Category Archives: Uncategorized

The Times of Interfaith


The Times of Israel
writes about this year’s convergence of Hanukkah and Christmas. You can read their article here: Is the Jewish Community ready for a very merry interfaith Chrismukkah?

The article raises the very discussion we can imagine took place in Judea in 165 BCE. How much of “not Jewish” — whether Hellenistic culture or interfaith marriage — is too much? How much of “what is not Jewish” endangers “what is”?

These questions are loaded with assumptions — about what it means to be Jewish, about what it means to live with others — assumptions that lean heavily towards exclusivity. And it is these very assumptions that need to be questioned if Judaism is to evolve as a viable source of meaning and purpose and as a resource for wisdom in a global, world culture.

With 28 years in an interfaith marriage, most of my life has been dedicated (I choose that word intentionally) to discerning my relationship with Judaism in light of living in and raising children in a multi-faith society. I won’t go into the story of my ever-evolving struggle, one which perhaps defines my Jewishness more than anything else, but I will share what I’m doing tomorrow.

When Christmas Eve and the first night of Hanukkah, not to mention Havdalah, all coincide tomorrow evening, I will be leading a Home Service for my husband’s extended family.

While his family has religious roots in Presbyterianism and Quakerism, like many American families today they are now an ecumenical bunch. Past and current affiliations within the family include Mormonism, Catholicism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism, and Judaism. My nieces and nephews include agnostics and atheists, believers and seekers, and poets.  We gather every year to attend a Christmas Eve Service at a particular Presbyterian Church. But this year that tradition has been foiled by a change in the church schedule.

The situation couldn’t have presented a better opportunity to create a service that speaks to all of us. And I am thrilled that I get to design and lead it. I won’t give it all away here but I can tell you it will be interactive, participatory, multi-sensory, religious, scientific, and philosophical. It will be meaningful and appealing for all ages. (And it will be short-ish.)

But what will make our Family Home Service successful is not the design as much as the openness with which it will be received and the joy with which it will be given. So when The Times of Israel asks if the Jewish Community is ready, I hope the idea of our Family Home Service shines some light on the answer.

Read more about turning December’s Dilemma into December’s Delight here.

World AIDS Day: In My Brother’s Name

December 1st is World AIDS Day. 

This year, Michigan-Unified/HARC sponsored an outstanding musical-theatrical program, thanks to Rev. Joe Summers for organizing and Rev. Deborah Dean-Ware for hosting. It included performances by Gospel Against AIDS, Threshold Choir, The Corner Health Center Theater Troupe, Rev. Roland Stringfellow, and more. I was honored to speak at this event.

In my talk, I remember my brother.

Continue reading World AIDS Day: In My Brother’s Name

Post-Election Thanksgiving

Post-Election, why couldn’t Pence have said, “Thank You,” to the cast of Hamilton?
“Thank you for sharing. I hear your concerns. It is our future administration’s intent that everyone benefit positively from our policies. Congratulations on a great performance!”
How AMAZING would that have been.

Alas,  We the People must become the leaders we wish our leaders to beWe the People must act wisely by carefully guiding our leaders to make decisions that form our more perfect union. We the People want equality, diversity, and inclusivity. Even those who chose Trump did so because they no longer felt included. We the People must not make the same mistake nor let our new administration repeat it.

How do we do this? Bear with me.

Continue reading Post-Election Thanksgiving

photo of Diane with her poster at the REA conference 2016

Seriously — Imaginary Sorrow (Obama) and Real Hope (REA)

What would Obama say as Americans vote today? Watch this! You may find yourself, like me, playing it over and over. The words and their sorrow may be imaginary but they point us towards real hope. More than a captivating and inspiring song, this lamentation challenges our soul as a nation. When the election is over, may we all rise higher.

But how did we sink so low?

To answer that question, let me share a few notes from attending the REA Conference in Pittsburgh where I met Religion Educators from around the world including Belgium, Germany, Austria, England, Spain, Turkey, Nigeria, Canada, Israel, Australia, and the United States. Continue reading Seriously — Imaginary Sorrow (Obama) and Real Hope (REA)

Election Fury or Forgiveness

Keep Calm and Watch Fury.
Share your thoughts at the end of this post.

picture of movie poster for 1936 FuryFury

With recently heightened “suspense” from Donald Trump as we near the end of this election, it’s worth reminding ourselves of why populism, group think, and mob (or mobster) rule don’t work. For this reason, I suggest hosting a Movie Night Pre-Election Party featuring the 1936 drama and thriller, Fury. Continue reading Election Fury or Forgiveness

New Buzzwords Changing Religion: #3 EVOLUTIONARY 

A figure jumps in the air from one wall to another suggesting an evolutionary leap.Evolutionary is the last buzzword in this blog series on concepts with the potential to change how we view and teach religion. In previous posts, we looked at buzzword #1, integral, and buzzword #2, interspiritual. 

Introducing Buzzword #3: Evolutionary

Evolutionary has multiple meanings — it can be understood as an adjective AND as a  noun. It is sometimes used interchangeably with integral and interspiritual.

As an adjective, evolutionary describes our process of development — and I mean not just biologically, but also culturally. Unlike a Darwinian view of evolution that describes biology as being random accidents, I wish to talk about the view that evolution actually has an unmistakeable direction and purpose. In this view of evolution, we are not just becoming a different species. We are becoming a better species. Planetary goodwill is on the rise. And it is not accidental. As a noun, Evolutionary refers to one who actively and consciously participates in the evolution of our consciousness and ultimately, our culture. Continue reading New Buzzwords Changing Religion: #3 EVOLUTIONARY