Author: Elizabeth Eisenstadt Evans

When Your Parenting is Put to the Test

In a few weeks, my son will be on his way to college. At such a time, lots of parents take stock (just google “tips for parents of college students” or look for online essays on the topic). I’m a bundle of nerves, sublimating my anxiety into buying sheet sets and collecting boxes for the car ride, one which will result in driving home without the boy who, now almost a man, was the second-grade “ne...Read More

The Bible for Grown-Ups

What do Americans really think about the Bible? It’s tempting to think of it as a collection of stories not very relevant to our contemporary lives. But if we do think that way, we’d be missing a lot. Every year the Barna Group, a polling organization that has an interest in religion, comes out with some fascinating facts about the Hebrew and Christian scriptures (otherwise known as the Old and Ne...Read More

Is violence just a statistic?

Late Sunday night, a gun opened fire from a room in the Mandalay Hotel, killing at least 58 people attending a country music concert of around 22,000 on the Las Vegas Strip. More than 500 people were wounded. When police got to his room, suspect Stephen Paddock had killed himself. According to police reports mentioned in the New York Times, he had at least 10 rifles and hundreds of rounds of ammun...Read More

Explaining evil isn’t simple.

“The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it,” the first man, Adam, tells God in the third chapter of the Old Testament book of Genesis. Possibly that’s got to be one of the most creative excuses for the beginning of evil in the world since, well, the beginning of time. Be that as it may, the Genesis story—with its serpent, forbidden fruit, and lovely garden—i...Read More

Inevitable Poverty—What did Jesus mean?

There’s a lot of talk right now about how to make a difference in the lives of the poor. Some people say that the government should give citizens a leg up. Others speak of personal responsibility. Some thread a gingerly path down the middle.  When you’re trying to work out how to approach poverty, and how to best help those in economic distress, it’s a challenge to know where to turn for guidance....Read More

Adaptive Identities

Who am I, really?  Who are you? Good way to go crazy, you might be thinking to yourself about now. Bear with me for a moment. Think about how—once you started to think about it at all—the way you think about yourself has changed over the years. As a teenager, you may have done a lot to impress your peers, whether it was acing the science test, hanging out with the “cool” kids, or getting into a su...Read More

Forgiveness is for ordinary people.

Them. And us. That’s how we sometimes think about forgiveness, isn’t it? Jesus looked down from the cross and forgave his tormentors.  Pope John Paul II forgave his would-be assassin.  A father of a child killed in the Sandy Hook massacre offered forgiveness to the families of the killer within hours of the killings.  Mothers have been known to pardon the men who shot their sons. As a writer, I co...Read More

Community—Have you found it?

Recently, I interviewed an administrator for a coalition of churches in another state struggling with an enormous drug problem. “How can churches be useful in tackling a drug crisis?” I asked him. Frankly, I was a little skeptical. In many parts of the country, churches are treading water, along with other social pillars we used to take for granted: volunteer charitable organizations, bowling leag...Read More

The Faith vs. Science Fight Club

A few years ago, my son and I were strolling through an exhibit about the life of the famous scientist (genius, really) Galileo Galilei. Galileo is as much famous for having been put on trial by the Catholic church of his time, as he is for having helped invent the telescope, and having been part of the great 17th-century scientific revolution. After having been put on trial for claiming that the ...Read More

Finding God Inside or Outside the Church

Once upon a time (to be candid, it feels like another lifetime), I worked as a parish minister. My experience included leading a small congregation in the city and serving as an associate on a large staff in the suburbs of Philadelphia. In both positions, I would visit men and women in nursing homes as well as others who couldn’t get out to church. I’d also try to call and connect with people who ...Read More

We’re Failing Our Planet

As noble as the idea of stewardship is, where’s the evidence that it’s working for us? For decades, we’ve been relying on the notion that we can be effective stewards of our world. Let’s examine that assumption. What do stewards do? They are responsible for something—in this case, keeping the air, water, animals and earth clean and healthy. They are accountable to something or someone—if you’re a ...Read More