Witnessing to Anxious Tribes: Stop the Steamroller.

The question we then face is how to understand the mission of Christ in a time of anxious tribalism. And I will suggest that Christian witness in a time of anxious tribalism will be primarily focused on the unity and diversity of human persons and societies as disclosed in the incarnate Christ. If in the [Read More…]


Despite the fact that the emerging tribes in the US seek to secure their identity with primal narratives, narratives similar to those that secure the identity of all primal human groups, they and their members remain deeply anxious. This anxiety arises in part because although the narratives claim to be primal, they are in fact [Read More…]

Christian Witness among Anxious New Tribes 1

There is in the modern world, even beyond the North Atlantic realm, a deep consciousness that public identities, the ways in which we are known not only to ourselves, but others, are chosen, not given. And they are chosen in the midst of uncertainty and instability. And these two things: the breakdown of stable public identities, and [Read More…]

Two Religions, One Name

Christians belong to one of two different religions that just happen to share the same name. 1. In the debate over gay marriage appealing to the Bible’s literal prohibitions is a dead end argument. If you go the Old Testament we immediately hear Martin Sheen’s burn of an anti-gay radio star in West Wing. If [Read More…]

Love Wins?

Love wins! I’ve seen that posted a dozen times on Facebook since the recent supreme court decision. Not yet. More than half a century ago an Iban man, a leader of one of Sarawak’s indigenous peoples, carried a box into the office of Archdeacon Howell, an Anglican missionary. It was full of the various ritual [Read More…]

Gay Marriage: The Real Victory

The real victory in the Supreme Court decision on gay marriage was secularity, and its near final triumph as a social system. And the biggest loser is the non-modern worldview that is still common in many segments of American society. Particular losers are religious claims to be have something to say about social structures and [Read More…]

Anxiety and Extremism – Religion’s Gift?

Jewish extremists torch a famous Christian shrine on the Sea of Galilee. Of course the Israeli government and Jewish leaders worldwide condemn them. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/jewish-extremists-suspected-of-torching-sea-of-galilee-loaves-and-fishes-church-in-tabgha-10329998.html. ISIS destroys ancient religious shrines and communities in Syria and Iraq. Of course government leaders in the Middle East and Islamic leaders worldwide condemn them. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/04/06/islamic-state-destroys-church_n_7009072.html. An young white terrorist kills 9 people [Read More…]

Religious Advocacy Vs. Freedom of Speech

Freedom of speech is under attack, but perhaps not from the direction you might imagine. A few vignettes. 1. Muslim university students protest the showing of “American Sniper” on campus because it promotes negative images of Arabs and Muslims. 2. Hillel, a Jewish campus ministry forbids its local campus affiliates from inviting certain pro-Palestinian (they [Read More…]

Extremists versus Free Speech

Recently the American Freedom Defense Initiative (http://freedomdefense.typepad.com/) led by the famous bikini blogger Pamela Geller, (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eHBEYgfW5kA) organized an “art contest” of caricatures of the prophet Muhammad. The ostensible reason was to defend free speech against its terrorist enemies in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo shootings. The idea was to be provocative, drawing a violent response, and [Read More…]

Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA)- Restoring Tribalism to US Law.

What is the freedom of religion that religion needs? In recent years some Evangelical Christians, represented in court by Hobby Lobby and its political allies, have asserted that their revealed religion is the comprehensive framework of moral behavior. Every decision is an ethical decision, and religion is  an incessant drumbeat of moral demands. It touches every [Read More…]