Faith, Religion, Dialogue, and Exclusion

Yesterday I attended a meeting to discuss the study of interfaith and/or inter-eligious relations and dialogue. Very quickly the discussion turned to the problem of how these terms include and exclude. For example the word “faith” excluded people who are religious,but whose religion doesn’t typically see being religious in terms of faith. They say “interfaith” [Read More…]

Religious Obligations, Morality, and the Modern Pluralistic State

States should only enforce those social obligations that are shared by all members of a society and which can be justified on the basis of publicly and universally available facts. In my last blog I showed how the classical Muslim interpretation of the Qur’anic verse, “there is no compulsion in religion” is different from the [Read More…]

Take Thou Authority?

The issue of pedagogy, how to teach what is being taught, must permeate every course in the semianry curriculum. Otherwise the pastoral ministry will continue to become the adjunct magisterium for an impotent and declining church. As seminaries and seminarians consider how to engage the real religious diversity of the Nones they face some pretty [Read More…]

None(s) in Church?

A gospel that offers non-Christians a bland religious mono-culture will be justifiably rejected as irrelevant. If we are serious about reaching the Nones with the gospel we will need to invite them into the center of our church life; bringing their world, their worldview, and their complex life experience. And changing ours. In a recent [Read More…]

Tolerance is the Language of Oppression

I just received an announcement for an upcoming event in Dallas. Here it is in part. “If you support tolerance, you should be part of this event. Period. It is isn’t about being Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Atheist, etc – it is about being unified under the concept that everyone has a right to exist, to [Read More…]

No Freedom from Religion

My last blog got a lot of response from atheists who felt I had misunderstood them, and misunderstood the law. Four things seemed to emerge in their responses (although not all responded in the same way.) I’ll list them and you can check my accuracy: 1. atheism is not a religion. It is the denial [Read More…]

What is a Pastor to Be?

When I was in seminary between 1977 and 1982 the model of pastoral ministry could be summed up in one word: facilitator. Through Rogerian counseling we facilitated people who were capable of discovering their problems and the solutions. Facilitating endless council and committee meetings allowed us to allow lay people to lead the congregation in [Read More…]

Who Owns Your Worship?

Somewhere in Dallas. A conference room. A worship committee. Hot words about “competition” between traditional and contemporary worship. Worried members, vested interests, no resolution. The worship wars go on. But I wonder if we realize that in the end both sides may have lost. For most of Christian history worship involved the systematic movement of [Read More…]

Romney on Culture?

Mitt Romney recently found out a few things about culture and Middle East diplomacy, but both he and the press missed his biggest learning opportunity. Romney attributed Israel’s economic success to culture, and suggested that the same factor, culture, explained the Palestinian’s lack of economic success. At least some Palestinians said his remarks were racist, [Read More…]

The Great Fear Conflation

The headlines last week said that 30% of Republicans believe that Obama is a Muslim. An actual increase since 2008. And this has been followed by various surveys (always publicized by self-proclaimed liberals) that conservatives are simply less intellectual, less smart, than liberals. I doubt it. Read down in an article on the recent PEW [Read More…]


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