Belonging to Multiple Religions? Or Owning Them?

On a recent trip I spent three days with my wife’s family. You know that drill. Awakening early (or staying quietly in your bedroom) to accommodate unfamiliar meal-times and meals. Engaging in conversations about topics you don’t know or care about. Generally adapting to life in a home that is and isn’t quite your own. [Read More...]

Religious Freedom? Mostly Not.

Much of the western, Christian world lives in a bizarre fantasy land concerning religious freedom. Catholic World News reports on June 22nd that a court in England has refused asylum status to a woman and her child. She claimed that her husband in Malaysia planned to convert to Islam and forcibly convert their baptized child. [Read More...]

Evangelism, Mission, and the Unimagined in Christian Discourse II

In the last blog I suggested that a Christian discourse located entirely within an immanent frame, while preserving Christianity from colonializing discourse and eschewing concepts like evangelism and mission, limited the Christian imagination and inadvertently placed the Christian Gospel in a global religious free market. In that market this fully immanent Christianity cannot complete, or at [Read More...]

Evangelism, Mission, and the Unimagined in Christian Discourse I

At a recent conference I heard a group of theologians express surprise, and indeed disdain, that I had been appointed director of a Center for Evangelism and Missional Church Studies. How, they wondered, could such a thing exist in the 21st century? And how could it co-exist with a commitment to inter-religious dialogue? I was [Read More...]

Interfaith Belonging is not Inter-Religious Understanding

The central claims of Interfaith are in conflict with the claims of other religions, as the claims of these religions are in conflict with one another. At a recent meeting to work on programs for an interfaith chapel. It immediately became clear to me that a deep conceptual confusion was likely to thwart the intentions [Read More...]

The Indigenous American Religion

Moralistic Therapeutic Deism is the indigenous religion of the United States from its inception, the religion from which all Americans must be converted if they are to become Christians. I heard a radio preacher today – and not a bad one either, preaching on the book “Soul Searching,” which has been buzzed about for nearly [Read More...]

Management Culture and Human Dignity

The culture of modern North America is a management culture. That culture has its roots deep in the enlightenment and the emergence of the human as an autonomous, independent center of power, meaning, and authority. American Christianity, particularly in its United Methodist form, is indigenous to North American society and fully participates fully in this [Read More...]

The Curse of the (Social) Creed

We have turned humanity into an object of Christian faith, and social behaviors into essential Christian practices. A couple of decades ago I sat visiting over lunch with my fellow students at the University of Malaya.  The conversation turned to our professors. A young woman with her hair wrapped tightly beneath her headscarf and wearing [Read More...]

Establishing Religion?

Should private companies be able to establish the religious beliefs of their owners as the norm for their employees? We need an ongoing, public, exploration of our differing religious ethics. We need inter religious dialogue so that we begin to understand what is really at stake when we talk about the establishment of religion, or [Read More...]

Science and Religion – an Interfaith Encounter.

Yesterday I was one of three speakers at a forum on science and religion. Speaking as unelected representative of all Christians I basically made a single point: that the orthodox Christian tradition teaches that God reveals God’s self in two ways: through the created order (natural revelation) and through particular moments in which God speaks [Read More...]