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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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Alive And Bleeding

Good and evil leap from the headlines: “Egyptian planes pound ISIS in Libya in revenge for mass beheadings of Christians.” It’s nonstop action for the American public. It’s the history of war compressed into a dozen words. It’s Fox News, but it could be just about any mainstream purveyor of current events. Once again, I feel a cry of despair tear loose from my soul and spill into the void. Our politics are ...

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An Open Letter to President Obama on The National Prayer Breakfast

Dear President Obama, I first want to commend you on your wise, humble, and Spirit-led remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast last week. The backlash that your remarks have generated is unwarranted and yet, sadly, unsurprising. In a speech of nearly 3000 words, about 50 critiqued not Christianity itself, but a fraction of the violence committed in the name of Christ. All violence committed in the name of ...

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The Sociology of Dead Children

Experts have put urban violence under the microscope. You might call it the sociology of dead kids. There’s a lot less here than meets the eye, or so it seemed when I read about a new study by researchers at Yale called “Tragic, but not random: The social contagion of nonfatal gunshot injuries.” It’s an attempt to create categories of likely future shooting victims in Chicago and, thus, determine who among ...

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The Shift

"We must rapidly begin the shift from a thing-oriented society to a person oriented society: when machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism and militarism are incapable of being conquered." - Martin Luther King Jr., "Beyond Vietnam" Here in Lexington federal prison, Atwood Hall defies the normal Bur ...

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The Glory of the Grammys: Desire, Hope, and Beck’s Perfect Response to Kanye West

Ahh, we love drama, don’t we? Okay, maybe you don’t, but this year’s Grammys didn’t disappoint in creating some scandal. Kanye West was at it again. In 2009 Kanye interrupted Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech for best female video at the MTV Video Music Awards. As Swift was talking, Kanye took the stage and protested, claiming that Beyoncé deserved the award. And on Sunday night, in straight mimetic fashion, ...

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War And Perpetual Adolescence

The urgency I feel isn’t any longer to stop a particular war but to interrupt endless war: to interrupt the narrowly focused geopolitical conversation, conveyed to us over and over by media stenographers, in which lethal intervention — wherever — is always the first and only choice. The uncertainty is never a matter of “if.” It’s only a matter of “when.” For instance: “The West needs to bolster deterrence i ...

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Top 4 Ways to Criticize without Scapegoating

Criticism. It’s an ugly word. Just reading it there makes me cringe. And there’s so much of it going around. There is a positive form of criticism, of course, but criticism usually has negative connotations. The news, Facebook, and Twitter are prominent places where a mean, nasty, and excessively critical spirit is spread like a contagious disease. If you need any evidence for René Girard’s mimetic theory, ...

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An Open Letter To Kathy Kelly On The Beginning of Her Incarceration As A Prisoner of Conscience

Dear Kathy Kelly, As you begin your three-month sentence in federal prison, you carry with you the prayers and gratitude of The Raven Foundation and countless others who find hope in this violent world though the courageous actions of peacemakers like you. I personally want to extend my heartfelt appreciation for your witness to peace, love, and justice. When you crossed the line onto Whiteman Air Force Bas ...

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War In Two Directions

“Sometimes they have drug and alcohol problems and when they feel that the VA is ignoring them, not answering the phone, failing to return calls for assistance or there are long wait times, they get more and more disgruntled. The VA is ripe for a mass killing but no one is listening to us.” The speaker is John Glidewell, former chief of police at the Cheyenne, Wyo., VA medical center, who was quoted in a Wa ...

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