Feb 25, 2014

Celebrating Black (Muslim) History

By Saadia Faruqi
Source: Tikkun Daily
A brand new year, another February drawing to a close. We all know this month is Black History Month, and the overall impression I’ve got from people who are not black is that nobody truly cares about black history except for African Americans. Granted, PBS airs some specials, and our kids learn about important African American figures in school, mostly the high-profile ones such as Dr. King, Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks and a few other prominent black activists. for the average American, that’s the extent of our understanding of or participation in Black History Month. Other than that, we defer to the African American community and allow them to claim this “celebration” as their own.

Feb 24, 2014

A Carnival with a Jewish Flavor for Everybody

Jews have their own Halloween? Who  Knew? Purim is the Jewish celebration which some compare to Halloween. Well, the comparison is not quite correct: Indeed, people – children as well as adults – put on costumes, but that’s where the similarity ends.

Feb 21, 2014

Misconceptions of Science and Religion

Source: HealthCanal
The public’s view that science and religion can’t work in collaboration is a misconception that stunts progress, according to a new survey of more than 10,000 Americans, scientists and evangelical Protestants. A study by Rice University also found that scientists and the general public are surprisingly similar in their religious practices.

Feb 17, 2014

Culture Is Not The Problem

By Daniel Johnson
As I listened to Propaganda’s spoken word piece entitled Justice and the Gospel, he briefly addressed our issue as Christians with reconciling our views of culture. He says that we view culture as an invisible monster shaped by forces outside of our control, that we view culture as part of this imaginary us vs. them view. Is that a correct assessment?

Feb 14, 2014

How are Women's Roles in Faith Changing?

Women have played key roles in faith-based communities as long as they have existed. In recent years, that leadership has been formalized. More congregations today are led by women. Here in Houston, women are Reverends and Rabbis, hold leadership roles in interfaith organizations. And yet, some sects of some religions still hold to long-standing, traditional gender roles.

We explore the changing roles of women in faith-based communities here in Houston. We consider which religious groups or sects bend the gender divide, how women of faith seek to provide a positive influence within their respective congregations, and how changes in the religious landscape in Houston have helped empower more women to take on more active roles in their community.

Feb 10, 2014

Book Review: Between Allah and Jesus

By Kristen Adams
It’s not often that you come across a small title on a dusty bookshelf in the back corner of a library that really speaks to you. Yet those infrequent times that this does happen are really golden moments in one’s education. I recently had the opportunity to find a book about interfaith dialogue called “Between Allah and Jesus: What Christians can Learn from Muslims.” Written by Boston College Professor of Philosophy Peter J. Kreeft, the book is small, light in the hand, and despite the title that may startle some, full of wisdom.

Feb 5, 2014

How Religious Organizations Balance Community Service & Proselytizing

Source: Houston Matters

Houston Matters discusses how religious organizations throughout Greater Houston often find themselves engaged on two fronts: supporting their own congregants with services and events based on their particular religious beliefs, and providing services to the community at large, based on the moral convictions of the congregation, regardless of whether those served hold similar religious views.

Along the way, those two fronts – which are often not mutually exclusive – can become intermingled. It creates a challenge for churches, synagogues and mosques – they want to represent and grow their congregations. They also want to provide needed services of all kinds for all Houstonians. How much can they accomplish? How much of work like food, clothing, medical care, and job training should religious organizations be expected to engage in? Does the city of Houston or state of Texas assume too much from them? Do some of those religious organizations, in turn, feel compelled to use the opportunity to proselytize while providing these services? (Different religions – and even sects of the same religion – look on proselytization very differently).

Feb 1, 2014

Peace Through the Hijab

By Saadia Faruqi
Source: Tikkun Daily
Stereotypes are hurtful, no doubt about it. They assume things about an entire group of people by those who have less than an iota of knowledge about the group. It shrinks each individual in the group to the lowest common denominator, or even to something unrelated entirely to the group. And it’s doubly sad when stereotypes are perpetuated not just externally but internally as well. Today, perhaps no other group faces more stereotypes than the Muslim woman. The adjectives – I call them labels – used to define her range from the inaccurate to the offensive and even sometimes laughable. Submissive. Oppressed. Quiet. Homemaker. Religious. Devout. Covered.