Talk About Politics At Church As With Sports (Especially the Chicago Cubs!), Though Perhaps Not Over Dinner.

Some of us were told growing up never to talk about religion and politics over dinner. Perhaps that is why so many of us talk about sports at bars and grills. Sometimes churches even have Super Bowl parties with people rooting for the opposing sides. But how often will you find Election Night parties sponsored by churches made up of opposing views—the elect and the reprobate (the latter being whoever champions the candidates I despise most, especially those who are pulling for the Cleveland I … [Read more...]

We Need To Invest In Resolving Conflict At Our Own Expense

Why did Jesus care to resolve the conflict between God and humanity? Jesus was really invested in resolving the conflict between God and humanity because he was and is divine and human.If we do not somehow represent the various parties in a conflict, we will never work to transform a conflict so that it is beneficial to all.Beware of a person who is not invested in a conflict except to benefit from it at others' expense. Those who are most involved in a conflict have the greatest amount … [Read more...]

Become Less Closed-Minded. Invent Your Own Religion (?)

Today, in my world religions course, we discussed Hinduism. My friend and guest speaker, Mr. Bharat Naik, shared about closed-source vs. open-source faith traditions. Mr. Naik is a leader at the Hindu Temple in Tigard, Oregon.Bharat drew attention to the insightful and penetrating Huffington Post article by Josh Schrei titled “The God Project: Hinduism as Open Source Faith.” Building on a software analogy, Schrei maintains that most religions are closed-source faiths whereas Hinduism is an op … [Read more...]

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...]