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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
Hypocrisy As A Fine Art

Hypocrisy As A Fine Art

anger, autonomy, awareness, bigotry, Challenge, Change, citizenship, civics, conflict, conservatism, constitution, critical judgment, culture, Current Events, Ethics, Evangelicalism, Fascism, First Amendment, Freedom, Fundamentalism, Islam, justice, mosques, Muslims, progressive politics, Secularity, Trump, Uncategorized
From time to time this past week, I have been watching commentary on Michelle Wolf's raucous 28 April White House Correspondents Dinner (WHCD) monologue about Trump and his gauleiters in the Republican party and elements of the American fascist community. As good as I am with the English language, even I am at a loss to find appropriate adjectives that would do justice to the arrant, bare-faced hypocrisy of Republicans in particular and conservatives in general, especially conservative Reformed / evangelical Christians. Far from surprisingly, members of both communities -- American para-fascists and conservative Reformed / evangelical Christians -- expressed the usual outrage that is de rigeur whenever they are criticized about their inconsistencies. (Yes, yes, I know:  there are Refor
Politics And The Moral Limits Of Friendship

Politics And The Moral Limits Of Friendship

14th Amendment, bigotry, Christianity, citizenship, civics, conflict, conservatism, Consitution, culture, Current Events, Ecology, Economy, election year, Enlightenment, Equality, Fascism, First Amendment, Fourteenth Amendment, Freedom, Friendship, Ideology, injustice, Islam, mosques, political rhetoric, Politics, Presidency, progressive politics, Rationality, Resistance, Secularity, separation of Church and State, slavery, social justice, Trump, Uncategorized
To unmask them, to knock them off the pedestal they have hoisted themselves on, to hold them up to scorn is a campaign no one should remain indifferent to. For at any price, we must keep those who have too clear a conscience from living and dying in peace. -- E. M. Cioran, "Thinking Against Oneself", in The Temptation to Exist One of the more painful effects of the presidential Election of 2016 is that I was impelled by considerations of personal integrity to terminate about a dozen friendships, about half on Facebook and about half in real-life. In each such case, the reason for the break was that the people whose friendships I chose to end were people who were determined to vote, either directly or by default, for Donald J. Trump for President. This, for reasons of conscience, I could...