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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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Caterpillar’s Surprise: An Easter Play For Children (And The Young At Heart)

Editor's Note: This is a puppet show with Easter themes that I wrote a few years ago for a church fundraiser. Because the fundraiser was open to the wider community and there were many different faith communities represented in the neighborhood, I do not directly reference scripture, but the parallels are easily recognizable. Parents are invited to share with their children, especially during Holy Week and ...

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Repent For Lent: Renewing Our Minds With Mimetic Theory – Holy Week (Poem)

Dear Friends, For a final "Repent For Lent" post, I offer a Palm/Passion Sunday Meditation that I delivered two years ago in the form of poem. These are some Girardian reflections on how Christ "takes away the sin of the world" by his death. The resurrection is crucial, but during Holy Week, I want to leave us in the dark and terrible recognition of our sin as we "look upon the one we've pierced." Still the ...

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Happily Ever After

Editor's Note: This post was written by guest author Matthew Distefano. I believe the film, Cinderella, is the most “Christian” movie to be released in some time. The story follows a fortunate young girl named Ella, whose mother and father are the embodiment of love and compassion. The family lives on a rural farm, living a life of simplicity, rooted not in material goods but in love and kindness. When Ella ...

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Repent For Lent: Renewing Our Minds With Mimetic Theory – Swords

Apologies, Friends, for the absence of this column last week. If part of Lent is about finding blessings through suffering, then I was given a prodigious opportunity to do just that while recovering from the stomach flu! In the midst of my struggle, I found many reasons for gratitude, including the fact that my family remained well, my husband was able to take care of me and we were both able to care for ou ...

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Repent for Lent: Renewing Our Minds With Mimetic Theory – Introduction

  Repent! It’s a word Christians will probably hear a lot for the next 40 days as we settle into the liturgical season of Lent, following our Lord on the path to eternal life that lies beyond the wilderness of temptation and death. For many, this word rings of shame, fear, or maybe resentment. It can conjure images of an angry god pointing an accusatory finger and giving a final warning to us to cease ...

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Doing The Hokey Pokey For Lent

I’ll be doing the Hokey Pokey with my children today. It may seem like a strange way to observe Ash Wednesday, but bear with me. If you’re searching for a way to teach children some basic principles of discipleship, repentance and forgiveness, with some reference to the incarnation, crucifixion and resurrection to boot, this childhood favorite is an excellent resource. With a little modification, this song ...

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Jesus Is Charlie And So Is Muhammad: The Subversive Power Of Forgiveness

When I first saw the “Je Suis Charlie” hashtags on Facebook, before reading (and reading and reading and reading) about the tragedy at Charlie Hebdo, my theological dyslexia kicked in, and I accidentally read “Jesus is Charlie.” When I noted my mistake in a comment on Facebook, a friend replied, “ Jesus is Charlie.” Caught up in the mimetic phenomenon of showing my solidarity with the victims of the vicious ...

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Jesus, Muhammad, and Traversing Hostility with Love

I have read two articles today on forgiveness. Amidst the violence of our world during that last few weeks, they both point us toward a better world. The first is an article by James Alison titled “Traversing hostility: The sine qua non of any Christian talk about Atonement.” James talks about the “intelligence of the victim.” The phrase indicates in part that Jesus understood the risks involved in his prea ...

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The Nonviolent Atonement: God’s Grace upon Grace

She was 85 and nearing the end of her life. I’d never met her before. You might call her a “lapsed Christian,” or maybe she was one of the “nones.” She hadn’t been to church in decades. She called for a visit because she had anxiety about death. But what broke my heart was her anxiety about God. “Hi,” I gently greeted her. “Hello pastor.” She replied. She began telling me about her Catholic parents, her “fa ...

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