April 13th, 2012
10:00 PM ET
By Laurel Snyder, Special to CNN
(CNN) – A few years ago I was invited to my local Jewish Community Center to do a reading of my picture book “Baxter, the Pig Who Wanted to Be Kosher.” It was going to be a child-friendly event, so I took my kids along.
Now, “Baxter” isn’t really a book about being kosher. It’s about wanting to be accepted into a community. But I always like to make sure my listeners know what the word kosher means before I read it, since the joke at the center of the book depends on that. So as usual I asked the Jewish Community Center crowd if they could define the word.
Before anyone else could answer, my own son Mose, who was 5 at the time, jumped up and shouted out, “I know! I know! Kosher is us! We’re kosher!” Then he sat back down again, beaming proudly.
And I might have been proud too. Only, you see, we’re not kosher.
February 25th, 2012
02:00 AM ET
By J. Wilson, Special to CNN
About this time last year, I set off down a path that hadn’t been traveled for centuries. I fasted on beer and water for the duration of Lent.
While that sounds like a frat boy stunt, my “Diary of a Part-Time Monk” project was actually rooted in the Catholic Church, though that’s not what brought me to the idea.
A homebrewer and certified beer judge who is passionate about the flavors and culture of craft beer, I am what they call a “beer geek,” and so the monastic origins of the doppelbock style of beer had long intrigued me.
According to legend, the 17th century monks of Neudeck ob der Au outside Munich, Germany, developed the rich-and-malty beer to sustain them during Lenten fasts, the traditional 46-day lead-up to Easter.
January 28th, 2012
11:00 PM ET
Editor's Note: Kerry Egan is a hospice chaplain in Massachusetts and the author of "Fumbling: A Pilgrimage Tale of Love, Grief, and Spiritual Renewal on the Camino de Santiago."
By Kerry Egan, Special to CNN
As a divinity school student, I had just started working as a student chaplain at a cancer hospital when my professor asked me about my work. I was 26 years old and still learning what a chaplain did.
"I talk to the patients," I told him.
"You talk to patients? And tell me, what do people who are sick and dying talk to the student chaplain about?" he asked.
I had never considered the question before. “Well,” I responded slowly, “Mostly we talk about their families.”
“Do you talk about God?
“Umm, not usually.”
December 26th, 2011
02:36 PM ET
By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor
There were submissions from across the religious spectrum and a host of comments from our loyal readers.
Our top five stories for 2011, in no particular order, focused on a U.S. senator, a Muslim congressman, a recovering alcoholic who's an atheist, a labyrinth walker, and an unlikely patriot.
December 23rd, 2011
11:30 AM ET
Editor's note: Keith Wommack is a Christian Science practitioner and teacher. He also is a media and legislative liaison for Christian Science in Texas. He has been described as a spiritual spur (since every horse needs a little nudge now and then).
By Keith Wommack, Special to CNN
(CNN) – With Christmas cookies, fruitcake and eggnog tempting us at every corner, it is hard not to gain weight during the holiday season. Yet it is not just holiday foods that are enticing.
Oversized and disproportionate – that about sums it up when the average American is 20 pounds overweight. The director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently said, "Obesity, and with it diabetes, are the only major health problems that are getting worse in this country, and they are getting worse rapidly."
December 23rd, 2011
06:00 AM ET
Editor's note: The Rev. Steve Rossetti is a professor of theology at Catholic University in Washington, and he's a chaplain this Christmas at the South Pole.
By The Rev. Steve Rossetti, Special to CNN
South Pole, Antarctica (CNN) – Modern men and women often live under the illusion that they are in control of their lives. Science and technology have brought us far beyond the superstitions of ancient civilizations. Confident in our abilities and achievements, we feel secure. Outside of the occasional environmental or personal tragedy, we feel self-sufficient and safe.
Antarctica blasts this illusion of control. As one of the managers at the South Pole told me, “Antarctica is boss.” Anyone who loses respect for this savage continent is in danger of paying the ultimate price. As local lore has it, “Antarctica is constantly trying to kill you.”
December 16th, 2011
12:45 PM ET
Editor's note: Laura Sessions Stepp is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, formerly with The Washington Post, who specializes in the coverage of young people.
By Laura Sessions Stepp, Special to CNN
(CNN) – Republican conservatives should be worried. Evangelical churches that frequently support conservative candidates are finally admitting something the rest of us have known for some time: Their young adult members are abandoning church in significant numbers and taking their voting power with them.
David Kinnaman, the 38-year-old president of the Barna Group, an evangelical research firm, is the latest to sound the alarm. In his new book, "You Lost Me: Why Young Christians Are Leaving Church and Rethinking Faith," he says that 18- to 29-year-olds have fallen down a "black hole" of church attendance. There is a 43% drop in Christian church attendance between the teen and early adult years, he says.Read the full story here.
October 15th, 2011
06:00 AM ET
Editor's note: Missionary and conference speaker Jason Frenn is the author of “The Seven Prayers God Always Answers.”
(CNN) – I was 8 when I first walked into the huge church in Woodland Hills, California. Cautiously moving down the center aisle with my mouth half-open, I gazed at the candles, elaborate statues and stained-glass images and silently asked: “Would God listen if I prayed?”
At the time, I didn’t know much about spiritual things, and unfortunately, I didn’t have anyone in my life who was in a position to enlighten me. Deep down inside, I wondered if God truly cared when I talked to him.
That basic question led me to a simple yet all-important discovery. It’s not how important or pious we are, or even how perfect our beliefs may be. God listens to all of us when we pray. What matters most to him is the sincerity of our heart, and that is precisely what generates a response.
October 8th, 2011
10:00 PM ET
Editor’s note: Sally Quinn is a columnist for The Washington Post and is Editor in Chief of On Faith, an online conversation on religion.
By Sally Quinn, Special to CNN
When I tell people I have a labyrinth and that I walk it regularly, most have no idea what I’m talking about.
They think a labyrinth is a maze, a place you walk into and then have trouble finding your way out.
In fact it is just the opposite. A labyrinth is a place you go to get found.
September 1st, 2011
10:24 AM ET
By Chris Welch, CNN
Minneapolis, Minnesota (CNN) –Prior to 2006, few people even knew that then-Minnesota state legislator Keith Ellison was a Muslim. Because of his English name, he said, no one thought to ask.
But five years ago, when he ran for a seat in the United States House of Representatives - a race he would go on to win - word of his religious affiliation began to spread.
“When I started running for Congress it actually took me by surprise that so many people were fascinated with me being the first Muslim in Congress,” said Ellison, a Democrat now serving his third term in the House.
“But someone said to me, ‘Look Keith, think of a person of Japanese origin running for Congress six years after Pearl Harbor–this might be a news story.’”
About this blog
The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team and frequent posts from religion scholar and author Stephen Prothero.