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What ISIL Beheadings Can Teach Us about God and The Cross

What’s the difference between a beheading and a crucifixion? I ask the question as a Christian because we profess that a method of execution every bit as shocking, and perhaps even more cruel, than the beheader’s axe is the vehicle of our salvation. If we do not reflect upon the difference (and the disturbing similarities) between our veneration of the cross and the state support of the beheader’s axe by th ...

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Thirteen Years of Interfaith Reconciliation: 9/11 Then and Now

In the days following September 11th, in the midst of a cacophony of voices shouting for revenge in the wake of terrorist attacks, I discerned a call to interfaith reconciliation between two faiths competing within myself.  Thirteen years later, I feel compelled by the same Spirit to continue to work for interfaith healing, this time in a nation and world that bears scars of more than a decade of distrust s ...

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Eid: A Promise of Hope

In the name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful, Eid Mubarak from the Raven Foundation to all of our dear Muslim sisters and brothers! The holy month has drawn to a close, and all around the world, the ummah, or Islamic community, is celebrating the culmination of 30 days of fasting. Long daylight hours, at least in the northern hemisphere, have made this Ramadan among the most challenging in decades, with ...

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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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[VIDEO] Sermon: On Saying Yes: An Israelite Girl, Malala Yousafzai, and Jesus

The great Jewish theologian and philosopher Martin Buber said that there are two basic positions to life.[1] A position that says “Yes” to life. And a position that says “No” to life. For Buber, saying “Yes” is a bit of a paradox, because saying “Yes” to life doesn’t primarily depend upon us seeking, or striving, or grasping for some abstract meaning to life. Once we start seeking, striving, and grasping we ...

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Allahu Akbar! Thank God for Violence!: John McCain, Fox News, and the Liberal Media

I’m all for confronting Islamaphobia, but there is a deeper theological issue here for both Christians and Muslims that the liberal media is missing. In one sense, I agree with Kilmeade. I don’t care if you are a Muslim or a Christian; I do have a problem helping anyone who screams ‘Allahu Akbar!’ or “Thank God!” after a successful military attack. ...

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Islam and Positive Mimesis

Islam implicitly challenges this duality of the archaic sacred through Tawhid, Islams most fundamental theological doctrine. Tawhid refers to the absolute oneness of God. Islamic scholar Michael Sells states that Tawhid refers to the “interior unity of the deity, that in God all the attributes—such as seeing, hearing, knowing, and willing—are in some sense one” (Approaching the Qur’an, 19). If God’s interio ...

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Surprising Our Enemies: Christians and Muslims Working for the Common Good

What if we surprised our enemies? I mean, really surprised them. What if we surprised them with something totally unexpected? When our personal, political, and national enemies strike us, they expect us to strike back. That’s been the human script since the foundations of human culture. We mimic violence blow for blow. Only each side wants to be the side who delivers the final blow. What if we surprised our ...

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Outrage: Videos, Violence and Lessons Learned

Every once in a while I go through some serious soul searching about my commitment to freedom of speech. It happens when hateful or destructive speech is protected – like pornography for example. I think pornography is toxic and should be banned along with all other environmental pollutants. Hate speech is another one. A few years ago a member of a hate group from my North Chicago suburb went on a shooting ...

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Human Dignity: The Sense and Senselessness of Violence

Violence is a paradox. It makes sense. And it doesn’t make sense. Whether or not it makes sense or is senseless usually depends entirely upon which side you are on. J. Christopher Stevens, the United States ambassador to Libya, and three members of his staff were tragically killed yesterday as a furious mob attacked the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya. The mob became violent in reaction to a short movie rec ...

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