And Now It Begins: Trump’s Ignorant and Un-American Opinions and Plans

And Now It Begins…Trump’s Ignorant and Un-American Opinions and Plans…According to Associated Press news reports president-elect Donald Trump said on November 29 (2016) that Americans who burn American flags should face “consequences.” Here is the reported quote: “Nobody should be allowed to burn the American flag—if they do, there must be consequences—perhaps loss of citizenship or year in jail.”*Sidebar: The opinions expressed here are my own (or those of the guest writer); I do not spe … [Read more...]

What Living in a Post-Truth Culture Means

What Living in a Post-Truth Culture MeansIt took a newspaper syndicated cartoon (“Non Sequitur”) to inform me that the Oxford Dictionary of the English Language now recognizes “post-truth” as a real English word. So I looked it up and, according to that unimpeachable source, it means: "an adjective defined as 'relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.'" I take it this is related to … [Read more...]

Does What the Apostle Paul Said Matter? (Or Is Jesus the Only Norm for Christianity)

Does What the Apostle Paul Said Matter? (Or Is Jesus the Only Norm for Christianity?)Many years ago, when I was in seminary (1970s), there was a huge controversy raging in Christian scholarly circles about whether Jesus and Paul could be reconciled. Some Christian New Testament scholars had been arguing for a long time (at least a century) that they cannot be reconciled and that, while Paul may be interesting, Jesus is Christians’ real norm for believing and living. In my m … [Read more...]

What Makes Someone an “Evangelical?”

What Makes Someone an “Evangelical?”(This is an op-ed piece I wrote for the Waco Tribune-Herald that was published on its editorial page in July, 2016. I republish it here with the newspaper’s permission)Twice I saw the word “evangelical” on the July 20th editorial page of the Tribune-Herald. Both times, as often in the media, the word was associated with right-wing politics of a fairly extreme kind.Kudos to the Trib’s editors who qualified the association referring to “disgruntled Am … [Read more...]

Is There Such a Thing as “Collective Guilt?”

Is There Such a Thing as “Collective Guilt?”I often wonder what it is that causes difficulties, if not impossibilities, in really understanding each other. What I mean is this: What presuppositions about reality underlie seemingly intractable disagreements between people? Why is it that often, in a discussion with someone else, I have the feeling that we are simply talking past each other? That we are like two ships passing in the night or two people who live on different pla … [Read more...]

Thoughts about Fidel Castro

Thoughts about Fidel CastroAs most Americans know by now, Cuban leader Fidel Castro died November 25, 2016--two days ago. Of course there are many different opinions about him as a political leader. Here I only intend to share a few memories from my own childhood that involve him and then speculate about what might have become the case had the U.S. dealt with him differently.*Sidebar: The opinions expressed here are my own (or those of the guest writer); I do not speak for any other … [Read more...]

Do Adherents of Abrahamic Faiths Worship the Same God?

I posted here on this question some months ago, but since then I was invited to deliver a version of that blog post as a paper presentation at the 2016 annual meeting of the American Academy of Religion in San Antonio (November 22, 2016). This was a joint session of two program units: Constructive Theology and Evangelical Studies. Here (below) is what I said in answer to the question in the title of this blog post. The specific "Abrahamic faiths" referred to in the session description are … [Read more...]