Telling Truth in Public is Civil, not War

PJames Ragland has suggested that the debate about Dallas’ civil war monuments has become an uncivil war. https://www.dallasnews.com/opinion/commentary/2017/07/21/talk-ofremoving-confederate-monuments-starts-uncivil-war-words-dallas. He quotes Dr. Michael Water’s Facebook posting stating that these are “monuments to treason and slavery” as an example. And he notes that John McCammon, 1st Lt. Commander of the Texas Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, has “fired [Read More…]

Do We Believe in the Same God?

I get asked this question often when it comes to people of different religions. And the answer is, to put it bluntly, no. Indeed I tell the person asking. You don’t believe in God. No one believes in God. Because God by definition is that which is transcendent, limitless and can thus never be the [Read More…]

We Need a Re-write

The story of United Methodism has gotten boring. We all have a story. Sometimes these stories are pretty mundane; a series of small crisis and achievements. But when a major crisis appears these stories take on greater urgency. They become the arc that helps us understand the present moment of crisis. They tell us how [Read More…]

Our Culture of Fear

No group can ever enjoy a semblance of true civil rights when its members are the object of civil fear. And one of the least talked about but most important functions of our culture is to teach us civil  fear.  Recently a policeman was acquitted of a murder charge related to his shooting of an African American man [Read More…]

ACT for Ignorance

Recent Anti-Shari’a demonstrations hosted by ACT for America have shown us once again that there is a highly mobilized and extremely ignorant and fearful group of Islamophobes. They are ever ready to sling their manhood over their shoulders, and come when their masters whistle and promise to feed them lies. So maybe some truth is [Read More…]

Binary BS and PC Politics

When the choices seem simple its probably because you’ve already stepped in it and just need to get out. Recently Jeff Greenway of the Wesleyan Covenant Association posted a short historical rational for their work. https://wesleyancovenant.org/the-bible-is-true/. In a recent blog Professor Steven Tuell sought to explain why the Wesleyan Covenant Association claims about the “clear [Read More…]

The Death of Civil Discourse or a New Civilization

A recent Wall Street Journal editorial declared that civil discourse is in decline, with dire consequences.( https://www.wsj.com/articles/civil-discourse-in-decline-where-does-it-end-1496071276) I wonder what they are really mourning. In his book Airborne William Buckley tells a story of sailing in (I believe) the Bahamas when he comes into an anchorage where he sees the yacht of Dr. Benjamin Spock, one of [Read More…]

Everything Dies Baby That’s a Fact

The “Dr.” on my calling card represents a PhD in history from the University of Malaya, focusing on Southeast Asia. When you are historian of non-Western cultures working in a non-Western university there are a couple of things you should recognize early. First that different cultures are really different. Reading primary sources, even in translation [Read More…]

Singing our Faith, or Undermining it?

Who can object to an effort to affirm both faith and learning! We sang Praise the Source of Faith and Learning  in our graduation services at Perkins School of Theology. Perfect for university related theology school, right? (Complete lyrics below) Except. Except that last section of the third verse. “May our learning curb the error, which unthinking faith can [Read More…]

Christian Theology: a Congenital Defect

Am I fearfully and wonderfully made? I learned at age 59 that I had possessed all those years a congenital defect in the aortic valve. My identical twin brother had a normal aortic valve. Why me? Don’t think this isn’t consequential. My special valve will inevitably fail faster than a normal valve, and in failing [Read More…]