On Shrove Tuesday 2010, I ate my last piece of golden, delicious sausage while listening to “When the Saints Go Marching In.” A Lenten practice of consuming no meat unfolded, followed by a turkey-less Thanksgiving, and an Advent with rice and beans.
There were two reasons for my going cold turkey as a vegetarian: survival in an interfaith marriage to a devout Hindu, and a spiritual exploration of what it might mean to practice nonviolence and environmental sustainability as a Christian vegetarian.
Why is it that the book of Mark, unlike the other Gospels, is so short and fast-paced and contains so little of the teachings of Jesus and so few miracle stories? About a third of the Gospel is preoccupied with the passion of Jesus, and yet the author has little interest in dwelling on the question of why Jesus had to die.
A century ago, a period of stunning Christian growth began. Africa's independent churches claim John Chilembwe as a symbol of a new native Christianity, free from its paternalistic and missionary roots.
At the National Prayer Breakfast on February 5, President Obama urged humility about “a sinful tendency that can pervert and distort our faith” to the point where we commit atrocities, like slavery and Jim Crow, in the name of Christ. Critics quickly denounced Obama’s comments as un-American, while supporters defended their accuracy. But few have asked why Obama did not also link Christian conviction to the campaign against slavery and racial injustice.
A few of the current candidates for president have remained members of the faith in which they were raised: Hillary Clinton (Methodist), Ben Carson (Seventh-day Adventist), and Rick Santorum (Catholic). Numerous other candidates have made a switch: Jeb Bush switched from the Episcopal to the Catholic Church. Rand Paul moved from the Episcopal Church to a Presbyterian church. Ted Cruz grew up in the home of lapsed Catholics until his father joined the Southern Baptists. Marco Rubio has migrated from the Catholic Church to Mormonism and back again to the Catholics, but sometimes goes with his Baptist spouse to her independent church. Bobby Jindal made the biggest switch: from the Hinduism of his youth to the Catholic faith (Newsweek, April 2).