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What ISIL Beheadings Can Teach Us about God and The Cross

What’s the difference between a beheading and a crucifixion? I ask the question as a Christian because we profess that a method of execution every bit as shocking, and perhaps even more cruel, than the beheader’s axe is the vehicle of our salvation. If we do not reflect upon the difference (and the disturbing similarities) between our veneration of the cross and the state support of the beheader’s axe by th ...

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Fast-Draw Morality

“So you want to disarm cops LOL yeah that’s an intelligent thing to do the gang bangers would love that surely they will unilaterally disarm too.” I’m used to semi-anonymous sarcasm by now, like this Huffington Post comment beneath a recent column I wrote on the militarization of the police and the possibility of disarmament, and I have no interest in “fighting it out” with the guy. But there it is, perfect ...

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Book Feature Friday: Why Did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha, and Muhammad Cross the Road?

Editor's Note: In the spirit of building interfaith bridges of peace so desperately needed in the ongoing aftermath of September 11th, we are reposting this book review from two years ago for Book Feature Friday. As it did for Adam, this beautiful book helped me also to identify questions central to interfaith peacemaking and served as a map for me on the road toward answers. It is as relevant today as it w ...

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How Should Christians Respond to President Obama: On Fear, Violence, and Safety

Do you feel safe? President Obama made his case for war against ISIS during his address to the nation last night. He juxtaposed two statements that sum up the contradictory message that American presidents have been telling us with a straight face since at least the Vietnam War: America is safer. Still, we continue to face a terrorist threat. I don’t feel safe. We’ve been fighting the “War on Terror” for 13 ...

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Thirteen Years of Interfaith Reconciliation: 9/11 Then and Now

In the days following September 11th, in the midst of a cacophony of voices shouting for revenge in the wake of terrorist attacks, I discerned a call to interfaith reconciliation between two faiths competing within myself.  Thirteen years later, I feel compelled by the same Spirit to continue to work for interfaith healing, this time in a nation and world that bears scars of more than a decade of distrust s ...

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The NFL, Ray Rice, and Keith Olbermann – I Accuse Us

A second video surfaced on Monday that confirmed what many already knew to be true – Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice knocked out his future wife, Janay Palmer, with a punch to the head in a hotel elevator last February. The first video of the incident surfaced a few months ago. It should Rice dragging an unconscious Palmer from the elevator. Later at a press conference, Rice admitted that his actions ...

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From 9/11 to ISIS: Resolving the Paradox of the US War on Terror

It’s been fourteen years since our government declared war on terrorism. How are we doing? It feels like a disastrous game of Whack-A-Terrorist, doesn’t it? We kill one terrorist hiding in one hole, and out pops another one from another hole. Now we are facing the newest threat, a terrorist organization seeking to set up a nation-state, ISIS or IS, as it is called. The Islamic State, at least, would be a co ...

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A Future That Values Everyone

“I think if we had a gun we would have been shot immediately.” This is as good a place to start as any, at the logical limits of violent self-defense. The speaker is Andres Gutierrez of Nonviolent Peaceforce, a nonprofit organization that has engaged in peacekeeping work in troubled regions of the world for the last decade. Gutierrez, the organization’s team leader in South Sudan, along with colleague Derek ...

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Has Jesus Forgiven John Lennon’s Killer?

Mark David Chapman shot John Lennon in the back four times, killing him outside his New York City home on Dec. 8, 1980. I remember watching the news on TV at my parent’s home in New Jersey and feeling that a great light had gone out of the world. Reading about the most recent decision to deny Chapman parole, I squirmed uncomfortably at his claim that even though he understood why the law could not pardon hi ...

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Parenting, Paddle Boards, and Balancing Faith

My family recently went on a vacation to Coeur D’Alene, Idaho. Coeur D’Alene is a city in northern Idaho that is not only impossible to spell, but it nestles upon against an impossibly beautiful lake where my aunt and uncle own a gorgeous home. I had a great time playing in the water with my three children. We swam, rode a paddle boat, and played in the sand. All safe and fun activities that were perfect fo ...

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