Entries by Rachel Larsen

Do Jesus’ Followers Care About the Environment?

Aerial images of Ethiopia reveal small forest enclaves surrounded by large swathes of arid desert. At the center of most of the oases are churches. These congregations have preserved the forest for centuries, motivated by the belief that “every creature is a gift from God and needs its habitat.” In recent years, conservationists have partnered […]

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What is Atonement?

Atonement is not a particularly popular word in English, but perhaps you are familiar with Yom Kippur, which means Day of Atonement. It is a time when many Jewish people fast and pray, seeking God’s forgiveness. In everyday speech, the verb atone is more common and means “to make amends, to provide compensation for wrongdoing.” […]

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Was Jesus a Prophet?

You may have heard that Jesus was a teacher who performed miracles and claimed to be sent by God. You may have also heard him being called a prophet. Jesus was indeed a prophet, meaning that, like other biblical prophets, he delivered a message from God, urging his listeners to turn from wrongdoing and embrace […]

Was Jesus Jewish?

In 1938, French-Jewish artist Marc Chagall painted “White Crucifixion,” which depicts Yeshua as a Jewish man hanging on a tree. He is wearing a prayer shawl and is surrounded by images of contemporary persecution: a synagogue is burned, a man tries to save a Torah scroll, and a group of refugees flee by boat. There […]

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What Does It Mean to Have a Relationship with God?

“It’s not what you know; it’s who you know.” This popular saying suggests that one’s social connections play a greater role in determining career prospects than education or experience. Indeed, networking and “making a good first impression” have become key skills in our competitive economy. This can be a challenge for those of us who […]

What is the Basis for Human Rights?

In 1948, the fledgling United Nations passed the “Universal Declaration of Human Rights,” a response to Nazi atrocities that was founded on “faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person.” This document calls on governments to guarantee everyone under their jurisdiction such rights as freedom of thought, education, and […]