Sunday, August 1


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...
Two Cheers For The Reformation … Well … Sorta … Kinda … Part II

Two Cheers For The Reformation … Well … Sorta … Kinda … Part II

Abrahamic Traditions, Atheism, autonomy, awareness, bigotry, Calvinism, Challenge, Change, Christianity, Christianity/Catholicism, Church, conflict, constitution, critical judgment, culture, Discernment, Ecumenism, Enlightenment, epistemology, Evangelicalism, faith, faithfulness, First Amendment, Fundamentalism, God, Ideology, law, Lutheranism, Martin Luther, monotheism, Politics, predestination, Rationality, Reformation, Religion, Religious War, Renaissance, Science, Scripture, Secularity, Seeing the Holy Spirit, separation of Church and State, theocracy, Theology, Tolerance, Uncategorized
From Part I:  So why and how did the warring parties finally settle the internecine dispute? Why is Europe not still being ravaged by sectarian warfare? Two-part answer:  (1) in places it is, e.g., the Balkan War, northern Ireland, et al.; (2) see Part II next week. Beginning around 1500 – we might not-quite-arbitrarily want to start with Columbus’s discovery of the New World in 1492 ... or maybe the invention of the printing press in the 1450s – two things began to occur in parallel with the raging religious war that was consuming the European Continent:  (a) the rise of science, and (b) the rediscovery and rejuvenation of the faculty of Reason in human beings. The combination of (a) and (b) led over time to that great efflorescence of autonomy and intellect that came to be known a...
Two Cheers For The Reformation … Well … Sorta … Kinda … Part I

Two Cheers For The Reformation … Well … Sorta … Kinda … Part I

Abrahamic Traditions, autonomy, awareness, Challenge, Change, Christian Church, Christianity/Catholicism, Church, conflict, conservatism, covenant, critical judgment, culture, Episcopacy, epistemology, faith, God, Ideology, Methodology, monotheism, Politics, predestination, Rationality, reconciliation, reflection, Religion, Religious War, Sacred Writing, Scripture, self-serving, Supreme Court, The Divine, theocracy, Theodicy, Theology, Thinking, Tolerance
Well, it looks like I missed the Party! I knew about the Party, all right. But notwithstanding, I missed the Party, anyway.  I missed the Party because – quite candidly, and despite being aware of the Party – I honestly didn’t know, still don’t know, what we were supposed to celebrate, rather like being expected to celebrate when your doctor tells you that you need four consecutive colonoscopies on four consecutive days. How happy duzzat make ya?! OK … not to be obtuse ... the Party I missed was the 500th anniversary of the start of the Protestant Reformation.  For convenience, many church historians – with quite good reason -- date the Protestant Reformation as having “officially” begun on 31 October, 1517, the date when an Augustinian monk, Martin Luther, nailed his legendary “95 ...