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A God Torn to Pieces: Good Friday, Nietzsche, and Sacrifice

Friedrich Nietzsche is a favorite whipping boy among Christians. It’s difficult to blame my fellow Christians for this. After all, Nietzsche is known for many provocative anti-Christian statements, but his most provocative statement might be that “God is dead.” And yet, in his latest book A God Torn to Pieces: The Nietzsche Case, philosopher Guiseppe Fornari makes a claim that is just as provocative: “In th ...

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Resurrection: Calculating the Probabilities

The end of the Gospel of Mark is, shall we say, indecisive. Mark’s account of the resurrection begins with the women going to anoint Jesus body and discovering the stone rolled away, Jesus’ body gone missing, and “a young man, dressed in a white robe” sitting in the tomb. This man tells them not to be alarmed, as if that’s possible under the circumstances, and announces that Jesus “has been raised.” The you ...

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The Politics of Palm Sunday

Make no mistake: the Gospel is political. Politics refers to “the affairs of the city” and “influencing other people on a civic or individual level.” Throughout his life, death, and resurrection, Jesus is political. He influences people to live into the Kingdom of Heaven. For Jesus, Heaven is not essentially some place off in the distance where you go after you die. No, Heaven is a way of life to be lived r ...

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Beyond Power Struggles

Raven Founder Suzanne Ross was a keynote presenter at the Theology and Peace conference held in Baltimore, MD, in June 2011. Her paper, Beyond Power Struggles: Teaching Without Rivalry, illustrates how the teaching of Maria Montessori supports child development while avoiding teacher/child rivalries. This video of her presentation is available through the generosity of Michael and Lorri Hardin of Preaching ...

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Does God Create Evil? Mimetic Theory and Isaiah 45:7

We recently received a message on the Raven Facebook page that raised a great question about God and evil. Below is the question and my response. I'd love to know how you would respond to this question! The Question: …I've enjoyed your blog as well and the studies on the Bible are wonderful. I wanted to ask you about a text in Isaiah 45:7 that states that God is the author of evil. How can I interpret it wi ...

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[VIDEO] Richard Beck on Mimetic Theory, Christus Victor, and the Satan

Last week on the Teaching Nonviolent Atonement live chat, we had a wonderful discussion with Dr. Richard Beck about the intersections of mimetic theory, psychology, and theology. Richard blogs at his website Experimental Theology, where he frequently employs aspects of mimetic theory to write about a wide range of topics, including a series on Mark Heim's book Saved From Sacrifice, Reflections on Gender and ...

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For God So Loved Fred Phelps: On the gods of Hate and Scandals

God is not like me or Fred Phelps. And I am thankful for that. Fred Phelps, the founder of the Westboro Baptist Church, died this past week. Phelps and his church are infamously known for picketing the funerals of lesbian and gay people and the funerals of American soldiers with signs saying “God Hates Fags” and “Thank God for 9/11.” There is no doubt that Fred Phelps and Westboro Baptist Church have spread ...

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Saint Patrick and the Druids: The Truth is in the Middle

I love St. Patrick’s Day. The one day of the year when, for better or worse, Western culture allows me to claim my non-existent inner Irishman. Kiss me, baby. Okay.  I’m done. There are many stories and legends about the fascinating life of St. Patrick.  One of the most famous legends recounts how this great 5th century Saint banished all of the snakes from Ireland. Bad snakes.  Bad. My work at the Raven Fo ...

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N.T. Wright and a Genuine Penal Substitutionary Atonement Theory

What is God like? What are humans like? When it comes to the Atonement, those two questions guide all of our other questions. They are the two implicit questions behind N.T. Wright’s comments about the Atonement in the video below. For example, Wright says: “Tragically, some Christians have said that on the cross God embraced the use of violence to solve the problems, therefore this legitimates us in embrac ...

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How a Gay Football Player Could Help Redeem the Church

There’s something about Michael Sam that we are missing and I hope the church will see it. Michael Sam is the college football star who “came out” in an interview with ESPN and the New York Times. He graduated in December and will be drafted in the upcoming NFL draft. Sam was the Southeastern Conference’s co-defensive player of the year and a first-team all-American. He came out to his teammates before the ...

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