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Our Souls Turned Into Weapons

“During basic training, we are weaponized: our souls turned into weapons.” Jacob George’s suicide last month — a few days after President Obama announced that the US was launching its war against ISIS — opens a deep, terrible hole in the national identity. George: singer, banjo player, poet, peace warrior, vet. He served three tours in Afghanistan. He brought the war home. He tried to repair the damage. Fin ...

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Why David Brooks Needs Mimetic Theory – and So Do You

Anyone honestly interested in a solution to the emergence of ISIL in Iraq needs to learn the basics of mimetic theory. Without mimetic theory, we fall victim to catastrophic failures of logic, which lead to equally catastrophic decisions made in ignorance of our own foolishness. New York Times columnist David Brooks provides an excellent case study for my claim with his article “The Good Order”. His flawed ...

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The Lieutenant of Inishmore: Playing With Violence

If you’ve ever seen a Martin McDonagh play, you know that he finds humor in the most unlikely places and his macabre dark comedy The Lieutenant of Inishmore is no exception. Now being staged by the Chicago theater gem, AstonRep, audiences find themselves roaring with laughter at the very unfunny problem of the plague of Irish terrorism known as “The Troubles”. Scene after scene weaves together the horrific ...

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Islam, Muhammad, and Jesus – A Discussion with Lindsey Paris-Lopez and Adam Ericksen

Lindsey and Adam discuss their personal stories about Islam. Lindsey tells her story of growing up a Christian, converting to Islam, and converting back to Christianity. Adam tells his story of becoming "brothers" with a Muslim from Bangladesh. Then Lindsey and Adam explore these questions previously submitted: 1. What do you view as the most important commonality and the most important difference between C ...

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Sweden and the Awakening of Eco-Integrity

Startling news: Sweden now recycles 99 percent of its waste. At least that’s what people are saying, including an official website of Sweden itself: “Less than one per cent of Sweden’s household waste ends up in a rubbish dump.” There may be less to this statement than meets the eye, but before I address that issue, I need to pause at the jolt of ecstatic excitement and jubilant incredulity I felt for a mom ...

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Book Feature Friday: “In Borrowed Houses” by Frances Fuller

Involuntarily hosting a goat in her living room, while tremendously inconvenient, turned out to be one of the more benign adventures. Living as a missionary for Baptist Publications, part of the Near East Baptist Mission, during the Lebanese Civil War, Frances Fuller narrowly avoided sniper fire and suicide bombers, shared tears and embraces, worked hard, prayed harder, and above all manifested the wondrous ...

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Islam and the Mother Lode of Bad Ideas: The Bill Maher, Sam Harris, and Ben Affleck Debate

Rene Girard has a prophetic warning in his book Battling to the End about the West’s fight against Islamic jihadists: The West is going to exhaust itself in its fight against Islamic terrorism, which Western arrogance has undeniably kindled. That Western arrogance was on display last weekend on Real Time with Bill Maher. The tense debate about Islam between Bill Maher, Sam Harris, and Ben Affleck has been s ...

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The Cancer of Violent Extremism

“As we look to the future, one issue risks a cycle of conflict that could derail so much progress. And that is the cancer of violent extremism that has ravaged so many parts of the Muslim world.” The cancer of violent extremism . . . I listen to the president’s words and stare into the void. All I can think about is white phosphorous and burn pits and the horrific, DNA-wrecking genotoxins of war. All I can ...

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A Prayer for Abraham’s Children

Abraham’s children do not always get along. Exclusive claims made by his descendants have been catalysts for bloodshed over the centuries. This is especially tragic because the distinctions between the faiths should never override the central message common to all of them: that God is loving and merciful. Far more important than any name by which we could call God -- whether we say Ha Shem (the Name), Allah ...

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Why the NFL is Better for Women than the US Senate

The NFL has come under severe scrutiny for its handling of domestic violence during the last few months. Rodger Goodell has admitted to fumbling the Ray Rice case, has admitted that the NFL has a problem with abusing women, and he has committed himself to finding a solution. There are many reasons to be cynical about Goodell. Maybe the only reason he’s attempting to implement changes is because of public pr ...

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