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Defeating Satan at Harvard

How do you defeat Satan? That was the question the University of Harvard had to answer on Monday night when the Harvard Extension School’s Cultural Studies Club planned a Satanic “Black Mass” at the university. The Harvard community, led by Harvard president Drew Faust, was outraged by the Black Mass. Faust addressed the situation by stating, “The ‘black mass’ had its historical origins as a means of denigr ...

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Finding God in the Mess

Despite years – and I mean YEARS – of therapy, I still run like a madwomen from my own feelings of sadness, especially during the holidays. Denial has always been my favorite coping mechanism. So this weekend, when my holiday spirits started to dip, instead of looking inside for the cause I made a mess of things by finding fault with everyone around me. My husband said the stupidest things; my kids seemed u ...

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God, a Tornado and John Piper’s Satanic Theology

We need to repent of blaming the victim so that we can respond to the suffering of our neighbors with compassion. And we need to repent of the idea that God is out to get people. God’s not against you or me or even John Piper. God doesn’t cause natural disasters. Bad things just happen so stop blaming God. God wants us to stop finding someone else to blame and to start working toward healing one another. ...

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God of Carnage: From the Schoolyard to the Killing Fields

What’s the connection between a suburban schoolyard brawl in which an eleven year old boy gets two teeth knocked out and the Darfur genocide? That’s the question raised by the play, God of Carnage, by Yasmina Reza. In its current excellent staging at AstonRep in Chicago, the intimate theater with a thirty seat capacity brings the audience right into the living room of the play where two polite, middle-class ...

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Is God a Cosmic Jerk?: God, Satan, and the Problem of Evil

Is God a Cosmic Jerk? That’s how I ask the question, but professional theologians use the term theodicy. It comes from two Greek words: theo, which means “God,” and dike, which means “justice.” Theodicy asks, “If God is good and just, then why is there so much evil in the world?” There are many answers to this question. Some claim that God causes evil. In which case, my question becomes relevant – Is God a ...

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The Truth About Political Debates: A Filthy Bunch of Liars

We say we want to know the truth, but in reality we are hiding from the truth. We don’t want the truth; we want to live in a myth. Unfortunately, the myth looks deceptively like truth. The myth doesn’t set us free; it enslaves us. I’ll risk the cliché about truth because, ironically, it is true. Jack Nicholson was right, we can’t handle the truth, because the truth about ourselves makes us uncomfortable. ...

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When Jesus Shows Up: God and Political Platforms

Is God in or out? That’s the question I’ve been thinking about since the political national conventions ended last week. It stems from the fiasco the Democrats went through after Antonio Villaraiosa, the mayor of Los Angeles and the Democratic National Convention Chairman, called to vote an amendment to the party’s platform. When the platform was revealed on the Monday of the convention, there was no mentio ...

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God, AllState, and Stormy Seas: Are You in Good Hands?

Below is a sermon I delivered on June 24, 2012 at the (First Congregational Church of Wilmette, UCC.) I’ve discovered that the best way to learn that you are not in control is to have children. In the 5 minutes that it takes for you to wash the dishes, your basement can go from clean and orderly to messy and chaotic. As you walk downstairs, because things are suspiciously quiet, you discover mayhem. You fin ...

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Herman Cain and the Truth

“I happen to know there were sealed settlements reached in the plural.  I think that anybody who thinks this was a one time, one person transgression would be mistaken.” – A source for Politico “When you’re in a leadership position, sometimes people just try to take a shot at you.” – J.D. Gordon, Herman Cain Spokesperson Herman Cain.  Welcome to politics. Cain’s rapid ascendancy as the GOP frontrunner has b ...

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