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Showing posts from September, 2013

Can Christians Be Interreligious?

Too late. We already are.  You have a brother- or sister-in-law who is Buddhist. An uncle who is Muslim. An auntie and some cousins who are Jewish. You work with a Sikh. Three of your neighbors are Hindu. The rest of your cousins are not religiously affiliated, while your grandparents and parents are Anglican and Baptist Christians. If this doesn’t describe you, give it a couple years. The U.S. has been religiously diverse for a long time, and we’re all starting to see and experience it in very real ways. When I officiated my brother’s wedding, I was a Christian minister in front of a group of “nones,” Muslims, secular Jews, Buddhists, Catholics, and Protestants. If I were to write up the experience as a case study for budding religious leaders, it would be titled: “How to make 99 mistakes and still enjoy a gracious and joyful event.” My church doesn’t have a stance on interfaith or interreligious relationships. This, from a denomination that has many papers and policies a

Sex Happens. Even Among Christians.

It’s hard to figure out how to write a blog post on sexuality, when you work for the church. Here goes. Most humans are sexual beings. And in my experience, the church is mostly terrible at being honest about sex and sexuality. I did an informal social media poll of Christians, asking what messages they received from church growing up. Here are a few examples: “Nothing” “<crickets chirping>” “I was going to hell” (from a gay man) “Not to do it until you’re married” “That it was shameful… all of it” “Sex is bad – save it for the one you love”   “If I had relied on church teachings, instead of the streets/cars/books, I still wouldn’t understand where my children came from” “DIRTY BAD!” “Nothing, except sex waited until marriage!” “Evangelical youth group: No sex, no Disco (b/c it’s all about sex), sex is the DARK side, and: don’t talk abt it” Here’s a great characterization of this stream of responses. Plenty of respondents had other experien


I do not like that I’m writing this post. I just had a lovely few weeks. I was in the office for a week, excited about upcoming publications. I had great conversations with colleagues. Then after some work time at home, I had a long weekend in California celebrating the marriage of two friends, catching up with friends and family, and throwing a baby shower for my brother and sister-in-law. Instead of blogging about family, babies, weddings, wine, and beauty, I’m writing this blog. As one of my uncles once told me, I’m just so focused on suffering: human suffering, animal suffering, suffering-suffering. The nagging sense I had over the past week over the state of the world is caused not only by my focus on suffering, but by the very real drumbeats for war from within the U.S. I don’t know enough about current international policy, and specifically about the civil war in Syria, to provide a well-reasoned opinion. I do not believe I hold a particularly unique perspective. I’