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A Theological Reflection on Shiva on the Occasion of Mahashivaratri

A Theological Reflection on Shiva on the Occasion of Mahashivaratri

By Dr. Anantanand Rambachan, Huffington Post,,,,On March 10, Hindus around the world will celebrate Shivaratri (The Night of Shiva). I share these theological reflections on the occasion of this sacred festival. For centuries, Hindus have worshiped and described God through the name and form of Shiva. The name Shiva connotes kindness, benevolence and grace. Shiva is also commonly known as Shankara, meaning one who acts unceasingly for the good of all. The many names and forms of God available in the Hindu tradition are not just expressions of India’s religious and cultural diversity.

North Carolina Funeral Protest Bill Targeting Westboro Baptist Church Passes State Senate

North Carolina Funeral Protest Bill Targeting Westboro Baptist Church Passes State Senate

By Mollie Reilly, The Huffington Post…..A measure aimed at preventing groups like Westboro Baptist Church from protesting at funerals advanced in the North Carolina state legislature Wednesday and is headed for Gov. Pat McCrory’s (R) desk to be signed into law. The “Respect Our Fallen Heroes” bill, which expands on a 2006 law limiting when and where picketers can demonstrate at funerals, would require groups like Westboro to vacate the funeral area for at least two hours before and after a ceremony, and to stay at least 500 feet away during the funeral.

Victims or Conquerors: The Saxon Gospel and Glenn Beck

Victims or Conquerors: The Saxon Gospel and Glenn Beck

By Kate Daley-Bailey….
I have the perfect gospel for Glenn Beck; a Saxon retelling of the Christian gospel with Jesus as a warrior chieftain written in “song” or epic form in the early part of the 9th century CE and was supposedly used to convert the pagan Saxons, after they had been conquered and forcefully baptized by Charlemagne.
This rendering of the Jesus story is no direct translation of a canonical gospel rather it is an actual retelling of the Jesus story. As an expert on the Heliand, the title of this Saxon gospel, G. Ronald Murphy, J.S. describes the text as “a reimagining of the gospel.” Murphy writes that the Heliand’s author, whose identity is still a mystery, “rewrote and reimagined the words and the events of the gospel as if they had taken place and been spoken in his own country and time.”

Muslim Women in the Push for Peace

Muslim Women in the Push for Peace

By Michael Vicente Perez, Huffington Post….
With the anniversary of 9/11 fast approaching and the awareness that terrorism is still a real threat for the United States, we should consider what we might do differently to make our country a safer place.
Looking back on the last 10 years, one thing is clear: the violence of terrorism cannot be defeated with more violence. Afghanistan and Iraq are convincing proof of that; both countries remain ravaged by terrorism and al Qaeda forces seem much more resilient than the architect of the war on terror, George W. Bush, ever imagined. We also know that counter-terrorism measures at home have produced mixed results. On one hand, the government has prevented several domestic attacks through various intelligence operations.

'Simple Churches' Find A Foothold Across the US

‘Simple Churches’ Find A Foothold Across the US

By Cathy Lynn Grossman, HuffPost Religion….
(RNS) This weekend, Jeanne O’Hair, her friends and family will raise their voices in Easter hymns “as the spirit leads us,” she says, in her “house church” — O’Hair’s living room in Brea, Calif. In a metal outbuilding at a shuttered horse track near San Antonio, Jeff Bishop says he will celebrate at his “simple church” under a rough-hewed cedar cross, with “folks who speak ‘cowboy’ like I do.” In Washington, D.C., at the Saturday night Easter Vigil, “we’ll keep it casual and focused on Christ,” says William D’Antonio, a member of a network of Catholic-style house churches called “Intentional Eucharistic communities.”

Is This About American Muslims, Or America?

Is This About American Muslims, Or America?

By Eboo Patel, Huffington Post…..
Lately, Congress appears to be obsessed with Muslims. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., is holding hearings Tuesday (March 29) on “Protecting the Civil Rights of American Muslims,” and Chairman Peter King has announced a second set of hearings on “Radicalization in the American Muslim Community” in the House Homeland Security Committee, this set focusing on radicalization in prisons. Although the word “Muslim” is the one getting the most media play, I believe these hearings are really about America, and whether we value the contributions of, and cooperation between, our many different communities.

Do Christians and Muslims Worship the Same God?

Do Christians and Muslims Worship the Same God?

By Miroslav Volf, Huffington Post….
Muslims and Christians can work together to depose dictators and assert the power of the people. We’ve seen it happen on the Tahrir Square in Cairo during the 2011 revolution in Egypt, with devout Muslims and Coptic Christians protesting side by side. But can Muslims and Christians work together to build a democratic society in which rights of all are respected, the rights of minority Coptic Christians no less than the rights of majority Muslims? They can, if they have a common set of fundamental values. But do they? They do, if they, both monotheists, have a common God.

Religious Right Demands City of Intercourse, PA Change Its Name

Religious Right Demands City of Intercourse, PA Change Its Name

Mark C. Miller, Huffington Post….
Tuscaloosa, AL — The Religious Right, together with representatives of the Christian Coalition and the American Family Association, is organizing a multi-state march on one tiny village in Pennsylvania, demanding that it immediately change its name. The name? “Intercourse.”

Facebook: A Spiritual Experience?

Facebook: A Spiritual Experience?

Kelley Harrell, Huffington Post…..
The thing about Facebook is that for it to be a social networking success, it demands radical honesty, as does spiritual growth. Indeed, that honesty can be selectively doled, based on privacy settings, interests entered, and the choice not to friend. Even in that closed scenario, I’ve known people whose pasts were still skillfully unearthed from the bowels of Facebook by some haunt, throwing them into a moment of panic. I think it is in that moment that the real life of Facebook thrives, not in the choice to friend or ignore, the celebrity who friends you, or the smackdown you give your old boyfriend.

Karen Armstrong's 12 Steps of Compassion to Change the World

Karen Armstrong’s 12 Steps of Compassion to Change the World

By Bryan Maygers, Huffington Post….
Karen Armstrong began her recent talk at the New York Public Library by illustrating the centrality of the Golden Rule in the Abrahamic faiths with a traditional story of Rabbi Hillel. When asked by a Gentile to explain the entirety of the Torah while standing on one foot, the rabbi readily assented and gave the response, “What is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow. The rest is just commentary. Now go and learn.”

A Humanist Resolution to Overcome the Faith Gap

A Humanist Resolution to Overcome the Faith Gap

By Chris Stedman, Huffington Post….
The week following Christmas has passed and we find ourselves in a new year. With a new year comes new work. One of the projects I am most excited about is “Challenge the Gap,” a new initiative of the Foundation Beyond Belief, an atheist and Humanist charitable foundation, which aims to find common ground between the religious and the secular. It is, to my knowledge, the first time that an explicitly atheist and Humanist foundation is funding interfaith cooperation.

Strangers Among Us

Strangers Among Us

By Kelly Figueroa-Ray, State of Formation….
The Huffington Post reports that Phillips demanded the closure of the United Methodist Church after he toured the United Methodist Building in Washington, DC. There he saw a sign in support of the DREAM Act and declared the United Methodist Church “pro-illegal immigration” and the “religious arm of socialism”. The DREAM Act is a piece of legislation that failed passage in the Congress this past month.

The Presbyterian-Jewish Divide that Need Never Be

The Presbyterian-Jewish Divide that Need Never Be

By Joshua Stanton, Huffington Post….
I still profoundly admire Wiesenthal and the Wiesenthal Center. But I worry that a recent op-ed written by two of its leaders, Rabbi Marvin Hier and Rabbi Abraham Cooper, goes against the very pursuit of justice that the center so firmly embraces. Entitled “Presbyterians Against Israel: Liberal Protestants are engaging in historical revisionism concerning Jews and the Holy Land,” its strong suit is certainly not understatement. But by labeling an entire Christian denomination “anti-Israel,” it may prove far more damaging.

How Moses Created Thanksgiving: The Biblical Roots of America’s Holiday

How Moses Created Thanksgiving: The Biblical Roots of America’s Holiday

The real story of Thanksgiving has surprising biblical roots. A few years ago, I set out on a 10,000-mile journey through the hidden symbols of American life that became the basis for my book, America’s Prophet: How the Story of Moses Shaped America. My journey began on a visit to Plymouth, Mass., where I boarded a replica of The Mayflower. A re-enactor was reading from the Bible. “Exodus 14,” he explained. “The Israelites are trapped in front of the Red Sea, and the Egyptians are about to catch them.