Getting Nowhere. . .

Each year I ask my students to write papers that have a clear thesis statement, a further clarification of the thesis in terms of definitions, a set of arguments for the thesis based on recognizable authorities, and a recognition of and answer to counter arguments. And finally a conclusion that reiterates the thesis and expresses [Read More...]

Got Religion? Maybe this book can help you.

Naomi Schaefer Riley sums up what she learned about getting post-college millenials back to the church, mosque, and synagogue in the final paragraph of her latest book: Got Religion. How Churches, Mosques, and Synagogues can Bring Young People Back. Little of what she offers strikes me as new. Peruse the various blogs on Patheos and [Read More...]

The Irrelevance of “God”

Maybe it is time we just drop the word God from our vocabulary in inter-religious dialogue, or for that matter any discourse. I recently read a prescient comment in book pointing out that Europe and North America are going the way of Japan in possessing a robust spirituality without any reference to God. Being “spiritual [Read More...]

Who did you say you represent?

How can there be a dialogue about sexuality with only men? How can there be a discussion of religious views of homosexuality with only straight men? Good questions. Questions asked at the end of our recent Faiths in Conversation Dialogue on sexuality, marriage, and homosexuality. These questions reveal the vast gulf between traditional religious views [Read More...]

Sexual Desire versus Sexuality

We may call ourselves and others human, but that is a word that hides more about us than it reveals us to each other. In the recent dialogue over sexuality, marriage, and homosexuality there was one particular aspect of two presentations that members of the audience found offensive. In different ways the rabbi and the [Read More...]

Same Kind of Different

An inter-religious dialogue on sex, marriage, and homosexuality raised more questions that it answered. At a May 19th Faiths in Coversation Dialogue, held at Synagogue Beth Torah, we hear that all three religious leaders agree on this point: The God who created humanity has also established and revealed a normative social order. Thus each religion [Read More...]

A Matter of Principle?

How long do those who believe in freedom of speech try to stay in a conversation with those religiously committed to restricting freedom of speech? A recent editorial by Frank Bruni tells of a Catholic Diocese now requiring teachers in its schools to sign a contract greatly restricting not only their sexual behavior, but their [Read More...]

What is Spirituality?

At a recent party I was asked about my spirituality. I replied that I was an orthodox Christian. My conversation partner didn’t buy it. She replied, “yes, but what feeds your spirit.” Sensing the direction of her thinking I nodded toward my nearby sailboat. And she understood. We both did. What she meant by spirituality [Read More...]

Religious Freedom? Not So Fast.

The Christian responsibility, when invited to pray in public, is not to pray “in the name of Christ,” but to create unity around the righteousness that God enjoins on all humanity.  The US Constitution cannot make American society good. All it can do is restrain us from being as bad as we might otherwise be. [Read More...]

Nope, we really don’t agree . . .

At recent dialogue event, Faiths in Coversation on April 28th here in Dallas,  Doug Skinner, a Christian pastor, and Imam Zia, a Muslim leader, and Rabbi Hanan Schlesinger spoke about the relation between faith and works. It was an enlightening discussion, and again demonstrated how similar these three religions can sound while being quite different. [Read More...]


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