by Lisa Page
I more or less grew up without my father. He lived across the country from me, and though he loved me, I heard enough negative things about him from my relatives to develop a pretty low view of him.
At the same time, my family called God “Father.” Distant from my own father and inclined toward a childlike sense of the “ideal father,” I grew to understand God as an opinionated, lying, self-absorbed, detached figure. Though I too used the language of “Father God,” the image never really clicked for me. I know I’m not alone; many people grow up without a father. Some of the reasons are good, others unfortunate or tragic. My own children will not have a father; they will have two loving parents and research shows they’ll do at least as well as kids from an intact heterosexual family. Other times our image of “father,” or simply of men (who reflect Father God’s maleness), is wounded later in life through violence or abuse. Whatever the causes, the truth remains that “Father God” language and male pronouns for God don’t work for everyone. Continue reading
by Jonathan Gamble
God is full of surprises.
This past Lent taught me that what I desire to give up in some spirit of religious athleticism and what God intends for me to sacrifice in humility are often not the same thing. The grace God gave to carry me through a surprising sacrifice in the natural course of life was not the grace I anticipated or desired to receive. What God asked me to do was harder than the practices I asked God to help me do. What I wanted to give was not what was required. I forgot that Lent is not about doing something for God. Too often that leads into trying to earn God’s love or striving for grace. God doesn’t need us. God wants us, passionately. Lent was about allowing God to help me let go of what was holding me back. It’s about pruning to bear fruit that I can eventually share. Only I don’t like being pruned. I barely recognize myself now that it’s over. Continue reading
by Jessica Place
Scientology has been in the news recently due to Lawrence Wright’s book Going Clear and the new HBO documentary of the same name. Ask your average person on the street what Scientology is about, and she’ll probably say something about Tom Cruise, space aliens, and L. Ron Hubbard, sci-fi author turned founder of one of humanity’s newest religions. Going Clear exposes some of the lesser-known facts about the abuses that have happened within the Church of Scientology. Continue reading
by Brandon Hubbard-Heitz
On February 25, former All Star pitcher Curt Schilling tweeted about his high school daughter, “Congrats to Gabby Schilling who will pitch for the Salve Regina Seahawks next year!!” Amidst the replies Schilling received were a number of tweets written by trolls who expressed their interest in sexually assaulting Gabby Schilling once she began attending college. An incensed Curt Schilling turned social media against these provocateurs, and within hours had identified many of the trolls publicly on his blog, leading many of them to lose their jobs and face suspension from college athletic teams. Continue reading
by Elizabeth Corney
Superstition, old wives tales, talismans, good luck charms—all used to hold real power over decision-making. Garlic protects from the evil eye and vampires. Throwing salt over your shoulder blinds the devil so he cannot steal your soul. Consciously relegated to the realm of harmless fun, these things get dragged out around Halloween and New Year’s. Though the more outrageous old practices are met with scorn, habits and attitudes reveal an underlying reliance on rituals to bring good luck. Continue reading
by Anna Fleig
A self-described heretic, Candice Morris is a shining example of how to love a community in a way that opens space for an examination of one’s beliefs and inherited doctrines. Recognizing that she longed for a validation of her beliefs long before she came to Wake Divinity, Candice admits that amidst that validation, her personal theology has also evolved significantly. Although she had already begun to dismantle some of the theologies she was “fed” from her youth, her time here enabled her to “embrace something I didn’t even know existed.” Continue reading