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…]

Love Minus Zero / No Limit?

In the last blog I offered that God reveals God’s self in scripture as the creator of order, indeed of overlapping orders that define the natural world, the social world of humans, and the church. I also stated that the Christian understanding of those orders has been continually revised up until today under the twin [Read More…]

Everyone Revises – The Question is Where to Stop

In the previous blog I explored why the dispute between traditionalists and progressives regarding same-sex marriage is intractable. Now I want to focus on the specific problems in the ways in which each side justifies (primarily to itself) its belief with scripture. I’m going to start with the traditionalists. The traditionalists charge that the progressives [Read More…]

We Believe Before We Read

“Ever since his own day Tyndall’s translation has been blamed for being tendentious. If we are thinking of his violent marginal glosses, this is fair enough; if of his peculiar renderings (congregation for ecclesia, senior or elder for presbyters, favor for charis and the like), a little explanation seems to be needed. The business of [Read More…]

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…]