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...]

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...]

Freedom From Religion?

As a nation we need to recognize the vast difference between religiously plural, and religiously empty, public spaces. The first is possible, the second an illusion. On October 5th the New York Times covered a story from East Texas. It is about cheerleaders whose banners bear Biblical messages and their conflict with a school administration [Read More...]

Religion is the Problem

“I also want to say that Islam, beyond the exaggerations, points the finger at something real: under the guise of freedom, in the West we tend to ridicule religion. In the days of his visit in Lebanon, the Pope spoke of violence in words and in deeds. If we want to free the world from [Read More...]

The Platform of Christian Hope

The two political conventions are behind us. Americans and the world have heard what hope Republicans and Democrats offer for the future of our nation. And they offered about the same thing. Jobs. Economic prosperity for all, but especially the middle class. And of course a restoration, resuscitation, rediscovery, or just re-tread of a laundry [Read More...]

Jesus the CEO?

In my last blog I suggested that the classical understanding of Christ as prophet, priest, and ruler might guide our reflections on new ways of understanding pastoral ministry in a post-Christian/pre-Christian society. The “facilitation” model I was taught in the 1970′s simply doesn’t work any more. There is an alternative. By the early 1980′s I [Read More...]


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