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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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4 Things You Need to Know about Terrorism and Religion

After my article on the terrorism in Paris last week, readers offered some thoughtful critiques of my position. Their comments zero in on the difficulty inherent in sorting out responsibility for violence without blaming victims or excusing perpetrators. My effort, however flawed, in analyzing this instance of violence had one goal in mind: to discredit our methods for justifying violence.  What seems to ha ...

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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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Why? – Unlocking the Answer to School Shootings

                            Last week’s school shooting in Marysville, Washington has us all asking the question again – Why did this happen? Snohomish County Sheriff Ty Trenary gave voice to the despair many are feeling as we search for answers. “The question everybody wants is ‘Why?’ I don’t know that the ‘why’ is something we can provi ...

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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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A Defense of the Passive Voice

Would you rather be a noun or an adjective? That was the question a friend asked herself when she decided to be known as Nance instead of Nancy. “Why be an adjective,” she quipped, “when you can be a noun?” I laughed out loud! But hey, I am a writer and literature nerd, so thinking of myself as a part of speech tickled my funny bone. My immediate reaction was to agree with her – a noun is surely much grande ...

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The Hidden Cost of Pride

Why are you working so hard to disprove God? From I Origins movie Trailer A reader named Heidi recently asked that we talk about “the issue of pride” as it relates to “our desires for non-physical things”. It was a great suggestion because pride is a sinful pattern of desire for non-physical things, a pattern we believe that Jesus’ atonement is undoing. The understanding of atonement as undergoing a change ...

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Faith Forward: The Future of Christian Education, Part 4

What’s Emerging? A New Story Dave Csinos, the founder and president of the Faith Forward Conference taking place in Nashville May 19-22, is excited by what is emerging in Christian education curricula today. He sees more taking place than just surface changes. New forms are reflecting the revitalization of emerging Christianity and that diversity is just what Dave hopes participants at Faith Forward 2014 wi ...

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Faith Forward: The Future of Christian Education, Part 3

What’s Emerging? A New Theology of Atonement Why do violence and religion appear to be such intimate bedfellows? The apparent connection between the two has provided low hanging fruit for atheists and anti-Christian polemicists for centuries. Not only do we fight brutal wars for religious reasons, but religion itself seems to have been born as a practice of ritualized violence. No human culture seems to hav ...

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Faith Forward: The Future of Christian Education

Part 1:  Just what is emerging? There’s a lot of talk about “emergent church” these days. But just what is emerging? Phyllis Tickle, popular author and founding editor of the Religion Department of Publishers Weekly, says we are entering the age of the Spirit, and I agree. But where is the Spirit leading us? Brian McLaren, a leading voice in the emergent church movement, calls it “A New Kind of Christianity ...

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