• All three Abrahamic faiths agree that we are inherently untrustworthy–unfaithful to God and to our neighbors. Theologian Reinhold Neibuhr famously said, “Original sin is the only empirically verifiable doctrine […]

  • There are historical and cultural reasons for America’s fatal love affair with guns. We were founded in armed rebellion and our Constitution enshrined the right to fortify ourselves against future tyrants. We fulfilled our manifest destiny of controlling North America by subduing, at gunpoint, native peoples and rival European powers. Some of our…[Read more]

  • Holidays should be more than celebrations; they’re supposed to ennoble us by transmitting cultural virtues. President’s Day is for admiring the courage and constancy of men like Washington and Lincoln. On Memorial Day we recall those who’ve given their lives in our armed forces. MLK Day reminds us of the high price paid to right injustices and…[Read more]

  • How do you define dying well? Dying well occurs when the fear of death is subplanted by confidence in Christ’s promises, when one is reconciled to family and friends, and when one’s life has been expended in service to God and neighbor. Two decades of doctoring have taught me that the fear of death is universal. [...]

  • What are your views on the fact that Protestants are no longer the majority religion in the U.S.? Historically, the Christian Church has grown fastest and transformed culture most effectively when it was in a position of weakness. At the end of the Roman Empire, a bloated Christianity was in ascendency, protected by political and cultural [...]

  • What is your favorite verse of holy scripture and why? John 11:35: Jesus wept. The shortest verse in the Bible, but proof that God in Christ fully entered into our brokenness, suffering, and death. Moments later, Lazarus was raised, confirming that “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, [...]

  • Memphis is the second most generous city in the country, according to a new survey by The Chronicle of Philanthropy. According to the publication: “Religion plays a major role in how much money Americans give to charity. The parts of the country that tend to be more religious are also more generous.” Why is this true? [...]

  • What is your reaction to the Freedom from Religion Foundation suing the Memphis City Council? It’s a weighty thing to invoke the name of God; too often we do it in a perfunctory fashion, especially in public settings. The Old and New Testaments make it clear that God rejects religious rituals if they’re not accompanied by [...]

  • The American Academy of Pediatrics states that “infant feeding should no longer be thought of as a lifestyle choice, but rather as a public health issue, because of all of the short and long term risk reductions to both mothers and infants.” Memphis has one of the lowest breastfeeding rates in the country. We also [...]

  • The tragic mass shooting at the Sikh temple in Wisconsin, coming just a few days after the tragic mass shooting at the theater in Colorado, continues a deeply disturbing American trend. Since 1976, the U.S. has averaged 20 mass shootings a year – including 30 in 2003. Why is America such a violent place? Why are [...]

  • This week the Faith in Memphis panel reflects on the movie theater massacre in Aurora, Colo. We ask the wrong questions when confronted with evil human behavior, disease, or a deadly natural disaster: “Where was God? If He’s all-good and all-powerful, why did He allow this to happen?” The correct question is “How long before God [...]

  • What accounts for our such low and declining confidence in ‘the church or organized religion’? It’s the conservatives’ fault. They’ve moved away from our culture’s centers of need and spent millions constructing alternative “safe” communities, churches, and schools for themselves and their children. They’ve alienated younger Americans by…[Read more]

  • The Episcopal Church will now allow priests to conduct services blessing same-sex relationships. The denomination’s House of Bishops approved the policy Monday, and delegates to the national convention approved the measure on Tuesday becoming the largest U.S. religious denomination to approve such a ritual. What’s your response? Is this an…[Read more]

  • According to the 2010 Census, of the 168,000 children living in Memphis, nearly 67,000 — about 4 in 10 — are living in a family with a female householder and NO FATHER PRESENT. Later this month, Memphis Mayor A C Wharton will host the Second Annual Memphis Training Camp for Dads. (Wharton is writing a [...]

  • Memphis City Council member Shea Flinn wants the the city to study the idea of creating an ‘adult entertainment district’ for strip clubs and other sex-oriented businesses. He wants a committee to look into a possible location as well as answer the question whether “this is the right thing to do.” Is it the right thing [...]

  • Is imposition of the death penalty a political/partisan matter or a religious/moral matter? Why is the death penalty largely being carried out in the South? Should Tennessee abolish the death penalty? The death penalty is more accepted in the South because Americans’ political positions are intertwined with their religious convictions. There are…[Read more]

  • Gov. Haslam is expected this week to sign a new law that would require public schools to allow science teachers to discuss purported weaknesses of theories such as Evolution and Global Warming in their classrooms. What should we do about teaching evolution? Is the theory of evolution a scientific controversy or a social/religious controversy?…[Read more]

  • It is often said that you “can’t legislate morality.” Are saggy pants a morality issue or something else? The two meta-themes of the Jewish and Christian scriptures are rebellion and redemption. Nearly everything in life, including how we wear our clothes, can be understood in light of those two themes. Thursday night we celebrated a Seder [...]

  • Earle Fisher will note in a guest column this Saturday, “One of the most prevalent and plausible critiques of the faith community is that when it comes to matters of sexual abuse and domestic violence, the church practices ‘sacred silence.’ ” Do you agree? What can we do to provide a safe place for dialogue regarding [...]

  • What do you think of the mayors’ Faith-based Partnership to End Homelessness? Will your congregation participate? Will you encourage your congregation to do so? Is this a good approach? The best approach? The mayors have made a good start and all Memphis faith communities should strongly consider joining this effort. Marvin Olasky’s landmark 1992…[Read more]

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