A secular priest and Benedictine oblate, a political scientist and sociologist specialized in Middle East studies, Islam, and Islamism, with a particular focus on Palestine, Lebanon, Syria and Bahrain. A professor and researcher at various high-fluting (and some not so high-fluting) institutions of higher learning in the United States, Europe, and the Middle East. Formerly a journalist and consultant focused on security, intelligence and ‘terrorism.’
A servant of God who believes that ‘traditional’ or ‘classic’ Christian theology demands social action, and who sees the Eucharist as the natural and necessary center of a sustainable Christian life. A person who struggles with ‘just war theory’ as well as its pacifist alternative. A liberation theologian who finds liberation theology problematic. Someone who believes that denominations are lacerations on the Body of Christ – the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church – and that it is a basic Christian duty to seek the unity necessary for healing. How good and how pleasant it is, when brothers dwell together as one! (Ps 133:1)
A servant of his fellow brothers and sisters in the human family, convinced that the reality of the fall must never be used as an excuse to accept injustice. Someone who believes in absolutes, yet sees tolerance and dialogue as foundational to our human existence. A friend of interfaith dialogue who believes that we can learn about ourselves from the experiences of others, and better understand others by examining ourselves. A friend of all who genuinely struggle for dignity and justice, regardless of their faith or nationality. Let justice surge like waters, and righteousness like an unfailing stream. (Amos 5:24)
This blog is intended as a mechanism for sharing thoughts, concerns and questions with friends. Ideas, questions, soliloquies, devotions, reviews; some ecclesial, some political, some just for humor value. Nothing pretentious (by design), some guaranteed to provoke. Posting will occur when there is something to say, and when I have time to say it. In the words of Hazrat Imam Husayn ibn Ali, Speech is like medicine: a small dose cures the patient and an excess kills him. Updates may be sporadic. Comments will be posted provided that they are civil.
The name of this blog is a reference to the first chapter in the Epistle of St James, where he describes how Christians must give witness to their faith, not only by what they say, but by the way they lead their lives:
For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his own face in a mirror. He sees himself, then goes off and promptly forgets what he looked like. But the one who peers into the perfect law of freedom and perseveres, and is not a hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, such a one shall be blessed in what he does. If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, his religion is vain. Religion that is pure and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to care for orphans and widows in their affliction and to keep oneself unstained by the world. (James 1:23-27)
Christian faith has consequences. A commitment to Christ is a commitment of belief to the eternal Word of God, which cannot be compromised, stained, by adapting it to worldly ideologies, interests and trends. For all that is in the world, sensual lust, enticement for the eyes, and a pretentious life, is not from the Father but is from the world. (1 John 2:16) Just as important, a commitment to Christ is a commitment of love to all, but most especially to the vulnerable members of the human family: the poor, the defenseless, the oppressed, and the grieving. In St Matthew’s depiction of the judgment, the nations are gathered before the throne, And the king will say to them in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.’ (Mat 25:40) We are called to be steadfast and faithful, compassionate, just and generous. Faith and love cannot be separated. This connection–between words and deeds, between the contemplative faith of our hearts and the practical faith of our hands, between principled love for mankind and concrete love for actual persons of flesh and blood–is the difference between living faith and dead letters.
And so to the disclaimer: all views expressed by me are entirely my own, and do not represent any institution with which I am, or have previously been affiliated. Links do not necessarily imply endorsement of external content, nor does it imply that whomever I have linked to endorses anything in this blog.