June 30, 2017

Last week, three trials involving African American men shot and killed by police officers concluded with no guilty verdicts. Each of the incidents began with traffic stops and the shootings were caught on video. The outcry of anger and fear in the African American community is high. Do we who are white ever ask ourselves what it would feel like to be “driving while black”? I reached out to Jimi Calhoun (JC), an African American, a pastor, community activist, author… Read more

June 28, 2017

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” (Matthew 5:4; ESV) Can one be happy or blessed all the time? Is happiness the same thing as clowning around? Can one be happy and mourn simultaneously? If we think of happiness or blessedness as a perpetual state of being that is equivalent to clowning around all the time, then there’s no occasion for mourning. If, however, we think of happiness or blessedness as a state of being in which… Read more

June 25, 2017

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God” (Matthew 5:9; ESV).  It’s very hard to be a peacemaker if one is not a peaceful person. It’s also very hard to be a peacemaker if one is not able to see clearly one’s own part in a conflict, as well as others’ roles. Moreover, it’s very hard to make peace if one is simply nice, or simply trying to keep the peace. David is a friend of mine from… Read more

June 21, 2017

Crossing paths with Pagans should never entail viewing them through the crosshairs of Christian triumphalism. Read more

June 20, 2017

In the desire to make Christianity respectable, we who are Christians often downplay or dismiss this point. Read more

June 19, 2017

Multi-faith engagement in a pluralistic culture requires asking questions that invite open conversation rather than handcuff religious self-expression. Take Christian and Jewish discourse for example. It is easy for Christians to ask Christian questions of Jewish people. But I don’t think it is easy for adherents of Judaism to answer them. As one rabbi said to my world religions class years ago, he can’t win when Christians ask him what he thinks of Jesus. If he doesn’t agree with Christians about Jesus,… Read more

June 16, 2017

A Muslim leader shared this morning at the mosque, as my World Religions class visited him, how supportive the Portland community has been since 9/11. Mr. Harris Zafar is the national spokesperson of the Ahmadiyyah Muslim community. He added, though, that he still gets messages from individuals (not necessarily Portland residents) on social media to “Go back home!” Then he quipped, “Tigard? San Francisco? Chicago?” He lives in Tigard, Oregon now. He lived in the other two cities when he was… Read more

June 14, 2017

The reader should consider first the biblical meditation titled, “Blessed are the pure in heart”—not the double-minded and those with cloudy vision.” It can be found here. My friend Phil is blind. But his blindness does not keep him from seeing God’s will for him. God has recently given him a new outlook or perspective on the Christian life. While Phil is a very hard working, resilient, and creative business leader, he has come to realize he needs others’ help… Read more

June 11, 2017

While needing to safeguard against excessive or abusive uses of the Trinity for our own ends, we should not throw out the baby with the dirty bathwater. Read more

June 10, 2017

One of the most profound qualities of the late Abbot Kyogen Carlson, a Zen Buddhist Priest, was how slow he was to size people up. He did not presume to know people’s motives, or grasp everything about those with whom he interacted. Rather, he simply addressed what he experienced in terms of behaviors. It reminded me of James 1:19: “Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger” (ESV). Could not James have added,… Read more

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