By: Zach Dawes
"The poor will always be with you," Jesus says. It's not a statement of resignation. It's a condemnation of the perpetual indebtedness, unending hunger and ubiquitous poverty that exists in our world.
By: Zach Dawes
On numerous fronts, hunger and obesity are reaching alarming numbers, yet the relationship between malnourishment and obesity is complex. Here are 3 things your church can do to combat these trends.
By: Colin Sedgwick
Is there a specifically Christian view of laughter? The Bible has very little to say about it, but some leaders from Christian history have some intriguing observations. So lighten up and enjoy.
By: Zach Dawes
Food companies and restaurants spend millions each year on advertising their products to millions of viewers. Should churches place a greater emphasis on human health and the food we eat?
By: Robert Parham
Laughter is missing in much of the Christian community, even though the biblical witness has encouraging words about laughter. As good as laughter is for the soul, we laugh too little.
By: Matt Sapp
Some say Shakespeare is inaccessible because the language is unfamiliar to modern ears, but the Bard had a knack for portraying characters who face the same joys and temptations that we do.
By: Paul Beasley-Murray
Obesity is a problem both within and without the church, but ministers seem to have a particular problem with being overweight. Here are three reasons why that's the case.
By: James Ellis
Your body is a precious gift that you should honor God with by treating it with great care. That means getting adequate rest and sleep, committing to physical fitness and eating healthy.
Tokens, a theological variety show, unites "really good music and really good theology" without ruining both of them, says Lee Camp in the latest EthicsDaily.com Skype interview.
Even if you're not "Duck Dynasty's" target audience, you'll be hooked after one show. It's one of TV's funniest shows and features a family committed to each other.
When civil rights groups align with disease-causing industries and oppose initiatives to improve the health of their communities, they work against their own communities' common good.
Baseball's the greatest sport. Following Jesus is harder, but there's something that's harder. Check out these and 19 other life lessons from a half-century of observation.
Need to solve all your problems instantly? Try moving! You'll stop procrastinating. You'll become a morning person who gets to work on time. Everything will be perfect. Right?
What is Tokens? It's a rarity in Christian entertainment, both irreverent and reverent with first-rate performers, as it advances the common good through good Christian theology, music and comedy.
Sugar-sweetened beverages –soda, sports drinks and fruit juices – make up the largest source of calories in the American diet. And our waistlines are growing as proof.
The mayor of the Big Apple proposed a ban on sugar-laden soft drinks larger than 16 ounces, pointing out that obesity will kill more people than smoking in a few years.
Obesity health problems cost up to $190 billion annually. Will a campaign similar to the anti-smoking effort help reduce obesity rates? And will churches be involved?
Can we see – and even laugh – at our personal inconsistencies? If we can't, we are truly the blindest of the blind. Here are 10 questions to give you something to ponder.
The next time you tell your pastor how much you enjoyed his or her sermon, ask yourself if what you're really thinking might be one of these 10 sentiments.
Whether intended or not, some passages of the Bible can draw out a smile or even a good laugh from us. Here are 10 examples. How many elicit a chuckle from you?
The global community's diet is unbalanced. Millions face daily hunger; millions of others who struggle with obesity are eating themselves to death. How will we respond to this imbalance?
A chance airport conversation led to one foreign observer's view on what three steps the 99 percent should take if they want to make a difference, but they would rather chant than change.
(RNS) Three priests—a Dominican, a Franciscan and a Jesuit—walk into a bar. According to the Rev. James Martin, it’s not only the opening to a good joke.
As Jews enter into their fall holy days, three parts of the season carry particular spiritual significance. It is a time to seek forgiveness from neighbors, to realign with creation and to make peace with God.
If Christians really believe we are created in the image of God, then we need to address people's health – not just their souls. Maybe retiring sugar-laden donuts before our services is a good place to start.
Obesity isn't a laughing matter, an issue to be set aside with dismissive excuses that some folk like to eat fried food. And it's most dramatic in the South – home to nine of the 10 states with the highest rates of adult obesity.
When it comes to encouraging good health, churches fall in one of two camps. The first focuses on behavior; the other on internal transformation. Sadly, too many chose the first option.
Obesity is a real problem; more than 20 percent of preschoolers are obese or overweight. But the issue is complicated by deep disagreements rooted in conflicting ideologies and vested corporate interests.
Why does Judaism matter? As one rabbi explains, it's a journey that leaves behind nationalism, tribalism and family baggage and becomes a vehicle through which all of the earth's families are blessed.
Young adults who regularly attend religious services are more likely to become obese by middle age, says a recent study. Obesity is more than poor personal choices. It's a social justice issue and a spiritual matter.
President Obama defended military action against Libya by saying it would have been a "betrayal of who we are" to do nothing. However, the truth is we often turn a blind eye to the oppressed around the globe.
WASHINGTON (RNS) Evangelicals are the only major religious group where a majority opposes the federal government’s efforts to reduce childhood obesity.
Just in time for churches in states that enact legislation to allow people to carry guns into worship, these franchise opportunities are ideal for businesses that want to be ahead of the marketing curve in church trends.
When we equate American exceptionalism with being number one, we fail to defend the things that make us exceptional, including freedom of religion, freedom of the press, freedom of speech and freedom of assembly.
A website allows people to put businesses on one of two lists – naughty or nice – depending on whether they "keep Christ in Christmas" or not. Is this really the spirit of Christmas?
What were the Founding Fathers thinking? Clearly, their reckless and irresponsible musing, known by some as the First Amendment, was flawed since it doesn't reflect popular sentiment. Let's just fix it, shall we?
Is there such a thing as being raised too Baptist? If you think one of the commandments was "Thou Shalt Not Shoot Pool" or if one of these other signs applies to you, chances are that you were.
Some people rise to religious and political power on a wave of fear. Their current target is Islam. Rather than succumb to fear-based and hate-filled rhetoric, we must reject the demonization of our Muslim neighbors.
Need to be thin? Don't waste time losing weight. Just move to Tennessee – tied for the second fattest state in the nation. Then at least you'll be thinner than most everyone else.
There is only one religious response to the tragedy of the Nashville flood, and that is humility, which reminds us that we are in the dark as to why things happen.
More than 300,000 people die every year because of complications related to obesity. Muslim organizations in Illinois are leading several initiatives to promote physical fitness, healthy diet and exercise.
Bible-believing Christians are living big – and driving up health-care costs. And most churches avoid moral teachings about gluttony and the social injustice that contributes to obesity.
Men with beards were regarded as trustworthy more often than their smooth-shaven counterparts, a study found. Should pastors and other ministers also grow beards in order to increase their credibility?
Looking for a good pastor is a lot like looking for a good cardiologist. There's something to be said for experience. At least they don't think the latest form of fellowship is downloading their video series to your iPad.
A Texas church is giving away $300 gift bags and 15 used cars this Easter weekend. It's a lame-brained idea that cheapens Christ to lure people through the church doors.
President Obama receives a lot of advice, including this letter from a voice from the past. "Mo Amramson" was also in charge of leading a multitude of people through troubling times.
When Jesus looks at the earth at the time of year when many of us celebrate his birth, is he dismayed by the materialism and self-righteousness he sees? Maybe his thoughts would be something like this.
Coming, perhaps, to a sanctuary near your home is a new version of the Bible, one released by the National Rifle Association, updating time-honored texts in words more reasonable for today's gun owners.
Every day, there seems to be a new battle cry for a social justice issue. The list of things to do and don't do seems to go on forever. Isn't there a simpler way to be a responsible follower of Jesus? There is.
When a well-respected rabbi advocates the killing of civilians and the destruction of holy sites in time of war, one must ask what makes him different from Muslim extremists. Further, what do we say in response to this?
President Obama has been compared to Spock, the logical Vulcan in "Star Trek." A more apt comparison may be some of the characters played by Sidney Poitier, intelligent black men who won't be intimidated and with a solid moral center.
A survey commissioned to measure Jewish spirituality among American Jews found that those with one or no Jewish parents were more spiritual than those with two Jewish parents.
AIG executives received $164 million to $215 million in bonuses with taxpayer-financed bailout funds. It's like making sure all the bullies stay in school so the rest of us don't get fat eating lunch with our own money.
The relationship that God wants with each of us is an ongoing, everyday experience. We are content to store this amazing gift in the garages and utility rooms of our lives.
I do not for a moment imagine that any book is divinely revealed; that any religion is anything other than a human creation serving the socio-economic and political desires of those who created it and gain power and authority from it; or that any idea about god is God.
While I do not believe it is possible to package the truth, I do believe it is possible to point us toward it. That is what religion should do, both theologically and institutionally. If a religion has to lie in order to survive, it is time for that religion to die.
Darwin wouldn’t daven anywhere, since davvenen (prayer) is a Jewish form of worship and Darwin was a Christian. But let’s not be so narrow. The real question is: Where can a scientifically sophisticated thinking Jew go to experience a liturgy that does not insult her intelligence?
While no government can or should provide us with happiness, our government can and should free us to pursue it.
Judaism is going through a spiritual renaissance, but I worry that our quest for the mystical is at the cost of the intellectual. Jews want to chant and meditate, rather than learn how to creatively misread Torah in order to midwife new wisdom from ancient texts. And when they do study Torah they are apt to defend the text, and to accept simplistic answers rather than ask deep philosophical questions.
Jews have lived in India since the time of the Buddha, some 2,500 years ago. While this link does nothing to explain the popularity of Buddhism among Jews (the Buddha lived in northern India, the Jews, of course, preferred to live in the south), it does make it all the more sad that the Jewish community in India is on the verge of collapse. Especially in Calcutta where the last remaining handful of Jews will be gone within a generation.
The voice of fear will argue for a fixed pie, a world of limited resources, and the need to grab as much as we can as fast as we can, others be damned. The voice of love will speak of a renewable world where life is best served by doing less with less rather than more with more.
I recently learned of a new Jewish holiday about which I knew absolutely nothing. It's called "Hit a Jew Day."
We need a movement that will stand up to the god-inflamed madness that takes over the hearts and minds of millions, and hold up the idea of human dignity and the worth and sanctity of every human being. Not an interfaith movement that pretends religion is at its heart liberal and welcoming, but a spiritual movement that decries the insanity of organized religion and the evil it so often instigates and supports.
The Culture War, in fact, is not really a conflict pitting secularists and atheists against theists and people of faith, but rather a civil war among theists. The Culture War is a theological war over competing ideas of God.
The question came up on an American Airlines flight from Nashville to Dallas. I was reading the September-October issue of Sojourners, a liberal Christian magazine, and my seatmate was reading over my shoulder. We were both taken with a letter to the editor that opposed an apology for slavery.
A decade or so ago David Jeselsohn, an Israeli-Swiss antiquities collector, bought a three-foot tall stone tablet inscribed with 87 lines of Hebrew text. Mr. Jesesohn didn't know exactly what he had, but when he invited an Israeli archeologist to examine it interest in the tablet grew.
The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has a problem with me. Well, not with me personally, but with my people. No, not white men in their late 50s who still read comic books; Jews, most of whom are not white, or in their late 50s, or readers of comic books (though we do create a lot of them).
I have been a rabbi for more than a quarter century. In that time I have learned a few things about what makes a good rabbi; things that I believe could be of value to clergy people of all stripes. Unfortunately for you, I am keeping those for my memoir. Here are 13 ideas that won't make it into my book. Feel free to pass them on to your clergy friends and neighbors.
I knew I belonged in America when I recently read that we are now the Fattest Nation on Earth. That doesn't mean that our girth on the old Rand McNally is changing, but that we Americans are, by and large (yes, pun intended; I am too clever by half) the fattest people on earth.
I was listening to NPR the other day and learned of a prayer movement called Light the Highway that runs prayer vigils along Interstate 35 from Texas to Minnesota. The group asks God to do away with systemic poverty, drug addiction and hopelessness, along with other plagues like homosexuality and abortion.
I wish I could find just one religion without its violent wackos. I've long given up on the Abrahamic faiths, and Japanese Buddhism during World War II rules them out. So how about Hinduism?
If elected president of the United States Governor Mike Huckabee plans to bring the U.S. Constitution into alignment with God:
"God is in His Heaven, and the hypocrites are in His church." Now before you send me hate mail about being anti-Christian, I am only paraphrasing the results of a LifeWay Research survey on church affiliation. LifeWay is part of the Southern Baptist Convention headquartered in Nashville, Tenn.
At a news conference in November 2005, Cardinal Paul Poupard, head of the Pontifical Council for Culture, defended Darwin's theory of evolution over and against Intelligent Design. "The fundamentalists want to give a scientific meaning to words that had no scientific aim," he said. The real message of Genesis is to teach us that "the universe didn't make itself and had a creator."
As I was leaving the Opryland Hotel at the end of my volunteer shift at the 76th annual general assembly of the United Jewish Communities, an elderly man walking with his wife stopped me to ask why there were so many people wearing kippot (yarmulkes). Pointing to my kipah he said, "For a moment I thought I was in Israel."
I am originally from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, home to Bunker Hill, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Emily Dickenson and Mary Baker Eddy. I am proud son of Massachusetts, so it shouldn't be a surprise that I am anti-Christmas.
While it is common for countries and states to have their official birds and flowers, we Jews have our official attitude: chutzpah. Chutzpah is a Yiddish word meaning "extreme self confidence."
Remember Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue's prayer vigil to let God know Georgians are conserving water and should be rewarded with rain? Well it worked--sort of.