Archive for March, 2009


The co-editor of the new on line Journal of Interreligious Dialogue, Joshua Stanton,  has a post on the blog, On Faith, hosted by the Washington Post.  This is worth reading. It is a great story of what a young person can accomplish in a relatively short time with a great idea whose time has come. You can read the whole article or just the excerpts below:

“The Journal has been more than eight months in the making. …With the notion that religious leaders might gain greatly from regular interactions with colleagues of other denominations, I began sending letters to seminaries, non-profit organizations, and scholarly associations to see if there was interest in an online academic journal tailored specifically to the needs of present and future religious leaders and scholars. In the process, I met Stephanie Hughes, the student body president of Union Theological Seminary, Together we set out to build what we hoped would become not only the first peer reviewed electronic journal for religious leaders, but also a virtual inter-religious community.

After working to form an inter-religious (and inter-generational) staff of dedicated students and practicing theologians, we approached top thinkers from different religious traditions to serve as peer reviewers and advisors on our Board of Scholars and Practitioners. These leaders showed no hesitation to promote tolerance and little fear that their work to do so might undermine their personal religious practices. These leaders include Sayyid M. Syeed, Director of Interfaith and Community Alliances at the Islamic Society of North America, Nancy Fuchs-Kreimer, Director of the Religious Studies Department at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, Eboo Patel, Executive Director of the Interfaith Youth Core, Reginald Broadnax, Dean of Academic Affairs at Hood Theological Seminary, and Robert Hunt, Director of Global Theological Education at the Perkins School of Theology at the Southern Methodist University, among many others.

This March, we formally launched the Journal of Inter-Religious Dialogue™. Board members are currently reviewing submissions for our Spring 2009 edition. And our website is up and running, with a number of articles already available for readers. The time is now right to invite seminarians, lay leaders, and believers (and those without belief) of all denominations to join our network.”

I encourage our readers to check out the website and to become community members.

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If you are interested in what is happening in the science and religion dialogue today, you probably know the  word “emergence” and know that the cluster of scientific ideas around that word is an important part of that conversation.

If you would like a  beginner’s exposition,  do find 5 minutes to watch this video of Professor Philip Clayton of Claremont School of Theology. Clayton is one of the best of today’s theologians working in the realm of process thought, and he is definitely one of the clearest expositors of complicated ideas. 

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Since so many  people are blogging religiously(in every sense of the word), it was inevitable that someone would come up with “ten commandments for bloggers.”You can learn about one recent  Christian effort here and review the ten they came up with ten commandmentsbelow. Any readers have some other ideas?

1 You shall not put your blog before your integrity

2 You shall not make an idol of your blog

3 You shall not misuse your screen name by using your anonymity to sin

4 Remember the Sabbath day by taking one day off a week from your blog

5 Honour your fellow-bloggers above yourselves and do not give undue significance to their mistakes

6 You shall not murder someone else’s honour, reputation or feelings

7 You shall not use the web to commit or permit adultery in your mind

8 You shall not steal another person’s content

9 You shall not give false testimony against your fellow-blogger

10 You shall not covet your neighbour’s blog ranking. Be content with your own content

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Swami Tyaganada, Hindu Chaplain at Harvard University and Sheryl Kujawa-Holbrook, Dean of the Episcopal Divinity School are two of the members of the Board of Scholars and Practitioners that has been gathered to oversee an exciting new project–an on-line inter-religious  journal and an accompanying  website.

                    This effort is not only multifaith, it is multi-generational as well. Joshua Stanton, a first year student at Hebrew Union College and Stephanie Hughes, a graduate student at Union Theological Seminary, are the founders and organizers. In a remarkably short time, they have gathered an impressive and diverse board. The  first issue of the journal will appear in May and the website carries a call for papers for the second issue .

                    As one of the members of the board, I have already had the privilege of participating in the peer review of several articles.  I am thoroughly looking  forward to watching this journal and website blossom.

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On March 2, Gallup’s Center for Muslim Studies published the first-ever nationally representative study of a randomly selected sample of Muslim Americans. With over 300,000 interviews of U.S. households, this study is the largest one to date, providing comparative data on issues from emotional well being, educational achievment, political views and body weight.

It is worth downloading the full report. In the meantime, here are some intriguing findings:

· Muslim Americans are the most racially diverse of American faith communities. The largest subgroup is African Americans at 35%.

43 percent of Muslim-American women hold a college or postgraduate degree, compared with 29 percent of US women overall. They are second only to Jewish women in level of education.

Almost one-half of Muslim Americans identify themselves as Democrats, 37% say they are Independents and 8% Republicans.

· Muslim Americans are more likely than the general public to report feeling negative emotions such as worry and anger, and less likely than other groups to classify themselves as “thriving.”

More than a third (36%) of Muslim Americans are between the ages of 18 and 29, significantly more than the general public (18%).

Interspersed among the statistics are statements from leading Muslims. For example, this comment by Hadia Mubarak, a PhD candidate at Georgetown University in Islamic Studies and the first female elected national president of the Muslim Student Association.

How do we demonstrate our commitment to Islam is integral to our American identity? How do Muslims demonstrate that acts of worship — wearing headscarves, taking off work at noon on Friday to attend congregational prayers, building mosques, etc. — do not undermine our patriotism or pride in being American? The path ahead is arduous and demanding. Through bridge-building, civic participation, and political empowerment, Muslim Americans must define their own identity within
American culture.


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