The Great Divorce

No – not the excellent book by CS Lewis – I just used that as a hook. What may be the necessary divorce between evangelical (or as they now style themselves “orthodox”) United Methodists and progressive United Methodists. In the two previous blogs I tried to appreciatively highlight what these different movements within my denomination [Read More…]

The End of Terror

Brussels. Istambul. Lahore. And a thousand other places that we didn’t hear of or forgot. Start your list in 2001. Start it in 1991. Start it at the dawn of humanity. In E.B. White’s the Sword and the Stone, written in what many would see as a gentler age, a young Arthur’s dreams take him [Read More…]

A Sign of Hope from the House of Islam

The best way to insure human rights in a modern society is to insure that God has none except those vested in the voice and vote of individual citizens. Recently a group of Muslim scholars from across the world signed a document called the Marrakesh   declaration. Based on their reading of Muhammad’s original treaty with the [Read More…]

Forget God, Interreligious Understanding begins with Anthropology

The single most important question in interreligious dialogue today is not theological. Is anthropological. And it arises because between the different religions there are fundamentally different ways of understanding not merely what it means to be human but how humans find out what it means to be human. At a recent interfaith dialogue involving Jews, [Read More…]

Dialogue or Death

Or at least irrelevance. I note that in major cities across the United States, certainly mine, religious leaders are not longer a first call from either the local press or local politicians. Unless of course they make themselves news in ways that embarrass their fellow Christians. Which isn’t news since Hauerwas and Willimon wrote Resident [Read More…]

Is it Hate Speech?

I recently stated in an interview that pastor Robert Jeffress’ statements “Islam is a false religion” and “Islam is inspired by Satan” was hate speech. In subsequent TV interviews I defended this statement by pointing out that if you said things that caused people to feel you hated them then that was hate speech. Some [Read More…]

The Darkness in the Heart of Dallas

If Dallas is going to be the city it wants to be then Christian pastors who now rail against Islam out of ignorance and fear need to engage Muslims in dialogue and learn about the religion from its followers. My city, Dallas, wants to be something. It wants to be an international hub of commerce. [Read More…]

A Level Playing Field in Missouri?

Offensive racial, ethnic, and religious slurs are means of asserting power and privilege, and thus creating a social space in which there are distinctive power differentials. The person being offensive is essentially asserting his or her power over others, whether it is Donald Trump or some other faceless drive-by bigot. In the same way taking [Read More…]

True Religion at the Parliament of World Religions – Not What you Think

Now that I’ve seen people shouted down, I’m certainly not speaking up.  “There is one true religion. . . . “ It is a phrase I heard a hundred times if I’ve heard it once at the Parliament of the World’s Religions. Now if that phrase were followed by “It is Islam” or “It is [Read More…]

How to Stop ISIS Recruiting

At the Council for Foreign Relations lunch there was a vigorous and useful discussion about the need to amplify the voices of peaceful and socially conscious Islam so as to drown out the shouts of the extremists. Since I promised to report: 1. Wood spoke the classic language of hard power and soft power. While [Read More…]


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