“He is not here…”

Risen
If Jesus did not rise from the dead, as the Scriptures tell us, then what became of his body?

Risen, a new movie released in time for Easter, views this question through the eyes of an unbeliever, a worldly and career-driven Roman military tribune named Clavius, superbly played by Joseph Fiennes. Continue reading “He is not here…”

Holy Manure

1.fig_tree_with_fruitNormally, one does not expect to hear scatological humor from the pulpit. But this past Sunday, parishioners at Houston’s Palmer Memorial Episcopal Church were treated to a rare example, courtesy of their rector, Fr. Neil Willard. But nobody was scandalized.

Continue reading Holy Manure

Our Moment in Cuba?

Last month I had the privilege of joining a study tour to Cuba with former members of Congress — sponsored by the U.S. Association of Former Members of Congress (FMC). We met with government and Communist Party officials, members of the National Assembly and Foreign Ministry, artists, scholars, academics, economists, entrepreneurs, even cigar workers. Cubans feel genuine optimism that the recent normalization of relations with the United States may usher in a new era of cooperation. Continue reading Our Moment in Cuba?

Finding Churchill’s Faith

God & Churchill“King and country, in that order, that’s about the only religion Winston has.”

So wrote Lord Moran, Sir Winston Churchill’s friend and physician. Most historians would agree. After all, did not Churchill himself quip that he was “not a pillar of the church, but a flying buttress”?

Yet if Churchill had no religion beyond king and country, how do we account for the references to “God” and “Providence” that appear so prominently again and again in his speeches? Were they no more than a politician’s cynical nod to the religious sensibilities of his countrymen? Continue reading Finding Churchill’s Faith

Whose 5776?

I realized how experience-poor I actually was as soon as I began to travel, which I’ve done as often as I can ever since. Anyone who has escaped a parochial bubble knows the advantage of losing your bearings, the fraught discovery that everything you’ve thought was normal turns out to be just your own tribal variant of an unimaginable profusion of ways to know, feel, and act in the world. There are, you come to learn, countless local versions of a normal breakfast, a normal parent, a normal song, a normal god. It’s disorienting to realize that when you get back home again and are going about the routine business of your life, the foreign lives you’ve glimpsed are still going on as strangely — and as ordinarily — as ever. And it’s discomfiting to realize that if they knew how much we privileged our own normalcy, they’d figure out what kind of hicks we’d have to be to believe that. Continue reading Whose 5776?