Mark D. Roberts

A few weeks ago, one of my colleagues at Foundations for Laity Renewal forwarded to me a news release about Patheos and its effort to increase meaningful dialogue among different religious traditions. Keith Mirrer, our Director of Communications, keeps abreast of religious news stories and forwards to me those that are relevant to my work. I was indeed impressed with the Patheos story. I had heard mention of this online effort, but had only a vague notion of its mission. The news release included this overview of Patheos:

Founded in 2008, is the premier online destination to engage in the global dialogue about religion and spirituality and to explore and experience the world’s beliefs. Patheos is designed to serve as a resource for those looking to learn more about different belief systems, as well as participate in productive, moderated discussions on some of today’s most talked about and debated topics.

Then, that very day, another of my colleagues in our Communications Department contacted me. Marcus Goodyear wanted me to know that Timothy Dalrymple, who works for Patheos, was interested in interviewing me. Timothy, who manages the Evangelical Portal of the Patheos site, attends Park Street Church in Boston, where I was to preach on Sunday, October 11th. He wondered if we might find time for a short interview.
And so we did. Between the first and second services, Tim and I found a quiet office. He asked me a number of questions on faith, doubt, the university, and faith in the workplace. I enjoyed our conversation, and left feeling even more impressed with Patheos than before. In this Internet-flattened world, we need places where people from different religious traditions can honestly and faithfully enter into dialogue. Moreover, speaking as a Christian, I believe that we who follow Jesus need places for serious conversation about our faith in relation to the real issues of our world. Genuine religious dialogue, by which I don’t mean the kind where everybody pretends that we all believe more-or-less the same thing, is essential for the health of our world. I also happen to believe that the Christian faith will be well-served in an open, truthful conversation.
I have now spent a good chunk of time browsing the Patheos site. I’m impressed with the quality and relevance of the conversation. For example, today their “Public Square” conversation focuses on religion and sports. You’ll find a wide range of contributions, all of which are thoughtful and readable.
I heard today that a part of my interview with Timothy Dalrymple is now up on the Patheos site.  It’s called “Finding Life in Student Life.”  You can check it out here. And, no, I was not intentionally making funny faces for the camera. That’s just how I look online.
Be sure to check out other features of the Patheos website. It’s really quite impressive, and well worth your time and effort. For example, I was fascinated by the content in the Muslim portal.
Kudos to the Patheos people for an excellent effort. And thanks to Tim Dalrymple for the privilege of contributing to this website.

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