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Farkhunda: Their Scapegoat… And Ours

A month ago, a brutal and horrific tragedy took place in Afghanistan. A woman by the name of Farkhunda Malikzada was murdered by a mob of angry men. This is the story of a scapegoat, but it is also much more. Beneath the surface of this incident lies many layers of violence and humiliation. Reflexive rage against the killers, while understandable, would simply deepen the dark abyss of ignorance and refuel t ...

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Relaxing into Lent: Identity and those Voices in Your Head

The Christian journey of Lent is upon us. Lent commemorates Jesus’ journey into the wilderness. After his baptism, where Jesus heard the voice of God say to him, “This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased,” Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness. After 40 days of fasting, he was tempted by the devil. In good mimetic fashion, Jesus had received his true identity from God at his baptis ...

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Angelina’s Mastectomy Scandal

On Tuesday, Angelina Jolie went public with the news that she had a preventative mastectomy and we can’t stop talking about her. Which is nothing new – talking about Angelina is an American pastime. We have opinions – strong opinions – about Brad and Jennifer and Billy Bob, about her international adoptions, her humanitarian causes and sometimes we even talk about her movies. We enjoy loving and hating her ...

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Discovering God at an Atheists’ Convention

Sometimes you discover God in the most unlikely places. This belief was confirmed as I listened to an episode of NPR’s program “All Things Considered.” The particular episode was called “From Minister To Atheist: A Story Of Losing Faith.”  NPR’s Barbara Hagerty interviewed Teresa MacBain, and, as you can guess from the title of the episode, MacBain is a former minister who became an atheist. It brings up an ...

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Who’s Your Daddy? In Search of Identity

It’s a long flight from Johannesburg, South Africa to Atlanta, Georgia. About 16 hours. And I still wasn’t done. Another flight stared me down. And I stared right back. Confident that I could take the hour-and-a-half flight from Atlanta to Chicago, I boarded the plane and soon arrived home. Just in time for Father’s Day. My wife and three children picked me up at O’Hare. I gotta say, there is nothing more f ...

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Dr. Seuss and the Gospel Part 3: The Cat in the Hat, Jesus, and Chaos

Click here to purchase The Cat in the Hat. For more on Jesus' challenge to religious rules that create "good" people and "bad" people, see Richard Beck's wonderful book Unclean. For more in the Dr. Seuss and the Gospel Series, see: Part 1: On Beyond Zebra and the Restoration of all Things Part 2: The Lorax, the Prophets, and the iPad Part 3: The Cat in the Hat, Jesus, and Chaos Part 4: How the Grinch Stole ...

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Rats and All – A Sermon on Graffiti Artist Banksy, Masters, Slaves, and Talents

Rats and All[1] A Sermon Delivered on November 13, 2011 At the First Congragional Church of Wilmette, UCC By Daniel and Adam Based on the Work of Banksy and Matthew 25:14-30 Adam – I’d like to start with a brief story.  There was once a Jewish man named Paul.  He was one of the first followers of Jesus.  One day Paul went to a place the Romans called Mars Hill.  Mars Hill was dedicated to the Roman god of w ...

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Living As If

I have just returned from a two week trip abroad with my husband Keith. We travelled by air from Chicago to London to Milan to Messina, Sicily. Then we travelled by car to the port of Milazzo where we boarded a ferry boat for a two hour ride to Salina, a small Aeolian island in the Tyrrhenian sea. All this to attend the 2011 Colloquium on Violence and Religion, the international academic group devoted to ex ...

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