Social Issues

Wikimedia Commons image by Blok Glo

Is God Afraid of Sexuality? – Part 1

When I facilitate quarterly Interfaith Spirituality & Sexuality discussions, I often encourage people to look at the authority in their lives by simply asking, “What is the Truth? What is the Lie?” Although some religions discount the wisdom of our bodies, they are excellent truth and lie detectors. When someone affirms my personal spiritual truth, […]

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Shirim in her field near Husan Village, taken by author Jenn Lindsay

“Just Tell Our Story” — Dispatch from Palestine

We met Shirim at her family’s olive grove plot. It falls just outside the Betar Illit settlement. More accurately, it falls on the entire hill but the settlement imposed itself right on top of the farmland that has belonged to her family for five generations. She is forbidden to access her land beyond the current […]

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Dalit woman in Mumbai 1942

The Struggle for Dalit Rights in South Asia

Have you ever had a theme assert itself over and over in a very short period of time, as if the universe was sending you cosmic hints to pay attention? In my case, the message right now involves social justice and Nepal. I’m actually writing this from Kathmandu, Nepal where I will be spending the […]

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Maurycy Gottlieb [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

An Improvised Family: Yom Kippur with Rome’s Progressive Jews

Normally people do not go to Rome to refrain from eating. But it was Yom Kippur, and I was on my way to afternoon services at Beth Hillel, Rome’s new progressive Jewish community. My long walk to the Beth Hillel service on the Janiculum Hill started on the banks of the Tiber River. In Piazza Navona […]

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First Steps: A Christian’s Perspective on Ecotheology

Everyone knows about dinosaurs. I mean, dinosaurs are cool. For a species of animal that hasn’t been around several million years, they have quite the legacy. We still go to see them in museums. Kids play with figurines. They are even the stars of several different movie franchises.  Dinosaurs live in the zeitgeist of culture […]

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(Released by HST Public Affairs)

Buddhism>Atheism: How Religious Literacy Can Help the Air Force, Part II

Find Part I of this post here. Alexis de Tocqueville, a 19th century French historian, observed how Americans treated religion when he visited the United States. The longer he stayed, the more he realized that it was less important which religion any individual citizen claimed, and more so that they claimed a tradition at all, […]

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(Released by HST Public Affairs)

Buddhism>Atheism? How Religious Literacy Can Help the Air Force, Part I

This is the first in a two-part post.  Stay tuned for Part II. A few days ago, I visited my undergraduate university, the University of Southern California, and made a beeline for the Office of Religious Life. I had come on a very meaningful day: USC had just hired a humanist chaplain, and this was […]

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Beyond ‘Us and Them': Taking Interfaith Dialogue Outside The Ivory Tower

Full disclosure: it was not my intention to find inspiration for this piece via Ben Affleck. That said, when the actor delivered an impassioned argument (including some explicit language) refuting Bill Maher and Sam Harris’ collective views of Islam on last week’s Real Time, I admit: I was transfixed. It made me think about such […]

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Doing Interfaith Better: A Reflection on the Harvard “Black Mass” and Its Aftermath

Interfaith work means a great deal to me, as it does to many folks. Engaging in interfaith work, to me, means being inspired by my religious tradition to work with others of different belief/nonbelief systems in engaging with our shared values to reach a common goal.  It’s not easy to do, under the best of […]

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Guest Post: Am I My Brother’s Keeper?

Cain kills Abel, and God asks Cain, “Where is your brother, Abel?” Cain responds, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” The retort serves not only as a refutation of any implied responsibility for the fate of another, but also as an accusation against God, who is, presumably, the keeper of us all. If God can neglect […]

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