Guest Post: “What is a Christian?”

And now for something completely different, as they used to say on Monty Python. What follows is a guest post for your consideration by Dustin Shramek, who runs "His Peace Upon Us," a Christian blog dedicated to building bridges between Muslims and Christians. He suggested that we swap posts to share some perspectives that our respective audiences are perhaps not used to considering. Which I thought was a nice idea (assuming I ever get a my act together and write something). So, … [Read more...]

NYT on African-American Jews

There's a very interesting piece in the NYT on African-American Jews, who struggle for acceptance in the broader Jewish community. Black Rabbi Reaches Out to Mainstream of His Faith - New York TimesThe touching video report that accompanies it is worth watching, as well. … [Read more...]

The Decline of Catholicism in the US

Sad news to me as an admirer of Catholicism. (Not to mention someone born & bred in Boston. What would Boston be without kids going to CCD after school?)Religion News: Catholics Lose More Faithful Than Any Other Group In the marketplace of American faith, Catholicism is the big loser. Catholics have lost more members to other faiths, or to no faith at all, than any other U.S. religion, according to the new survey released by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life. The survey, … [Read more...]

Religion Dispatches – “UK Muslims & the ‘War on Christmas'”

Have only written one piece so far, but I'm am now pleased to call myself a contributor to the interesting new progressive blog on religion Religion Dispatches.  My first post is on the topic of "UK Muslims & the "War on Christmas": Interesting and ironic news from the British front of the "War on Christmas." In the UK, some seemingly unlikely champions for the Christmas spirit are entering the lists. Muslims and Hindus are urging people not to throw the Baby … [Read more...]

The Christian Right’s surprisingly newfound attachment to Christmas

There's an interesting article in Alternet on America's decidedly ambivalent attitude towards Christmas back when it was a "Christian nation" largely free of all the Jews, Muslims, Hindus, atheists, and other non-Christian subversives who, to the Christian Right's rage, now expect American institutions to acknowledge their beliefs and sensibilities, as well. As you read these examples of past animus towards Christmas remember that these are the forefathers (and the continuing … [Read more...]

See “Jesus Camp”, but not for the typical reasons

Watched the controversial "Jesus Camp" documentary yesterday. I found it engrossing, and I must say that I find myself somehow disagreeing with everybody (critic as well as supporter) in the media on this. On the one hand, I find these children infinitely more sympathetic and profound than did the many commentators in the MSM who've sounded the alarm of fundamentalist take-over after watching this movie. Nor do I think hysterics about militia training camps are warranted because some … [Read more...]

After 10 years, VA relents and allows Wiccan burials

Veterans who are Wiccans may now choose to have a pentacle on their graves in military cemetaries. It's also quite interesting so see that in spite of separation of church & state, it took them 10 years and a lawsuit to get this fairly trivial matter (which normally takes only a few months, according to the article) approved. Formally, all religions are equal before the law, yet an ostensibly secular government authority fought for a decade to banish the symbol of a completely innocuous … [Read more...]

“May Almighty God give you pain!”

Am hurriedly and a bit belatedly slaving away on a paper so I mustn't tarry in the Blogosphere long, but I figured I'd share a quote that just touched me (and caused me to creepily giggle in the middle of a crowded cafe).From the exquisite collection of letters by the famed Chisti Sufi Sheikh Nizam ad-Din Awliya, Fawa`id al-Fuad ("Morals of the Heart"), as beautifully translated and helpfully annotated by Bruce Lawrence:In this vein the master told a story about `Ali Khokhri.  … [Read more...]