No Exit?

In a few hours i’ll fly out of Tel Aviv to return to the US. This will be my 20th or 21st year of visiting Israel and the West Bank. In that 20 years I’ve never seen or heard less hope and more fear than I’ve heard on this trip. Not that there haven’t been [Read More…]

When Inter-religious Dialogue Isn’t Enough

I’ve been in Israel and the Palestinian territories nearly 20 times in the last 20 years, and have spent months here studying, teaching, and trying to listen. I’m there again, writing this in hotel lobbies from Jaffa to Tiberius to Bethlehem. Many things have changed over the last 20 years, but one of the most obvious [Read More…]

Death Comes to All Things

Live Large in the New Year! I usually try to understand fully the different forms of diversity in our society, and to encourage people to understand each other’s differences. In this blog I’m going to explain one reason I do this. More that 30 years ago I found a tumor in my left arm pit. [Read More…]

The Hollowness of Ethics Without Relationships

I’ve been thinking about why the carefully crafted statements from all sides analyzing the relationship between Israel, the US, and the Palestinian Authority tend to make me angry. I think it has to do with the  objectifying of the other. Rationally speaking President Obama has been a strong supporter of Israel, the recent failure to veto a [Read More…]

No Freedom Outside the Box

I have suggested that we need wide open public spaces if we are thrive as a nation. We need a “public square” where all kinds of experiences and attitudes are brought to bear on creating our social and political culture. At the same time I work with a lot of people who don’t find my [Read More…]

A Little Discomfort in Public Places

I have lived in many different cultural contexts around the world. And because I frankly like adventure and new things I’ve voluntarily been places and done things that were, well, a little different. But you don’t grow unless you are uncomfortable. I’ll be 61 in a few days and I’d like for something to keep growing besides [Read More…]

Banning the Burqa: the New Exile

The core value of modern democracy is the liberation achieved by participation in public life. Angela Merkel has proposed banning the burqa. To be clear, what she means by this is banning full facial covering. Not banning headscarves. The ostensible reason for this is security concerns. In France a similar ban was related to issues of [Read More…]

Will the Real Islam Please Stand Up?

Yesterday a journalist called me. Billboards have appeared around Dallas with a message about Islam – basically asserting that there is no racism in Islam. The journalist had talked to the people who put up the billboards. Now she wanted an informed Christian view. Is it true that there is no racism in Islam? Journalists [Read More…]

The Moral Divide

The recent election should help clarify what is (or should be) immediately obvious in inter-religious dialogue. There exist between and within religions substantially different moral frameworks. I don’t mean by a moral framework simply different relative moral values. Most religions share relatively common sets of moral values. The weight given to these values determines one’s [Read More…]

You Can’t See When You Turn Your Back

In an earlier blog I suggested that in the United States there were two different religions named Christianity. Now an article in Christianity Today has given a good good analysis of the theology of one of these emerging religions, a religion shaped by the theology of Norman Vincent Peal. http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2016/march-web-only/theology-of-donald-trump.html If we’ve made an inquiry into the theology behind [Read More…]