Do We Need a Moratorium on the Word “God”?

Edwards

I have been trying to find a way of being religious that’s still possible (or maybe the word is “decent”) for us. What would it be like to be religious without fudging our best thoughts, without repressing anything we have learned...? What would it be like to be religious when we can’t really believe any of that glorious stuff — creation ex nihilo, virgin birth, bodily resurrection — we used to believe? It’s not decent, I think, to pretend to believe it, or to do a fancy … [Read more...]

Native American Spiritualities: Appropriation and Reciprocity

Bede

The first peace, which is the most important, is that which comes within the souls of people when they realize their relationship, their oneness, with the universe and all its powers, and when they realize that at the center of the universe dwells Wakan-Tanka , and that this center is really everywhere, it is within each of us. This is the real peace, and the others are but reflections of this. The second peace is that which is made between two individuals, and the third is that which is made … [Read more...]

The First Source: Direct Experience

photo-79

In 1962, only a couple of years after I was born, pollsters found that 2% of Americans claimed to have had a “mystical experience” of God. In 1976...that number had risen to 31% of the population.... By 2009, 48% of Americans confessed that they had had a mystical encounter with the divine. ...Not everyone who has experienced [the Sacred] afresh is an evangelical, fundamentalist, or Pentecostal. Indeed, they hail from many sorts of faiths.... What if the 1970s were not simply an evangelical … [Read more...]

Confessions of a Western Universalist

2845_Resize_being-different-low-res

(Rajiv Malhotra, Being Different: An Indian Challenge to Western Universalism, HarperCollins, 2011, 474 pages) Rajiv Malhotra's latest book challenges many Western assumptions. He invites his Western readers to see their worldview through the eyes of India. Having read a fair amount of postmodern philosophy, I was sympathetically inclined to his general perspective, but I am willing to confess that at the end of the book I remain, for better or worse, a fairly unreconstructed Western … [Read more...]

Top 10 Best Podcasts of 2011

(1) NPR: Religion – A few years ago my car radio was almost always tuned to NPR. More recently I have taken to listening selectively to my favorite NPR segments. Since I’m a huge religion nerd, I love being able to listen to the religion-themed excerpts of “Morning Edition,” “All Things Considered,” and other NPR programs without necessarily having to listen to each of those hour-long shows each day. (2) Homebrewed Christianity - An astonishing number of great interviews with … [Read more...]

Brian McLaren, "Two Kinds of Religion," and #OccupyWallSt

I was reminded today of a quote from author and public theologian Brian McLaren that has fresh resonance in the wake of the Occupy Wall Street protests: There are two kinds of Christianity, along with two kinds of Islam, Judaism, and every other religion and non-religion too: one of social control and one of social transformation; one to hold people down, one to lift them up; one an opiate to pacify people into compliance, the other a stimulant to empower people to imagine a better world, a … [Read more...]