January-March 2003

Volume 15, Number 1




Beyond Pluralism, Briefly

Dan Hahn

In our July-September '02 "Peek Between the Covers," Dan Hahn commented: "In fact, triumphalism is always oppressive and pluralism is existentially impossible. The former observation is commonplace among readers of this Journal; the latter is not so clear." Who, then, could be better equipped to clarify the existential impossibility of pluralism than Dan Hahn himself? Our feature this issue is the Reverend Daniel B. Hahn's wonderfully eye-opening essay exploring the pitfalls inherent in pluralism. Whether you affirm all spiritual points of view as equal players in our collective journey — or squirm at the consequences of a merely contextual definition of truth — you'll find this essay crucial to interfaith dialog.

"Which Orthodoxy?"

Bruce G. Epperly

When the facilitator of a workshop on Christian-Muslim dialog urged participants to approach interfaith dialog from an orthodox Christian position, Bruce Epperly wondered "which orthodoxy" the facilitator could have meant. In this delightfully unorthodox essay, the Reverend Dr. Bruce G. Epperly points out the problem in assuming a single orthodoxy exists: "Christianity itself is a pluralistic movement, reflecting the many hued light of God." Turning the question "which orthodoxy?" toward Christian-New Age dialog, Epperly reflects on the multifaceted nature of Christian faith and experience, as well as what this implies for an open, inclusive approach to interfaith sharing.

The Warrior and the Martyr

A Reflection on Islam

Robert Arias

At this most timely moment, when widespread misconceptions about Islam abound, Robert Arias treats us to his studies of Islam. He suggests that a comparison between Muhammad and Jesus does not adequately take into account the sociopolitical realities of each's time in history. Instead, a more apt comparison may rest between Muhammad and the Old Testament prophets, especially Joshua. And a more accurate comparison of Christian and Islamic martyrs might be better drawn were we to look at Jesus and al-Hallaj.

A Pensive Pause


John W. Groff, Jr.

What does it mean to be dead? In this "Pensive Pause," Father John  W. Groff, Jr. reflects on the passing of his beloved friend Charlie.

A Peek Between the Covers

Dan Hahn

The Reverend Daniel B. Hahn takes a look at a pivotal title, No Death, No Fear by Thich Nhat Hanh. Examined is the Buddhist understanding of nonbeing, "a concept widely misunderstood in the West," according to Hahn. While Western thought presupposes the solidity of being, Buddhism finds the fundamental nature of manifestation in process. If death to the Western mind means the cessation of existence, death is merely a process within the Eastern view — a process much like clouds becoming rain becoming the river and returning to the sky to form clouds.

The Letters Library


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