Review and Reflections of Summa 2009
Last January, I began the year by announcing that other projects would prevent me from blogging on interfaith issues as much as I would have liked. While the prediction came true, 2009 still saw some interesting highlights. Here are some of the more memorable ones.
Year 2009 in Review
While interfaith dialogue can be quite rewarding, online discussion forums can be a trap for the unwary. Abraham Lincoln and Blogging was my attempt at suggesting that self-restraint in dialogue should not be forgotten. In 2009, I discovered Premier Christian Radio, a London-based radio station, that broadcasts Unbelievable with Justin Brierley. During the year, Unbelievable ran an American Masters of Christian Thinking series, including Alvin Plantinga, William Lane Craig, Norman Geisler, and Gary Habermas. Alvin Plantinga’s interview, touching on free will and the problem of evil, was superb. Robert Millet and Greg Johnson also found themselves on Unbelievable, which often hosts debates between a Christian and a non-believer. Brierley did an excellent job inquiring into the challenges of this exchange.
In March, I spotlighted Peter Kreeft, a well-known Catholic professor and prolific writer who often speaks on CS Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien. Fans of Middle Earth will enjoy “Christianity in the Lord of the Rings: Apologetics in Tolkien’s Classic.” In May, I highlighted an interview with another Evangelical theologian, Clark Pinnock. Pinnock’s writings on Openness Theology are especially important to Latter-day Saints.
One of my favorite posts is Stephen Robinson and the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy. In the wake of How Wide the Divide, there has been a lot of confusion over this issue and I hope to have made a contribution to mutual understanding with my paper.
Perhaps the most discussed topic on my blog in 2009 was “Explaining a Calvinist Worldview to a Latter-day Saint” the interview between Aaron S, and Geoff J.
In August, taking break from introducing audio interviews, I wrote on the topic of Exploiting Self-Criticism in Interfaith Dialogue. Religious communities engage in self-criticism. What is the appropriate use of the self-criticism of others in an interfaith context?
“Mormonism and the Cross: Looking at the History” was another popular post this year. Often we seek to define ourselves by pointing out how we are different from those of other faiths. Yet, this can often be an unfortunate enterprise if we cut ourselves of from our own historical roots in the process.
In October, Christianity Today published “Most Improbable Dialogue” written by Richard N. Ostling. Ostling provided an important, albeit skewed, overview to readers of Christianity Today concerning the Evangelical-Mormon dialogue. I offered my critique of the article here.
Early November, Patheos ran an important series on interfaith dialogue. This was one of these moments where a perfect storm of other demands made it impossible for me from participate and write on a topic I’m very passionate about. I lament that I wasn’t able to discuss these articles as much as I would have liked.
By far the most popular critique was concerning a triad of posts written by Evangelicals on the question “How Should Evangelicals Approach Mormon Missionaries?” Read three approaches to this important and ever-occurring question.
Overall, while posts were few, 2009 was an interesting year for interfaith dialogue. My hope was to introduce influential thinkers relevant to Evangelicals, Latter-day Saints, and Catholics; discuss challenges and problems inherent in interfaith dialogue, and highlight some of those making efforts at enhancing mutual understanding.
I sincerely thank all who participated in these discussions and also those who lurked in the background.