The Church’s Seven Deadly Secrets

Meet the Author Paul H. Jones is Professor of Religion at Transylvania University in Lexington, KY.  An ordained minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Jones has written two books: Christ's Eucharistic Presence: A History of the Doctrine (1994) and The Church's Seven Deadly Secrets (2013), and has co-authored two additional texts: The Structure of Religion: Judaism and Christianity (2005) and 500 Illustrations: Stories from Life for Preaching and Teaching (1998). Book Read More …

1,000 Posts

In June 2009, some 44 months ago, I launched this blog.  My initial goals were quite modest: Learn more about blogging and social media by deepening my own engagement Share my thoughts on timely topics with an emphasis on raising questions rather than offering answers Encourage conversation about matters of faith that matter (within and beyond the congregation I was serving) After a few months of posting on an occasional basis, I began to be more intentional about when I posted. Read More …

Paging God

Meet the Author Wendy Cadge is associate professor of sociology at Brandeis University.  Her work focuses on religion in the contemporary United States with an emphasis in how such relates to healthcare, immigration and sexuality.  Cadge is the author of two books: Heartwood: The First Generation of Theravada Buddhism in America (2005) and Paging God: Religion in the Halls of Medicine (2012). Book Basics Health-care is a near universal value in America with average per person spending Read More …

Review of The God Problem

Meet the Author Robert Wuthnow is the Gerhard Andlinger Professor of Social Sciences and Director of the Center for the Study of American Religion at Princeton University.  Wuthnow is widely published in the areas of sociology of religion, culture and civil society.  His recent books include After the Baby Boomers:  How Twenty-and Thirty-Somethings Are Shaping the Future of American Religion (my review) and Boundless Faith: The Global Influence of American Churches (my review).  For more Read More …

Religion is Morally Neutral

An account of a conversation between the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu includes Tutu's words below, which explain how he understands religion as morally neutral: And you have to remember that religion is of itself neither good nor bad . . . Religion is a morally neutral thing. It is what you do with it. It is like a knife, a knife is good when you use it for cutting up bread for sandwiches. A knife is bad when you stick it in somebody’s gut. Religion is good when it produces a Dalai Read More …

Remaining Relevant

Justin Lathrop, executive search consultant at the Vanderbloemen Search Group, recently suggested five ways churches can remain relevant: Leverage the strengths of church networks Engage social media Expand online offerings, including worship services Consider the possibilities of strategic church mergers Welcome the diverse population of the community So What? Many of the items on Lathrop's list focus on structural matters: the possibility of belonging to multiple networks Read More …

Religious Hope for 2013

Paul Brandeis Raushenbush, senior religion editor for the Huffington Post, recently shared how his experiences interacting with religious leaders offers him hope for the future.  Rather than attempting to capture the vast wisdom of these leaders in a short blog post, he allowed over forty religious leaders to share their hopes for 2013.  Three that were especially meaningful to me follow: For the New Year: may we believe deeply without despising difference; hope extravagantly without being Read More …

An Internet Challenge

From 2003-2011 Paul Brandeis Raushenbush was the Associate Dean of Religious Life and the Chapel at Princeton University.  Now he serves as the Senior Religion Editor for the Huffington Post.  A few weeks ago he wrote an article focusing on the power and prevalence of the internet as a source of religious information.  He concluded that piece with these insightful and challenging words: Instead of the bombs of negativity, distrust and conflict that can find their way into religion on the Read More …

Sex Outside of Marriage by Religion

A new study published in the American Sociological Review, found that Muslims and Hindus "are more likely than Christians and Jews to refrain from sex outside of marriage".  More specifically, the data shows: Those who report having premarital sex: 94% of Jews 79% of Christians 65% of Buddhists 43% of Muslims 19% of Hindus Those who report having extramarital sex: 4% of Jews 3% of Christians Less than 1% of Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists So What? While this Read More …

Review of When God Talks Back

Meet the Author T. M. Luhrmann is a psychological anthropologist and the Watkins University Professor in the Stanford Anthropology Department.  Her books include Persuasions of the Witch’s Craft (1989), The Good Parsi (1996), Of Two Minds (2000), and When God Talks Back (2012). Luhrmann was elected as a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2003) and awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship (2007). Book Basics T. M. Luhrmann grew up in an environment that birthed religious Read More …