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Questions from Selma: Where Was the Love?

After watching Selma, I had a weird feeling that the filmmakers thought they were making one kind of movie but unintentionally made a very different one. I gleaned from rave reviews and interviews with the actor David Oyelowo (Dr. King) and director Ava DuVernay that they thought they were making a tribute movie to a hero of the civil rights movement in the United States, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. They se ...

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John McCain, Mitt Romney, and America’s Insane Foreign Policy

John McCain recently held a press conference where he speculated on a third Mitt Romney presidential campaign. He said that Romney would be a “viable” candidate, especially when it comes to foreign policy. Just to show how good Romney’s foreign policy would be, he attacked Barack Obama’s foreign policy. Welcome to the presidential campaign. McCain stated about the debates between Romney and Obama during the ...

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How Muhammad Responded to Insults: The Qur’an, Hell, and Charlie Hebdo

How do we make sense of the senseless and tragic violence committed by militants at the headquarters of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, especially when that violence is committed in the name of Allah? Suzanne Ross, my colleague at the Raven Foundation, calls the violence at Charlie Hebdo a sacred tragedy. Now, we generally associate “the sacred” with religions, but Suzanne clarifies that you don’t hav ...

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The Nonviolent Atonement: God’s Grace upon Grace

She was 85 and nearing the end of her life. I’d never met her before. You might call her a “lapsed Christian,” or maybe she was one of the “nones.” She hadn’t been to church in decades. She called for a visit because she had anxiety about death. But what broke my heart was her anxiety about God. “Hi,” I gently greeted her. “Hello pastor.” She replied. She began telling me about her Catholic parents, her “fa ...

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American Values: Why the Torture Report Didn’t Go Far Enough

Last Tuesday, the Senate Intelligence Committee released its report of the CIA’s enhanced interrogation techniques following 9/11. The report is a 500 page summary detailing the CIA’s techniques and reveals the absurdity of the term “enhanced interrogation technique.” Enhanced interrogation technique is a soft, friendlier term that intentionally hides and sanitizes the truth that we tortured people. And, in ...

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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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The Shooting Death of Michael Brown: A Necessary Evil or Just Plain Murder?

I want to discuss something fundamental, disturbing and largely invisible about human society that the ongoing events in Ferguson, MO are bringing into view. As you know, a young black man, Michael Brown, was shot dead by a uniformed police officer this past August and a Grand Jury decided not to indict him for murder, voluntary manslaughter or involuntary manslaughter. They decided that Brown’s death was a ...

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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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Violence Nevermore!

Happy Halloween, Dear Friends! Tonight, for a spooky edition of Book Feature Friday, I decided to do things a little differently. As it is Halloween, my article tonight is going out in costume -- disguised as a parody of the original Raven by model-obstacle  famous master of poetic horror, Edgar Allen Poe. Just have fun with it friends; it's my "treat" for you this Halloween! Once upon a midnight dreary I w ...

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Kevin Miller on Hell, Universal Salvation, and Mimetic Theory

Hell. The concept has come under fire. Fortunately, Kevin Miller is here to put out the flames. Kevin is the star and director of the critically important documentary Hellbound?, where Kevin interviews a diverse group of pastors, theologians, social commentators, and musicians. Kevin also blogs at his excellent website, Hellbound?: Exploring Faith and Film, Good and Evil. In the interview, Kevin brilliantly ...

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