We explore various facets of loving God and multifaith neighbors through interviews with pastors, ministry leaders, and scholars. We also model neighborly multifaith conversations with members of various religious traditions. Learn more atwww.multifaithmatters.org.
Roger Williams is not only the founder of Rhode Island, and our forgotten Founding Father, he also left a legacy for us to consider on civility through deep religious and political difference, and religious freedom. In this podcast we discuss Williams with James Calvin Davis, George Adams Ellis Professor of Liberal Arts and Religion at Middlebury College. He is the author of five books on the relationship between Christianity and public life, including The Moral Theology of Roger Williams (2004), In Defense of Civility (2010), Forbearance (2017), and the forthcoming American Liturgy: Finding Theological Meaning in the Holy Days of US Culture.
Extensive analysis has been done trying to explain why a large percentage of White evangelicals voted in support of Trump, a candidate whose character was at odds with evangelical moral values. Scholars have identified the importance of Christian nationalism as a major factor, and this overlaps with the influence of Pentecostal demonology and spiritual warfare that was also a part, particularly among those labeled “court evangelicals.” In this podcast Phil Wyman, host of the Wild Theology podcast and author of Burning Religion, joins in a discussion with S. Jonathan O’Donnell on this topic. O’Donnell is a postdoctoral fellow in American Studies at University College Dublin, with a research focus on the intersection of religious demonology with systems of power in post-9/11 America. He is the author of Passing Orders: Demonology and Sovereignty in American Spiritual Warfare (Fordham University Press, 2020).
Hospitality is an ancient Christian practice that holds great potential in multifaith engagement. Amos Yong, Dean of the School of Theology and School of Intercultural Studies at Fuller Seminary, is our guest in this episode. He has written on this topic in his book Hospitality and the Other: Pentecost, Christian Practices, and the Neighbor (Orbis Books, 2008), as well as in the chapter “Hospitality and Religious Others: An Orthopathic Perspective” in the volume A Charitable Orthopathy: Christian Perspectives on Emotions in Multifaith Engagement (Pickwick, 2020).
The metaphor of the rider and the elephant has been used in social psychology and neuroscience to illustrate how the mind works in regards to behavior. On the one hand there is the rider of the elephant, representing the conscious and rational part of our cognition, and on the other hand there is the elephant, representing the subconscious and emotional aspects. Many times it is the elephant that leads the way rather than the rider. Much of the work among Christians in multifaith has been directed at the rider. This podcast discusses the metaphor and asks how might we pay greater attention to the significance of the elephant underlying outgroup bias in multifaith contexts. (This podcast includes clips from sources used in keeping with Fair Use for educational purposes, including The Brain with David Eagleman from PBS, as well as the film The Sultan and the Saint, used with permission by Unity Productions Foundation. To use this film in interfaith dialogue free of charge, visit www.sultanandthesaintfilm.com/encounters/.)
In this episode Anthony Le Donne and Larry Behrendt discuss Christian-Jewish dialogue, the focus of their book, Sacred Dissonance: The Blessing of Difference in Jewish-Christian Dialogue. (See my review of this volume here.) Behrendt is a Jewish lawyer and a specialist in interreligious dialogue with a specific emphasis on Jewish-Christian relations, and Le Donne is a Christian New Testament scholar teaching at United Theological Seminary. In this podcast we discuss aspects of their book, which "challenges the notion that a passive and self-contained approach to religious distinction will bring about peaceful coexistence. In candid conversations between the authors, every section of Sacred Dissonance models the ways in which conversation can be the means of both addressing a difficult past and a challenging present. In the course of exploring the ways in which Jews and Christians can speak to one another, Le Donne and Behrendt show that Christianity can become a 'pro-Jewish' religion, Judaism can become a 'pro-Christian' religion, and communities of faith can open space for others, rather than turning them away, even without breaking down the differences between them."
Bradley J. Galloway was a fixture in the North American right-wing extremist movement for 13 years and was the president of a racist skinhead gang for five of those years. It is these lived experiences that play a role in his work in combating violent extremism. Brad currently works as the Coordinator of the Centre on Hate, Bias & Extremism (CHBE) at Ontario Tech University. Brad also works as a Case Manager with Life After Hate (LAH), where he assists others find their way away from violent extremism. He also conducts research and intervention work at the Organization for the Prevention of Violence (OPV). He has been a Research Assistant on a number of projects that are funded by Public Safety Canada and the Canadian Network for Research on Terrorism, Security and Society (TSAS). Brad has also served as a consultant for Google, Moonshot CVE, and the Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD), among others. His primary research interests include right-wing extremism and terrorism, preventing and countering violent extremism, and the roles of former extremists in combating violent extremism.
Members of their community have been victims of stereotypes and misunderstanding, from confusion with Muslims and individual attacks after 9/11 to mass shootings at their temples. This is the Sikh community, and our guest is Darren Duerksen who shares his research and experience among Sikhs in India and the U.S. Duerksen is the director and assistant professor of intercultural studies at Fresno Pacific University. He received an M.Div in intercultural studies from Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary in Fresno and a Ph.D. in intercultural studies from Fuller Theological Seminary. A committed Anabaptist, he is an active member in the Mennonite Brethren Church.
The options for addressing ultimate concerns includes not only religious possibilities, but Atheistic ones as well. This is particularly the case with the rise of The Nones, those that the Pew Forum describe as "the religiously unaffiliated share of the population, consisting of people who describe their religious identity as atheist, agnostic or 'nothing in particular,'" a rapidly growing segment of the population." Christians tend to have "cool" and negative feelings toward Atheists, and in this conversation with Randal Rauser we explore the reasons why. We also discuss some of the stereotypes associated with Atheism, the importance of emotions as well as rational considerations, and how Christians can engage Atheists in more neighborly ways. Rauser is Professor of Historical Theology at Taylor Seminary in Edmonton, Alberta. He is the author of many books, including Conversations with My Inner Atheist (2020), An Atheist and a Christian Walk into a Bar (2016), Is the Atheist My Neighbor (2015), and You're Not as Crazy as I Think (2011).
In a new podcast feature, the commentary, we interact with a recent opinion piece at ReligionNews.com titled "The campaign is over. Will a Biden-Harris administration deliver on its interfaith promises?," by Eboo Patel, Paul Brandeis Raushenbush, and Mary Ellen Giess. Their essay discusses the potential for the incoming administration to provide a lasting legacy through interfaith initiatives. In this commentary we interact with the opinion essay and provide some further thoughts.
This podcast is an interview with Pastor Mark Shetler of RiverCity Christian church in Sacramento, California. He shares the story of their congregational engagement with the local Muslim immigrant community.
A conversation with Ron Sider about his book Nonviolent Action. From the book's promotional description:
There are numerous examples throughout history of effective nonviolent action. Nonviolent protesters defied the Soviet Empire's communist rulers, Gandhi's nonviolent revolution defeated the British Empire, and Martin Luther King Jr.'s peaceful civil-rights crusade changed American history. Recent scholarship shows that nonviolent revolutions against injustice and dictatorship are actually more successful than violent campaigns. In this book, noted theologian and bestselling author Ron Sider argues that the search for peaceful alternatives to violence is not only a practical necessity in the wake of the twentieth century--the most bloody in human history--but also a moral demand of the Christian faith. He presents compelling examples of how nonviolent action has been practiced in history and in current social-political situations to promote peace and oppose injustice, showing that this path is a successful and viable alternative to violence.
An interview with Douglas Johnston on faith-based diplomacy. Johnston is the founder and former president of the International Center for Religion and Diplomacy out of Washington, DC (www.icrd.org). He has produced several books including Religion, the Missing Dimension of Statecraft, and Religion, Terror and Error: US Foreign Policy and the Challenge of Spiritual Engagement.
An interview with Os Guinness on religious freedom and diversity. Guinness' book on this topic is The Global Public Square: Religious Freedom and the Making of a World Safe for Diversity (InterVarsity Press, 2013). From the book: "How do we live with our deepest differences, especially when those differences are religious and ideological, and very especially when those differences concern matters of our common public life? In short, how do we create a global public square and make the world safer for diversity?" (p. 13).
An interview with Steve Stone, former Pastor of Heartsong Church in Cordova, Tennessee. He discusses his congregational relationship with the local Muslim community, and how this became a national media story, which after appearing on CNN, positively impacted Christians and Muslims around the world.
An interview with Paul Louis Metzger and Kyogen Carlson on Christian-Buddhist relationships. Metzger is Professor of Christian Theology and Theology of Culture at Multnomah University and Multnomah Biblical Seminary. Carlson is a Soto Zen priest and abbot of Dharma Rain Zen Center. This conversation was recorded on September 17, 2014. Kyogen Carlson passed away the following day. This was his last work in religious diplomacy. We are privileged to have known him, to have had him as a friend, and to have worked with him in religious diplomacy and peacemaking.
In the wake of the most recent terror attack France is wresting with secularism, pluralism and freedom of speech issues. America faces its own challenges as Christian hegemony wanes and minority religious and secular voices seek their place in the public square. What is the best way forward in this situation, particularly in light of increasing polarization and intergroup conflict and the loss of trust and social capital? Charles Randall Paul and John Morehead discuss the issues and suggest promising pathways out of the abyss. For more on the Foundation for Religious Diplomacy visit www.religious-diplomacy.org, and The World Table at www.theworldtable.co.
Dehumanization is a significant but neglected facet of multifaith and interfaith work. When evangelicals and other Christians use the metaphors of disease, warfare, and demonization to talk about religious others, we are drawing on dehumanization. How is it defined? How has it taken place historically, and in the present, by Christians and others? And how can we take steps to combat it within our ranks? We answer these questions in a conversation with David Livingstone Smith, author of On Inhumanity: Dehumanization and How to Resist It (Oxford University Press, 2020)
Stephen Trainer is pastor of Graffiti Fellowship Church and Graffiti Ministries. In this conversation he discusses his church's relationship with the Muslim community in Brooklyn. His church is also a part of our national Network of churches and ministries.
David Shenk has years of experience in relationships and conversations with Muslims. He is the author of a number of books, including A Muslim and Christian in Dialogue, Christian. Muslim. Friend., Journeys of the Muslim Nation and the Christian Church, and Teatime in Mogadishu: My Journey as a Peace Ambassador in the World of Islam. He has also contributed a response to Do Christians, Muslims, and Jews Worship the Same God?: Four Views, where with Joseph Cumming, he explores the implications of this question specifically for Christians wanting to minister among and build relationships with Muslims.
Statistics indicate that religious switching happens with increasing frequency, and interfaith marriages are on the rise. How would you as a Christian navigate the challenges of an interfaith relationship? What if your wife became a Mormon or Buddhist? What if your daughter became a Muslim? In this video podcast conversation with Patricia Raybon and Alana Raybon, co-authors of Undivided: A Muslim Daughter, Her Christian Mother, Their Path to Peace (W Publishing Group, 2015), who discuss how they worked through the challenges of Alana converting to Islam.
Craig Blomberg is distinguished professor of New Testament at Denver Seminary. He has been involved in Evangelical-Mormon dialogue for over 20 years, and has contributed a chapter in, A Charitable Orthopathy (Pickwick, 2019). In this podcast he shares his reflections on the lessons he has learned about multifaith engagement over the years as a result of his scriptural studies and relationships with Mormons.
Dr. Paul Louis Metzger is Professor, Christian Theology and Theology of Culture at Multnomah University, and Director of the Institute for Cultural Engagement: New Wine, New Wineskins. He is the author of a number of books including Connecting Christ and Evangelical Zen. In this interview we discuss Dr. Metzger's academic and popular work in multifaith engagement.
In this podcast we talk to Carrie Graham, Pastor and fonder of The Church Lab. While at Fuller Theological Seminary, she had a worshipful and transformative experience with dialogue. She came to see dialogue facilitation as a vital pastoral skill and began facilitating multifaith dialogues in 2007. By the time she became a pastor in 2009, she understood spiritual growth as having 4 pillars: dialogue, discipleship, outreach/mission and worship. They each exercise distinct spiritual muscles. At the end of the day, TCL meets unmet spiritual needs as the American religious landscape changes. The Church Lab exists to help practitioners of any or no religious affiliation - and at times Christian leaders specifically - to help the Church discover her future. You can learn more about The Church Lab by visiting their website.
In this podcast interview we are pleased to talk with Pastor Phil Wyman. Phil has been a Pastor of a church in Salem, MA called The Gathering. His latest work involves planting micro-churches in festival settings, and includes a combination of art and human interaction, which he calls “Blank Canvas Art.” As an expert on Paganism and related New Religious Movements, Phil has been instrumental in breaking down relational barriers between the Witch and Christian communities in Salem, MA, and has helped train thousands of people over the last 20 years to engage their cities, their festivals, and their Pagan neighbors in creative ways. You can get a copy of his book Burning Religion, learn more about Pastor Phil here, and support his work through his Patreon page.
Nick Armstrong of Cole Community Church in Boise, Idaho shares his work with the Muslim community that he and his wife Laura started after 23 years of living and working in a predominantly Muslim country. He shares his background, the Christians and Muslims involved, their activities, the foundation for this kind of approach, and words of advice and encouragement to pastors.
Multi-faith Matters presents the first of our new podcasts. In this episode, John Morehead interviews Bob Robinson, Senior Lecturer in Theology at Laidlaw College in Christchurch, New Zealand. Bob is the author of Christians Meeting Hindus (2004), and Jesus and the Religions (2012). The focus of the interview is the latter book, and what Christians might learn from Jesus as a model for multifaith encounters.
Pagans are another religious group that Christians have fears about and associate with spiritual evil. In this podcast we have a conversation with David Dashifen Kees, a Pagan and an initiate priest in the Firefly House, an organization for Wiccans, witches, magic workers, and other Pagans in the Washington DC area. David and I discuss Paganism and evangelical Christianity, including his journey to Paganism and a brief sketch of what it entails. Also discussed are various stereotypes, the challenges of the significance of evangelism to evangelical identity and practice, and how this can complicate the Christian-Pagan relationship. For more on Paganism see Christine Hoff Kraemer’s Seeking the Mystery: An Introduction to Pagan Theologies (Patheos Press, 2013), and the Pagan Portal at Patheos.
Certain religious groups make Christians very uneasy, and Satanism is a prime example, particularly during the Halloween season. In order to learn how to dispel stereotypes and fears, this video models a respectful conversation between a Christian and a Satanist. My guest is Stephen Bradford Long, a member of The Satanic Temple, who provides an introduction to his religious tradition. Stephen discusses his religious journey, the metaphorical figure of Satan, what drew him to The Satanic Temple, why he thinks these kinds of multifaith conversations are important, and more. You can learn more about Stephen's work at his website https://stephenbradfordlong.com/. For more on The Satanic Temple, Joseph P. Laycock has written Speak of the Devil: How the Satanic Temple is Changing the Way We Talk About Religion (Oxford University Press, 2020).
Our organization pursues multifaith engagement, but what is the practice of religious diplomacy behind it? How does it relate to dialogue and interfaith? These and other questions are answered in a conversation between Charles Randall Paul, Founder and President of the Foundation for Religious Diplomacy (religious-diplomacy.org), and John Morehead, Director of FRD's Evangelical chapter and Multifaith Matters.
In this conversation with Alan Streett, Senior Research Professor of Biblical Theology at Criswell College, we discuss the thesis of his book Subversive Meals: An Analysis of the Lord's Supper under Roman Domination during the First Century. Dr. Streett talks about the Roman form of the meal that the early church adopted, the subversive and anti-imperial nature of the meal, its radical egalitarian aspects, and how this applies the to the American church in the twenty-first century in a time of pandemic and the church's close alliance with empire.
While evangelism is a priority for many Christians, we tend to give little attention to the ethics related to it. In our day there are charges of predatory proselytism, abuses of friendship for evangelistic purposes, and the idea that religious exclusivism equals supremacism. In this video podcast I have a conversation with Elmer Thiessen, Adjunct Professor of Philosophy at Emmanuel Bible College. He is the author of The Ethics of Evangelism: A Philosophical Defense of Proselytizing and Persuasion (IVP Academic, 2011), and The Scandal of Evangelism: A Biblical Study of the Ethics of Evangelism (Cascade Books, 2018). During our conversation we define evangelism and related terms, the ethics of evangelism, bring some critique to some Christian evangelistic efforts, and discuss the relationship between evangelism and tolerance.
In this video podcast discussion with Judith Mendelsohn Rood, Research Scholar at W.E. Blackstone Center and Emeritus Professor of History and Middle East Studies at Biola University, we explore the background and current events in the ongoing conflict between the US and Iran. She shares a summary of the background and history, and also speaks to present challenges. A few resources are recommended including The Twilight War: The Secret History of America’s Conflict with Iran by David Crist, and Mutual Radicalization: How Groups and Nations Drive Each Other to Extremes by Fathali Moghaddam.
There has been a lot of commentary by Christians and Muslims in response to the White supremacist terrorist attack against two Muslim mosques in New Zealand. For a sample of a good collection by evangelicals see those at Christianity Today. I wanted to add my own thoughts, and I thought a conversation with a Muslim interfaith leader would be a good way to do that. In this special podcast you can watch my conversation with Safi Kaskas as we discuss issues related to the terror attack and relationships between Christians and Muslims.
Bob Roberts is pastor of NorthWood Church in Keller, TX. He's a conservative Baptist, so he's the first to say that it's sort of odd that his 30-year journey as an evangelical ministry would lead him to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with some of the most prominent Muslim clerics in the world. He prays with them in their mosques, "breaks bread" with them, Texas-style, at his home, and has become one of the leading Christian ministers of any persuasion in what he calls the fight against Islamophobia.