Fervent and open

If Brian McLaren’s new book had a theme song, he says it would be Phil Madeira’s “Give God the Blues”: “God don’t hate the Muslims / God don’t hate the Jews / God don’t hate the Christians / But we all give God the blues / God don’t hate the atheists / the Buddhists or the Hindus / God loves everybody / But we all give God the blues.” What particularly gives God the blues is the oppositional nature of our religious identities.

Some would say that religious identities themselves are the problem. The closing ceremonies of the London Olympics featured John Lennon’s “Imagine,” complete with children’s choir in simulated candlelight and the digital appearance of Lennon himself from beyond the grave. Someone presumably thought this a pitch-perfect combination—the nation’s most recognizable pop icon and the most elevated of universalist sentiments.


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