National Catholic Reporter

The Independent News Source

Spirituality

Spring: an interfaith season of hope

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When I turn on NPR these days or pick up The Washington Post, I find myself sighing and saddened. There are wars or regular violent attacks in Syria, the Central African Republic, Nigeria, South Sudan and eastern Ukraine. Violence can break out any time in Pakistan, Lebanon or Egypt.

In the United States, there were the shooting deaths of three people at two Jewish-run facilities in Overland Park, Kan.

Risen and transformed

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Many of us learned in grade school religion classes that Jesus' resurrection was simply God's seal of approval on everything Jesus taught and did. So if he didn't actually rise from the dead, then the religion he founded and all the rules we learned in our catechism classes weren't binding on anyone. We'd best look for another religion.

What kind of prayer is appropriate at official meetings?

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Carroll County is a small, rural county in northern Maryland. Its local board of commissioners has become news because of its insistence on starting board meetings with prayers to Jesus.

After a federal judge ordered the board to stick with nonsectarian prayers, some council members refused. The judge's order was twice defied in prayers uttered at the beginning of subsequent board meetings.

The nature of God

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In his essay "The Signature of Jesus," Brennan Manning passes on the story of an elderly man who meditated every morning under a big tree on the bank of the Ganges River (Multnomah Pub., 1996). One morning, after he had finished praying, the man opened his eyes and saw a scorpion floating helplessly in the water. As the scorpion washed nearer to the tree, the man quickly stretched himself out on one of the long roots that extended over the river and reached out to save the drowning creature. As soon as he touched it, the scorpion stung him. Instinctively, the man withdrew his hand.

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