Category Archives: Current Events

Mourn With Those Who Mourn

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Growing up, I remember going to public school and, every year, celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. day. We would watch documentaries, read books, and study his “I Have A Dream” speech. We were told that Dr. King had inaugurated a new age in American history, that we were beginning to see that dream being made a reality. That we were a post-racial society.

It is a beautiful dream.

But this Thursday we were once again woken up from that dream with the sound of gunfire as our world experienced another tragedy.

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When Tolerance Becomes Intolerant

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Several months ago, my former employer, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, was featured prominently in a New York Times article entitled “Colleges and Evangelicals Collide on Bias Policy”.  It highlights the growing tension on a number of college campuses between campus administration and religious groups, specifically around the issue of who can serve as leaders within these campus ministries.

While this is an issue that is now starting to garner national media attention, for those of us who have been involved in religious work on colleges and universities this issue is all too familiar.  I believe the New York Times piece does a good job highlighting the issues, but to summarize, many universities and college campuses have begun to ban religious organizations from using their rooms and facilities for meetings and prayer. They have also prevented such groups from applying to be student organizations, which often means that they are not allowed to apply for student life fund or advertise their events on campus.

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Reframing Our View of Religious Terrorism

“Battle-of-Ager-Sanguinis” by Original uploader was Asta at ru.wikipedia – Transferred from ru.wikipedia; transfer was stated to be made by User:nettadi.. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Battle-of-Ager-Sanguinis.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Battle-of-Ager-Sanguinis.jpg

SETTING THE STAGE
There is a major world religion that very few of us have spent any time studying. Though it has made a profound impact on world history, it is often ignored or overlooked. Over 1500 years old, it has spread from the Middle East to such far-flung places as Africa, Asia, and Europe. And while its adherents can be found in almost every major country, many of them live below the poverty line, fighting to survive on day-to-day subsistence living.

A monotheistic faith, it has rich theological, philosophical, and artistic expressions. Sadly, most of its followers live in ignorance of this fact, believing God to be a harsh and angry judge who punishes unbelievers and sinners in the afterlife. This ignorance is further reinforced by the fact that both its Scriptures and its worship are read and carried out in a language that most of its own people cannot read or understand. As such, the majority of this religion’s followers rely on the interpretations and teaching from a few educated religious leaders.

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ISIS & The War on Islam

This is a re-post of my guest column from Faithline Protestants, a web forum that explores the intersection between Protestant Christianity and interfaith work.

It’s been hard for me to watch the news lately. Even going on Facebook has been difficult. Every time I go online I hear of more disturbing stories emerging from Iraq and Syria as the militant group ISIS continues to oppress minorities, rape women, and violently execute innocent men, women, and children. But what has made these horrific acts even more difficult to watch is the conversation swirling around them. Over and over again I have watched friends, colleagues, media personalities, and news outlets call ISIS the face of Islam. More and more people have begun to say things like, “This is what Islam is really about. They are finally showing their true colors to the world.” And as I have seen this picture of Islam painted over and over again I have actually begun to wonder, “Are they right? Is this truly what Islam is all about?”

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