts state that the Last Supper was either a Passover Seder meal (Matthew 26:17)
NEWS
By Billy Graham | April 11, 2014
Q: I don't mean to offend you, but I've tried to read the Bible and found it kind of dull. And yet some of my friends find it exciting. What's wrong? Why don't I get anything out of it? — P.D. A: In reality, the Bible should be the most exciting book you'll ever read! The reason is, this isn't just another book; it is God's Word, and through its pages God speaks to us. Think of it: The Creator of the universe wants to talk to you! What does He want to tell you? First, He wants to tell you about Himself — who He is, what He is like, and what He has done for you. We can understand some things about God by looking at the world He created, but we only fully understand Him by discovering what He's told us in the Bible.
NEWS
By Rabbi Marc Gellman | March 28, 2014
A Facebook friend recently posted a question about the meaning behind the Jewish tradition of placing stones on graves. Andrew is both a sculptor and a carver of memorials, so perhaps his question arises not only from professional curiosity but also from an artist's sensitivity — or maybe he just wonders, "What's up with the rocks?" . The Jewish custom of placing stones on the headstones of the deceased seems to me to be a unique Jewish custom. The headstone itself is of biblical origin.
NEWS
By Billy Graham | March 28, 2014
Q: To be honest, heaven sounds kind of boring to me. I'm sure it will be very interesting for a while, but eventually I think I'll just be bored. Am I wrong? — Mrs. R.P. A: Yes, you are wrong. Heaven will be far more exciting than anything we will ever experience on this earth. The one thing we will never be in heaven is bored. Why? One reason is because we will be with God — and because he is infinite and eternal, we will never grow tired of exploring the riches of his glory.
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