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A Prayer for Abraham’s Children

Abraham’s children do not always get along. Exclusive claims made by his descendants have been catalysts for bloodshed over the centuries. This is especially tragic because the distinctions between the faiths should never override the central message common to all of them: that God is loving and merciful. Far more important than any name by which we could call God -- whether we say Ha Shem (the Name), Allah ...

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Has Jesus Forgiven John Lennon’s Killer?

Mark David Chapman shot John Lennon in the back four times, killing him outside his New York City home on Dec. 8, 1980. I remember watching the news on TV at my parent’s home in New Jersey and feeling that a great light had gone out of the world. Reading about the most recent decision to deny Chapman parole, I squirmed uncomfortably at his claim that even though he understood why the law could not pardon hi ...

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God, Satan, and the Quran: Islam’s Answer to Violence

Questions about the relationship between religion and violence once again rears its ugly head. It must be stated that ISIS is a militant group and most Sunnis are horrified by their actions. But when Muslims battle Muslims in the name of God, declaring it to be a “holy responsibility,” we naturally ask theological questions about Islam. We want to know what Islam has to say about God, especially what Islam ...

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The Resurrection Effect: Guns, God’s Sovereignty, and the Last Word

It seems like violence will never end. Portland. Seattle. Las Vegas. Isla Vista. Almost every day in Chicago. Not to mention Boko Haram, the conflict in Ukraine, and the continued war in Afghanistan. The Huffington Post just reported that “If it’s a school week in America, odds are there will be a shooting.” Since the Sandy Hook tragedy in 2012, the United States has averaged 1.37 school shootings per week. ...

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Virtually Christian: Finding Atonement on the Internet

How is technology changing contemporary spirituality? That’s the question Patheos asked in its recent Public Square conversation. The irony that modern technology is allowing us to have the conversation over the Internet should be apparent to everyone. There is no doubt that technology is changing our spirituality. Humans are able to learn about different cultural, religious, and spiritual practices like ne ...

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Parenting Confessions: How a Child Redeems the Sins of His Father

Parenting is hard. It’s damn hard. It happened to me again on Sunday morning. We just moved to Oregon last week and were about to try a new church. Our morning routine is pretty typical: we tell our children it’s time to get dressed. Our first and third child diligently put on their clothes, while our middle child finds a thousand and one ways to stall. Driving. Me. Crazy. Intellectually, I could sympathize ...

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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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A Very Cheney Thanksgiving

I sympathize with the Cheney family this Thanksgiving. Siblings arguing with each other and claiming that Dad is on their side – geez, sounds too familiar for comfort. I have four siblings and when we were kids we were a rough and tumble pack, openly vying for our parents’ approval. We relished ratting each other out. The fickle finger of accusation waving wildly, we’d shout things like “She started it!”, “ ...

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The Forgiving Corpse: A Parable

How’s this for an unlikely scenario? One of the characters in Keith Huff’s new crime comedy, Big Lake Big City, is a petty criminal named Stewart who ends up not quite dead after a screwdriver accidently gets embedded in his skull. If the doctors try to remove it, he will die; if they leave it in, he will die. But somehow he isn’t dead yet. For a few days he walks around in a liminal space between life and ...

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Resurrection and Swarmageddon!!!

Yesterday was Easter – the day we celebrated the Resurrection of the Son of God. It’s the day when we finally realize that God isn’t out to get us. In fact, three days after a bunch of people abandoned, betrayed, and killed him, Jesus came back. And instead of following the same old script of holy-revenge-in-the-name-of-justice (thanks to Saturday Night Live for that skit!) Jesus offered forgiveness and pea ...

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