You can’t give it up, can you?

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Several years ago, after what I thought was a horrible ordination process, I decided to leave the church.  It was a weekday when I decided that I would never step back into the church.  The only problem was that I was serving as a chaplain in a level II trauma center outside of Chicago, IL, so I had to be confronted with normative Christian discourse and theologies that I found to be hugely problematic.  But, nonetheless, I decided to leave.  I had completed my undergraduate degree in rel … [Read more...]

A Muslim and Atheist Team up to Promote Freedom of Conscience

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I was born in Pakistan, completed my medical school there and then moved to the United States for specialized medical training. I also moved to escape the horrid persecution my Islamic sect – the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community - faces back home. In America, I could enjoy all the freedoms I was denied under Pakistan’s law, most importantly the freedom of speech. I therefore set out to use social media to raise my voice for freedom of conscience world over – and specifically in the ‘Muslim world.’ … [Read more...]

TEDx: Are God & Reality Converging?

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I was recently engaged in a spirited conversation about "Convergence Christianity" with my friend and colleague, Eric Elnes, at his home in Omaha, Nebraska.Eric described how he sees things evolving in the post-evangelical, post-liberal Christian world, and I shared how I've been noticing a similar convergence occurring in a wide range of secular and religious contexts.What exactly is converging? You can see Eric's take on this question here.As I've traveled North America the past twe … [Read more...]

An Intro and the Skeptimergent Challenge

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As an atheist who works with religious persons, I am honored to be a part of these “Emerging Voices.” By way of introduction, I first met Holly Roach and Steve Knight at a conference they coordinated at Mission Gathering Church in San Diego. Ryan Bell, Adele Sakler, and myself were invited to lead a panel on Skeptimergent—a group of skeptics and non-believers interested in discussing the role that liberal and Emergent forms of Christianity took in their lives. I first came in contact with Emerg … [Read more...]

Do You Have a Gaudy God?

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Raining brimstone, epic deluges, trumpets from heaven...is your God showing off?We have all heard of insecure people who act out by throwing fits.  The kid who bullies others on recess, the child who screams when he doesn't get his way, the buff guy in the military who wants to fight at the bar.  We call these people "show-offs" and "assholes."  But what happens when you find your divinity throwing a hissy-fit?One of the first things you can do is exempt your God from these tantrums.  A … [Read more...]

Atheists and Christians Working Together: Me and Ryan Bell’s Online Course

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For many here on Emergent Village and Patheos Progressive Christian, working with Christians is second-nature.  But there are many of us atheists, humanists, skeptics, and non-believers, who have little to no idea about how to work with Christians.  Some of us (atheists and Christians) cannot get beyond the trivial Facebook debates, the subtle intellectual jabs at each other, and the unsophisticated, meme-based, generalizations of Christians and atheists.This is a great opportunity for l … [Read more...]

The Worst of Your Tradition: Own It!

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I remember having a back-and-forth with a Christian about the violence historically committed by Christians: the early persecution of heretics, the Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition, the European "Wars of Religion," slavery in the Americas, up to the bombings of abortion clinics and the killing of doctors who perform abortions.  His response, which has stuck with me to this day, was "don't compare the best of your tradition with the worst of mine."  This comment really made me think.  He was not … [Read more...]

An Interview with Brian McLaren on Faith, Doubt, and Atheism

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I met Brian a few years back when I picked him up from the airport for a conference I was coordinating at Claremont School of Theology.  During our ride back, we chatted about atheism, progressive Christianity, and ways we thought they could work together.  And as much as I wanted to find fault with him, his insipid kindness won me over.Since that time, I have been working with Churches, trying to find ways in which we can work together.  So I thought I would ask Brian some questions th … [Read more...]

The Death of a Beautiful Woman

"The death, then, of a beautiful woman is, unquestionably, the most poetical topic in the world."--Edgar Allen Poe--I have always been a fan of the gloomy Mr. Poe.  I remember the first time I purchased his Complete Works and spent a summer reading through it.  I was infatuated in the aesthetics of his vocabulary, how we painted the world dark with words, and how the confidence of his prose contrasted with his emotional instability.  I was also interested in how he viewed religion and re … [Read more...]

The Post-Colonial Method versus the Sociological Method in the Study of Religion: Top-down or Bottom-up?

In the current study of “religion,” two different methods have developed that are often in tension with each other.  The first is the Post-Colonial Method (PCM)[1] with scholars like Talal Asad, Edward Said, Timothy Fitzgerald, and Gayatri Spivak, and the second is the Sociological Method (SM) with scholars like Steve Bruce, Phil Zuckerman, and Barry A. Kosmin.  Each of these methods has their own histories, assumptions, and trajectories for the study of religion.  The tensions between the two ar … [Read more...]


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