Time to Exclude, and Invite, and be True

Recently my friend Mike Ghouse wrote an article promoting a kind of interfaith Christmas. (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mike-ghouse/interfaith-christmas-making-god-boundless_b_2347856.ht) Well intentioned, but also deeply problematic. Mike wants to reinforce Christmas as a civil religious holiday for a religiously plural society. I think we’d all be better off if it returned to being the cult celebration exclusively for Christians. I [Read More...]

Finally Getting It.

The Arab Spring is already becoming a bloodbath in Egypt because the Muslim Brotherhood cannot see that its political vision of an Islamic state was a failure from the beginning. And finally major US Muslim organizations seem to get it. The Cpuncil on American Islamic Relations, CAIR, has urged the Egyptian government to not uphold [Read More...]

Do Jews, Christians, and Muslims Worship the Same God?

Do Jews, Christians, and Muslims Worship the Same God? Abingdon Press, 2012 (with Baruch Levine, Bruce Chilton, Vincent Cornell, and Martin Marty) This book poses a question that each of the four main authors is obliged to immediately deconstruct and examine. The reason for this examination of the question is aptly introduced in the second [Read More...]

Global Religion and Isolationist Dialogue

As I read through various newspapers these last few weeks the news brought me this: Christian churches burned in India, with pastors and members terrorized by Hindu nationalists while the police did nothing. More threats by Arab and Iranian Muslims against Israel, with a backdrop of hatred for Jews stoked by Muslim leaders. Shi’ite and [Read More...]

Freedom from Religion in Santa Monica

A victory has been won in Santa Monica by those seeking freedom from religion in public. (http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/judge-denies-bid-park-nativity-displays-17762364#.ULIajIX5gnY.) While it is perfectly understandable that some (Christian and atheist) may prefer the considerable beauty of the Palisades Park to be unmarred by any type of display, this may by a pyrrhic victory for atheism. For about 60 [Read More...]

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...]

No compulsion in religion . . . .

The Qur’an, in Chapter 2, verse 256, states “There is no compulsion in religion” or in some translations “Let there be no compulsion in religion.” This is very different from the Western concept of freedom of religion. The verse from the Qur’an, often cited, raises several questions. First – to whom does it apply? Classically [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...]

Reaching the Nones

We need a Ptolemaic shift to see that the church isn’t the center of anybody’s universe any more. And it probably never will be again. An article and an NPR segment drifted my way today. The article reminded me of a recent study of those who state that they have no religious affiliation. That is [Read More...]


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X