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The Theology of a Biker Gang

  Five rival biker gangs descended upon a Twin Peaks restaurant in Waco, Texas on Sunday. Hundreds of gang members began stabbing, beating, and shooting each other. Weapons included chains, knives, clubs, and guns. When the fight ended, 9 people were dead, 18 were sent to the hospital, and more than 170 people were arrested. Waco police Sargent W. Patrick Swanton stated, “In my nearly 35 years of law e ...

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Top 10 Ways Mimetic Theory Can Help Create Interfaith Empathy – A Panel Discussion

I was delighted to be invited to an international discussion about creating more empathy between people of different religions. The panel consisted of a Christian (that was me!), an atheist, and three Muslims. (You can watch the video by scrolling down.) The producer of the panel was Edwin Rusch, who is the founding director for the Center for Building a Culture of Empathy. Edwin’s goal is to create “a worl ...

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Ishtar vs. Easter: Pick Your Story

In the midst of my family’s Easter celebration yesterday, I decided to check Facebook. Most of my friends posted comments like “Happy Easter!” and shared pictures of their celebrations. But this meme also appeared on my feed: The meme is attributed to Richard Dawkins’ Foundation for Reason and Science and is meant to debunk Christianity and Easter as just another example of an ancient myth. The reasoning go ...

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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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Is God the Biggest Serial Killer of All Time? – A Response to the Friendly Atheist

The Friendly Atheist is one of the most influential atheist blogs on the Internet. The website’s 10 bloggers have contributed to CNN, Fox and Friends, NPR, the Washington Post, and the USA Today. You may be surprised to read this, but I owe the Friendly Atheist a personal debt. My atheist brother invited me to officiate at his wedding ceremony with this condition, “As long as you don’t say anything about Go ...

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On Wanting A Rocket Launcher (Book Feature Friday)

        Editor's Note: This article was submitted by guest author Bill Dolan. Bruce Cockburn is the guy who wished he had a rocket launcher. The Canadian singer-songwriter wrote “If I Had a Rocket Launcher” in 1983 after visiting a Guatemalan refugee camp. The song viscerally captures his response to watching government helicopters bomb a defenseless village. The chorus of the anthem sta ...

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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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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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