Pastor wanders streets in personal bid to understand homelessness

NORMAN, Okla. (RNS) Pastor Dustin Buff traded in his job, his house and his sense of security for a backpack, a Bible, a sleeping bag, one change of clothes, identification, and a cell phone for a 10-day personal quest to understand the plight of the homeless. By Greg Horton.

 

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Oregon may be next state for gay marriage ballot battle

PORTLAND, Ore. (RNS) After a string of victories for gay rights at the ballot box this year, gay rights groups here are positioning for a 2014 battle to try and become the first state to overturn a 10-year constitutional ban on gay marriage. By Harry Esteve.

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After Sandy, New Yorkers and New Jerseyites showed “this is what adults do”

NEW YORK (RNS) After the most dreadful political season in memory, I took heart as leaders stepped up to lead after Hurricane Sandy and as adults stepped up to do what adults do. Those who have actual responsibilities carried them out, while those who lust for power were ignored. By Tom Ehrich.

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‘Earth Sabbath’ helps activists tend spiritual side of environmentalism

RALEIGH, N.C. (RNS) While many religious congregations have sought ways to reduce energy consumption, few have paid attention to the spiritual dimensions of this work. Several North Carolina churches are finding a remedy through a service they call the Earth Sabbath. By Yonat Shimron. 

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Lesbian answers bishop’s call for dialogue on gay marriage

SPOKANE, Wash. (RNS) The Catholic bishop here has asked for an honest dialogue about same-sex marriage, so Charlene Strong was happy to take him up on his offer, telling a Catholic campus why the state's domestic partnership law was insufficient when her partner of 10 years was dying. By Tracy Simmons.

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Woman crusades to save sister’s life, end the death penalty

SPOKANE, Wash. (RNS) Victoria Ann Thorpe's sister has been on death row for 18 years for a crime she says she didn't commit. Now Thorpe is leading a grass-roots campaign to abolish the death penalty in Washington state, saying Jesus would never tolerate it. “Nothing that he did or said can be manipulated into harshness,” she said. By Tracy Simmons.

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COMMENTARY: Letting go and getting out of the way

(RNS) I understand that older folks have a hard time letting go. We were once the repository of fresh ideas, exciting dreams, and change-the-world aspirations. But the fact is, at some point the youth deserve to be heard. After all, they are even more legion than we are — and they are dreaming the new dreams. By Tom Ehrich.

COMMENTARY: No man (or nation) is an island

NEW YORK (RNS) In our volatile, ambiguous and interconnected world, raw nationalism has become a danger to civilization. Learning to respect other peoples and to imagine their needs as legitimate is a critical component of modern wisdom. By Tom Ehrich.

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