The Way of the Mule

A Spanish pilgrim in rough clothes rode on a mule toward Rome and Jerusalem in the year 1522. Ignatius of Loyola was his name. He was “to the manor born” but rejected his wealth and status to pursue spiritual enlightenment. Later he would become the founder of the Jesuit order of Catholic priests. Along the [Read More...]

Muddy Insight


Discovery I dreamed I heard someone singing A beautiful song I’d never heard before. I woke up humming the tune. Who is the songwriter? I dreamed I found a piece of paper lying on a sandy shore. On it was a poem I’d never read before. Its intense clarity haunted me after I awoke. Who [Read More...]

GCB: The Good, the Gag-me, and the Gospel


by Erin Wathen I love the new show GCB. And it bugs me. And I love to let it bug me. Lots of people don’t love it, and I kind of get why. For one thing, it is not super well-written. The main character is sort of flat. I don’t think she’s a bad actress, really…they [Read More...]

Seeking the Blessing: April 15

I received many responses to my recent “musings” about the Blessing of Taxes (coming this Sunday, April 15) and my Christian arguments for progressive taxation, most of them critical. Some objected to the sin-focused theology of my argument that taxation is necessary because human greed prevents charity from being adequate in meeting the needs of [Read More...]

Together Towards Tomorrow: Pluralism in India

On January 21, 2011 the De Smet – de Marneffe Memorial Annual Lecture was held in the new post graduate block of the Jnana-Deepa Vidyapeeth (JDV) campus. The speaker for that year’s event was Dr. Ramachandra Pradhan of the University of Hyderabad. I was asked by the faculty of JDV to take part in this [Read More...]

Compassion Week

What’s your passion, this Passion Week? Anything worth risking your life? I attended a conference at Esalen Institute at Big Sur this past week, which gathered filmmakers and activists to share media strategies for promoting reconciliation among the religions of Abraham: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. At one point the conversation focused on how to prevent [Read More...]

Religion and Science in the Indian Context

During the past year I had the great fortune to spend a little over one month teaching at Jnana-Deepa Vidyapeeth (JDV), the Pontifical Institute for Philosophy and Religion, in Pune, India. The purpose of my visit was to teach the course “The Scientific Study of Religion” to seminarians (roughly amounting to undergraduate students in the [Read More...]

How I’m Preaching the Resurrection

Easter morning approaches, bringing with it a fresh opportunity — and challenge — to unpack the mystery of the Resurrection to an alternately curious, skeptical and hopeful world. Here’s how a few of our Patheos bloggers plan to preach it this Sunday. [Let us know how you're planning to preach (or would preach) the Resurrection [Read More...]

Done with Substitutionary Atonement

I’m done with Substitutionary atonement. I’m done with the magical notion that human beings need to sacrifice in order to appease an angry God. Sixteen people died at the hands of Sgt. Bales last week. Sixteen innocent Afghanis dead. It’s not entirely clear what happened, but one thing we can say: life had betrayed Sgt. [Read More...]

Progressive Taxation and Christian Faith

Some Americans believe that taxation is theft, and that taking care of the poor and vulnerable is the business of charity alone. Others call for a “flat tax” which they claim is more fair than progressive taxation, which imposes a higher rate of tax on those of higher incomes. Such ideas once represented a fringe [Read More...]

Sticky Denominations?

By Jennifer Gutierrez Director of Urban Ministry for the California Pacific Conference of the United Methodist Church Why are mainline denominations dying?  I was recently in a trustees meeting for one of these denominations.  The trustees were grilling a representative from the committee that works with campus ministry.  The overall concern of the trustees seemed to [Read More...]

Towards an Honest Pluralism: Responding to “Being Different”

“The sheer range of religions represented led me to assume that they have few presuppositions in common. This assumption was supported by the fact that the main reason they meet is in order to learn about each other’s traditions.” Nate Gonzales, undergraduate student at the University of Southern California, made this astute observation in a [Read More...]