Oct 23, 2014

Can Christians Celebrate Diwali?

By Ken Chitwood
Source: Deseret News

The lights are hung, the candles lit, the feast prepared, the New Year is almost here, families gather and the children wait to hear the dramatic re-telling of stories from the ancient past. No, it is not Christmas, nor is it Hanukkah or Kwanzaa; steeped in mythical tales, religious devotion, and socio-cultural importance, it is the Hindu festival of Diwali, celebrated in India and throughout its diaspora spread across the world.

Oct 20, 2014

Hindus of Greater Houston Hold Diwali Food Drive

By Venugopal Menon
Source: Voice of Asia
Hindus of Greater Houston wishes all a very happy Deepavali, the festival of lights. The ‘Festival of Lights’ signifies the victory of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance, good over evil, and hope over despair. As an appropriate gesture, and corresponding to their 25 year observance of Janmashtami together, the several Hindu temples and organizations of Houston are celebrating Diwali by helping the Food Bank of Houston and serving the needy.

Oct 18, 2014

Houston's Problems With the First Commandment and the First Amendment

By Andrew T. Walker
Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission
News that Houston city officials are requesting materials from pastors pertaining to efforts to repeal a controversial non-discrimination ordinance makes for troubling precedent about the future of free speech and religious liberty in America.

Oct 16, 2014

No! Houston Council Don't Read Those Sermons!

By Marty Troyer
Restricting equal rights continues to be the media story embraced as definitive of Houston’s Christian community. Systemically disenfranchised communities such as people of color, women, immigrants, the physically disabled, and people who have been ostracized based on sexuality are all protected by #HERO, the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance passed this summer. And yet the some Christians feverishly protest its implementation.

Oct 13, 2014

Columbus Day Revisited

By Tom Blakeley
Today is Columbus Day, a holiday at my kids' school and my wife's work. It is allegedly the day in 1492 that Christopher Columbus "arrived" in the Americas, discovered this great and glorious land we call our own. Early this morning, though, I read on the CNN news website that many Americans don't celebrate Columbus Day anymore. Was this another holiday destined to die in the face of political correctness? I decided to investigate further.

Oct 12, 2014

Youngest Nobel Peace Prize Winner - Yes She's Female and Yes She's Muslim

By Saadia Faruqi
Source: Tikkun Daily
I switched on my computer early this morning to get a lovely surprise: Malala Yusufzai won the Nobel Peace Prize for 2014. For all those who think Muslim women are too oppressed, too quiet, or too busy being mothers and housewives, to make international news, todays’ announcement from the Nobel Peace Committee may have come as a bit of a shocker. For me, it was validation of a lot of things. 

Oct 10, 2014

The New God of Football

By Saadia Faruqi
Source: Sacred Matters

The NFL made headlines yet again earlier this week, for imposing a penalty on Muslim football player Hussain Abdullah and then promptly retracting the penalty and issuing an apology. Most people like myself heard of the apology before the penalty and had to backtrack to find out exactly what occurred on Monday night. I think Abdullah was confused by all the attention as well. His offense: prostrating in prayer after a touchdown in a game against the New England Patriots. 

Sep 24, 2014

Leadership Through Service

By Fatima Ali
On Sunday, September 14th I headed to my third iLead meeting of the 2014-2015 program year. I knew this session would be on service so I expected to explore the ideas behind community service and learn about how others have improved their communities. However, when I left, I felt empowered knowing that I would have the chance to do the same with my peers.  

Sep 18, 2014

Reza Aslan Talks About Jesus Before Houston Visit

Source: Houstonia
Religious studies scholar Dr. Reza Aslan made international news last year after being challenged by Fox News interviewer Lauren Green on his qualifications to write Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth. Why would Aslan, a Muslim, want to write a book about Jesus? Green asked. After the video went viral, drawing widespread mockery of Fox News, Aslan's book shot from fourth to first on the New York Times best-seller list. To promote the release of the paperback edition of Zealot, Aslan will give a talk Friday night at downtown's Christ Church Cathedral. The ticketed event, with an admission price that includes a signed copy of the book, is being organized by Brazos Bookstore.  

Sep 11, 2014

9/11: Never Forget

By Saadia Faruqi
Source: Tikkun Daily
Do you remember where you were, what you were doing that fateful morning on September 11, 2001? A Pew survey shows that 97 percent of Americans remember exactly where they were when 9/11 occurred, the highest percentage, followed by JFK’s assassination (95 percent) and Pearl Harbor (89 percent).

Sep 5, 2014

The Christian Cross, Texan Identity and Tex-ianity

By Ken Chitwood
Crosses come in various shapes, sizes, and colors. They are ubiquitous in homes across the United States and pepper the abodes of people throughout the world. Odds are, you have one hanging in your home whether you are religious or not. The art of the cross is a wide and diverse stream with the cross being transformed and translated throughout the ages to speak in new ways to new people in many contexts. Crosses are both religious and civil symbols, co-opted by various cultures and movements as articles expressing deeper realities and worldviews.

Aug 27, 2014

Was Being Brown Michael Brown's Problem?

By Pastor Keion Henderson
It was a warn sunny day in July of 1999. The city was Fort Wayne, a medium sized town in the northeastern corner of Indiana. My mother saw me off and wished me well, as I drove due east to visit a college in an effort to ascertain a basketball scholarship. Paying for college was not even an option. If it were not for this great nation, and it’s commitment to higher education, I would have never been able to attend. 


Aug 22, 2014

Michchhami Dukhadam OR Asking Forgiveness

By Dr. Sulekh Jain

On the auspicious occasion of the holy festival (Paryushan and Das Laxan Parvas) of the Jains (from August 22 –September 8), we seek and beg your forgiveness for our intentional and unintentional wrongs, excesses and sins, that we might have done to you that caused harm and hurt to you in any way during the last year. We do the same to everyone.

Aug 12, 2014

Why Study Religions If You Don't Want to Convert?

By Amy Nolan-Smith
Are you the type of person who loves to explore other faiths? Do you ask questions of every person regarding their culture and practices? Do you find music from a choir, the call of the adhan and the cantor's recital of the Torah equally inspiring and pleasing to the ear? I know I do, and sadly, I am often perceived negatively because of it.

Aug 6, 2014

Book Review: Keeping Faith at Home

By Rev. Beth Ellen Cooper
It has been some time since I’ve posted, on anything at all. I’m very blessed by my congregation, and I am nearing the end of a five-month sabbatical from church life. Part of that break, has also been a break from general church life, and a time for me to spend more mindful time with my own partner, and my young daughters. But during this break, I was given a copy of Seamless Faith.

Jul 23, 2014

Book Excerpt: The Whispers of Water

By Magi Flow
Source: Amazon
The Whispers of Water is a compilation of spoken word derived from the author's point of view. It unfolds truth told by the Spirit, and confirms the revelation of life through biblical reference, praise, poetry, and theology. According to the book description on Amazon, this book serves as evidence to the world that spiritual freedom is created through the lessons learned from carnal captivity, as well as allowing God’s word to reside within our hearts. Although written from a Christian perspective, the lessons may be beneficial for all faiths.

Jul 18, 2014

Fasting for Peace

By Saadia Faruqi
Source: Tikkun Daily
If you live in a major U.S. city chances are that you’ve heard of Ramadan, the sacred Islamic month in which Muslims fast from dawn to dusk. Ramadan used to be a strange and unknown religious celebration in the United States a few decades ago. Now, thanks to the negative and positive publicity American Muslims have received in recent years, everybody knows when and why we are fasting. Everyone from the White House to the local church and synagogue is holding interfaith iftar events (breaking of the fast) for their Muslim friends and neighbors. I should be proud and happy that my esoteric religious ritual is no longer looked upon as an undue hardship forced upon me by my religion. That finally the American public is ready and willing to accept me, with my five daily prayers and my fasting and my hijab, as one of them. I should be attending those interfaith iftar events with happiness and fervor. But I’m not.

Jul 15, 2014

Mayor's Interfaith Ramadan

Mayor of Houston Annise Parker has said that Houston was a city harboring hardworking individuals and that the exemplary harmony amongst the people belonging to different religions and cultures distinguished it from other cities of the USA.

Jul 4, 2014

Happy Birthday America!

By Saadia Faruqi
Source: Tikkun Daily
July 4, 2014. My dear adopted country, I am so happy to be a part of yet another celebration of independence, another anniversary of your birth! For the last fifteen years I have celebrated with you, and with each passing year I have realized how special you are to me. Many people, especially the talking heads on certain cable news networks, think that the scarf on my head diminishes in me the ability to feel loyalty and pride, but they are wrong. I can wear whatever I want, pray however I wish, and still wave the American flag high on the fourth of July. Despite, or perhaps because of, the fact that I am American Muslim I have a deep appreciation of what those two things mean in that combination.