Lights Out: Shining a Light on Caring for the Dying in a Multi-Faith World

What would you do if you were a chaplain or pastor or trusted friend given the honor of caring for someone of another faith tradition who is approaching death? My students and I have heard from many faith leaders in my world religions class this semester talk about their views of the soul and body as well as end of life care.There were a variety of views presented, as one would expect. For all the differences, though, we can start from a common basis. As the Buddhist guest speaker shared, … [Read more...]

If I Weren’t a Christian, Perhaps I’d Be a Pagan

Max Weber wrote that the "progressive disenchantment of the world" marks modernity. This is indeed the case, even though some have sought to demonstrate a potent counter-trend in modernity to provide forms of re-enchantment compatible with secular reason.[1]I discussed the theme of disenchantment and re-enchantment with a Pagan during a recent dinner event involving Pagans and Evangelicals. We were gathered together for the Parliament of the World’s Religions in Salt Lake City, Utah. My P … [Read more...]

The French Connection—The Human Connection: The Law of Relational Gravity

Last night, our monthly Buddhist-Christian dialogue took a sudden turn in view of the deeply disturbing news reaching us from Paris. We decided to change the focus of conversation after dinner to share how we process such violent tragedies as humans and as adherents of our particular faith traditions (For more on our dialogue project, refer here).There was almost a mystical bond that formed around the table. Perhaps we all sensed more than most times our need for connection as humans given … [Read more...]

Evangelical Zen: A Christian’s Spiritual Travels With a Buddhist Friend

An Interview with Dr. Paul Louis Metzger conducted by Olivia Lovern:Dr. Paul Louis Metzger — Professor of Christian Theology and Theology of Culture and Director of New Wine, New Wineskins — has released his latest book, Evangelical Zen: A Christian’s Spiritual Travels with a Buddhist Friend (Patheos Press, August 2015). The work features Metzger’s late friend, Zen Buddhist Priest Kyogen Carlson, who wrote the foreword and responded to Metzger’s essays.A book reading for Evangelical Zen i … [Read more...]

Is Religion a Biologically Determined Neurosis?

Is religion a biologically determined neurosis? Yes and no. Before seeking to answer this question more fully, I will summarize some basic tenets of someone who viewed religion in this way—Sigmund Freud.Freud has been called a ‘biologist of the mind.’ While there is a line of distinction between the brain and mind for Freud, the distinction does not pertain to reality, but concepts. There are not two independent substances—brain and mind. Thus, Freud was a materialist. He was also a determi … [Read more...]

Church and Science: Partners for the Common Good

Recently, I corresponded with Dr. Steve Baker, a medical doctor who oversees New Heights Clinic in Vancouver, Washington. We discussed the Barna Group’s findings that many young people are leaving churches today because they see churches as antagonistic to science. Dr. Baker provided a very striking and thought-provoking response that can help churches bridge the gap. In Steve’s estimation, churches can help foster a vital connection between faith and science in people’s minds and hearts through … [Read more...]

Access to Clean Water: Clearly There’s No Debate, Right?

A student asked for prayer for his mother yesterday. She lives in Oregon and is without a sufficient supply of water. I can’t recall ever receiving a prayer request like that in the past. Given dramatically changing weather patterns, it may become a more frequent prayer request in my immediate circles in the years ahead. My immediate circles are rather insular. I don’t have enough discussions with Native Americans, who have dealt with these and related issues since white settlers moved into the … [Read more...]