How Can We Be Peacemakers if We Are Pugnacious, or Too Nice?

“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

Paganism Is Back! Now What Are We Christians Going to Do?

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

The Gospel Is Total Foolishness

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

Multi-Faith Engagement Involving Christianity and Judaism: Ask Jewish Questions of Jewish People

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

Muslims, “Go Back Home!” — Home? They are Home.

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

How Can We Become Pure of Heart if We Are Blind to Our Need for God and Others?

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

The Trinity Is Not Just for Trinity Sunday, But for Every Day of the Year

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

Be Quick to Listen, Slow to Speak, Slow to Become Angry, And Slow to Size People Up.

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

Security in Jesus Christ Leads to Humility and Civility. How Secure Are You and I?

Jesus knew where he came from, where he was going, and to whom he belonged. As a result, he was exceptionally secure in his identity. As a result, he was also very gracious and humble. He was so humble that he washed his disciples feet, though he was their Lord and Teacher. He even washed Judas’ feet, even though he knew Judas would betray him that night. Now that’s security! Jesus wished for his disciples to experience the same security… Read more

Pentecost Sunday: Happy Birthday, Church! Are We Celebrating a Missional Movement or a Monument?

Rather than living off the fumes of the past, we need to fan into flame the Spirit’s spark in our lives. Read more

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