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The Spirituality of Fun.: God’s Grace in a Violent World

I love Fun.. I especially love the wacky period at the end of the band’s name. But my Word doc has the green squiggly line under the two periods of that first sentence. I hate that green squiggly line – it’s not fun. It’s there to tell me that I have bad grammar. Not this time, Word Doc! I shall right click and ignore you! Fun.’s (okay, now there’s a red line! Once again I shall ignore…) Some Nights is full ...

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Boston Marathon: Deliver Us from Evil

What do you say in the face of evil? The stories from yesterday’s attacks at the Boston Marathon are heartbreaking, gut-wrenching. One in particular stands out to me. A woman was waiting for her husband to cross the finish line when the bombs exploded. For three hours she searched frantically for him, not knowing if he was alive or dead, not knowing if he was frantic and looking for her. Her voice cracked a ...

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North Korea, Syria, U.S.: Violence Rules

Does violence rule our species? The barrage of international conflicts now in the headlines seems to suggest that violence may be the one language we have in common. Though we all speak it fluently, very few of us learned it in school. We didn’t have to study its “vocabulary” and “grammar rules” – no, it was much easier than that. Humans pick violence up by immersion and so we are all native speakers. From ...

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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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Pulling Back the Curtain on Politics

As the summer winds down, we will enter the campaign season in earnest. Both political parties will hold their nominating conventions and do their best to frame the political decision facing us as a choice between good and evil. The fate of the nation, they will insist, hangs in the balance and good people must choose wisely or evil people will lead us down the road to perdition. Maybe they won’t use those ...

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Political Nudity: Becoming Un-Ashamed

“Be Ashamed.” That’s the title of Erick Erickson’s post. Erickson, the popular conservative blogger at RedState.com, wants you to be ashamed. I have a very different reaction: I don’t want you to care. In fact, I think we should become un-ashamed. This time, Erickson’s call for shame is directed toward his fellow conservatives. Sunday night Politco.com published an exclusive story titled, “Exclusive: FBI pr ...

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Evil and Justice in a Broken World: The NCAA and Penn State

Good people want justice. Good people know that the world is broken and most of that brokenness is due to people committing acts of evil. When good people desire justice, they desire to set the world right from the consequences of evil. Justice is a good thing. But it is also a complicated thing. There is truth you might not suspect in the cliché that “Justice is blind,” because our desire for justice can b ...

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The Spiritual Warfare of Lent: Jesus, Satan, and Rick Santorum

This is a spiritual war. - Rick Santorum It’s Lent. For Christians, Lent is a time for spiritual warfare. Yup. I’m in a war. How do you wage spiritual warfare? Christians have two models for spiritual warfare: Jesus and Satan. Presidential candidate Rick Santorum warned us about one of those models in 2008 at a speech he made at Ave Maria University. The speech resurfaced this week on the Internet. Here are ...

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Are You Ready for Peace?

For the last two months or so at Raven, we have been thinking about how to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks that will be occurring this September. Because we want to invite you to do something that day that is a bit more meaningful than flag waving or grieving, we have to think ahead. Now I know it’s the middle of summer and really not the best time to be asking you to think about such ...

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