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Advent: The Faith to Scream “It’s Not Okay!”

She sat in total shock. Her head rested in her hands as her long hair hid her face. She was silent for forty-five minutes. And then the river of tears began to flow. It was the most traumatic event I’ve experienced in ten years of ministry. The pain and distress of a murdered family member were unbearable. As she wept uncontrollably, her sister stepped into the void to hold her. “It’s okay. It’s okay,” her ...

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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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Big Hero 6: How to Love like a Superhero

“I love Baymax! He is the nicest superhero ever!” – My son, age 7 “Of all the threats presently looming over us, the most dreadful one…the only one that really matters, is ourselves.” – René Girard, The One by Whom Scandal Comes, 3. Big Hero 6 is Disney’s latest superhero animation film. It’s a profound story that explores the human condition. It’s a story about love, rivalry, betrayal, violence, loss, deat ...

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Thanksgiving and a Theology of Despair

Are you feeling pressure to be thankful? We are in the midst of the Thanksgiving season. I’m reminded everywhere I go to “Be thankful!” Well, call me the Scrooge of Thanksgiving, but I’m just not feeling thankful. The more someone tells me to “Be thankful!” the more I feel a sense of despair. Be thankful? In the midst of Ferguson, Missouri? Jim Wallis writes over at Sojourners that, “Many black families wok ...

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Book Feature Friday: Changing Our Mind – Leading Evangelical Ethicist Calls for Full Inclusion

REPENT! Do shivers run down your spine when you hear that word? Well, there’s no getting around it – repent is an important biblical word. But as opposed to emphasizing how horrible we sinners are, the word simply means “Change your mind.” So, what happened when the leading American Evangelical ethicist repents? He asked the whole Church to change its mind, too. That’s what David Gushee has done in his late ...

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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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James Warren on Magic and Mimetic Theory: A Discussion about “Compassion or Apocalypse?”

One of my favorite teachers of mimetic theory is James Warren. Jim is a magician who masterfully unveils the workings of mimetic theory in his book Compassion or Apocalypse: A Comprehensible Guide to the Thought of René Girard. Jim’s book is so good that it’s one of the few that I have in both book and ebook format. I highly recommend it! In this engaging interview, Jim talks about the fundamental elements ...

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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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Islam, Muhammad, and Jesus – A Discussion with Lindsey Paris-Lopez and Adam Ericksen

Lindsey and Adam discuss their personal stories about Islam. Lindsey tells her story of growing up a Christian, converting to Islam, and converting back to Christianity. Adam tells his story of becoming "brothers" with a Muslim from Bangladesh. Then Lindsey and Adam explore these questions previously submitted: 1. What do you view as the most important commonality and the most important difference between C ...

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