Listen more. Talk Less. Tread Lightly. By Karen Leslie Hernandez

Illegal. Nazi. Migrant. Refugee. N****r. Terrorist.

Heard of read any of these descriptions recently? I have. A lot.

It seems that now more than ever, communication is breaking down. Name calling and labeling – which many times incites violence – seems to be a norm, especially here in the United States. As a peacebuilder, I’m consistently perplexed about this and I wonder how, or if, this lack of civil communication will shift to a more positive vibe. The air is frenetic with intolerance. The question is, What can we do about it – as individuals and collectively? Continue reading “Listen more. Talk Less. Tread Lightly. By Karen Leslie Hernandez”

Coexist or Contradict? How about Resist Instead by Katey Zeh

Version 2

While stopped at a red light on my way home one day I noticed that the two cars immediately in front of me had the same “Coexist” bumper sticker. You’ve probably seen one like it. Each of the letters of is a symbol representing a major religious or spiritual ideology. For example, the “C” is a crescent moon symbolizing Islam, and the “X” is a Star of David symbolizing Judaism.

This was a particularly long traffic light, which gave me time to realize that I was mistaken. In actuality the bumper sticker on the car just ahead of me did not read “Coexist” but “Contradict.” Underneath that it read, “They can’t all be true-John 14:6.” Despite my early days of earnest scripture memorization I couldn’t recall this particular passage, but I had a hunch it was the verse in which Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” I was right.

I’ll admit my eyes rolled back in my head over this display of Christian moral superiority. Continue reading “Coexist or Contradict? How about Resist Instead by Katey Zeh”

Islam, Ali, and Reformation by Kile Jones

Kile JonesDoes Islam need a reformation? The ever-controversial Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s new book Heretic: Why Islam Needs a Reformation Now argues that it does. Do you agree with her? Or do you find problems with the way Ayaan Ali frames the discussion?

I ask these questions a few weeks after the first all-women’s mosque was opened. It has also only been a short time since Muslims for Progressive Values (MPV), headed by Ani Zonneveld, sent an open letter to Salman bin Abdul Aziz, King of Saudi Arabia. These, and the innumerable condemnations of the Charlie Hedbo shootings, remind us that this “reformation” Ali is looking for is not entirely absent. Continue reading “Islam, Ali, and Reformation by Kile Jones”

Witch’s Night In by Kate Brunner

Kate BrunnerThere is doctrine. There is tradition, liturgy, scripture, & exegesis.

And then sometimes, there is simply real life.

There is the precious gift of spending time engaged in deep communication with everyday women living spiritual lives the best they can while also caring for families, pursuing careers, celebrating victories, mourning sorrows, and some days, just doing the best they can to remember to breathe in and out from the first buzz of the alarm clock till the moment their heads hit the pillow at the end of a very long day. Continue reading “Witch’s Night In by Kate Brunner”

A Church With No Walls By Sheila E. McGinn, Ph.D.

Last year about this time, I spent a month in Malaysia, at the invitation of Alpha Omega International College, a school in Petaling Jaya, a suburb of Kuala Lumpur. I was rather surprised at the initial invitation, since AOIC is sponsored by the Assemblies of God and I myself am a feminist Roman Catholic. To put it mildly, the two denominations tend not to be “on the same page” on various aspects of the Christian tradition, so I wanted to ensure that the college administrators knew what they would be getting if I were to come. Happily, the AOIC president who had proffered the invitation confirmed that indeed they did want me to come for the guest lectureship, so the beginning of October saw me making my way almost exactly to the opposite side of the globe, to run my New Testament ethics seminar at the college and to spend time learning from Malaysian Christian and Muslim leaders about interreligious dialogue and inter-ethnic relationships in their country.

Malaysian hospitality was faultless—generous, thoughtful, inviting—and everyone made time to tell me about their cross-cultural experiences and their concerns for the religious climate in Malaysia. I continually was impressed by the sincere convictions of these religious leaders and their constituencies, and by the political and cultural difficulties they faced in any kind of collaborative endeavor or even attempts at dialogue. Wherever I looked, will or nil, boundary issues continued to arise. Although other ethnic groups had the right to choose their religious affiliation, the Malay ethnic group was legally defined as Muslim. Within the Christian tradition, certain denominations traditionally were connected with one ethnic group or another. Continue reading “A Church With No Walls By Sheila E. McGinn, Ph.D.”

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