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“You Are There” History: Teaching The American Revolution Pt. 2

  So let's play a history game. If you were going to teach a course on the American Revolution, what would be your starting point? (a) 1776       (b) 1775       (c) 1763      (d) 1754 There are arguments for each of the above.  You might argue for (a) on the grounds that colonial resistance to British authority did not become an official struggle for independence until the Declaration of Independence o ...

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Netanyahu Goes to Washington: A Tale of Insults And Wounded Pride

One solid plank of American foreign policy has been unflinching bipartisan support for Israel. Our motto has been to protect, support, and steadfastly defend Israel in the face of any threat and most importantly to forgive any moral misjudgments as aberrations born of fear and not evidence of an essential flaw. But Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech before a joint session of Congress has turned this ...

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Repent For Lent: Renewing Our Minds With Mimetic Theory – Original Sin

Original Sin. For many progressive Christians, these two words are vulgar and repellant. Some consider the belief in an inherent evil to be a self-fulfilling prophecy; that is, they hold the doctrine of original sin itself to be a human-made evil, responsible for dehumanizing others and at the root of all manner of atrocities. Tracing back to Genesis 3, the story of “the fall,” sin appears to originate with ...

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What Is History For? More Thoughts On The A.P. History Controversy

We Americans live in “a present-tense society,” the late Christopher Hitchens observed. Hitchens was wrong about a great deal, but he got this right. And the “historylessness” that Hitchens found in contemporary America is far from new. We are “the great nation of futurity,” journalist John L. Sullivan proclaimed one hundred seventy years ago. “Our national birth was the beginning of a new history,” the edi ...

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Green Eggs And Love: A Tribute to Dr. Seuss

Tomorrow, children in elementary schools across the country will celebrate the birthday of Dr. Seuss. As a tribute to one of my literary mimetic models, I am sharing a parody of Green Eggs and Ham that I wrote a few years ago for Sunday school. Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!          GREEN EGGS AND LOVE Will you still love me every day? Even when I forget to pray? Every hour of every day. Ev ...

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Bill O’Reilly, Brian Williams, and Jesus: On Goodness and Love

I’m cringing as I write this. That tells you a lot about me. When it comes to politics and theology, I identify as liberal. I firmly believe that Jesus wanted everyone fed, wanted universal health care, and that the Kingdom of God is about politics. It’s about structuring our personal and communal lives in a nonviolent way that ensures everyone has food to eat, debts are forgiven, and healing is freely prov ...

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Peace Behind Barbed Wire

As media ownership converges and technology “unites” us, the concept of national identity grows ever easier to exploit — and therefore, I fear, increasingly, and dangerously, simplistic. This is the war on terror. This is the war on crime. They march on, despite the magnitude of their failures. They march on . . . because America is tough. America is exceptional. If our news and mass-entertainment outlets v ...

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My Journey Through The Wilderness With #Muslims4Lent

Appreciation It is hard to know where to begin to express my humble gratitude to the members of the Muslim community who are showing their solidarity with observant Christians this Lenten season by participating in #Muslims4Lent. Words will never do justice to the love, faithfulness, and compassion Muslims are showing by taking a stand for peace and interfaith bridge-building in the midst of a nation so oft ...

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Deeper Wisdom

A month has passed since I last wrote to you guys, and I apologize. I’ve had lots of good intentions, but I’m not sure they count for much. (Something about the paving on the road to hell comes to mind.) One of the things that have kept me busy has been a new course that I am teaching on the American Revolution, and my goal going forward will be to share with you some of what I am thinking as that course un ...

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The Oscar Scandal: Sean Penn, Alejandro Iñárritu, and Responding to Racism

“Sean Penn’s ‘Green Card’ comment may have ruined the entire Oscars.” That was the headline at the Huffington Post this morning. I didn’t watch the Oscars, but I’m always curious about pop-culture scandals. What could Sean Penn have said that was so egregious that it threatened to ruin “the entire Oscars”? Penn delivered the award for Best Picture, which went to Birdman. After Penn opened the card, he took ...

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