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The First Lie: Language’s Big Bang

Once a person begins to desire what the model desires, he learns very quickly that disclosing the desire – naming it, speaking it – is the shortest route to making certain that he will never obtain the object. In this situation only dissimulation will succeed, and the best way to dissimulate is to say the opposite of what one means. Jeremiah Alberg, Beneath the Veil of the Strange Verses: Reading Scandalous ...

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Saint Patrick and the Druids: The Truth is in the Middle

I love St. Patrick’s Day. The one day of the year when, for better or worse, Western culture allows me to claim my non-existent inner Irishman. Kiss me, baby. Okay.  I’m done. There are many stories and legends about the fascinating life of St. Patrick.  One of the most famous legends recounts how this great 5th century Saint banished all of the snakes from Ireland. Bad snakes.  Bad. My work at the Raven Fo ...

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Surprising Insights on Ukraine in the New York Times

The news coverage of international conflicts can be very disappointing from a mimetic perspective. When conflicts escalate into violence as in Syria or the Ukraine, news outlets rush to cover the hostilities. They give us the facts on the ground, or rumors thereof, accompanied by an almost mindless report of what each side is saying by way of self-justification. However, if you listen to their rhetoric with ...

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Attn SBNR: Biblical Violence Matters to Peace

It baffles me when people who are deeply concerned about peace and peacemaking define themselves as “spiritual but not religious.” In pursuit of personal and/ or global peace, they shun organized religion in favor of indigenous spirituality. Celtic music, eastern spiritual disciplines like yoga and meditation, and the Native American relationship with nature all seem so attractive and obviously non-violent. ...

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Why Arizona’s Anti-LGBTQ Law was Religious But Not Christian

Arizona has been in the news because of an attempt to get a law on the books that would give Christian business owners the right to refuse products or services on religious grounds. Many commentators feared it would create a right to discriminate against the LGBTQ community. A robust debate has ensued around the question of whether or not it is Christian to refuse service for any reason or more Christian to ...

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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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Sex and Violence Go to Church: Breaking the Habits of Machismo

Sojourners is offering an important opportunity for Christian churches to examine their attitudes towards women. Following up on an article by Michelle A. Gonzalez entitled “Breaking the Habits of Machismo”, Gonzalez and Jim Wallis, president of Sojourners, will conduct a live video discussion on Wednesday, February 12 to “discuss what the Bible really says to encourage, affirm, and empower women and girls ...

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Duck Dynasty and the Idolatry of Freedom

I know. We’re all a little fatigued about the Duck Dynasty and freedom of speech controversy. As many have pointed out, everyone has been free during this controversy. Phil Robertson was free to make his statement to GQ. GQ was free to publish it. A&E was free to suspend Robertson for making comments that it thought hurt their image. And, despite that justification, A&E is free to air Duck Dynasty m ...

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Selfie-Gate: Obama, a Funeral Celebration, and a Scapegoat

President Obama’s “selfie” with the prime ministers Helle Thorning Schmidt of Denmark and David Cameron of Great Britain has been making the rounds on social media. Many of Obama’s detractors have taken the opportunity to criticize the President’s picture taking prowess, bringing on “Selfie-Gate.” Take John Kass of the Chicago Tribune, for example: First lady Michelle Obama sits off to the side, somber, dig ...

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Sermon: Advent Hope: The Works of Darkness and the Armor of Light

When I was in college, one of my best friends had a poster in his room that said, "Stay awake! Jesus is coming.” I hated that poster. The words come from both of our New Testament readings this morning. (Matthew 24:36-44 and Romans 13: 11-14.)  Both readings admonish people to stay awake, and the fact that I hated my friend’s poster might give you a sense about my feelings for how these passages are usually ...

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