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...]

Historical Truth? Not so easy to find.

History isn’t necessarily an independently verifiable account of what has happened in the past. For many religious people history is the unfolding of timeless revelation and the ideals that it engenders. Recently I attended a dialogue between religious leaders where this became manifestly clear. The Muslim speaker made a number of assertions about the history [Read More...]

Inter-Religious Marriage and God’s Blessing

Decisions about whether particular couples who wish to be married will live their lives as a witness to God’s grace cannot be made by institutional fiat. On a Saturday evening not long ago I presided over the marriage of a Muslim man and a Christian woman. I could add some nuances, but I think its [Read More...]

Blaspheme and Freedom of Speech

Last night (March 24) I moderated a dialogue between Rabbi Hana Schlesinger, Imam Zia, and Pastor Doug Skinner on Blaspheme and Freedom of Religion. Below are the notes from my closing remarks. Blaspheme and Freedom of Speech 1. The three religions have different views regarding the capacity of human reason and the degree to which [Read More...]

A Living Story is the Death of Arrogance

Arrogance isn’t hard to find in Christian circles. It comes from believing that I, or my church, knows better than you know what you need. And this is based on some belief that I’ve been authorized by God to speak not only to you, but about you. I know you better than you know yourself. [Read More...]

Its All About Us

Its all about us isn’t it? At least one source of our Christian arrogance comes from construing Christianity as the union of a particular revelation and a particular human need, or as a divine answer to a particular human question. The very historical/cultural particularity of the  revelation of God’s love for all humanity in Jesus [Read More...]

Arrogant Monotheism

Let’s be up front. There is something about the self-understandings of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam that can sound pretty arrogant. In an interfaith dialogue event last night I heard the Jewish representative explain how Israel was called to be a “light to the nations,” a moral and spiritual example calling people to return to the [Read More...]

Thoughts from the Holy Land 3

Lets start with a headscarf, or scarves, so that you get some idea of Bethlehem. I know that I could talk about the giant, ugly, and much despised wall that Israel has built for its own security, yet which also turns Bethlehem into an apparent prison. The irony being that  it also surrounds the tomb [Read More...]

Thoughts from the Holy Land 2

Let me start with a map. The distance from the Jordan river (border of Jordan) to the Mediterranean Sea in the center of Israel is just over 40 miles. Everything is compressed. There isn’t a lot of physical space. And that space holds a lot of history. Almost anywhere you dig, literally anywhere, you will [Read More...]

Thoughts from the Holy Land part 1

It is New Years Eve 2013. I am sitting in a bar drinking arak on the rocks. Alone, mostly. Next to me a table of well heeled, mature, Italians are popping bottles of prosecco and passing around photos of themselves in solemn procession with a huge cross on the Via Dolorosa. Since a priest is [Read More...]


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