April 11, 2012

I was reminded of John Lennon’s tune, “Imagine,” as I read TIME Magazine’s recent cover article on the theme of “Rethinking Heaven.” The title of the piece is “Heaven Can’t Wait”. In Lennon’s song, “Imagine,” Lennon sang of the world being a much better place if we could move beyond belief in heaven and hell, and if people would only live for today. Would the world be a better place if there were no heaven? Lennon’s song claims that belief… Read more

April 6, 2012

Maybe you have seen the movie Anger Management that stars Adam Sandler and Jack Nicholson. Dave Buznik (Adam Sandler) is a businessman wrongly sentenced in court to an anger-management program. His instructor, Dr. Buddy Rydell (Jack Nicholson), uses controversial and unorthodox tactics to help him. In watching the movie, I was often thinking the therapist was in greater need of therapy than anyone else! We are all in need of anger management training at various points in our lives. However,… Read more

April 3, 2012

This post was updated on April 2, 2014. In an article discussing Swiss philosopher Alain de Botton’s book, Religion For Atheists: A Non-believer’s Guide to the Uses of Religion, Kimberly Winston asks: “Stripped of its supernatural elements, does religion have anything to offer atheists? What can nonbelievers borrow from the organizations, practices and rituals of believers – without borrowing a belief in God?” (see here). Beyond what atheists and other “nonbelievers” might strip away from and also borrow from religion, I am… Read more

March 28, 2012

I often feel a bit like Boromir in The Lord of the Rings: give me the ring of power and I will use it to bring about good. How foolish. The good will succumb to power, when power is our chief means to accomplish good. In the end, the end goal will justify any means, any use of power. The Dark Lord forged this ring of power in secret in the fires of Mount Doom. His own identity was bound… Read more

March 28, 2012

While preserving our humanity through lunch in a Cuban restaurant near downtown Portland, a friend and I discussed America’s foreign policy concerning North Korea. My friend alerted me to an article that discusses Robert Gates’ concern over the increasing militarization of U. S. foreign policy. Gates is the former Secretary of Defense, who served the Bush and Obama administrations. My friend was concerned that the problem Gates highlighted related directly to the U. S. decision to give North Korea humanitarian… Read more

March 28, 2012

SPOILER ALERT! If you are not caught up on “Mad Men”, you may not want to read this post. The 2-hour premiere of Season 5 of “Mad Men” is out and countless reviews and reflections are in. One of the most striking scenes in the premiere is when Don’s new wife Megan tells him, “Nobody loves Dick Whitman. I love you. That’s why I threw you a party.” Megan knows his secret—Don really isn’t Don. He’s Dick. At least she… Read more

March 26, 2012

Many of you know about the tragic slaying of seventeen-year-old Trayvon Martin in late February by a neighborhood watch leader in Sanford, Florida. The story has received national media attention, sparked protests in various places, and has quickened responses from political leaders, including President Obama. Up until now, no charges have been filed against the neighborhood watch leader, since he claimed that he was acting in self-defense. Florida has a law (“Stand Your Ground”) that individuals in Florida receive immunity… Read more

March 23, 2012

Listen to this piece. An anonymous Mormon representative responded to my Op-Ed piece on Mitt Romney and Evangelicalism published in the SunSentinel. The respondent made several striking claims in his comment. I have attached the comment here, as the linked version does not include it: Mormons’ theology is based on New Testament Christianity, not Fourth Century Creeds.  For example, the Church of Jesus Christ (LDS) views on Baptism, Lay Ministry, the Trinity, Theosis, Grace vs. Works, the Divinity of Jesus… Read more

March 23, 2012

In an interview several years ago with the Rt. Rev. Dr. David Zac Niringiye, then assistant bishop of Kampala in the Church of Uganda, Andy Crouch asked this question: “What could equip us to be more countercultural, living in a nation that is very much at the center of power?” I loved the Ugandan church leader’s response: “We need to begin to read the Bible differently. Americans have been preoccupied with the end of the Gospel of Matthew, the Great… Read more

March 19, 2012

Last night, a Ugandan friend and I spoke of “White Man’s Burden.” Some of you may know of the phrase from Rudyard Kipling’s controversial poem by that title published in 1899, or the 1995 movie starring John Travolta and Harry Belafonte. My Ugandan friend, Michael, and I didn’t have either in mind in any direct sense. What was on our minds is the ongoing burden white Americans and Europeans often still seem to have to try and carry the world on… Read more

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