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James Browning

“I swear by God, I shall not surrender as a humiliated person, and I shall not escape like slaves,” said Husayn ibn Ali. The Shi’ite Muslim holiday of Ashura remembers the death of Husayn, Muhammad’s grandson, with mourning, symbolic chest beating, and dramatic reenactments. Ashura is the climax of the Festival of Muharram. Ashura means […] Read More

I know you are frightened by media sages who trumpet that Christmas is under attack. But let’s take a reality check: –Churches all over America are observing Advent and preparing for Christmas. Not one of them has been shut down. –My family got our Christmas decorations out of storage and put them up as we […] Read More

Spirituality is a buzz word, a vague term and an important trend in North American religion. Spirituality is a buzz word in North American popular culture. To explore, visit a bookstore and peruse the spirituality section. (When there are books such as Spirituality for Dummies and A Complete Idiot’s Guide to Spirituality, then spirituality must […] Read More

The refrain for the Christmas season is “peace on earth,” but this vision often seems confined to the realm of angels. On earth, the dreary round of violence by individuals and nations continues. The light of the angels’ song of peace in Luke 2:14 illuminates the messy realities of earth. Not only Christians, but also […] Read More

The birthday of Krishna is celebrated by Hindus with a joyous festival filled with worship (puja) in homes and temples, storytelling of Krishna’s antics and adventures as a youth, and a sportive ritual of breaking pots filled with milk products. Janmashtami is the name of the festival dedicated to the birth of Krishna, a Hindu […] Read More

Imagine if a new religious group told a story on a particular holiday that depicted first-century Christians as fanatical, arrogant, disruptive followers of a cult leader named Jesus. Their story tells how these deluded followers stubbornly refused to believe the truth about their leader and kept on teaching he was Messiah. Those telling the story […] Read More

Christians, Jews, Muslims and other theists seek to discern and follow the will of God. It may surprise them to learn that there are other religious practitioners who do not believe in a personal deity. How do you find meaning and purpose in life if you do not believe in God? Confucius and Buddha represent […] Read More

He was a social reformer, a religious revolutionary and a wise mentor. He gathered followers, taught them in parables and discourses and founded a community of disciples. His story shapes the lives of people worldwide. His name is Siddhartha Gautama, and his title is Buddha (Awakened One). He made no claims to be divine. He […] Read More

Lao-Tze reminds all who wish to govern, “The hard and mighty lie beneath the ground, while the tender and weak dance on the breeze above.” These are not the words of a 20th-century politician. They are attributed to a legendary Chinese mystic named Lao-Tze (“Old Master”). He believed that busybodies who try to run things […] Read More

He was a wandering teacher largely unappreciated in his own time. He was a failure as a politician. Yet his teachings became the foundation of an ethical philosophy, a religion and a culture. His name is K’ung Fu-tzu, or Confucius. Confucius (551-479 BCE) lived in a China that was falling apart. The ruling Chou dynasty […] Read More