Who’s Responsible for Religious Literacy Education?

By Skyler Oberst and Benjamin Marcus.  Skyler Oberst and Benjamin Marcus recently completed the 2015-2016 Germanacos Fellowship. Skyler created a “Meet the Neighbor” video series in Spokane, WA to teach members of his community how to visit local houses of worship and create a safe space to have a meaningful interfaith encounter. Ben collaborated with public school teachers in the suburbs of Chicago, IL to create lesson plans about religion for teachers in history, soc … [Read more...]

Unprecedented Diversity: Influential Faith Leaders from 7 Religions Join Together in the Name of Justice

By Susan Barnett, FaithSource/Auburn Seminary. Unprecedented UnityEighteen diverse leaders for the 21st century bring organizing faith (not organizational faith) to the public square, to take on today's most pressing issues. From best-selling authors to MLK’s pulpit and the streets of Moral Monday to the Nuns on the Bus, they are making history by living, teaching and preaching respect over division to millions of Americans.They carve new paths as the first openly gay bis … [Read more...]

Mike Pence on the “American Heartland” and the Holy Land

By Shalom Goldman, Middlebury College. The Republican Party platform, posted last week, gives the American-Israeli relationship considerable space. Pundits in the U.S. and Israel have duly noted the absence in the platform of any reference to a "two-state solution"—a phrase that appeared in the 2012 Republican platform but has now become identified with the Democratic Party and the State Department tenures of Hillary Clinton and John Kerry. Republicans are by inference rejecting … [Read more...]

Breaking Our Addiction to Conflict Through Creativity

By Christopher Pieper, Ph.D. and Nathaniel Dietrick, Baylor University Understanding conflict as an attempt to fill an existential vacuum allows us see that these various battles fundamentally are not about what they seem to be about. They are engaged in not to defeat the enemy or resolve the conflict. Indeed, most of these battles are chosen precisely because the enemy can never be defeated. Battle itself is the objective. Therefore, to a large degree, any enemy will suffice. … [Read more...]

Setting the Global Table

By Rev. Dr. Joel C. Hunter.  Food and faith go way back:The pretzel is supposed to remind one of a child kneeling in prayer, invented by French monks around 610 A.D. The extreme length of the average rice noodle represents longevity, particularly important to those of the Taoist tradition. Ancient kitchens had to quickly get rid of their ingredients the day before Lent, which led to the experiment that became the pancake. Matzo is unleavened bread, meant to … [Read more...]

Do People Still Worship Baal?

By Nero Calatrava.Ever since the authors of the Bible portrayed Baal as a wicked god, to whom worshippers would sacrifice their first-born sons, Baal has had an image problem.It was not always thus. For hundreds of years before the Bible demonized him, Baal was worshipped by the Canaanites as a fertility god, the bringer of rain, the prince of peace, the defender of the people.Around 1200 BCE, terrifying bands of warriors came from over the Mediterranean and laid waste to the … [Read more...]

Brexit: What Happened? And What’s Next?

By David Binder.  A day is a long time in politics.At 10pm Thursday, 23 June, polling stations closed in regard to a UK-wide referendum of the UK’s membership of the European Union (EU).In the words of The Clash: Would we stay or would we go?The polls, betting markets, conventional wisdom, and even Nigel Farage (arguably the leading figure of the ‘Leave’ campaign) all indicated that we would vote to remain in the EU. How wrong they all were! By Friday morning, by a pe … [Read more...]

(Culture) War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning

By Christopher Pieper and Nathaniel Dietrick, Baylor University. In 2002, a year after America became embroiled in the War on Terror, journalist Chris Hedges published his insightful book, War Is A Force That Gives Us Meaning. There he relives his experiences as a reporter in many battle zones and beseeches American readers to consider the reasons for which they are consenting to war. But somewhere along the way, Hedges abandons the greater argument that the title implies. He … [Read more...]

Why Humanitarian Efforts Need Religious Leaders and Interreligious Dialogue

By Faisal Bin Muaammar, Secretary General of the King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz International Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue (KAICIID) Faced with the greatest humanitarian challenge in 75 years – and experts predicting more challenges ahead – the international community gathered at a milestone summit meeting last month in Istanbul to urgently find means to make humanitarian aid and work more effective and safer.Less well known is a second milestone: not onl … [Read more...]

Christianity and Culture in the 2016 Election

By Jim Rotholz.a katz / Shutterstock.com  Election years reveal much about American culture that otherwise lies hidden from view. The 2016 presidential contest has been especially revealing, exposing a modern-day form of tribalism that afflicts Americans across the political spectrum.One essential trait of tribal affiliation is establishing social borders: line-drawing, “us” versus “them,” “our people” against “not our people.” In the American political arena it has devolved i … [Read more...]