The Hollowness of Ethics Without Relationships

I’ve been thinking about why the carefully crafted statements from all sides analyzing the relationship between Israel, the US, and the Palestinian Authority tend to make me angry. I think it has to do with the  objectifying of the other. Rationally speaking President Obama has been a strong supporter of Israel, the recent failure to veto a [Read More…]

No Freedom Outside the Box

I have suggested that we need wide open public spaces if we are thrive as a nation. We need a “public square” where all kinds of experiences and attitudes are brought to bear on creating our social and political culture. At the same time I work with a lot of people who don’t find my [Read More…]

A Little Discomfort in Public Places

I have lived in many different cultural contexts around the world. And because I frankly like adventure and new things I’ve voluntarily been places and done things that were, well, a little different. But you don’t grow unless you are uncomfortable. I’ll be 61 in a few days and I’d like for something to keep growing besides [Read More…]

Banning the Burqa: the New Exile

The core value of modern democracy is the liberation achieved by participation in public life. Angela Merkel has proposed banning the burqa. To be clear, what she means by this is banning full facial covering. Not banning headscarves. The ostensible reason for this is security concerns. In France a similar ban was related to issues of [Read More…]

Will the Real Islam Please Stand Up?

Yesterday a journalist called me. Billboards have appeared around Dallas with a message about Islam – basically asserting that there is no racism in Islam. The journalist had talked to the people who put up the billboards. Now she wanted an informed Christian view. Is it true that there is no racism in Islam? Journalists [Read More…]

The Moral Divide

The recent election should help clarify what is (or should be) immediately obvious in inter-religious dialogue. There exist between and within religions substantially different moral frameworks. I don’t mean by a moral framework simply different relative moral values. Most religions share relatively common sets of moral values. The weight given to these values determines one’s [Read More…]

You Can’t See When You Turn Your Back

In an earlier blog I suggested that in the United States there were two different religions named Christianity. Now an article in Christianity Today has given a good good analysis of the theology of one of these emerging religions, a religion shaped by the theology of Norman Vincent Peal. http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2016/march-web-only/theology-of-donald-trump.html If we’ve made an inquiry into the theology behind [Read More…]

How to Lose – Language and Exclusion

Every election is a negotiation. And the most dangerous thing for any candidate, whether he or she ultimate wins or loses, is speaking a language that excludes part of the electorate. For the loser it is because it means losing touch. For the winner it means being out of touch. I spent most of my [Read More…]

How to Lose an Election – Wealth as a Symbol

Every election is a negotiation, usually cross-cultural, between a candidate and the electorate. Succeeding in that negotiation means understanding what the electorate wants, which means understanding how symbols that surround a candidate are received and interpreted. One of the marvels to many of this election is that a man who is garishly rich, stiffs his [Read More…]

Divided We Fall – Thank God

Today (Nov 5) the Dallas Morning News ran an commentary explaining 10 reasons that a Christian could not vote for Donald Trump. Across my Facebook feed came an article by an important evangelical leader explaining the many reasons that a Christian must vote for Donald Trump. Interestingly these divergent views of Christian behavior came from [Read More…]