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The Idolatry of Violence

Editor's Note: This article was submitted by guest author Matthew Distefano. I cannot understand the fascination conservative Evangelicals have with the movie American Sniper: The Most Lethal Sniper In U.S. History. Recently, I have witnessed what seems like overt idol worship for the late Chris Kyle, whose killings are highlighted in the film. There is a particular affinity for him and the movie in which h ...

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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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Repent for Lent: Renewing Our Minds With Mimetic Theory – Introduction

  Repent! It’s a word Christians will probably hear a lot for the next 40 days as we settle into the liturgical season of Lent, following our Lord on the path to eternal life that lies beyond the wilderness of temptation and death. For many, this word rings of shame, fear, or maybe resentment. It can conjure images of an angry god pointing an accusatory finger and giving a final warning to us to cease ...

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Relaxing into Lent: Identity and those Voices in Your Head

The Christian journey of Lent is upon us. Lent commemorates Jesus’ journey into the wilderness. After his baptism, where Jesus heard the voice of God say to him, “This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased,” Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness. After 40 days of fasting, he was tempted by the devil. In good mimetic fashion, Jesus had received his true identity from God at his baptis ...

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Happy Presidents Day! – On Mimetic Theory and How I Lost Political Ambition

Like many children growing up in the US, I had dreams of becoming the President. My political career got off to a pretty good start. In high school, I was Freshman Class President, Junior Class President, and then Student Body President my senior year. During college, I was involved in the Student Senate and my senior year I was the Vice President of the Student Body. I was well on my way to becoming Presid ...

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Who is God: Part 2: The Holy Spirit and judgmental gods not worth believing in

Ask anyone to tell you about the Holy Spirit and you will likely receive blank stares. How do you describe a spirit, let alone one that is marked as “Holy”? René Girard’s book I See Satan Fall Like Lightning changed my life – and changed my understanding of the Holy Spirit. He points out that Jesus used a specific name for the Holy Spirit. In the Greek of the New Testament, that name is “Paraclete.” Paracle ...

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Nationwide: What We Can Learn from the Worst Super Bowl Commercial Ever

“That was a total buzzkill.” The Nationwide commercial just finished. Entitled, “Make Safe Happen,” it stars a sorrowful young boy. He talks about his dreams of learning to ride a bike, learning to fly, traveling the world with his dog, and getting married. But he never did any of those things. Why? He explains, “Because I died from an accident.” Then we see various “accidents” – a tub overflowing, toxic ch ...

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2014 Raven Foundation Award In Arts And Entertainment Video Conference With Tony Bartlett

This past Tuesday (February 3rd), I had the honor of hosting Dr. Anthony Bartlett, winner of the 2014 Raven Foundation Award in Arts and Entertainment, in a video conference virtually attended by many of our friends. The Raven Foundation presents this award annually to someone whose work aligns with our mission to creatively apply Rene Girard's mimetic theory to make "religion reasonable, violence unthinkab ...

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Why I Hate Tom Brady: Reflections on the Super Bowl

As a Seattle Seahawks fan, born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, I hate Tom Brady. With a passion. Of course, my hatred for Tom has grown since Sunday’s Super Bowl. I’m sure you’ve heard by now that Tom and his Patriots beat my Seahawks in a heartbreaking loss, made worse by how the game ended. My Seahawks had the ball on the one (1!) yard line with seconds left and three downs remaining. Despite having ...

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Top 4 Ways to Criticize without Scapegoating

Criticism. It’s an ugly word. Just reading it there makes me cringe. And there’s so much of it going around. There is a positive form of criticism, of course, but criticism usually has negative connotations. The news, Facebook, and Twitter are prominent places where a mean, nasty, and excessively critical spirit is spread like a contagious disease. If you need any evidence for René Girard’s mimetic theory, ...

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