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Protestant Traditions

Opening the Door to Zen in Church

Opening the Door to Zen in Church

by Deborah Streeter

“In the past, models of being church have been based on belief. We are exploring a new model of church, built on spiritual discovery and transformation of life. The question no longer is, ‘What do you believe?’ but ‘How has your life been transformed?’”

Freedom to Proselytize Associated with Lower Religious Hostilities

Last March the Religious Freedom Project at the Berkley Center for Religion, Development, and World Affairs published a series of short papers about proselytism in their publication Cornerstone. Each author was invited to respond to the following statement:

The Christmas Narrative Revisited

On December 25, Christians around the world will gather to celebrate Jesus’ birth with joyful carols, special liturgies, festive meals and gifts…Yet, what are the origins of Christmas and how did December 25 come to be associated with Jesus’ birthday? Contrary to popular belief, celebrations of Jesus’ nativity are not mentioned in the Gospels or Acts, and no hint is offered about a specific date or time of the year related to his birth. In fact, a careful analysis of scripture indicates that December 25 is an unlikely date for Jesus’ birth. Instead of being derived from any event in the Christian narrative, Christmas likely has pagan roots that trace back to the third-century Roman festival of the rebirth of the “Invincible Sun,” celebrated around the Winter Solstice when the increased darkening ends and the lengthening of the daylight hours begins.

The United Methodist Church – Rocky Mountain Conference

The United Methodist Church (UMC) was one of the three founding religious communities of Religions for Peace, along with the Unitarian Universalist Association and the Rissho Kosei Kai Buddhist community. Occasionally, Religions for Peace USA gets the chance to interview a leader from one of our member communities and highlight their good work. Suzy Lamoreaux, project coordinator of Religions for Peace USA, sat down with Rev. Dr. Youngsook Kang, director of Missions and Ministry for the Rocky Mountain Conference of the UMC.

The Theological Hijacking of Religious “Freedom”

Since the passage and quick “fix” of Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) there has been a robust national conversation about the merits and particularities of the such laws. But noticeably absent from that conversation was any serious dialogue about the relationship between theology and the law.

Four Things To Learn from One of America’s Oldest Religious Communities

Sunlight pours into the plain, open room through its many windows. Men and women of all ages gather in rows of simple wooden benches all aligned to face the center of the room, facing one another. Together they sit in stillness and silence, actively waiting for inspiration to arrive.

For at least an hour each week, Quakers – or more formally known as the Religious Society of Friends – come together in this room for what is called a meeting for worship. While the structure varies from meetinghouse to meetinghouse and from perspective to perspective, this tradition (comparable to a church service) offers valuable insights into how one can live a mindful and fulfilling life – with or without the religious context.

Why Follow Luther Past 2017? A Contemporary Lutheran Approach to Inter-Religious Relations

New Lutheran Publication on Interreligion

Sharing Our Prayers in Community

The Ties that Bind

Introducing Your New Interfaith Editor

The Reverend Gail Collins-Ranadive

Climate Change Divestment Campaign Spreads to America’s Churches

Leveraging Finance for the Sake of the Planet

Michael Dowd and "Evolutionary Christianity"

Reconciling Science and Faith

“Interview an Atheist at Church” Takes Off

A few months ago, a random idea popped in my head: What if pastors interviewed atheists as part of their Sunday service? Having been a youth pastor at one point, and now an atheist, it was as if I was trying to connect two different stages of my life. More importantly, I thought about some of the benefits this might generate amongst atheists, pastors, and congregants alike.

Why Young Adults Are Disappearing from Our Congregations

My work life so far has focused on the youth and young adult communities in Muslim and Unitarian Universalist (UU) settings, and this essay is about the challenges they face. Many American faith communities face the problem of large elderly populations and small to non-existent populations of young people from 18 to 30. The Pew Forum reports that a third of the U.S. population under 30 now identifies as religiously unaffiliated. Clearly, faith communities are having trouble maintaining relationships with their estranged youth communities.

Challenging Evangelical Assumptions

Evangelicals face enormous challenges in the pluralistic public square in the 21st century, especially among Muslims. Suspicion and fear of Muslims exist in many quarters as a result of 9/11 and other radical Muslim acts of terror in places like Spain and London and some bad habits about how most of us absorb news. We firmly believe that radical Muslims do not represent the majority of Muslims in the West, who have repeatedly disavowed terrorism. Clearly, most Muslims in the U.S. seek to live out their Muslim faith in ways that affirm and resonate with American values.

An Interfaith Advent

Advent. ad·vent/’ad,vent/Noun: 1.The arrival of a notable person, thing, or event. 2.The first season of the church year, leading up to Christmas and including the four preceding Sundays.

The Spiritual Formation of a Nazarene Interfaith Activist

As readers of the Interfaith Observer know full well, the world is in the midst of an unparalleled religious diversity. Everyone acknowledges this new reality. The ways we respond are legion. Historically, progressive religious adherents are most likely to identify as religious pluralists and work intentionally to develop new friendships with religious strangers.

Evangelicals and Interreligious Dialogue: the Next Generation

It doesn’t take much time visiting websites, attending conferences, or reading books about interfaith dialogue to discover how few Protestant evangelicals are involved. A few can be found, to be sure, but not in large numbers.

A Conversation with John Cobb

TIO: Thank you for taking the time to speak with me, Professor Cobb. I’m particularly interested in talking about one of your recent books.

John Cobb:Which one?

TIO: The Dialogue Comes of Age: Christian Encounters with Other Traditions.

Cobb: I thought you might be referring to it.

TIO: One of the things that struck me was how it focused on dialogue between religious communities as a collective. Could you tell me more about that?