Post-World War 2 Western Europe, Canada and the USA, economically thriving repositories of the former ecclesial warehouse of the Reformed avatar of Constantine’s triumphal Christianity, have become the 20th century Promised Land for world’s ambitious and entrepreneurial immigrants from all over the world. I remember in the 1960s and 70s, as a young man with both realistic and utopian dreams, I listened to pros and cons on the threat of ‘brain drain’ in India. Even in those formative days, I knew that Christianity was much more than an imported Teutonic theology, an antiquated ecclesial hierarchical system aping the Roman Empire, a mishmash worldview of Hellenized instant salvation propagated by disingenuous fundamentalist evangelists who often prey on the gullible and vulnerable seekers of hope or use pre-colonialist sly tactics to woo the natives of distant shores in order to pillage their way of life and plunder their resources in the name of Jesus, the Galilean carpenter- healer. For the first time, as a pre-teen I heard from my father, a school principal and a lay preacher at Carmel Mar Thoma Church that the religion of this Palestinian rebel rabbi was all about ordinary people invited to live, in the words of the ancient Hebrew prophet, Micah, “see that justice is done, let mercy be your first concern, and humbly obey your God” .
Abrahamic Faith Traditions:
Over the past three decades, I have struggled with theological themes such as ecumenism, interfaith dialogue, missiology, the finality or the Lordship of Jesus Christ, etc. more than other equally pressing theological issues. All major religious traditions emerged in and around the land mass between the Red Sea, the Ganges (Ganga)- the river of life, and the Yellow Sea in South Asia. When I began teaching a course in world’s religions not too long ago, I was more appalled than amused as my colleagues stated that the Abrahamic faiths such as Judaism, Christianity and Islam are Western religions and the rest are Eastern religions! An interesting Western discovery indeed! First of all, all religions belong to all humanity of our global village. Most Western scholars have distorted non-Abrahamic religions as animistic, polytheistic etc. by their own homemade categories and definitions. For example, there is no such thing as Hinduism! For those who belong to this most ancient faith community, it is Sanatana Dharma, a cosmic, eternal order which governs all life. Among all religious communities, Christians, who do not understand most religions solely because of their arrogance and perhaps an excessive yearning that stems from a lingering spiritual insecurity to convert others to their fold, appear to be inquisitive, and also sadly insensitive as they disseminate their truncated perceptions about other religious systems and traditions. All faith traditions without exception offer indispensable perspectives on the inscrutability of the holy and the absolute. In 1984, at the East-West dialogue held in Honolulu, Hawaii, I was troubled when some Christians stated that Buddhism is not a religion as it does not meet the criteria of a religion set by some Christian scholars but rather a philosophy. The visibly upset Buddhist delegates claimed that religion is both an explanation of life (philosophy) and a way of salvation/enlightenment/moksha (religion).
Western Christianity – ‘Tea bag Religion’?
A few weeks after the American astronauts landed on the moon in 1969, I found myself as a theological student in Edinburgh, Scotland, the matrix of three-hundred-year-old Scottish Presbyterianism, an inimitable Reformed offshoot of Calvinism. A naïve but daring young Christian very proud of his pre-colonial pedigree of authentic first century apostolic Christianity founded by, Thomas, the Apostle of India, I was an eager beaver anxious to try new Scottish dishes such as porridge, kipper for breakfast, Scotch egg and haggis for lunch and then the required languages such as Greek, Hebrew, a bit of French and German besides the native brogue. One late Sunday afternoon during High Tea, our gracious matron Eleanor Thompson asked me: ‘Would you care for some English tea?’ In stead of gratefully appreciating her liberal hospitality, I was impulsive in my audacious reply: ‘Where do they grow tea in England?’. My hostess was not amused; in fact, she appeared noticeably perturbed as she hastily tottered straight to the kitchen and in no time returned excitedly with a tea box. She read aloud with conviction and a characteristic snicker : “ Indian Tea packaged in Birmingham!”. Later she admitted her tempest in a teapot and apologized for apparent storminess over a cup of tea! Back in the old country, we lived only couple of miles away from a tea plantation and whenever my mother made tea in the kitchen, you could smell the aroma all over the house and we would march together towards the veranda for our 4 ‘O’ clock tea and snacks. This ostensibly noxious but pleasant cultural encounter with Eleanor Thompson within a few days in my new home away from home made our friendship strong and secure for the next three years. From then on, for months and years, she would ask: “Would you like some Darjeeling tea?”. Quite an uneasy but true experience which paved the way for my fast theological conclusion over three decades ago that the type of European or Western Christianity is not unlike the fusty old tea—imported, nicely packaged, very well preserved with absolutely no fragrance.
Obviously a transplanted Eastern Christian with apostolic pedigree, in spite of or perhaps because of my pastoral ministry in Canada in the past 30 years, I do not see the skeleton leftover Christianity of the once triumphant European Christianity the same way my pastoral colleagues, both Reformed or Roman Catholic, would! In fact, the musty old Hellenized Messiah called Christ, packaged in European cultural incrustations is insipid and meaningless to me unlike the Yesua Masiah (Jesus, the Messiah ) with original aroma, flavor and savor. Two decades later in preparation for the Merrill Fellowship at the Harvard Divinity School in the fall of 1991, I had to tackle an tricky question: What are the deficiencies in your theological training? One significant deficiency that I am agonizingly aware of is that for better, for worse, I took all my theological training away from my native land, in Scotland, Canada, the United States and England. Sadly perhaps an opportunity to theologically wrestle with the issues of life from my original native perspective is lost for ever for me and I shall regret that peculiarly personal loss for the rest of my life. In fact, I wonder if what I sense right now is more an embarrassing self-inflicted failure than a deficiency in my capacity to theologize the way I was used to and would have liked to. My very first task was to grapple with the North African church father, Augustine’s Confession. For several months, I had almost thought of Augustine as an Italian Roman Catholic monk born and brought up in Europe; there was no mention of his powerful ministry in Hippo Regius, the Royal Port and in particular his combative theological arsenal against Pelagianism (404 CE) in the city of Carthage that made him a great theologian of the Church.
Promise of Diversity and Pluralism
For me, the promise of ethnic diversity and religious pluralism within Christianity did not begin with Augustine, but predominantly with the ministry of Apostle Thomas (46-52 CE) in religiously pluralistic India; probably the theological encounters of Paul in Athens recorded in the Acts of the Apostles and those of Mark in Alexandria in the first century. They are valid and helpful historical and theological developments for us today as we encounter the demographic diversity and religious pluralism in the West. Suddenly former missionaries, missiologists and liberation theologians interested in contextual theology are coming up with new definitions of diversity and pluralism. The word ‘ethnic’ simply refers to a particular racial, not necessarily religious, group of people, such as Chinese, Indians, Sri Lankans, Malayas, Scots, Irish, Swedes, Turks, Jews, Celts, Huguenots, Vikings, Swiss etc. with common history, customs, traditions, folklores, perhaps religious beliefs, language etc. For example, several ethnic communities such as the Jews during their Babylonian exile, marauding Greeks, Arab tradesmen, prowling Portuguese, and colonial pillagers such as the Dutch, French, English, etc. arrived unannounced in my native land. The Indian historian, K.M. Panikar once commented that the English first sent their missionaries to befriend the native population, then the traders to appropriate the spices and finally the gunboats to divide, conquer and plunder the country. Some foreigners easily became assimilated into the local culture and others fought among themselves and finally the vanquishers overstayed their welcome for over 400 years.
When I get asked about the origin of my name, my reply is that early in the 17th century my Christian ancestors invited a few English sailors lost in the Indian Ocean for a cup of tea and they hung around until we asked them to leave in 1947! Meantime, Yohanan became John and Mathai became Mathew! In the late 1970s, one Sunday morning following the worship service at the Parham United Church, a new public school teacher the community, posed this question: Is John Mathew your real name? What is your real Indian name? My spontaneous answer was: Bhagavan (God) Gandhi! She was satisfied and during the following week; in fact the gullible new teacher shared her new discovery about the local United Church minister to many in the community, even to some elders of the church who included her Principal and colleagues in the school! Having learned all the theological shades of affections and disaffections in early years in Europe, I have been successful in keeping almost all labels of allegiance at arm’s length. Many times I overheard Martin Niemöller’s characterization of theologians: liberals smoked cigarettes, conservatives preferred cigars and if you were a Barthian smoked a pipe!
Despite insurmountable opposition from the enduring native Hindu way of life, the new colonizers successfully established their own “ethnic” ways of life such as language, diet, health care, education, business and religious practices. Therefore, the Scottish Church in Madras (Chennai), the Greek Orthodox Church in Delhi, the Anglican Church in Calcutta ( Kolkotta) were / are ethnic churches same as the Eastern Orthodox parish in Chicago, IL the Mar Thoma Church in Dallas, TX or the Church of South India parish in Boston, MA. But when we use the term ‘ethnic’, we usually mean foreign-looking visitors who never left! Therefore, all humans belong to various ethnic groups of their birth and as citizens of our 21st century global village, we need to become generous in our imagination to understand and appreciate the new humanity.
Another Aspect of Ethnic Diversity and Christian Ecumenism Mistaken for Religious Pluralism!
In 1985, a small but vibrant group of new Americans, who settled down in and around the greater city of Chicago, IL had a rather dispiriting welcome from their apparently Christian neighborhood. These immigrants with their first-century apostolic pedigree from Kerala, India , largely professionals: nurses, teachers and physicians, decided to build a sanctuary in Des Plaines near Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport. The friendly Roman Catholic and Protestant neighbors also included a few destructive young vandals like most neighborhoods. The construction crew would build up from sunrise to sundown and at night the youths with too much energy and time on hand would tear down what was built up. One of the church members quoted the famous verse (Chapter 3) from the Book of Ecclesiastes, “a time to build up and a time to tear down”. There were also xenophobic graffitist displays of malice and animosity such as, ‘Hindus, go home’, ‘Muslims, leave America’, ‘Pakis, not welcome’ etc.( ‘paki’ means holy, pure, for example, Pakistan literally means Holy Land, although these folks look ‘Paki’ by the skin color and none with any affiliation to Pakistan!) Whenever I mention such racist foolish acts condoned by the church, most of Christian colleagues feel a bit queasy! Finally, on the day of the dedication ceremony of the Chicago Mar Thoma Church, as the Metropolitan and the diocesan bishop were joined by the ecumenical leaders from the local Christian denominations: Presbyterian, Lutheran, United Methodist, Episcopalian, Orthodox and Roman Catholic etc. the young vandals and curious neighbors were more than baffled to learn that these new immigrants were indeed building a Christian sanctuary with deeper religious roots than all the Christian churches in their neighborhood! Therefore, cultural pluralism can very well be mistaken for curious religious pluralism and as in this instance, for hateful, even hurtful racism. I have too many personal edifying experiences to share with but this is not the forum for that. It is important to distinguish cultural pluralism from religious pluralism and identity.
Roots of Pluralism
Now, I want to explore the relatively new phenomenon called ‘pluralism’ and attempt to distinguish cultural pluralism and religious pluralism. In the past two decades or so, pluralism, commonly referred to religious pluralism, has been elevated to almost a fearful but fashionable ideology, as some Western scholars mistook post-World War 2 cultural pluralism for religious pluralism. Suddenly this threatening new demographic reality of an economic exodus became an urgent discipline of informal discussion, formal study, academic research in several schools. With the advent of Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs and Christians from Africa, Asia and South America, the 300-year-old homogenous North American religious/cultural landscape with the native populations hidden in the forlorn margins became bejeweled by their places of worship such as synagogues, mosques, temples, gurudwaras and extravagant Eastern Christian sanctuaries. Therefore, religious pluralism in the West suddenly became such a grave topic of concern just as other extremely serious issues such HIV, AIDS, starvation, malnutrition, ethnic cleansing, etc. Although here I borrow the sub-title ‘roots of pluralism’ from Newbigin’s work, he does not offer any cogent explanations on the roots of pluralism. My suspicion is that, unless it did not matter to him as it existed in some faraway land, he failed to see or appreciate the pluralism during his missionary stint in South India but ostensibly he became concerned with the nascent post-colonial religious pluralism in his native British Isles he happened to observe upon his return; in fact, the roots of Western cultural and religious pluralism began with the Western imperialist colonialism, which Newbigin did not grasp!
I do not agree with Lesslie Newbigin’s observation that ‘ pluralism is a characteristic of the secular society, a society in which there is no officially approved pattern of belief or conduct’. First of all, I have serious problem with the so-called secular society. Most Western scholars, with the exception of William Cantwell Smith and Diogenes Allen who, in our private conversations, agreed with my notion of the sacred and the secular as a continuum, or perhaps two dependent, inseparable dimensions of the same reality, naively believe that the sacred and the secular are polar elements of reality! Pluralism is not a new phenomenon that showed up with some new visitors to the West who never left! It is too bad that Newbigin behaved as a foreigner and the foolishly assumed his missionary efforts would be ‘a step toward the conversion of India’ . The Good News of Jesus Christ has been proclaimed in India since 46 CE! In fact, when the 15th Portuguese colonizers arrived, they assumed they were the very first to preach the Good News of Jesus in India; church history informs us that they were disappointed that the Gospel was already part of the Indian way of life for fifteen centuries before their arrival. It is interesting that he complained about Jesus’ domestication into the Hindu worldview, which no worse than or different from a Hellenized or Westernized worldview. Therefore, Newbigin hastens to embark on the theme of evangelism of these folks who are ‘much more godly, more devout, and more pious than the average native Christian’ and probably responsible for this new trend called pluralism.
What Marshall McLuhan three decades ago described our world a ‘global village’ is in the 21st century a plural society. Newbigin unlike many others doesn’t get frazzled about the imminent threat of pluralism. He also is helpful to distinguish between cultural pluralism and religious pluralism, as the latter is mistaken for the former in most instances; Newbigin is wrong and misleading as he states that “religious pluralism is the belief that the differences between the religions are not a matter of truth and falsehood, but of different perceptions of the one truth; that to speak of religious beliefs as true or false is inadmissible” . With the new interest and “recent understanding of Paul, who appears now to have been something of a shaman himself” , how can one ignore the enduring the role played by other religious traditions and beliefs in the development of the Christian faith?
It is important to note that the Western Protestants appeared more concerned with religious pluralism than their Roman Catholic partners as the latter indiscriminately welcomed its members from all over the world. But if you are a Methodist from Singapore, a Episcopalian from India, a Presbyterian from Thailand, or a member of the Uniting Church of Australia or Philippines, where do you find comparable Christian fellowship in Europe or North America? Evidently, most mainline denominations built their own fences and kept tens of thousands of “ethnic” Christians away; some sought fellowship in theologically strange but friendly fundamental congregations on the margins.
Some ghettoized mainline traditional denominations such as the Mar Thoma and Eastern and Greek Orthodox denominations during their early years of existence in their spiritual Babylon met and worshipped either late morning or early afternoon in Methodist, Presbyterian or Episcopalian sanctuaries after the handful of largely geriatric congregations completed their 11.00 worship. These new Christian congregations with roots elsewhere in the world, some struggling to survive while others thriving with tens of thousands of members remind me of orchid plants loaded with colorful flowers on dying old majestic oak and teak trees. But unlike the orchid plants, these orchid Christians and their congregations financially help survive their host-parishes with income of at least $10 – 15, 000.00 in their annual budget. This overtly Christian but this covert financial arrangement is déjà vu for most new immigrant Christians as they were forced to have the short end of their struggle for survival by the former colonial masters in their native lands within living memory.
A Theology of the Religions
The church through the past twenty one centuries was forced to defend the uniqueness and finality of Jesus Christ against distortions and heresies from time to time. In fact, every generation has to redefine the centrality of Jesus in the life and work of the church which has been both unsettling and unifying factors in the evolution of the church. Daniel Migliore in his seminal work Faith Seeking Understanding has a compelling argument that the 21st century church should engage in a rather ambitious project in order to develop a theology of the religions. There is nothing new about this idea as the church always claimed to have developed a theology of other religions however inadequate and useless it often proved to be. Once upon a time the church considered other religions to be an external, even foreign, exasperating phenomenon. As Migliore suggests ‘ the need for Christian theology to engage in the development of a theology of the religions is both real and urgent’. The fact that the church survived over 2000 years without this crucial engagement is mind-boggling. I remember how shocked I was as I discovered William Carey’s pamphlet on The Evangelization of the Pagans of the East in the late 1960s in the University of Edinburgh’s New College Library. Until that day I respected Carey for being touted as the father of modern missions. My first reaction was, Who on earth was he describing as pagans? Carey was referring to the religious people of my native land in the 18th century. He did not know that they believed in an ancient religion called Sanatana Dharma, whom the Greek and other invaders labeled as Hinduism.
I am not attempting to defend those who belong to what we call Hinduism; they do not need my apologetics for their spiritual well-being. I would question Carey’s audacity to portray them as ‘pagans’. The people of ancient India had a religion, in fact one of the most sophisticated religions ever with a systematic theology centuries before Jesus. Carey’s Europe was practically a religious and spiritual vacuum until Constantine’s mother Helena allegedly became a new convert to Christianity, which paved the way for son to introduce the new religion to the empire. I must say that dramatic moment of realization of a condescending missionary mind-set in Carey’s enterprise transformed me theologically for ever. That denigrating approach tragically existed in the young but affluent mission-sending churches of the west until the British Raj was thrown out of India by a faithful man called Mahatma Gandhi, whose faith transcended all faiths; in fact he claimed to be a Hindu, a Buddhist, a Christian, a Jain, a Muslim, a Zoroastrian etc. at the same time.
It is interesting that Migliore discusses the ambiguity of religion as if Christianity stood outside the thing called religion. He is concerned about three ambiguities namely definition, interpretation and actual history and practice of all religions. One of my teachers Robert Coles used to say, as we grow older, that we need to learn to live with the ambiguities of life. I suspect Migliore’s ambiguities of religion could use the larger ambiguities of life as well. As a teacher of world’s religions including my own, I am generally satisfied with the perspectives of religion offered by the original innovators of faith such as Abraham, Moses, Zarathustra, Confucius, Gautama, Jesus, Muhammad, Shankar, Ramanuja, etc., on the other hand, in my spiritual journey and theological training I have also tried to grasp what the European renovators of faith and reason, for example, Homer, Plato, Aristotle and their disciples such as Augustine, Aquinas, Hume, Kant, Marx, Nietzsche, Kierkegaard, Barth, Bultmann, Tillich etc. developed their religious perspectives from the original ones. If I read correctly Gustaf Aulen’s theology of victory , I agree that the victory of good over evil through Jesus Christ’s atoning death and resurrection; not the victory of the church, western or eastern! On the other hand, as C.S. Song alludes, some theologically untrained missionaries mistook Aulen’s Christus Victor for the victory of European Christianity over William Carey’s ‘pagan’ religions during the Europe’s quest for spices in the east. This dichotomy of western Christian church and the eastern pagan religions is very sad; afterall, the good news of Jesus also came out of the pagan east! Therefore, as much as I sympathize with Migliore’s quest for a Christian theology of religions, I abhor his parochial agenda to patronize religions including Christianity from the west. We already had a twisted theology of religions and the question is : Is the Christian Church, currently dominated by western contextual theology germinated on Plato and Aristotle capable of developing a theology of religion with respect of all creation including differing theologies of other religions of Christianity?
The Real Issue - Pluralism or the Disappearing Hegemony of the Church?
It troubles me to hear that some scholars, church groups and individual Christians consider the advent of this new pluralism and diversity is threatening. Certainly the academia has an intellectual duty to observe the demographic patterns and study the religious trends in a population but it was wearisome when the World Council of Churches, the five-decade old floundering movement of approximately one third of all Christians was pressured to embark on a study of religious pluralism in North America, as if it is some lethal pandemic or Mad Cow disease or Avian flu! There is no substantial evidence to establish the xenophobic reaction that the influx of immigrants was instrumental in the loss of the church’s power and control of the French-speaking people of the province of Quebec in eastern Canada. The western church has been losing its grip over the lives the people for the past forty years. For many, the church lost its soul and relevance and for the most part the church has been replaced by Sunday shopping, sports activities, etc. 50% of the global Roman Catholic population lives in South America today. The unparalleled ecclesial hegemony in the lives of the people since the heyday of Constantine in the so-called Christian nations of the past several hundreds of years is a thing of the past. Since the 1970s, most of the traditional mainline churches are more likely the side-line churches; most Christians with nostalgic memories of the once glorious triumphal Christian cultural dominance, if not quite spiritual, over the social, political and even ethical aspects of life have to get used to a new reality of humble, numerically and financially reduced ecclesial presence, which is closer to the biblical imaginations bereft of the former regal trappings. I am still trying to understand the correlation between the uniqueness of Jesus Christ and the new cultural and religious pluralistic Western landscape.
At my vintage, as most geezers would, I am reminded of what my mother taught me about God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit etc. Fortunately I was exposed to several contextual theologies of Europe, North America and Asia. As much as I am open to learn of the enlightening perspectives of others from Womanist and Feminist to apophatic, black and liberation theologies, no one particular theology or theologian stands close to my heart as do the words of Jesus : ”Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” And the words of the Psalmist :”Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.” I sense an idolatry of a theological reasoning or that of a particular theologian vividly present in many younger Western Christian denominations. No one theologian nor theology possesses the total mind of Christ. Cyprian’s dictum, “extra ecclesiam nulla salus ” was wrong and misguided. I am far more sympathetic to what M.M. Thomas observed, “the new humanity in Christ, that is, the humanity which responds to faith and receives the liberation of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, transcends the Church………God’s saving power is not limited to the Church. We may believe that the Church is the nucleus, the first-fruit, the sign and instrument of God’s purpose to unite all things in Christ, but the Church is not itself the new humanity.” It is tragic that the theologically skewed third century dictum played a irrevocable role in the missionary zeal of European colonialists. Any exclusivism, whether church-centered or otherwise, at best is paranoid.
Hans Kung poses the question: “Are Christians redeemed and free people? Do they show it? And quotes F. Nietzche, ‘They would have to sing better songs to make me believe in their Redeemer: his disciples would have to look more redeemed’. Theologically illiterate televangelists have been repeating what Pope Boniface sneered: “outside the (Roman) Catholic church there is no salvation” and during the European Reformation explosion, Martin Luther, a disillusioned former monk returned the favors as he described the Roman Catholics as ‘false Christians’ . Such exclusive ‘onlyness’ is not exclusive to Christianity; Hindus believe that they are ‘natural Catholics’; so do the Muslims, and of course, the Buddhists too. In the 1970s, Raymandu Panikar, M. M. Thomas and Karl Rahner came up with phrases like “the unknown Christ of Hinduism”, “the acknowledged Christ of India” and “anonymous Christian” in order to emphasize a new inclusivism. My own adopted Canadian denomination brought forth a significant pluralist theological statement in 1983 , “If there is no salvation outside the church, we reject such a salvation for ourselves. We come to this notion of the salvation of others through being loved by Christ. We would be diminished without the others”. In the 1960s, E. Stanley Jones, the beloved American Methodist missionary, who was a regular guest preacher for over fifty years at the Maramon convention, the largest week-long Christian gathering on earth, was asked: “Do you believe Mahatma Gandhi will make it o heaven?”. Jones’ unsurprisingly inclusivist reply jolted the church and stunned his largely Hindu audience as he said, “Heaven would be a poorer place for me without my good friend, the Mahatma”.
Having lived thus far a minority or liminal existence as a traditional Christian wherever I have been on this planet, in India, Scotland, Canada or the USA, I have developed an inevitably exceptional appreciation for our world’s diversity and plurality of races, religions, languages, places and peoples. I suspect this is a foretaste of the things of the New Heaven and the New Earth promised in the Book of Revelation yet to unfold. When Jesus shared his vision of the ‘many mansions’, he said he was going to prepare a place for his disciples, in spite of the ‘many mansions’ already there. In the last 2000 years or more, no one has dared to name these mansions, including the one Jesus left his disciples to prepare…and dare I name them, perhaps a Hindu mansion, a Zoroastrian mansion, a Jewish mansion, a Buddhist mansion, a Confucian mansion, a Muslim mansion, a Sikh mansion, a Taoist mansion and hopefully a Jesus mansion, for those who choose to take up the cross and follow him!
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B. Eerdermans Publishing Company, 2004 The Finality of Jesus Christ and Religious Pluralism-Pages 301-329
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John T. Mathew, Minister of St. Mark’s United Church, Sudbury, Ontario and a Pastor-Theologian (2004- 07) at the Center of Theological Inquiry, Princeton, NJ. serves on the United Church of Canada’s Interchurch-Interfaith Committee ( 1985--), World Conference on Religion and Peace and teaches in the Department of Religious Studies, Huntington University, Laurentian University Campus, Sudbury, ON.