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On Being a Good Dad: Mimetic Desire, Toys, and How Not to Love Your Neighbor

I consider myself to be a good dad. And that’s where the problem began. One of the main reasons that I consider myself to be a good dad is that I buy my children really cool toys…that I get to play with… Well, a few years ago I bought them a toy rocket with a launch pad. When I…err…I mean *they*…stomp on the pad the rocket launches 50 feet in the air! My status as a “good dad” increased last year when I bou ...

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How Should Christians Respond to President Obama: On Fear, Violence, and Safety

Do you feel safe? President Obama made his case for war against ISIS during his address to the nation last night. He juxtaposed two statements that sum up the contradictory message that American presidents have been telling us with a straight face since at least the Vietnam War: America is safer. Still, we continue to face a terrorist threat. I don’t feel safe. We’ve been fighting the “War on Terror” for 13 ...

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Has Jesus Forgiven John Lennon’s Killer?

Mark David Chapman shot John Lennon in the back four times, killing him outside his New York City home on Dec. 8, 1980. I remember watching the news on TV at my parent’s home in New Jersey and feeling that a great light had gone out of the world. Reading about the most recent decision to deny Chapman parole, I squirmed uncomfortably at his claim that even though he understood why the law could not pardon hi ...

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Book Feature Friday: Making Friends among the Taliban: A Peacemaker’s Journey in Afghanistan

The Taliban. Just the name evokes intense emotions of anger and hatred because, for many in the West, the Taliban is known for one thing: terrorism. How should Christians react to the Taliban? Sometimes the words of Jesus seem like too much to ask. But sometimes I think they are the only hope for our violent world: You have heard that it was said, “You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.” But I sa ...

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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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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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Joe the Plumber, God, and Guns

Samuel Wurzelbacher, also known as Joe the Plumber, re-emerged in the news last week. He made headlines in the wake of the shooting tragedy in Isla Vista, California. Joe wrote an “Open-Letter” to the families of the victims. One section of the letter has been highlighted more than any other: ...

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NBC’s Parenthood: When the Winning Strategy is Losing

The writers of Parenthood, the popular NBC family drama, use an interesting device to dramatize conflict. When two characters have a difference of opinion their exchange begins in measured, even tones. One person talks, while the other listens. Then the second person talks, while the first one listens. But as their disagreement heats up, the exchange gets faster and faster until no one is listening and both ...

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Valentine’s Day: The Myth of Love and Desire

The most recent short lived celebrity marriage lasted only two weeks: Rachel Snider is filing for divorce from Terrell Owens, claiming he only married her for her money. Yet, in announcing her plans to divorce Terrell, Rachel says this of their relationship: "I really valued his love and friendship for 5 years. Out of the love in my heart, I tried to help him. We had a secret relationship for 5 years and I ...

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The Immaculate Conception of Mary: Why it Matters Today

Today is the feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The doctrine was formally defined in 1854 by Pope Pius IX, but the belief in Mary the mother of God being conceived without the stain of original sin is an ancient one. This doctrine is commonly confused or conflated with the belief in the virgin birth of Christ. So I invite you to pause with me for a moment or two of meditation on ...

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