Tomorrow, as Jews end their Yom Kippur fast, Muslims will begin the Eid al-Adha holiday. Imam Haytham Younis and Rabbi Alana Suskin met for coffee and then exchanged the following e-mail dialogue about the two holidays’ convergence and the meaning of a shared story that lies at the intersection of both faiths.
The other month my spouse and I received a packet in the mail from our adoption agency. It came in a large, white, important-looking envelope—a hopeful envelope. Maybe something good is about to happen, we thought.
I put it off for a while. I don’t like to read people who are so popular, so trendy. Furthermore, I’m a United Methodist minister teaching at a PC(USA) seminary—why would I want to read a story of a young evangelical who has a few doubts and then joins the Episcopal Church?
The typical American lawsuit isn't filed against McDonald’s by someone scalded by coffee. It is filed by a bank, lender, or debt collector against an individual consumer, seeking to recover an alleged unpaid credit card account, student loan, or medical debt.
A few years ago, I spent some time in Williston, North Dakota, to witness the social effects of the oil boom on this small town. While I was there, I went to Concordia Lutheran Church and talked with then-pastor Jay Reinke about his Overnighters program. This was an attempt by Reinke—we can’t quite say it was an attempt by the church—to provide a space where people could sleep.
In Williston, I learned that Jesse Moss was working on a documentary about the program. Recently I finally watched that award-winning film, The Overnighters. I have been haunted by it ever since.
Richard Niebuhr uses the metaphor of a shipwreck to describe those life experiences where what we thought would hold comes apart. A marriage ends, a career collapses, an illness shatters plans, a loved one dies. Pastors and congregations can be a lifeline.
Our culture, however, is mourning avoidant—and too often, faith communities reflect the broader culture's misconceptions surrounding grief.