ISIS and Religious Terror: To Report is not to Support

“By publicizing the views of ISIS as Islamic you are helping their cause.” That was more or less the accusation being made at the Council of Foreign Relations lunch at the Parliament of the World Religions. The target of the accusation was Graeme Wood, the journalist whose excellent article in the Atlantic on the Islamic [Read More...]

Fear, Loathing and the Parliament of the World’s Religions

One role of religion in human society is to continually affirm that the fears and anxieties about those outside a society are uniquely real, to use the expression of Clifford Geertz. I sit at the Parliament of the World’s Religions; a gathering of those dedicated in the name of religion to overcoming hatred among peoples. [Read More...]

Its God’s Will. The Hajj Tragedy and Dialogue

If your religion teaches you that under some circumstances you have no moral responsibility for the loss of life of people who entrust themselves to your care, those who do business with you need to know “buyer beware.” “It was God’s will.” Those were the words pronounced by the grand mufti of Saudi Arabia. It [Read More...]

Ahmed’s Clock, It Will Happen Again

We need to get out of the weeds of blame in the Ahmed Mohamed case, and over his sudden celebrity as well. He is a story, but not the story we need to understand. But we’ll start with him. In the week of September 11th the case of Ahmed Mohamed of Irving rocketed, in 48 [Read More...]

On Obama’s Win and the Iran Nuclear Deal: The Wrong Time to Celebrate

Yesterday I learned from the Washington Post and New York Times that President Obama got the votes necessary for the multi-nation treaty with Iran over its nuclear program to stand. It was heralded as a victory for Obama’s foreign policy and I personally was glad to see it happen. But I’m not celebrating. First because [Read More...]

Wouldn’t I, Wooden Eye, Hairlip Hairlip

There is an old and rather ugly joke about two people on a cruise. They who both want and need each others love. But there is a misunderstanding. She says, “wouldn’t I, wouldn’t I” in response to his invitation to dance. But obsessed with self consciousness about his wooden eye he offers an ugly retort [Read More...]

The Poisonous Fruit of Outrage

A scarred face and broken teeth stared out at me from my Facebook feed. The headline read, “Is this acceptable?” and plenty of people had jumped in to answer an emphatic “no!” Because that face had been created when a policeman threw the young woman to the ground, many added varying opinions of the police [Read More...]

Witnessing to Anxious Tribes: Stop the Steamroller.

The question we then face is how to understand the mission of Christ in a time of anxious tribalism. And I will suggest that Christian witness in a time of anxious tribalism will be primarily focused on the unity and diversity of human persons and societies as disclosed in the incarnate Christ. If in the [Read More...]

Two Religions, One Name

Christians belong to one of two different religions that just happen to share the same name. 1. In the debate over gay marriage appealing to the Bible’s literal prohibitions is a dead end argument. If you go the Old Testament we immediately hear Martin Sheen’s burn of an anti-gay radio star in West Wing. If [Read More...]

Love Wins?

Love wins! I’ve seen that posted a dozen times on Facebook since the recent supreme court decision. Not yet. More than half a century ago an Iban man, a leader of one of Sarawak’s indigenous peoples, carried a box into the office of Archdeacon Howell, an Anglican missionary. It was full of the various ritual [Read More...]