How Often Do Our Agendas Eclipse God’s Call on Our Lives?

Get your solar eclipse glasses out. Today’s the big day when we witness the extremely rare eclipse of the sun. History is filled with tales of how societies and civilizations interpreted eclipses according to cultural norms, values, and taboos. As a New York Times article notes, For instance, for the Arapaho, he said, the coupling of the sun and the moon prompted a discussion of sex and incest. In the Andes, where an Inca-related people believed that the moon was… Read more

Why Are So Many Evangelical Advisers to President Trump Silent Now on Charlottesville?

A Zen Buddhist friend reached out to me today to ask me why so many Evangelical advisers to President Trump have remained silent on Charlottesville. By the way, I don’t think this Zen Buddhist was particularly interested at the moment in finding religionists from across the ideological pond who also engaged in silent meditation. So, I sent this recent article indicating how a few Evangelical leaders spoke out against the white supremacy on display in Charlottesville. In response, my Buddhist friend… Read more

Living the Good Life: Is It Even Possible?

We are all seeking to come to terms with the meaning and nature of the Good, the good life, and how to attain it. What is your preferred means of pursuit? A few of the options from which to choose on the ideological smorgasbord conveyer belt are moralism, hedonism, and nihilism: Moralism: The Good is the Law of Reason. The Good life is the undaunted pursuit of moral order and reason indifferent to pain or pleasure (ex. Stoicism). Hedonism: The… Read more

Before and After Charlottesville: On White Scarcity & Transforming Our Racial Story

The events that transpired in Charlottesville, Virginia this weekend reflect growing concern over the removal of Confederate monuments across the South. White nationalists protesting what they take to be revisionist history and promoting a desire to make white privilege great again came face to face and fist to fist with those who oppose a return to the overt racist past (Refer here and here). The white nationalists’ concern reflects a growing sense of the loss of white superiority and the… Read more

Build Bridges of Relational Trust: They Are All-Important.

Who do you trust? The White House? Congress? The Courts? The Media? The TV news meteorologist? Your spouse? Your boyfriend or girlfriend? Your parents? Your children? Your siblings? Your friends? Your neighbors? Your boss and coworkers? Your dog and cat? Your favorite musician or sports team’s general manager? Your plumber, electrician, doctor, dentist, mechanic, and accountant? Your pastor or priest? God? The Church? Yourself? The list goes on and on, and crosses over every domain of life. Bridges of relational… Read more

Does the Bible Give President Trump the Authority to Take Out Another Nation’s Leader?

Last night, I read that Pastor Robert Jeffress claimed, “God has given Trump authority to take out Kim Jong Un.”  I wonder what Jesus would make of his claim, especially as he discounted the relevance of the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) in this context and treated Romans 13 as if it gives President Trump a free pass to take out another nation’s leader. According to The Washington Post, The biblical passage Romans 13 gives the government authority to deal with evildoers, Jeffress… Read more

What Does Jesus Despise? Spiritual Pride Stands in the Way of a Good Answer.

We always think of Jesus loving people. But do we ever stop to wonder what he despises? Spiritual pride, hypocrisy, injustice. Years ago, I was engaged in a public debate at a secular university with a leader from another religion. Early on, he posed what he took to be a “conversation-stopper” question: “Do you think I’m going to hell?” Such answers are beyond my pay grade, so I responded in Lesslie Newbigin-esque fashion: “This much I can say by way of… Read more

Is Justice Like Swift Water?

Life is like swift water. It keeps passing by. What about justice? Does it pass by ephemerally like swift water? Perhaps you have also wondered about justice? Is it constantly in flux? Speaking of swift water, this is the meaning behind the name for Cle Elum in Kittitas County in Washington, where I stayed this past week. The Kittitas band of the Yakama tribe referred to the nearby Cle Elum River as “swift water” (Tle-el-Lum). While the clan lived and… Read more

Why Do Bad Things Happen to Black People?

The dominant culture tends to dominate the conversation on perceptions and questions about evil and suffering. That is not to say we don’t have some legitimate perceptions and questions. It’s just that there are other perceptions and questions that minority communities ask that are also very important. So, we need to ask ourselves and others: “What are we missing? What questions do we still need to ask? Who should we be asking?” In the context of addressing the problem of… Read more

What Words Would You Want Inscribed on Your Tombstone?

Years ago, when I was a resident member of the Center of Theological Inquiry in Princeton, New Jersey, my family and I walked through Princeton Cemetery. Once referred to as the Westminster Abby of the United States, the Princeton Cemetery is the resting grounds for such luminaries as Jonathan Edwards, Aaron Burr, and Grover Cleveland. We (or should I say I) were looking for Edwards’ grave. Some of the tombstone inscriptions stood out to us. The most memorable one included… Read more