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God, Same-Sex Marriage, and 33 Weddings at the Grammys

Call me old fashioned, but our culture hit a new low at the Grammys when 33 couples were married. Some of them were gay and lesbian couples. Indeed, it was a bad day for marriage. First, Macklemore sang Same Love, then Queen Latifah officiated a wedding for 33 couples, and then Madonna sang her 1986 single Open Your Heart. Now, don’t get me wrong. I love Macklemore’s Same Love. I love its pro-same-sex marri ...

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The Immaculate Conception of Mary: Why it Matters Today

Today is the feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The doctrine was formally defined in 1854 by Pope Pius IX, but the belief in Mary the mother of God being conceived without the stain of original sin is an ancient one. This doctrine is commonly confused or conflated with the belief in the virgin birth of Christ. So I invite you to pause with me for a moment or two of meditation on ...

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The Spirituality of Kelly Clarkson: Misfits, Kenosis, and People Like Us

Whatever her motivations, I think it’s amazing that it has become “cool” to identify with cultural outcasts. And as opposed to criticizing her motivations, I want to affirm them. Whether or not Clarkson realizes this, as a powerful and influential person who identifies with cultural “misfits” and the “damned,” what she is doing in People Like Us is modeling an example of Christ-like love... ...

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The Spirituality of Fun.: God’s Grace in a Violent World

I love Fun.. I especially love the wacky period at the end of the band’s name. But my Word doc has the green squiggly line under the two periods of that first sentence. I hate that green squiggly line – it’s not fun. It’s there to tell me that I have bad grammar. Not this time, Word Doc! I shall right click and ignore you! Fun.’s (okay, now there’s a red line! Once again I shall ignore…) Some Nights is full ...

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Should Christians Be Patriotic Part 2: True Freedom

If patriotism means the freedom to pursue my own self interest at the expense of a common enemy, then Christians should not be patriotic. For Christians, true freedom is the freedom to love - especially to love our enemies. Paul explained that this freedom was achieved paradoxically through becoming enslaved to one another through the nonviolent and self-giving love of Christ. ...

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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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Boston Marathon: Deliver Us from Evil

What do you say in the face of evil? The stories from yesterday’s attacks at the Boston Marathon are heartbreaking, gut-wrenching. One in particular stands out to me. A woman was waiting for her husband to cross the finish line when the bombs exploded. For three hours she searched frantically for him, not knowing if he was alive or dead, not knowing if he was frantic and looking for her. Her voice cracked a ...

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Resurrection and Swarmageddon!!!

Yesterday was Easter – the day we celebrated the Resurrection of the Son of God. It’s the day when we finally realize that God isn’t out to get us. In fact, three days after a bunch of people abandoned, betrayed, and killed him, Jesus came back. And instead of following the same old script of holy-revenge-in-the-name-of-justice (thanks to Saturday Night Live for that skit!) Jesus offered forgiveness and pea ...

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Is God a Cosmic Jerk?: God, Satan, and the Problem of Evil

Is God a Cosmic Jerk? That’s how I ask the question, but professional theologians use the term theodicy. It comes from two Greek words: theo, which means “God,” and dike, which means “justice.” Theodicy asks, “If God is good and just, then why is there so much evil in the world?” There are many answers to this question. Some claim that God causes evil. In which case, my question becomes relevant – Is God a ...

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