"Sacred Ground" is a slim volume that serious interfaith students or practitioners will read for the fascinating territory it surveys: the history of religious bigotry in American politics, the sociology of nonprofits in the United States, and the "science of interfaith cooperation."
What if part of the reason the "Nones" are so underwhelmed by organized religion isn't because they don't find Jesus interesting, but because it appears to them that Christians don't find him sufficiently interesting enough to take seriously?
After all the fuss about who would be invited to do them, apparently nobody thought to suggest how long the inaugural invocation and benediction should be. There is such a thing as "too much of a good thing."
It would be a fallacy to believe that prejudice and hostilities between Muslims and non-Muslims can be resolved by just asking non-Muslims to show more tolerance and understanding, without demanding reciprocity from Muslims.
As several of the folks interviewed on the show indicate, the Amish people are held up by many as a stereotype of humble, innocent simplicity. And while this is true in many cases, there are also darker sides to the culture.
Regardless of your politics, if you're a Christian leader who has ever taken your job seriously, becoming yoked with Barack Obama can be public-relations kryptonite. But the irony of the latest debacle is that it undermines Obama's intentional efforts to be a president of inclusivity.
Decades ago Catholic schools moved children of immigrants up the social ladder through education. Today, they provide a different form of alternative education, giving parents at all economic levels a choice to send their children to a school that is right for that child.
Islamophobia manifests itself through the surface characteristics of race. We wrongly think we can judge another's character by the color of their skin, the style of their clothing, or the Middle Eastern sound of their name. This is not a vigilance worth protecting; this is a racism.
We are reminded again about America's wonderfully unique status as a melting pot. As a place where one's religious faith should never be an impediment to achievement. Yet the question remains: How will these (and other) non-mainstream voices be treated in the upcoming Congress?
I am not suggesting that the IRS necessarily wipe out all current distinctions between various kinds of not-for-profit organizations, but it does seem reasonable to suggest that we would all benefit from a greater degree of transparency from religious organizations.
For us longevity focused boomers, a return to a spiritual or worship community could represent an opportunity for renewed connection with others in a shared environment, as well as potential discernment and insight into the importance of belonging.