August 28, 2017

Today is my mother’s ninety-first birthday. It is also the beginning of a new academic year. At Convocation Chapel this morning, Multnomah University President Craig Williford drew our attention to the legacy of university professors and administrators of past centuries who suffered greatly for their pursuit of truth. We stand on their shoulders. My mother’s closing words to me in our phone call this morning in which I wished her birthday greetings was how she prays daily for wisdom, anointing… Read more

August 26, 2017

Whether we are conservative or liberal or somewhere in between, we struggle to account for Jesus. If we are conservative, we might not have difficulty calling him literally God, but we might have difficulty with his claim that it’s harder for the rich to inherit heaven than for a camel to pass through the eye of the needle (Matthew 19:16-30). If we are liberal, we might not have trouble with Jesus’ claim that the sheep are those who care for… Read more

August 23, 2017

Reverend David Wilson is a member of the Choctaw Nation and the conference superintendent of the Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference (OIMC) of the United Methodist Church. Rev. Wilson was vitally involved in connecting churches to the protest at Standing Rock over the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. He graciously accepted my invitation to be interviewed on the struggle and the future work of advocacy for Native peoples and environmental stewardship. Here is a short video of Rev. Wilson on… Read more

August 21, 2017

Get your solar eclipse glasses out. Today’s the big day when we witness the extremely rare eclipse of the sun. History is filled with tales of how societies and civilizations interpreted eclipses according to cultural norms, values, and taboos. As a New York Times article notes, For instance, for the Arapaho, he said, the coupling of the sun and the moon prompted a discussion of sex and incest. In the Andes, where an Inca-related people believed that the moon was… Read more

August 18, 2017

A Zen Buddhist friend reached out to me today to ask me why so many Evangelical advisers to President Trump have remained silent on Charlottesville. By the way, I don’t think this Zen Buddhist was particularly interested at the moment in finding religionists from across the ideological pond who also engaged in silent meditation. So, I sent this recent article indicating how a few Evangelical leaders spoke out against the white supremacy on display in Charlottesville. In response, my Buddhist friend… Read more

August 16, 2017

We are all seeking to come to terms with the meaning and nature of the Good, the good life, and how to attain it. What is your preferred means of pursuit? A few of the options from which to choose on the ideological smorgasbord conveyer belt are moralism, hedonism, and nihilism: Moralism: The Good is the Law of Reason. The Good life is the undaunted pursuit of moral order and reason indifferent to pain or pleasure (ex. Stoicism). Hedonism: The… Read more

August 14, 2017

The events that transpired in Charlottesville, Virginia this weekend reflect growing concern over the removal of Confederate monuments across the South. White nationalists protesting what they take to be revisionist history and promoting a desire to make white privilege great again came face to face and fist to fist with those who oppose a return to the overt racist past (Refer here and here). The white nationalists’ concern reflects a growing sense of the loss of white superiority and the… Read more

August 12, 2017

Who do you trust? The White House? Congress? The Courts? The Media? The TV news meteorologist? Your spouse? Your boyfriend or girlfriend? Your parents? Your children? Your siblings? Your friends? Your neighbors? Your boss and coworkers? Your dog and cat? Your favorite musician or sports team’s general manager? Your plumber, electrician, doctor, dentist, mechanic, and accountant? Your pastor or priest? God? The Church? Yourself? The list goes on and on, and crosses over every domain of life. Bridges of relational… Read more

August 9, 2017

Last night, I read that Pastor Robert Jeffress claimed, “God has given Trump authority to take out Kim Jong Un.”  I wonder what Jesus would make of his claim, especially as he discounted the relevance of the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) in this context and treated Romans 13 as if it gives President Trump a free pass to take out another nation’s leader. According to The Washington Post, The biblical passage Romans 13 gives the government authority to deal with evildoers, Jeffress… Read more

August 7, 2017

We always think of Jesus loving people. But do we ever stop to wonder what he despises? Spiritual pride, hypocrisy, injustice. Years ago, I was engaged in a public debate at a secular university with a leader from another religion. Early on, he posed what he took to be a “conversation-stopper” question: “Do you think I’m going to hell?” Such answers are beyond my pay grade, so I responded in Lesslie Newbigin-esque fashion: “This much I can say by way of… Read more

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