Are We Stronger Together If We Avoid One Another?

Secretary Clinton’s campaign slogan is “Stronger Together”. It sounds good. So does her claim that, if elected, she wants to work for all Americans, even those who oppose her now. If elected as President of the United States, I certainly hope that is the case. What about the rest of us? Do we work to serve all Americans, even those who oppose us, or do we hunker down and hide behind our gated ideologies? The culture wars have intensified and political and religious non-partisanship has become mor … [Read more...]

What Does It Mean to “Make America Great Again”?

What does it mean to “Make America Great Again”? Does it mean to make us better than everyone else, or to destroy all our enemies, or to help the poor, or to build our economy? All of the above, something more, something else? For all our talk of making America great, are we concerned for making ourselves as Americans good?Just this weekend in response to the political crisis involving the Howard Stern interview, I heard one supporter of Mr. Trump say he was not voting for him because of his … [Read more...]

“You Had One Job, God” (And You Blew It).

Why do we often see the line "You had one job" (implied: and you blew it) on the Internet today? Often, you will find memes with this line captioning signs bearing misspellings, wrong directions, and false advertisements. Humor aside, are we playing the absentee judge or omnipresent and omniscient cynic today--perhaps more than ever?We might go so far as to think or say, "You had one job, God" (implied: and you blew it). Perhaps we think God was to make us happy, and instead he did just the … [Read more...]

The Art of Resilience—Like Bamboo in a Typhoon

One of the most moving depictions I have come across in literature is John Steinbeck’s closing in Grapes of Wrath.[1] There one of the Oklahoman migrants to California during the Great Depression has just given birth to a stillborn baby. Yet she (Rose of Sharon) takes it upon herself to breastfeed a starving man who had sought shelter with her family in a barn. Here is Steinbeck: For a minute Rose of Sharon sat still in the whispering barn. Then she hoisted her tired body up and drew the comfort … [Read more...]

What Is Needed to Live Out the Christian Religion in a Religiously Plural and Global Age? A Whole Lot of “Ortho” (But not the Weed Killer Kind)

What is needed to live out the Christian religion in a religiously plural and global age? Quite simply, we need to think globally with virtuous passions in our multi-faith world. Or to put it in “ortho” terms—not to be confused with the weed killer “Ortho” (“ortho” is a Greek prefix meaning “straight” “right,” “correct”), we need to operate according to a robust and holistic framework involving orthodoxy (right teaching), orthopraxy (right practice), and orthopathy (right passion). The Christian … [Read more...]

Selective Hearing: How Do We Move Beyond Party Lines in Public Discourse?

I wonder how often debates sway people politically and religiously. Take for example last night's Presidential debate. Many conservatives thought Donald Trump won and many liberals thought Hillary Clinton won. Could it be selective hearing? We tend to hear those things we wish to hear, and champion whoever and whatever promotes our ad-vantage point.Whether it is politics or religion, we tend to hear what we want to hear. Moreover, it is often the case that we cannot wait for the other party … [Read more...]

Religion–The Problem of Evil?

Is contemporary philosophy and theology primarily about evil/theodicy (theories of evil and morality in the universe) or epistemology (theories of knowing)? Many will argue that epistemology is the focus; however, some maintain that theodicy is the focus.[1]Susan Neiman argues that for many philosophers in the Enlightenment and post-Enlightenment eras, evil threatens human reason; it does not make sense. While some Moderns claimed that we must make evil intelligible, others argued that we … [Read more...]