Ecumenical and/or Inter-religious

One Bread, One Body

​[1] Vatican-banned Roman Catholic theologian Charles Curran writes that, to be in-line with Second Vatican Council ideals, papal encyclicals should address the role of liturgy in connection with social justice and daily life. However, “these documents make little or no reference to liturgy” (Curran 121). Curran’s criticism cannot be leveled against Deus Caritas Est, Pope […]

Theology in the Context of “World Christianity”

This is a revision of a paper presented at the Convocation of Teaching Theologians, ELCA, Luther Seminary, St. Paul, MN, August 19-21, 2005 [1] In 1942, at his inauguration as the Archbishop of Canterbury, William Temple referred to the nascent ecumenical movement as “the great new fact of our era.” Perhaps, Temple’s memorable phrase may […]

Report from the WCC/WB/IMF Encounters

[1] The point of departure in these external encounters should be “the loving message of Jesus: that all should have life in all its fullness, here and now, and in the future.” -Giving Witness [2] Two encounters between mid-level staff of the World Council of Churches (WCC), the World Bank (WB), and the International Monetary […]

The Thunderbolt of God

[1] One of the fruits of the 1997 North American Lutheran-Reformed Formula of Agreement was its development of the concept “mutual affirmation and mutual admonition.” Given a common core of shared belief, each brings to the other a fresh charism and a corrective of reductionist tendencies. The Journal’s request for a Reformed perspective on Lutheran […]

The Justice of War on Iraq

The author argues that the U.S. and its partners have rightly arrived at war on Iraq as a just and necessary last resort. The potential problems with the just-war case are notable, particularly concerning the after-effects of the war, but they do not incurably undermine the case for going to war. Instead, both supporters and […]

Interpreting the Islamic Ethics of War and Peace

Copyright © 2001, Islamic Political Ethics: Civil Society, Pluralism, and Conflict. Used with permission. [1] If their discourse on the Persian Gulf War is any indication, Muslims are hopelessly divided on the Islamic ethics of war and peace. One graphic indication of this division is found in the deliberations of the People’s Islamic Conference, a […]

Justification for Violence in Islam: Part I, Introductory Remarks

[1] A note on comparative approach is appropriate in a study which, like this one1, attempts to identify common ground on a particular issue shared by the Western monotheistic traditions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Comparative studies in religion have been generally criticized for oversimplifying the complex and intricate variations and divergences within each tradition […]

Justification for Violence in Islam: Part II, The Interplay between Religion and Power in Islam

Previous: Justification for Violence in Islam, Part I: Introductory Remarks [4] Islam emerged in seventh-century Arabia in the midst of a serious socio-economic imbalance between the rich and the poor, and between extreme forms of individualism and tribal solidarity. Moreover, it arose in the very spirit of populism of the Abrahamic faiths, that is, as […]

Justification for Violence in Islam: III: Jih_d as a Defensive Strategy or a Means of “Calling”?

Previous: Justification for Violence in Islam, Part II: The Interplay between Religion and Power in Islam [15] Long before the Muslim jurists undertook to provide religious rationale for the historical practice of jih_d by developing political-legal terminology like d_r al-isl_m (the sphere of “submission” [to God]) and d_r al-harb (the sphere of war), the Qur’an […]

Justification for Violence in Islam: IV: The Need for Legitimate Authority to Sanction Violence in the Name of God

Previous: Justification for Violence in Islam, Part III: Jih_d as a Defensive Strategy or a Means of “Calling”? [26] The Prophet through the revelation, then, was not only representing divine goals on earth; he was also engaged in interpreting them to make them relevant in the given cultural context. Any armed struggle like jih_d which, […]