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Book Feature Friday: Life-Changing Graduation Gifts

In addition to being Mother's Day, last Sunday was also the date of Wheaton College's 156th "Commencement," and that has me thinking about vocation.  As the term connotes, graduation is supposed to be forward-looking, a time to think about what lies ahead more than to reminisce about the road already traveled.  Most graduates have a palpable sense of heading into the unknown, and the lifelong questions "Wha ...

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Tell Me about Eternity

We sat there staring at her mother’s 92 year old lifeless body. After talking with the daughter for a few minutes, I took out my anointing oil and gently made the sign of the cross on the elderly woman’s forehead. Then I blessed her into the mystery of life after death with these words, “May God bless you and keep you. May God’s face shine upon you and be gracious unto you. May God look upon you with kindne ...

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Tale As Old As Time

Disney's Beauty and the Beast has all the ingredients needed for a great story--rivalry, conflict, an angry mob, a beautiful woman, and an eventual, yet unpredictable romance. In one “corner”, you have “the Beast” who, at one point was a handsome, yet frigid and egocentric prince. However, due to his selfishness, he has been transformed into a cursed, almost loveless monster. The  narrator even rhetorically ...

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Bruce Jenner and God’s Response to Transgendered People

Caryn Riswold wrote a moving article about Bruce Jenner’s interview last night with Dianne Sawyer. In the interview, Bruce states, “For all intents and purposes, I’m a woman. People look at me differently. They see you as this macho male, but my heart and my soul and everything I do in life – it is part of me. That female side of me. That’s who I am.” Caryn's article is titled “How Should People of Faith Re ...

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Top 10 Ways Mimetic Theory Can Help Create Interfaith Empathy – A Panel Discussion

I was delighted to be invited to an international discussion about creating more empathy between people of different religions. The panel consisted of a Christian (that was me!), an atheist, and three Muslims. (You can watch the video by scrolling down.) The producer of the panel was Edwin Rusch, who is the founding director for the Center for Building a Culture of Empathy. Edwin’s goal is to create “a worl ...

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Repent For Lent: Renewing Our Minds With Mimetic Theory – Holy Week (Poem)

Dear Friends, For a final "Repent For Lent" post, I offer a Palm/Passion Sunday Meditation that I delivered two years ago in the form of poem. These are some Girardian reflections on how Christ "takes away the sin of the world" by his death. The resurrection is crucial, but during Holy Week, I want to leave us in the dark and terrible recognition of our sin as we "look upon the one we've pierced." Still the ...

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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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Repent For Lent: Renewing Our Minds With Mimetic Theory — Family

Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple. – Jesus (Luke 14:26) Well, let’s jump right in, shall we? For the rest of my “Repent for Lent” series, I aim to wrestle, like Jacob in the Jabbok, a blessing from some of the most difficult scriptures in the Gospels. This week I chose Jesus’s shocking words on f ...

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Repent For Lent: Renewing Our Minds With Mimetic Theory – Original Sin

Original Sin. For many progressive Christians, these two words are vulgar and repellant. Some consider the belief in an inherent evil to be a self-fulfilling prophecy; that is, they hold the doctrine of original sin itself to be a human-made evil, responsible for dehumanizing others and at the root of all manner of atrocities. Tracing back to Genesis 3, the story of “the fall,” sin appears to originate with ...

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