The world is a hard place. Too many hours in front of the 24-hour News Networks and one can feel desolate in the face of Sisyphean problems in the world. ISIS in Iraq. Boko Haram in Nigeria. The Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda. Strife between Buddhists and Muslims in Myanmar. Israel and Palestine on the […]
I help teach a university course on The Holocaust in Historical Context. It is, it should be, impossible to remain unaffected by immersive study of Western Antisemitism and how religious, economic, political, racial, nationalistic, and cultural trends intersected to culminate in the ghastly monstrosity of the Third Reich and its horrorhouse of moral inversions. The […]
In the summertime I visited Padua and went to the Scrovegni Chapel, dated 1305. In the past 40 years the frescos have begun to crumble, and curators have researched atmospheric problems in order to counteract the decay. Long story short: this chapel is OLD. The air on the globe has totally changed since 1305 and […]
(This is Part 3 of a 3-part series. See Part 1 and Part 2) OFFENSE Jesus was most recently portrayed in celluloid form by a Portuguese model with great hair. I’m talking about The Bible, a miniseries broadcast on The History Channel. In it we learn that Jesus was gentle and strong; that Jews really […]
(This is Part 2 of a 3-part series. See Part 1 here.) AUTHORITY There is another hot issue in a discussion about religion and the Bible: the question of who has authority over the telling of a narrative? How about The Bible miniseries on The History Channel? It’s a very confident little piece, isn’t […]
“If you can’t control your own house, how will you be able to control the White House?” – Michelle Obama, 2007 presidential campaign speech The word “economy” descends from the ancient Greek word oikonomia, meaning ‘law of the home.’ Whereas the market can be considered to be an institution whose main task is the preservation and […]
By witnessing and transforming the most troubling parts of our religions we will transform ourselves and, in doing so, our relationship to those of other faiths. This work must begin with each of us allowing ourselves to be aware of what troubles us about our faith, but this work cannot be fully done alone, or even just with those within our own community. Each of us uniquely mirrors aspects of Gd and those of us from different faith traditions have different lenses through which Gd is experienced. If a goal is for more of Gd to show up within these conversations, then we need one another.
On the last night of Osama bin Laden’s earthly sojourn, unbeknownst to him, in the Student Commons at Virginia Commonwealth University, the Muslim Student Association at VCU presented its annual performance-art showcase called Coffeehouse. As it turns out, the two dissimilar occurrences are quite connected to Islam’s modern messaging.
A few weeks have gone by since the November 11 premier of the TLC reality show “All-American Muslim.” I have only just found some time to sit down and watch the first two episodes of the show. Having already read reviews about it and seen the previews, there was nothing in it that surprised me, […]
The firebombing of Charlie Hebdo offices following its decision to run an edition featuring Prophet Mohamed as “guest editor,” is a sad reflection of France’s uneasy relationship to Islam and religion more generally. Sadly, there are some who do not believe that Charlie Hebdo should have the right to publish a satirical issue, in which […]