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Faithbook Rev_Ken_Howard

Ken Howard, a Christian of Jewish origins, is the pastor of St. Nicholas Episcopal Church, in Germantown, Maryland, the church he founded in 1995, and the author of the new book, "Paradoxy: Creating Christian Community Beyond Us and Them." Ken holds a Master of Divinity degree from Virginia Theological Seminary, and received honors in Church History for his ground-breaking research into the Jewish origins of early Christianity, published in "Jewish Christianity in the Early Church: How the Church forgot its Jewish Roots." Respected and trusted for his expertise in conflict resolution and consensus building among groups with opposing theological and political views, Ken has been called upon to facilitate dialogs on issues ranging from human sexuality to interfaith relations. When not occupied with the business of pastoring and growing the theologically diverse congregation he helped plant, Ken provides presentations, training, and coaching on the concepts outlined in "Paradoxy," as well as in church planting and congregational vitality.

How Do You Imagine God?
God in America and USA WEEKEND Magazine are partnering to explore Americans' images of God.

How do you imagine God? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator Over the course of my life my image of God has in some ways changed profoundly and in other ways remained remarkably consistent. It mostly has been the outward aspects of the image (those which I could project my own concepts upon) which have changed. Similarly, it has been the deepest aspects which have remained consistent. When I was a child, perhaps like most children, I thought of God as like my own parents, only bigger and more powerful. And so I thought of God as someone who had the power and the desire to punish and reward me, someone whom I had to please if I wanted love, someone whose expectations I had to live up to if I wanted approval. The more I have matured the more those outward aspects have changed. As I became the parent of my own children, I felt my own unconditional love leap out of my heart toward them, and realized that God must experience and act out of something like that. Over time, I also began to experience the creative and playful aspect of God, calling me out to play and to dance. In terms of my image of the deepest aspects of God's nature, that is harder to describe. As long as I can remember, it has been one of mysterious infinitude of time and space and life and love and creativity. The deeper I probe, the more I am overwhelmed with awe. Since I became a follower of Christ, I have been content with the ancient dogmatic constructs of the Trinitarian nature of God and the Human-Divine nature of Christ. Not because I understand them in any concrete way, mind you, but because to attempt to wrap my mind around them suspends me in that overwhelming feeling of awe that lets me know, in the deepest depths of body and soul, that I approach the Holy Presence.

My Beliefs

My spiritual role model is ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator My spiritual role model is great grandfather, Rabbi Reuben Minkoff. He was Rabbi in the Jewish shtetl of Mogilev-Podolski, in what is now Belarus. I never met him (he was killed before the family immigrated to the United States). But I grew up hearing stories of his life from his daughter, my grandmother, Celia Minkoff Singer. How he lived out his vocation as a spiritual leader has greatly shaped my own sense of what it means to serve God and people of God.

How I Practice My Faith

Does your family practice more than one religion or faith? If so, how do you blend the traditions? your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator As followers of Christ, we observer Christian holy days and practices. But since I do not consider myself to have severed my ties to the Jewish people in become of follower of Christ, I continue (along with my family) to observe many of the Jewish holy days and practices as well. In addition, I teach my Christian congregation about the Jewish origins of Christianity both by sermons and classes, but also by engaging them in Jewish liturgies, such as the Passover Seder, while reflecting on the meanings Christians can take from them (e.g., "Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us").
The song/book/film that most represents my faith is ... your photo/ link/ video has been held for approval by a moderator "Paradoxy: Creating Christian Community Beyond Us and Them," written by me and published by Paraclete Press in September 2010.

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Published October 11, 2010

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