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Monica Lewinsky and Jesus Christ: How to Overcome the Place of Shame

Monica Lewinsky and Jesus Christ had the same experience. Their shared experience could have defined their lives. It could have made them bitter. They could have sought revenge. But they didn’t. Instead, they invited us to change. They invited us to live into a better world. Monica Lewinsky and the Place of Shame Monica and Jesus both occupied the place of shame. In 1998, Monica became a lightning rod for s ...

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Ted Cruz and God’s Political Subversion

Ted Cruz became the first major candidate to declare a presidential run for 2016. His formal announcement came this morning at Liberty University, the largest Christian university in the world. Cruz’s announcement at Liberty University was an important political strategy. Cruz is the poster child of the Tea Party movement. He wants to spread his influence by appealing to evangelicals. There is no better pla ...

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My Biggest Concern for My Gay Son is Religion: On Being Catholic and Gay

I recently wrote about a former member of my church youth group. She was everything that a youth pastor could ask for in a student. She was kind, welcoming, smart, funny, and she took following Jesus seriously. And I’ll never forget the day that she told our youth group that she is a lesbian. Fortunately, she continues to be a faithful follower of Christ. I’m a proud member of the United Church of Christ. W ...

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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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