Arrogant Monotheism

Let’s be up front. There is something about the self-understandings of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam that can sound pretty arrogant. In an interfaith dialogue event last night I heard the Jewish representative explain how Israel was called to be a “light to the nations,” a moral and spiritual example calling people to return to the [Read More...]

Thoughts from the Holy Land 3

Lets start with a headscarf, or scarves, so that you get some idea of Bethlehem. I know that I could talk about the giant, ugly, and much despised wall that Israel has built for its own security, yet which also turns Bethlehem into an apparent prison. The irony being that  it also surrounds the tomb [Read More...]

Thoughts from the Holy Land 2

Let me start with a map. The distance from the Jordan river (border of Jordan) to the Mediterranean Sea in the center of Israel is just over 40 miles. Everything is compressed. There isn’t a lot of physical space. And that space holds a lot of history. Almost anywhere you dig, literally anywhere, you will [Read More...]

Thoughts from the Holy Land part 1

It is New Years Eve 2013. I am sitting in a bar drinking arak on the rocks. Alone, mostly. Next to me a table of well heeled, mature, Italians are popping bottles of prosecco and passing around photos of themselves in solemn procession with a huge cross on the Via Dolorosa. Since a priest is [Read More...]

The Covenants of the Prophet Muhammad

In his new work “The Covenants of the Prophet Muhammad” John Andrew Morrow offers both an argument for re-envisioning Islam’s relationship with non-Muslims, and an unfortunate measure of conceptual confusion. The latter greatly detracts from the popular and scholarly value of this volume, because authentic dialogue must be grounded in historical truth rather than idealizations [Read More...]

Imagining Democracy in the Middle East

In a previous blog (Dialogue, Politics, and the Muslim World) I pointed out that the kinds of societies that will arise in the Muslim world will be determined by the Muslim “social imaginary.” They will depend on who Muslims imagine themselves to be personally, in relation to other people (both Muslim and non-Muslim), and in [Read More...]

Dialogue, Politics, and the Muslim World

The wisest possible ordering of society is revealed not in sacred books, but in free and open dialogue of committed citizens. The Muslim world has historically been subject to movements of both reform and renewal. Only the most shallow reading of its history could maintain that social, economic, and political structures haven’t changed, and along [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...]

Time to Exclude, and Invite, and be True

Recently my friend Mike Ghouse wrote an article promoting a kind of interfaith Christmas. (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mike-ghouse/interfaith-christmas-making-god-boundless_b_2347856.ht) Well intentioned, but also deeply problematic. Mike wants to reinforce Christmas as a civil religious holiday for a religiously plural society. I think we’d all be better off if it returned to being the cult celebration exclusively for Christians. I [Read More...]


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