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Don’t Tell Me that God Is In Control: On Sovereignty, Tragedy, Sin

“God is in control.” The statement comforts many people because deep down we know that we are not in control. We can do everything we can to protect ourselves and our families, but we know that despite our best efforts, tragedy can strike at any moment. And so it’s comforting to believe that if we aren’t in control, Someone else is. But something inside of me recoils whenever I hear the phrase, “God is in c ...

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Why God is Sending Christians Straight to Hell

So much of Christianity has become about avoiding hell. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned as a hospital chaplain, it’s that God is sending Christians straight to hell. Christians need to stop thinking of heaven and hell as primarily places we go after we die. Heaven and hell are primarily realities that we experience here on earth. Jesus said, “the kingdom of God is among you.” For Jesus, the kingdom of ...

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Saved From Violence Part 3: The Social Dimension of Mental Illness

As the nation seeks a meaningful policy response to the Newtown mass killings, the role of mental illness is rightly being examined. We need to make whatever changes are necessary to ensure adequate care is readily available. Alleviating the suffering of individuals is the right thing to do. But mental illness is not, strictly speaking, an individual illness. It has a social component as well and that’s the ...

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The Dark Knight Rises: Why I Am Bane and So Are You

Maybe it’s time we all stop trying to outsmart the truth and let it have its day. - Alfred Pennyworth from The Dark Knight Rises The most fascinating aspect of The Dark Knight Rises is the constant search for truth amidst countless lies. The truths explored throughout TDKR are spiritual truths, and these truths are surprisingly rooted in the Judeo-Christian tradition. They are the truths of immortality, res ...

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Olympics 2012: A Golden Moment

I wasn’t going to write about the Olympics, but David Brooks started it. He’s my favorite New York Times columnist and on July 26 he opened his column, The Olympic Contradiction with this observation: “Abraham Lincoln said that a house divided against itself cannot stand. He was right about slavery, but the maxim doesn’t apply to much else. In general, the best people are contradictory, and the most endurin ...

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Meeting God in South Africa

“Get your father-in-law home,” he said. “I will,” I replied. And then I left our church service. That was Sunday morning. I didn’t know that by Tuesday afternoon I would be on a plane, flying from Chicago, Illinois to Johannesburg, South Africa. As I write this I’m sitting in the waiting room of the Johannesburg hospital. I’ve come here to do one thing: Get my in-laws home. They came on a vacation to South ...

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Suffering and the God of Love

I recently searched on Google for my mother. Google, via the website 123people, told me that Donna Ericksen is 65 years old and lives in Forest Grove, Oregon. 123people then sent me to its partner website, intelius.com, which told me that I could “Get the report on Donna G. Ericksen” for a special price of $.95 – a whole 67% off the regular price! Well, for once, I know more than Google. Yesterday my mother ...

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