The latest:

Religion: Israel in the Bible part 4: Prophetic wrath and hope

By Rev. Justin Smoot, for Wausau Pilot & Review Prophets were nothing new to the family, people, and nation of Israel. Sometimes, like Moses, it was to other nations on behalf of God for the benefit of the powerless. Samuel anointed Saul and David as kings. Nathan brought David to confess his sins and call […]

Religion: Israel in the Bible part 3: David’s kingdom

By Rev. Justin Smoot, for Wausau Pilot & Review The people of Israel didn’t have a king on earth. They had priests and Levites. The Levites were descended from the son of Israel named Levi and consecrated for religious service. Moses and Aaron were both from this tribe and family, but Aaron’s descendants were ordained […]

Religion: Israel in the Bible part 2: Promises broken

By Rev. Justin Smoot, for Wausau Pilot & Review The Holy Land, the land on the eastern edge of the Mediterranean sea, has been a locus of conflict throughout history. While the modern era is still marked by the Nakba when 700,000 Palestinians were expelled from their homes in 1984, the first few Crusades directed […]

Religion: Israel in the Bible part 1: One big family

By Rev. Justin Smoot, for Wausau Pilot & Review Israel has jumped into the news again with its offensive against the extremist groups in Gaza. There are Christian groups, also, that seem extremely invested in the nation state of Israel because they believe there is an eschatological dimension to its continued existence. Working towards a […]

Religion: Holy listening

By Rev. Justin Smoot, for Wausau Pilot & Review As a religious leader, as one to whom others look for religious inspiration and spiritual guidance, there is a temptation to speak more than I should. There is the weight to have a religious framework, or a spiritual insight, to help people find their way through […]

Religion: Love God, not the Ten Commandments

By Rev. Justin Smoot, for Wausau Pilot & Review There are people who are absolutely in love with the Ten Commandments. I mean there seems to be a completeness to the world when they are in the presence of these commandments. The world revolves around them, even more so than Jesus. Even Christians have this […]

Religion: Lent is more than a fish fry

By Rev. Justin Smoot for Wausau Pilot & Review We have come to that time of year when Christianity becomes a health fad. To some it’s known as Lent. To others, it’s giving up coffee for Jesus. To still other’s it’s a reason to increase their fish consumption…for God. And, to pastors, it’s a season […]

Religion: Black History Month can broaden our perspective

By Rev. Justin Smoot for Wausau Pilot & Review When I was in college and seminary, I always thought the most pointless part of any class was the evaluation. It wouldn’t impact me because the professor already finished the class. So, why bother? Then, in seminary, I encountered a new question. It asked about the […]

Religion: The vanity of the Christian Nationalist

By Rev. Justin Smoot, special to Wausau Pilot & Review When we witnessed the events of Jan. 6, there were some things that stood out to me. Images of a person holding a bible aloft as the Capitol was breached. Pictures of a rough, lumber cross erected outside the building. Video of those who entered […]

Religion: The power of words

By Rev. Justin Smoot For Wausau Pilot & Review When we worship, we use language. This language, these words shape the gathering, lift our spirits, sooth our souls, illuminate our hopes, and shine forth our values. The words and phrases we use in worship ascribe attributes to God and enshrine the ideals that transform us. […]

Religion: The Christmas Cross

By Rev. Justin Smoot For Wausau Pilot & Review In these days of Coivd-19, there are many Christians who claim the right to gather and practice their religion as a sacred and protected under the law. Constitutionally, I won’t argue, I don’t have the standing, the understanding, or the time. What I will say is; […]