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Judas: Betrayal, Scandal and Friendship With God

Editor's Note: This post was submitted by guest author Jon Beadle. “But I can’t think for you. You’ll have to decide whether Judas Iscariot had God on his side.”-Bob Dylan Who do you call your friends? Recently, I was reading through the Gospel of Matthew and was surprised by what I found: “And Jesus said to him (Judas), ‘Friend, do what you have come for.’ Then they came and laid hands on Jesus and seized ...

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Under The Sea

Because of Walt Disney's “The Little Mermaid”, my daughter has always wanted to be a mermaid herself. (Sorry Sweetie, I am not King Triton; I can’t change your legs into a fin.) The film follows the story of a free-spirited mermaid named Ariel. She is an autodidact of sorts—teaching herself about the human world above her. However, keeping her from the surface of the sea is her father, King Triton. The king ...

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Drug Addiction, the Problem with Free Will, and God’s Unconditional Love

She sobbed as she sat across the table from me. As a community chaplain who ministers in public spaces, I’ve grow accustomed to these moment. In fact, as heartbreaking as they are, I’ve grown to treasure them. We met at our local diner for breakfast. I made sure that we sat in the far corner of the restaurant, just in case she needed a bit more privacy. After all, her life was falling apart and she desperat ...

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Book Feature Friday: Life-Changing Graduation Gifts

In addition to being Mother's Day, last Sunday was also the date of Wheaton College's 156th "Commencement," and that has me thinking about vocation.  As the term connotes, graduation is supposed to be forward-looking, a time to think about what lies ahead more than to reminisce about the road already traveled.  Most graduates have a palpable sense of heading into the unknown, and the lifelong questions "Wha ...

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Jesus, Drawing Muhammad, and the Idolatry of Free Speech

Pamela Geller had every “right” to host a conference in Texas that mocked Muhammad with a “Draw Muhammad” contest. The United States gives her that freedom – the Freedom of Speech, which includes the freedom to defiantly ridicule whomever she wants. Geller is apparently not a Christian, but many Christians have come to her defense of the conference. Let me be clear: There is no Christian defense of a confer ...

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What About the Canaanites?: On the Bible, Violence, and Genocide

Suzanne and I recently delivered a workshop on the Bible and violence at the Faith Forward conference in Chicago. We highlighted the differences between the Roman myth of Romulus and Remus and the biblical story of Cain and Abel. You can read the description of our workshop here, but to summarize, in the Roman myth, Romulus kills his brother Remus, founds the city of Rome, and the god Mars vindicates Romulu ...

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Tell Me about Eternity

We sat there staring at her mother’s 92 year old lifeless body. After talking with the daughter for a few minutes, I took out my anointing oil and gently made the sign of the cross on the elderly woman’s forehead. Then I blessed her into the mystery of life after death with these words, “May God bless you and keep you. May God’s face shine upon you and be gracious unto you. May God look upon you with kindne ...

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Heeding The Call: An Easter Message

Everything must change. Injustices around the world and here at home are coming to light despite a long, willful blindness. Half a world away, the long-muted voices of the victims of American military policy were allowed to break through the wall of propaganda and infotainment used to keep them hushed. A recent New York Times report reveals one of the worst-kept (actually un-kept, but vastly underreported) ...

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Why Biblical Violence is Good for Children

What’s all that violence doing in the Bible? Does it make you uncomfortable? How are we supposed to teach these stories to children? I mean, the first family was marked by violence. Cain killed his brother Abel. How’s that for a dysfunctional family system? Just two chapters later, God floods the earth, killing everyone and everything on the planet except for one family and two of every animal… And somehow ...

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Monica Lewinsky and Jesus Christ: How to Overcome the Place of Shame

Monica Lewinsky and Jesus Christ had the same experience. Their shared experience could have defined their lives. It could have made them bitter. They could have sought revenge. But they didn’t. Instead, they invited us to change. They invited us to live into a better world. Monica Lewinsky and the Place of Shame Monica and Jesus both occupied the place of shame. In 1998, Monica became a lightning rod for s ...

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