Sep 18, 2014

Reza Aslan Talks About Jesus Before Houston Visit

Source: Houstonia
Religious studies scholar Dr. Reza Aslan made international news last year after being challenged by Fox News interviewer Lauren Green on his qualifications to write Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth. Why would Aslan, a Muslim, want to write a book about Jesus? Green asked. After the video went viral, drawing widespread mockery of Fox News, Aslan's book shot from fourth to first on the New York Times best-seller list. To promote the release of the paperback edition of Zealot, Aslan will give a talk Friday night at downtown's Christ Church Cathedral. The ticketed event, with an admission price that includes a signed copy of the book, is being organized by Brazos Bookstore.  

Sep 5, 2014

The Christian Cross, Texan Identity and Tex-ianity

By Ken Chitwood
Crosses come in various shapes, sizes, and colors. They are ubiquitous in homes across the United States and pepper the abodes of people throughout the world. Odds are, you have one hanging in your home whether you are religious or not. The art of the cross is a wide and diverse stream with the cross being transformed and translated throughout the ages to speak in new ways to new people in many contexts. Crosses are both religious and civil symbols, co-opted by various cultures and movements as articles expressing deeper realities and worldviews.

Aug 27, 2014

Was Being Brown Michael Brown's Problem?

By Pastor Keion Henderson
It was a warn sunny day in July of 1999. The city was Fort Wayne, a medium sized town in the northeastern corner of Indiana. My mother saw me off and wished me well, as I drove due east to visit a college in an effort to ascertain a basketball scholarship. Paying for college was not even an option. If it were not for this great nation, and it’s commitment to higher education, I would have never been able to attend. 


Aug 22, 2014

Michchhami Dukhadam OR Asking Forgiveness

By Dr. Sulekh Jain

On the auspicious occasion of the holy festival (Paryushan and Das Laxan Parvas) of the Jains (from August 22 –September 8), we seek and beg your forgiveness for our intentional and unintentional wrongs, excesses and sins, that we might have done to you that caused harm and hurt to you in any way during the last year. We do the same to everyone.

Aug 12, 2014

Why Study Religions If You Don't Want to Convert?

By Amy Nolan-Smith
Are you the type of person who loves to explore other faiths? Do you ask questions of every person regarding their culture and practices? Do you find music from a choir, the call of the adhan and the cantor's recital of the Torah equally inspiring and pleasing to the ear? I know I do, and sadly, I am often perceived negatively because of it.

Aug 6, 2014

Book Review: Keeping Faith at Home

By Rev. Beth Ellen Cooper
It has been some time since I’ve posted, on anything at all. I’m very blessed by my congregation, and I am nearing the end of a five-month sabbatical from church life. Part of that break, has also been a break from general church life, and a time for me to spend more mindful time with my own partner, and my young daughters. But during this break, I was given a copy of Seamless Faith.

Jul 23, 2014

Book Excerpt: The Whispers of Water

By Magi Flow
Source: Amazon
The Whispers of Water is a compilation of spoken word derived from the author's point of view. It unfolds truth told by the Spirit, and confirms the revelation of life through biblical reference, praise, poetry, and theology. According to the book description on Amazon, this book serves as evidence to the world that spiritual freedom is created through the lessons learned from carnal captivity, as well as allowing God’s word to reside within our hearts. Although written from a Christian perspective, the lessons may be beneficial for all faiths.

Jul 18, 2014

Fasting for Peace

By Saadia Faruqi
Source: Tikkun Daily
If you live in a major U.S. city chances are that you’ve heard of Ramadan, the sacred Islamic month in which Muslims fast from dawn to dusk. Ramadan used to be a strange and unknown religious celebration in the United States a few decades ago. Now, thanks to the negative and positive publicity American Muslims have received in recent years, everybody knows when and why we are fasting. Everyone from the White House to the local church and synagogue is holding interfaith iftar events (breaking of the fast) for their Muslim friends and neighbors. I should be proud and happy that my esoteric religious ritual is no longer looked upon as an undue hardship forced upon me by my religion. That finally the American public is ready and willing to accept me, with my five daily prayers and my fasting and my hijab, as one of them. I should be attending those interfaith iftar events with happiness and fervor. But I’m not.

Jul 15, 2014

Mayor's Interfaith Ramadan

Mayor of Houston Annise Parker has said that Houston was a city harboring hardworking individuals and that the exemplary harmony amongst the people belonging to different religions and cultures distinguished it from other cities of the USA.

Jul 4, 2014

Happy Birthday America!

By Saadia Faruqi
Source: Tikkun Daily
July 4, 2014. My dear adopted country, I am so happy to be a part of yet another celebration of independence, another anniversary of your birth! For the last fifteen years I have celebrated with you, and with each passing year I have realized how special you are to me. Many people, especially the talking heads on certain cable news networks, think that the scarf on my head diminishes in me the ability to feel loyalty and pride, but they are wrong. I can wear whatever I want, pray however I wish, and still wave the American flag high on the fourth of July. Despite, or perhaps because of, the fact that I am American Muslim I have a deep appreciation of what those two things mean in that combination.

Jul 1, 2014

Things A Christian Can Learn During Ramadan

By Rev. Nell Green
ABP Blog
Ramadan begins on June 28th. Ramadan is the month when people who follow Islam fast from the time the sun comes up until it goes down. They do this for 30 days. Sometimes my Muslim friends laugh at me because they say I keep up more than they do about when Ramadan starts and ends. I admit, I pay attention to it. I think this month when Muslims fast from sun up to sun down is pregnant with possibilities not only for them but for me. Why?

Jun 24, 2014

God is Not Interested in Party Politics

By Daniel Johnson
If one watches the antics of the group known as Westboro Baptist Church you come away with a few conclusions: (1) They are a bunch of religious nuts. (2) There must be people who agree with them. (3) They must be Republicans.

Jun 17, 2014

Book Review: Orientalism

Source: GoodReads
Orientalism by Edward Said (original publication 1978) is a fascinatingly interesting book. It is also a book that is virtually required reading if you are going to say anything at all about post-colonialism. Whether you agree or disagree with the central theme of the book is almost beside the point. This work is seminal and landmark – so it can be avoided only at your own cost.

Jun 11, 2014

Bergdahl and the Broader Conversation

By Saadia Faruqi
It is indeed a joyous time: the last American POW is finally home. Who can deny that the U.S. military has indeed fulfilled its promise that it will leave no man (or woman) behind? Sargent Bowe Bergdahl has hardly been released, however, when the magnificent, wonderful story of courage and patriotism was transformed into, in Jon Stewart’s words, a complicated, clouded, controversial story. He has been called a deserter, a traitor and a coward. It seems as if even our soldiers are not guaranteed our respect after risking their lives for our freedoms.

May 23, 2014

A Labyrinth Emerges in Houston's Freedmen's Town

By Mike Pardee
A multi-faith, highly diverse group of volunteers has been hard at work in April and May on a uniquely exciting art and service project. This motley group of pilgrims is collaborating to install an 11-circuit labyrinth in a prayer garden right in the shadow of Houston’s skyscrapers downtown. They have worked on constructing the labyrinth’s foundations for the past 5 consecutive weekends. In the final 2 weeks of their project (Saturday mornings May 24th and 31st), they plan to finish installing the labyrinth’s serpentine path itself. New volunteers who would like to participate are welcome to join them either day. Their aim is to dedicate the completed labyrinth structure and other enhancements during a closing celebration at 10:00AM on Saturday, June 7th.

May 16, 2014

Apostacy, Blasphemy and Other Ugly Things

By Ayesha Richards

This week, the western world was in shock at yet another barbaric punishment from a Muslim country. Meriam Ibrahim, a Sudanese woman who converted to Christianity, was sentenced to death by a Sudanese Shariah court. As a result, yet again I had to field countless questions and comments from my customers and colleagues at work. As a nurse, I suppose people know and trust me, and as the only Muslim woman in a busy private practice, I suppose I am the only guide to all things Islamic for many.

May 11, 2014

The True Meaning of Motherhood

By Shahina Bashir
Source: Greed for Ilm
It’s that time of the year again. Your mailbox is overflowing with advertisements from various stores enticing you with valuable coupons. And each time you log in to check your email messages you are bombarded with more solicitations. You walk into your local mall and every store is claiming it has the best sale of the year. Yes, we are headed straight into one of the biggest celebrations of the year- Mother’s Day. It is the second most gift giving holiday following Christmas. But is Mother’s Day all about giving gifts and taking moms to their favorite restaurants for a meal?

May 7, 2014

Muslim Inmates Aren't Treated Fairly in Texas

Texas discriminates in limiting religious services for Muslim inmates to one hour a week, under supervision by guard, chaplain or volunteer, a federal judge ruled. Bobby Brown raised the challenge by resurrecting his 1969 class action against the Texas Department of Corrections over its treatment of Muslim inmates. Though the department, now known as the Texas Department of Criminal Justice or TDCJ, was bound by a 1977 consent decree to treat Muslim inmates equally as compared with adherents to Catholic, Protestant and Jewish faiths, it moved to terminate the consent decree in August 2012.

May 3, 2014

Hucksters and Texas Tent Revival Politics

By Carol Morgan
Source: Houston Press
Religious liberty is at the very heart of what it means to be an American, yet Texas conservatives and our state's activist pastors have conveniently forgotten that. Lately, it feels as if Texas is waging some sort of religious war on a number of different fronts. Throughout history, politicians have embedded a few religious references in their speeches, but nothing close to what we're seeing lately. Beginning in earnest with Ronald Reagan's nomination in 1980 and continued by Bill Clinton, "Religispeak" has evolved into a must-have tool for every conservative's campaign rhetoric and policy effort. In the same way that sex sells in the media, politicians discovered that religion does also.