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Bible Matters: Lamentations: Political Protest, Grief, and Transforming Theology

Lamentations comes from the word “lament” which means a “passionate expression of grief or sorrow.” (For the entire Bible Matters series, click here.) The book was written during the Babylonian exile, a traumatic time for the ancient Jews. Jerusalem was conquered, the temple was destroyed, and many people were exiled throughout the Babylonian Empire. Lamentations is about grief. It implores us to express ou ...

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Why God is Sending Christians Straight to Hell

So much of Christianity has become about avoiding hell. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned as a hospital chaplain, it’s that God is sending Christians straight to hell. Christians need to stop thinking of heaven and hell as primarily places we go after we die. Heaven and hell are primarily realities that we experience here on earth. Jesus said, “the kingdom of God is among you.” For Jesus, the kingdom of ...

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America’s Leading Historian on the First Thanksgiving and Faith

We recently had the great honor of talking with Dr. R. Tracy McKenzie about his book The First Thanksgiving: What the Real Story Tells Us about Loving God and Learning from History. Read my review of Tracy's book here. Tracy McKenzie is professor and chair of the Department of History at Wheaton College. His book The First Thanksgiving: What the Real Story Tells Us about Loving God and Learning from History ...

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Kevin Miller on Hell, Universal Salvation, and Mimetic Theory

Hell. The concept has come under fire. Fortunately, Kevin Miller is here to put out the flames. Kevin is the star and director of the critically important documentary Hellbound?, where Kevin interviews a diverse group of pastors, theologians, social commentators, and musicians. Kevin also blogs at his excellent website, Hellbound?: Exploring Faith and Film, Good and Evil. In the interview, Kevin brilliantly ...

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Parenting Confessions: God, Rivalry, and College Football

My family recently moved to Eugene, Oregon. Eugene is probably best known for the University of Oregon Ducks football team. Having moved from Chicago, I know that the Ducks are loved throughout the country for their high powered offense and flamboyant football jerseys. Here in Eugene people are obsessed with the Quack Attack. Nearly every car has a University of Oregon bumper sticker, almost everyone wears ...

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Out of the Mouths of Babes: Sophie Saves God

“Teach your children well.” The words to this simple, beautiful song have been on a continuous loop in my head recently, perhaps due to my first-born daughter, Sophie, starting kindergarten! She’s growing up so fast! And like all parents, I sometimes wonder how well I am teaching her, how well I am preparing her for the challenges and transitions she will face in life. Most especially, I wonder and ponder a ...

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Rock, Paper, Scissors … GOD! – Children and a Nonviolent Reading of the Bible

Last April, my family moved to Eugene, Oregon. Eugene is located in Linn County. This is all you need to know that important fact: Linn County is the “Grass Seed Capital of the [FREAKIN] World.” Guess who is allergic grass seed? Yeah, that’s right. Me. My face has been a hideous mess of goopy sludge emanating from my nose and eyes. I’ve tried everything soothe my pain. Claritin. Allegra. Zyrtec. Nothing wor ...

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Robin Williams on the Ultimate Christian Gift

I hesitated to write about the tragic death of Robin Williams. I know very little about clinical depression, so I fear saying something stupid or ignorant about it – and please forgive me if I do. The better part of wisdom is to stop blogging and learn from the experts about depression. And I’d like to begin with a disclaimer: I’m interpreting what Robin Williams said about God. But please, don’t misunderst ...

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Jesus is at the Border: Immigration, Barriers, and God’s Economy

I am not a politician, so I’m not an expert on immigration policies. I am not an economist, so I’m not an expert on the economic benefits or burdens of immigration. But I am a public theologian. I try to understand how we can participate with God in setting things right, healing the world, and reconciling human beings with one another, with the world, and with God. How is God setting things right? Jesus, in ...

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For God, Country, and Coke

The highlight of the Super Bowl for me was Coca-Cola’s America is Beautiful commercial. The images of the American landscape are amazing and the song was beautiful. At first I was a bit confused by the different languages singing America the Beautiful (I’m slow…), but I caught on about halfway through. When the commercial ended, I looked over at my wife and said, “Wow. That was beautiful…Not worth four mill ...

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