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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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An Open Letter to President Obama on The National Prayer Breakfast

Dear President Obama, I first want to commend you on your wise, humble, and Spirit-led remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast last week. The backlash that your remarks have generated is unwarranted and yet, sadly, unsurprising. In a speech of nearly 3000 words, about 50 critiqued not Christianity itself, but a fraction of the violence committed in the name of Christ. All violence committed in the name of ...

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John McCain, Mitt Romney, and America’s Insane Foreign Policy

John McCain recently held a press conference where he speculated on a third Mitt Romney presidential campaign. He said that Romney would be a “viable” candidate, especially when it comes to foreign policy. Just to show how good Romney’s foreign policy would be, he attacked Barack Obama’s foreign policy. Welcome to the presidential campaign. McCain stated about the debates between Romney and Obama during the ...

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How Muhammad Responded to Insults: The Qur’an, Hell, and Charlie Hebdo

How do we make sense of the senseless and tragic violence committed by militants at the headquarters of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, especially when that violence is committed in the name of Allah? Suzanne Ross, my colleague at the Raven Foundation, calls the violence at Charlie Hebdo a sacred tragedy. Now, we generally associate “the sacred” with religions, but Suzanne clarifies that you don’t hav ...

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Discover Nonviolent Peaceforce: An Answer to Our Prayers for Peace

How does God answer our prayers for peace? Looking around at the violence at home and abroad, we could be forgiven for feeling that our prayers have fallen on deaf ears. But God hears our prayers and answers with a call of His own, a call that is being answered by courageous peacemakers in the most dangerous and violent places on earth. One such peacemaker is Mel Duncan and the organization he founded, Nonv ...

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Top 5 Ways to Be More Peaceful in 2015

At 35, I discovered years ago that New Year’s resolutions are a practice in failure. By January 15, I haven’t lost any weight, I keep swearing, I’ve stopped flossing my teeth, and I haven’t learned any new recipes…but I can still make a pretty mean batch of Top Ramen. Here’s another resolution I’m going to fail – be more peaceful. That’ll last until about 12:15 am on January 1st. But if you’re like me, you ...

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Terrorists Win: “The Interview,” North Korea, and the Tragic Irony of Christmas

Unfortunately, we will not be able to watch Kim Jong-un’s assassination on the big screen this Christmas. We will not be able to cheer as the brutal dictator’s helicopter explodes in the air “while Katy Perry’s ‘Firework’ plays on the soundtrack.” We will not be able to fulfill this Christmas Day fantasy by watching “The Interview” because the terrorists have won. The FBI now claims that Kim Jong-un’s gover ...

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Advent: The Faith to Scream “It’s Not Okay!”

She sat in total shock. Her head rested in her hands as her long hair hid her face. She was silent for forty-five minutes. And then the river of tears began to flow. It was the most traumatic event I’ve experienced in ten years of ministry. The pain and distress of a murdered family member were unbearable. As she wept uncontrollably, her sister stepped into the void to hold her. “It’s okay. It’s okay,” her ...

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American Values: Why the Torture Report Didn’t Go Far Enough

Last Tuesday, the Senate Intelligence Committee released its report of the CIA’s enhanced interrogation techniques following 9/11. The report is a 500 page summary detailing the CIA’s techniques and reveals the absurdity of the term “enhanced interrogation technique.” Enhanced interrogation technique is a soft, friendlier term that intentionally hides and sanitizes the truth that we tortured people. And, in ...

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Bible Matters: Lamentations: Political Protest, Grief, and Transforming Theology

Lamentations comes from the word “lament” which means a “passionate expression of grief or sorrow.” (For the entire Bible Matters series, click here.) The book was written during the Babylonian exile, a traumatic time for the ancient Jews. Jerusalem was conquered, the temple was destroyed, and many people were exiled throughout the Babylonian Empire. Lamentations is about grief. It implores us to express ou ...

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