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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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Top 5 Ways to Be More Peaceful in 2015

At 35, I discovered years ago that New Year’s resolutions are a practice in failure. By January 15, I haven’t lost any weight, I keep swearing, I’ve stopped flossing my teeth, and I haven’t learned any new recipes…but I can still make a pretty mean batch of Top Ramen. Here’s another resolution I’m going to fail – be more peaceful. That’ll last until about 12:15 am on January 1st. But if you’re like me, you ...

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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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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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