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Jesus, Drawing Muhammad, and the Idolatry of Free Speech

Pamela Geller had every “right” to host a conference in Texas that mocked Muhammad with a “Draw Muhammad” contest. The United States gives her that freedom – the Freedom of Speech, which includes the freedom to defiantly ridicule whomever she wants. Geller is apparently not a Christian, but many Christians have come to her defense of the conference. Let me be clear: There is no Christian defense of a confer ...

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Farkhunda: Their Scapegoat… And Ours

A month ago, a brutal and horrific tragedy took place in Afghanistan. A woman by the name of Farkhunda Malikzada was murdered by a mob of angry men. This is the story of a scapegoat, but it is also much more. Beneath the surface of this incident lies many layers of violence and humiliation. Reflexive rage against the killers, while understandable, would simply deepen the dark abyss of ignorance and refuel t ...

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Why Christianity is Anti-Culture: Michael Hardin, Maundy Thursday, and the Eucharist

This reflection on Maundy Thursday is in response to Michael Hardin’s 5-part series Thoughts on the Eucharist. Michael’s series is worth reading and rereading. In light of Maundy Thursday, Michael invited me to reflect on his thoughts. In addition, Rob Grayson wrote a beautiful response to Michael’s series, titled A Revolutionary Meal. I did it again. We were at the copy machine printing documents for an up ...

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My Biggest Concern for My Gay Son is Religion: On Being Catholic and Gay

I recently wrote about a former member of my church youth group. She was everything that a youth pastor could ask for in a student. She was kind, welcoming, smart, funny, and she took following Jesus seriously. And I’ll never forget the day that she told our youth group that she is a lesbian. Fortunately, she continues to be a faithful follower of Christ. I’m a proud member of the United Church of Christ. W ...

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Chapel Hill, Atheism, and the Worship of Violence

It’s been a few days since the tragic murder of three young Muslims in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The lives of Deah Shaddy Barakat, Yusor Mohammad, and Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha were cut short. They were murdered, shot in the head, by Craig Hicks. Hicks is an avowed atheist. Prominently displayed on his Facebook page is a meme that claims, Of course I want religion to go away. I don’t deny you your right t ...

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Who is God? Part 1: God is Love

Theology comes from two Greek words. Theos, meaning God, and logos, meaning word or reason. So, theology is simply words about God. The most fundamental questions for theology is “Who is God?”* People have answered the question in many ways, but as a Christian theologian there are two answers that I find the most compelling. An early follower of Jesus, possibly his disciple John, wrote a letter knowns to us ...

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Thanksgiving and a Theology of Despair

Are you feeling pressure to be thankful? We are in the midst of the Thanksgiving season. I’m reminded everywhere I go to “Be thankful!” Well, call me the Scrooge of Thanksgiving, but I’m just not feeling thankful. The more someone tells me to “Be thankful!” the more I feel a sense of despair. Be thankful? In the midst of Ferguson, Missouri? Jim Wallis writes over at Sojourners that, “Many black families wok ...

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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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What ISIL Beheadings Can Teach Us about God and The Cross

What’s the difference between a beheading and a crucifixion? I ask the question as a Christian because we profess that a method of execution every bit as shocking, and perhaps even more cruel, than the beheader’s axe is the vehicle of our salvation. If we do not reflect upon the difference (and the disturbing similarities) between our veneration of the cross and the state support of the beheader’s axe by th ...

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Rock, Paper, Scissors … GOD! – Children and a Nonviolent Reading of the Bible

Last April, my family moved to Eugene, Oregon. Eugene is located in Linn County. This is all you need to know that important fact: Linn County is the “Grass Seed Capital of the [FREAKIN] World.” Guess who is allergic grass seed? Yeah, that’s right. Me. My face has been a hideous mess of goopy sludge emanating from my nose and eyes. I’ve tried everything soothe my pain. Claritin. Allegra. Zyrtec. Nothing wor ...

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