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Strange Fire: John MacArthur, Mark Driscoll, the Holy Spirit, and the Satan

I first heard about the Strange Fire controversy when my Twitter feed started tweeting up a storm on Monday. The drama centered on a confrontation between two conservative mega church pastors, John MacArthur and Mark Driscoll. Most of my Twitter friends are theological liberals, and we liberals love it when our conservative brethren get in fights. Woo-hoo! A scandal! This scandal, like most scandals, was ov ...

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[VIDEO] Sermon: On Saying Yes: An Israelite Girl, Malala Yousafzai, and Jesus

The great Jewish theologian and philosopher Martin Buber said that there are two basic positions to life.[1] A position that says “Yes” to life. And a position that says “No” to life. For Buber, saying “Yes” is a bit of a paradox, because saying “Yes” to life doesn’t primarily depend upon us seeking, or striving, or grasping for some abstract meaning to life. Once we start seeking, striving, and grasping we ...

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Dreams of Justice: Syria, Barack Obama, and Martin Luther King Jr.

What’s happening in Syria is awful. You see the pictures and your heart breaks. It’s horrific. Lakhdar Brahimi, UN special envoy to Syria, said today that, “With what has happened on the 21st of August last week, it does seem that some kind of substance was used that killed a lot of people: hundreds, definitely more than a hundred, some people say 300, some people say 600, maybe 1,000, maybe more than 1,000 ...

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July 4th and the Table of Demons

On July 4th I will be attending the annual party at my son and daughter-in-law’s home. They will be serving up smoked chicken and spare ribs while fireworks from neighboring towns inscribe a nearly 360° circle around their backyard. While we are waving our flags with differing degrees of enthusiasm, one member of my family will not be with us: my sister the Jehovah’s Witness. As much as we’ve tried to persu ...

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Surprising Our Enemies: Christians and Muslims Working for the Common Good

What if we surprised our enemies? I mean, really surprised them. What if we surprised them with something totally unexpected? When our personal, political, and national enemies strike us, they expect us to strike back. That’s been the human script since the foundations of human culture. We mimic violence blow for blow. Only each side wants to be the side who delivers the final blow. What if we surprised our ...

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Book Review: Rob Bell and a New American Christianity

Can we watch a video with that guy who has the weird hair and the dark rimmed glasses? -Member of My Youth Group Love wins the in the sense that God’s will is the reconciliation of all things—the soul, the body, the earth, the cosmos, and everything in it. -James Wellman, Rob Bell and a New American Christianity, 59. American Christianity is experiencing a theological shift. Many have tried to explain it, s ...

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Saved from Violence Part 1: A response to the Newtown tragedy

“Guns are why we’re free in this country, and people lose sight of that when tragedies like this happen.” Scott Ostrosky, Newtown resident, owner of informal shooting range, as quoted in the New York Times. “We can’t tolerate this anymore. These tragedies must end. And to end them, we must change.” President Obama, speaking at a Newtown, CT prayer vigil In the wake of the tragedy in Newtown, CT on Friday, w ...

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Take Heart: A Review of “From Willow Creek to Sacred Heart” by Chris Haw

So much of Christian identity is wrapped up in being “not” some other type of Christian. To shore up our identity, we locate an oppositional other and put distance between us. The sign that we are doing this is that little tweak of repugnance we feel towards another type of Christian. It can manifest, among other ways, with an inner monologue that we sometimes blurt out: “Don’t confuse me with Roman Catholi ...

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