Season after Epiphany, an Interfaith Meditation

“And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another road.” Matthew 2:12 (NRSV)

I know not all Protestant traditions follow a liturgical calendar, but for those of us that do, we are currently in the aptly named Season after Epiphany.

Epiphany was celebrated by most Protestants on January 6th.  It is the time when we celebrate when God made flesh in Jesus Christ was visited by three wise people.  Before arriving to the birth place, the three wise ones visited Herod, Roman-appointed puppet governor of Judea.  To make a long story short, Herod was threatened by the small baby Jesus because people were referring to the child as the King of the Jews.  Herod killed many children in Judea in an effort to protect his power and the wise people decided to not revisit Herod, instead taking “another road.”

I think this is inherently a call from the Bible to be engaged in interfaith cooperation against the injustices of the world.  The wise men, sometimes referred to as astrologers, were from lands abroad.  Church tradition notes that they may have been from three different continents.  They were most-likely not Jewish.  It’s hard to say what tradition they practiced or why they came to the baby Jesus or why they listened to the dream that warned them about Herod.  Despite all these uncertainties, I have been dwelling continually on what that other road was like.

Sure, there are the geographical questions, but what about the life questions?  As someone who is both a religious leader and an interfaith leader, I feel like my ministry is filled with opportunities to take other roads.  Interfaith cooperation is not about doing the same old thing, it is doing an entirely new thing.  We encounter injustice and suffering in many different ways in the world in which we live.  Are there other roads that we can join people who might not think the same way we do, but surely are capable of loving in the same way?

My hope and prayer is that this post serves as a motivation to begin thinking outside the box.  Encourage your own faith community to reach out to other faith communities or non-religious groups to get involved in a larger issue.  I am making it a part of my ministry to intentionally work with other faith groups for service projects.  Sometimes it seems difficult to find the time to do such things, but when we think of it as taking another road it shifts our mode of thought.  Interfaith cooperation is not a simple action, but an entire paradigm shift in how we think about and engage in the world around us.  Let us reap the wisdom from these wise ones of ancient times and not be afraid to take another road to see what can be.

Prophets, Questions, and a Dream

As we continue to reflect on the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. this week, check out this Sojourners post by Joe Kay, “Prophets, Questions, and a Dream.”

Here’s a taste: “Prophets are always asking questions. Tough questions. Unsettling questions. Questions that they pose to themselves, then try to answer by how they live.”

Pagan Post-Holiday Reflections

Christmas has come and gone, but for many this is the perfect time to reflect on what Christmas means, or meant to them. I thought I would share with you two reflections from Pagans on Christmas, and their experiences with Christmas. They are lovely reflections and I strongly recommend them to you.

“Why this Pagan Celebrates Christmas” by Better Together Coach Tyler from Roanoke College and
“Yuletide Reflections” by University of North Florida student Emily Schroder.

Happy Reading.

Sorry, Pope Francis didn’t say that

The Internet is a wonderful place, is it not? Information is at the tip of your fingers and sharing articles and knowledge with your friends is so easy through Facebook and Twitter. The frustrating part about the Internet is that misinformation can also spread like wildfire as was the case with a recent post by the Diversity Chronicle entitled, “Pope Francis Condemns Racism and Declares that ‘All religions are true at historic Third Vatican Council.'”

In the name of religious literacy, I’m here to tell you that, well, Pope Francis didn’t declare that “all religions are true,” nor did he say that literal hell does not exist. The Diversity Chronical is a satirical site, but unfortunately news that the Diversity Chronicle is satirical didn’t go viral in the way this article did.

That being said, I think this reflection over at Revangelical about the Pope and this Diversity Chronicle piece is quite worth the read.

So, no matter how much the world, which has absolutely fallen head-over-heels for the Pope, desires that he becomes the Unitarian universalist Pope, I have a feeling that this faithful Vicar will remain the radically Orthodox Christian leader that he has always been. And I think we should be most thankful for that. Amen?

Read the rest of the post HERE.