Philip Clayton [Hearts] Emergent

Phil published an Op-Ed in the LA Times over the weekend:

Although a recent bumper crop of pundits likes to proclaim that we’d all be better off with no religion, I suspect that the majority of us believe that religion, in spite of its flaws, offers individuals the inspiration to be better people and to create a better nation. Seminary and church leaders, in particular, are highly motivated to staunch the decline. Unfortunately, many of them believe that what’s really needed is a return to the “faith of our fathers,” stricter adherence to creeds and (this is America, after all) better marketing methods.

I advocate a radically different solution: the Emerging Church. It’s a movement based on understanding the reasons for mainstream religion’s dramatic decline: improved scientific understanding, changing social norms, an increasingly pluralistic religious culture and more freedom to doubt and question — a freedom that until the last three centuries was mostly absent or suppressed and that is still resisted, sometimes violently, in much of the world today.

READ THE REST: Religion and the ‘rise of the nones’ – latimes.com.

Would You Go to Seminary with Muslims and Jews?

My friend, Philip Clayton, is part of a grand experiment in theological education, covered this week by Inside Higher Ed:

Two Schools, Three Religions (So Far)

Claremont Lincoln University is a collaboration between two established schools: the Claremont School of Theology and the Academy for Jewish Religion, California, which trains future rabbis, cantors and chaplains from all branches of Judaism, although Orthodox Jews do not accept the academy’s ordination. A Muslim institution, Bayan College, is in the works: it will be part of Claremont Lincoln, established through a partnership between the Islamic Center of Southern California. Administrators say it will be one of the first schools to train Sunni and Shiite imams entirely within the United States.

Claremont Lincoln also offers a master’s degree in religious leadership in Muslim contexts, a course of study for both men and women that it says is the first graduate program of its kind in the United States.

While many theological schools are adding programs to familiarize students with world religions — whether to increase interfaith understanding or make students more effective proselytizers — the students are usually of one faith. Bringing Christian, Muslim and Jewish students together creates a different, and richer, learning experience, says Najeeba Syeed-Miller, an assistant professor of interreligious education.

via Claremont Lincoln aims to train Christian, Jewish and Muslim clergy | Inside Higher Ed.

Evangelicalism and Fuller Seminary

I spent a few days this week at my alma mater, Fuller Theological Seminary, promoting a Doctor of Ministry cohort that I’m leading/teaching over the next three years.  Of course, the visit was full of nostalgia for me, including trips to some of my favorite restaurants, and drive-bys of my old residence (the Bresee House) and my employer (Pasadena Covenant Church).  I visited Knox Presbyterian to see my Fuller housemate, Matt Colwell, preach, and I had coffee with another classmate and feminist/evangelical theologian, Linda Peacore.

It was amazing to me how much Fuller has grown since my last visit, which must be at least ten years ago.  There’s a new library, and Fuller has expanded into several new buildings, including a sleek, modern space that houses Student Services and the D.Min. offices, among other things.

I was also honored to give a talk in Travis Auditorium, a spot that hold memories both sublime (the lectures of my late friend and mentor, Bob Guelich) and ridiculous (playing Captain Kirk in the Fuller Follies, alongside Carla Grover Barnhill (Uhura), Matt Colwell (Spock), and Craig Detweiler (expendable Star Trek guy in the red shirt)).

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A Plea for Big Tent Christianity: Don't Suck

This post is part of the Big Tent Christianity Synchroblog.

I’ll be emceeing the Big Tent Christianity event next month, along with my partner-in-crime, Doug Pagitt.  And, I’ve gotta say, this event is rife with potential — potential to be great, or to suck.

The potential has everything to do with the amazing roster of people scheduled to participate — leading lights in from center to the left of contemporary American Protestantism.  Each of them could probably carry the stage for a couple hours in their own right, but we’re putting them on panels, asking them to speak passionately about something for 5-10 minutes, and then mix it up in an hour long discussion/conversation/argument.

But here’s what worries me.  When it comes to spending time with progressive, intellectual Christians, I tend to see three common missteps in dialogue, any of which could derail BTX.

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