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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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Guns: Cause or Cure?

Adam and I did a series of four articles following the Newtown massacre in December. Our focus was on the culture of violence in which we live, breathe and have our being. We wrote that the logic of violence is woven through the fabric of our culture. ...

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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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Saved From Violence Part 2: What We Owe Our Children in a Violent World

“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.” John 1:5 That verse has become my mantra. I constantly pray it, so that I might come to believe it. During the last week darkness has spread across the United States. First there was the shooting at Clackamas Town Center. I grew up near Clackamas, Oregon, and went to that mall frequently as a teenager. The familiar images of the parki ...

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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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Human Dignity: The Sense and Senselessness of Violence

Violence is a paradox. It makes sense. And it doesn’t make sense. Whether or not it makes sense or is senseless usually depends entirely upon which side you are on. J. Christopher Stevens, the United States ambassador to Libya, and three members of his staff were tragically killed yesterday as a furious mob attacked the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya. The mob became violent in reaction to a short movie rec ...

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I am Trayvon and I am George

Good people across our nation are trying to find answers to the following questions: Was Trayvon Martin’s death a racially motivated murder or something else, an act of self-defense or a tragic accident? Is George Zimmerman a racist or something else, a decent man or emotionally ill? Is President Obama’s response measured and appropriate or something else, too timid a challenge to racism or too dismissive o ...

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Norway and the Commitment to a Better World

We believe in something inimical to all human beings.  We believe that it has the power to right the wrongs committed against us and we believe that it has the power to make the world a better place. We believe in violence. In general, we humans believe that violence, the intention to harm another person or group, is an effective way to make the world a better place.  Anders Behring Breivick’s cruel rampage ...

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