Cherry picking

Saints, Sultans, And Submission:  The Tyranny Of Interpretation

Saints, Sultans, And Submission: The Tyranny Of Interpretation

"Life" Issues, Abrahamic Traditions, activism, Anchorite, autonomy, awareness, body, Challenge, Change, Character of God, Cherry picking, Christian Church, Christianity, Christianity/Catholicism, Church, community, Compassion, conflict, conservatism, contemplation, Creator, critical judgment, Crusades, culture, Discernment, entering into suffering, Ethics, faith, faithfulness, Fasting, God, Human Condition, Islam, Kingdom of God, Letting go, Military, monotheism, mosques, Pain and Suffering, peace and justice, Quran, reconciliation, Religious War, Spirituality, theocracy, Theology, Uncategorized
On Thursday, 1 February 2018, Jamie Dedes honored me by publishing my review of the new book by Paul Moses, The Saint and the Sultan:  The Crusades, Islam, and Francis of Assisi’s Mission of Peace. I found the book engrossing. In fact, even its omissions were engrossing. And Moses' entire text was provocative, touching issues on history, ethics, religion, and the psychology thereof. In fact, Paul Moses' book was too good to keep. So -- with Jamie's permission -- I am taking the liberty of reprinting my review here. For a religious person who is “seeking God’s will,” the most reliable indicator that you are in serious trouble is the belief that you have found it. Paul Moses has, perhaps unintentionally, written a brief but fascinating account of a case in point:  The Saint and the Su
The Fellowship Of Disillusionment — Philip Yancey’s “Disappointment With God”

The Fellowship Of Disillusionment — Philip Yancey’s “Disappointment With God”

"Life" Issues, Abrahamic Traditions, Astronomy, awareness, Broken Heart, Character of God, Cherry picking, Christianity, Church, community, Compassion, critical judgment, culture, Discernment, doubt, entering into suffering, Epiphany, epistemology, existentialism, faith, God, Human Condition, Letting go, meditation, meditation with music, mindfulness, monotheism, Ockham's Razor, Randomness, Rationality, Religion, Science, Secularity, Spirituality, Theodicy, Theology, Uncategorized
I never write book reviews ... until now. Now I am making an exception for three reasons:  (1) Philip Yancey's book Disappointment with God is an unflinching appraisal of how long-term disappointment precipitates crises of faith in the life of religiously devout people, (2) the theodical implications of that process, and (3) the theological consequences of (1) and (2). If you have been reading these columns for the last few years, you know that this has been a strong preoccupation of mine. But even though I wrote an Amazon review of Disappointment with God, I was not writing these "Skeptic's" columns at the time. So the following is in the nature of the latter playing catch-up with the former. ****************************** The Christian community almost always deals with disappointm
Gladly Grasping The Glories Of Greyness

Gladly Grasping The Glories Of Greyness

"Life" Issues, Abrahamic Traditions, Atheism, autonomy, awareness, body, Change, Character of God, Cherry picking, Christianity, community, Compassion, contemplation, courage, critical judgment, culture, curiosity, Discernment, empathy, Epiphany, faith, God, Gratitude, Healing, healing hands, healing moment, Hope, Human Condition, image of God, Intentional Living, mindfulness, Pain and Suffering, Present Moment, Religion, T. S. Eliot, Theology, Uncategorized, Waiting
The latest (3 January) issue of Forbes references a Washington Post op-ed by Prof. Laura L. Carstensen, professor of psychology and the Fairleigh S. Dickinson Jr. professor in public policy at Stanford University, on the semiotics of aging started me reflecting about what I want to be called, and what I do not want to be called, now that I am pushing 70. (I will be 69 in April of 2018.) Words matter. And – over time measured in multiple years – certain words / terms have become increasingly patronizing because I have, over that same interval of time, come to think of myself more and more, not as middle-aged, but simply as old. Prof. Carstensen is right: By failing to identify with “old,” the story about old people remains a dreary one about loss and decline. Language matters: We need a