The Assimilation Debate

Recently Facebook, bringer of many things, brought me two. The first was a quote from Bobby Jindal: “Let’s be really honest about this: Immigration without assimilation is not immigration; it’s an invasion, . . .  we need to tell folks, if you want to come to our country, come here legally, learn English, adopt our values, [Read More…]

The Real Schism, It’s Not What you Think.

The United Methodist church appears to be following other major protestant denominations into the throes of division. The issue is same-sex marriage and ordination of LGBTQ persons living in same-sex relationships. Of course various accusations are being made with regard to who is more biblical, orthodox, faithful to tradition, etc. I want to suggest that [Read More…]

Depravity and Political Discourse

Among the many things that some Christians believe one is the doctrine of Total depravity. It goes along with Unconditional election, Limited atonement, Irresistible grace and Perseverance of the Saints to form the backbone of American Calvinism, TULIP. I am not going to argue whether these are or are not adequate characterizations of Christian theology. I am [Read More…]

Let’s Talk about Burkhinis!

So I’m trolling through Facebook postings and I find an article on a French ban of a garment called the burkhini on French beaches. Actually it isn’t a ban on the burkhini. It is a ban on “ostentatious religious garments” or “garments that make an ostentatious show of religion” on the beach. It isn’t really [Read More…]

You Can’t Love People and Hate Their Religion

In the Christian polemic against Muslims a common theme emerges. A specific instance comes from pastor Steven Anderson, but it could be Robert Jeffress, Jerry Falwell Jr, Tony Perkins or any of a dozen others. I do not hate Muslims at all. In fact, I love Muslims and want them to be saved. Do I [Read More…]

The Bright Heart of Dallas

In the last 48 hours the city of Dallas has reeled with grief. Grief felt for victims of police violence against African Americans. And grief felt for the 5 police officers assassinated by a gunman, and 7 others wounded while they were protecting the right of the people to peaceable assembly. The sun had barely [Read More…]

It Isn’t About Us. Really.

The New York Times recently ran yet another “why aren’t Westerns outraged” articles after the attacks in Bangladesh, Saudi Arabia, and Baghdad. http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/06/world/europe/muslims-baghdad-dhaka-istanbul-terror.html?_r=0 In the article Anne Barnard suggests that this failure of outrage serves the Islamists by making Sunni Muslims feel ever more isolated from the West. “One of the primary goals of the Islamic [Read More…]

You are Asking the Wrong Questions!?

More than once in the last week I’ve been told that when we talk about human rights, such as a right to life or a right to choose, that we “aren’t asking the right questions” because these questions arise from a modern rather than Biblical framework for understanding humanity. I suspect that what is really [Read More…]

Belief Cannot Make Us One

There is no universal human expression of timeless truth. Humans can neither think nor articulate their beliefs without language. And language is relational, temporal, and culture bound. Yet we also find, across all languages and cultures, that human minds seek to know Transcendence. Language is continually pushed to its limits in order to think the [Read More…]

The End of Babel

I’m thinking about the cities in the Bible. The seven cities in Revelation are often a touchstone for Christian reflection on the church. Well, usually someone else’s church. And I know that we would like to imagine ourselves as the New Jerusalem. But that just seems unlikely from what I see in the UMC. Who [Read More…]