Ten Reasons Why This Election Should Be About Issues and Not Personalities

The presidential tickets in this election on both sides of the aisle have lots of "personality;" some of the candidates have even been referred to as "rock stars." John McCain's campaign manager Rick Davis has said that "this election is not about issues, this election is about a composite view of what people take away from these candidates." That has been widely interpreted as a prediction that the election will be about personalities more than about issues. That would be a tragedy. [...]

The Church's Role in the Georgia-Russia Conflict

The recent Georgia-Russia mini-war in and around South Ossetia was definitely not a religious war, but it serves as a reminder that religious identity doesn't even come in third place when issues of national identity are at issue. While the battle raged, the majority of participants -- and casualties -- were Christians on both sides.

In both countries, the Orthodox Church [...]

Reflecting on Our Response to 9/11

Seven years ago this morning, airplanes were flown into the World Trade Center Towers, the Pentagon, and a field in rural Pennsylvania. The next day I joined with a few others to draft the following statement. In a few weeks, more than 4,000 of America's religious leaders of all faiths had signed it and it was printed as an ad in The New York Times.

Seven years later, as we remember that day, it is appropriate to reflect on this statement and to wonder how the [...]

Where Wars Come From

Peace is a respectful, harmonious, and cooperative relationship between groups and nations. Peace is the serenity that comes from clarity, the assurance that the truth will reveal itself, even if only in part. Biblical wisdom teaches us that "there is nothing covered that shall not be revealed nor hid that shall not be known" (Luke 12:2). Violence arises from fear born of deception. Scratch a conflict and find a lie. Love rejoices in the truth and perfect love, complete, [...]

Charlie Wilson's Warning

Coinciding with the visit of a dear friend who's spent the past few years working in Afghanistan for both development NGOs and (non-U.S.) government agencies, the DVD of Charlie Wilson's War recently arrived from Netflix. My friend recommends it. Also, I [heart] Philip Seymour Hoffman. And I can tolerate Tom Hanks in appropriate doses. But an

An International Day of Peace

"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God" (Matthew 5:9).

Peacemaking is an important responsibility of people who follow Jesus, the Prince of Peace. Christianity requires that we, ourselves, become the living, breathing, flesh-and-blood manifestation of the teachings of Jesus. Our calling is to a radical obedience to Jesus' call to follow him (Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship). The teachings of Jesus are extreme [...]

Four Iraqi Evangelicals

Recently, I had the unique opportunity of meeting with four Iraqi evangelicals at a conference in a country near Iraq. They were young church leaders. Despite the circumstances in their country, they were upbeat and gracious. Having never been to Iraq, nor having personally met an Iraqi, I was eager to hear their perspectives on current events. My conversations with them helped me understand to a greater degree the true complexity of war.

One of them was a church planter in a large [...]

A Responsible Withdrawal From Iraq

Recently, I participated in a conference call based on a report from The Task Force For A Responsible Withdrawal From Iraq. The report argued that the United States can and should do the following: quickly withdraw American military forces from Iraq, "carefully pursue diplomatic remedies for the Iraq crisis," and "generously give to help rebuild Iraq in the long run." For the policy wonks, the report offers

Good News from Colombia: Rescue of FARC Hostages

Its been months since I´ve written anything about the current events in Colombia. But I can't let "the hug the country has been waiting for" slip by without comment.

My infant daughter Amara and I were at the deli counter when the news broke. A current ran through the grocery store causing eruptions of joy. Ingrid Betancourt, former Presidential candidate, the three U.S. contractors and 11 others kidnapped by the FARC guerrilla group were freed this afternoon.

See reports in