Is the Cross the Crux of the Divide between Christianity and Islam?

The other day my world religions class visited a mosque. The Muslim lecturer and friend of mine asked: “Is one [who is a Christian] losing Jesus when one converts to Islam?” He responded by saying that one does not lose Jesus, but gains Muhammad. It was interesting that this Muslim leader claimed that Muhammad is not greater than Jesus on his Muslim view, even though he is the final prophet. According to the lecturer, the reason why Muhammad is seen as the greatest of the prophets is because the … [Read more...]

The Multi-Ethnic Church Movement – Not Some Fad, More Than a Conference

The multi-ethnic church movement is not some passing fad. It is more than a two-day conference. It is here to stay.I am looking forward to participating in the Mosaix 2013 Multi-ethnic Church Conference November 5 - 6.  A thousand people will be coming together in Long Beach, California to interact with one another on the subject of the multi-ethnic church from various perspectives in service to Christ.My plenary talk will be "We Shall Overcome" and I will be presenting a workshop called … [Read more...]

Cancer Can’t Keep You Down: Presiding Thoughts about My President

Note: Today I had the opportunity to give this address on behalf of the Faculty during a special chapel in honor of Dr. Daniel Lockwood on his last day as President of Multnomah University, where I teach.Just the other day, someone asked me concerning US Presidents: Can one respect the office without respecting the person? President Harry Truman told General Douglas Macarthur when Macarthur walked in 45 minutes late for their meeting on Wake Island in the Pacific that he did not care what he … [Read more...]

Am I My Brother’s Keeper? Social Solidarity and Gang Violence

Author's note: An African American friend of mine raised respectful concern over my use of a Lynyrd Skynyrd song "None of Us Are Free" while discussing gang violence. Regardless of what others might think of the use of this song and Lynyrd Skynyrd's music generally, my friend’s concern over what he (and he believes many other African Americans) takes to be the group’s racist associations (he referred to the song "Sweet Home Alabama" as an example of the concern) has led me to remove the allusion … [Read more...]

’12 Years a Slave’ — Could It Happen Again?

This piece originally appeared at Sojourners on October 14, 2013.I watched 12 Years a Slave today. The film is based on Solomon Northup’s autobiography by that name. Northrup was a free black man living in Saratoga, N.Y. He was lured away from his home to Washington, D. C., on the promise of lucrative work and was kidnapped, transported to Louisiana, and sold into slavery. He was rescued 12 years later.Some of the questions and issues that the movie raises are: What right do people have t … [Read more...]

Burdened by the Burden of Proof: From Eve to Marissa Alexander

How in the world did Marissa Alexander get sentenced to twenty years in prison for firing a gun in the air in self-defense against her husband whom she claimed violently attacked her and threatened to kill her? She didn’t even hurt him, and yet she ended up getting severely hurt by the whole ordeal.How did Eve get blamed for everything in the garden of Eden in many circles for much of church history, when she wasn’t the only one eating forbidden fruit?Is there a connection between the two … [Read more...]

Just Thinking about Justice: Humility is the Best Policy

When it comes to justice issues, activists, theorists and policy makers living in the moment often charge where angels fear to tread and newcomers to the issues waffle in confusion. The newbies like myself can easily feel like they are drowning in the depths of the complexities surrounding the issues in question. What should they (we) do? Wait for handouts, where the experts on the issues give them basic meat and potato food for thought?Newbies should be humble enough to ask questions about … [Read more...]