Flock And Friends: Weekly Wrap-Up for 3/8/15 – 3/14/15


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Happy weekend, friends! This week, we’re launching a “weekly wrap-up” to help you catch up on articles you may have missed. We’re bringing you not just our own articles, but 10 others that we found especially newsworthy or intriguing. You can find something to interest you according to category, from peace activism to politics, religion to relationships.

From The Flock:

This week at Raven, we had new articles in all four of our categories

In Peace and Violence, Adam Ericksen helps us find inner peace with voices of self-doubt whisper insecurities in our minds. When you can’t banish the voices, try blessing them! Find out how in When The Way of Jesus Doesn’t Work: Finding Peace With A Divided Self.

Also, Robert Koehler observes that a zero tolerance policy punishing the overtly racist fraternity boys of SAE at the University of Oklahoma scapegoats easy targets while letting underlying racist structures remain in place. He helps us think about the difficult self-reflection we all must undergo to unravel systemic injustice in Frat Boys On The Bus.

In Politics and Pop Culture, Dr. Tracy McKenzie of Wheaton College continues his series on Teaching The American Revolution with his latest installment: Why Study History? Thoughts from Ford, Santayana, and “The Princess Bride.” Tracy convincingly argues that history helps us better understand who we are and can guide us in becoming who we should be.

Also in Politics, first time guest contributor Bill Dolan writes a review of singer-songwriter Bruce Cockburn’s memoir, Rumors of Glory, entitled On Wanting A Rocket Launcher. He argues powerfully that Cockburn has an intuitive knowledge of mimetic theory and particularly the contagion of violence. Check out the powerful music video at the end. We are so thankful that Bill leant his voice to Raven! Consider lending your voice!

Another guest author, Matthew Distefano, contributes this week in Religion. He argues that one need not fear hell to be a diligent disciple. In fact, believing in the all-merciful, universally-loving God of peace, he explains, facilitates praying in the Spirit. See his compelling essay, Prayer and Supplication.

Also in Religion, Lindsey Paris-Lopez continues her “Repent For Lent” series, this time examining the strange, upside-down family values of Jesus. How can we reconcile Jesus’s injunction to “hate” our families with the universal love he taught and manifested? Explore with Lindsey in Repent For Lent: Renewing Our Minds With Mimetic Theory – Family.

Finally, in Relationships, Adam Ericksen tenderly reflects on the time a beloved youth group member declared herself a lesbian in The Day She Came Out: Why Rob Bell Is Right And The Church Is Being Left Behind. He recalls her courage with joy and the acceptance of the group with pride, expressing that that powerful vulnerability and love is “what church is all about.”

As always, we greatly appreciate your comments! Join the conversation to help us build lasting peace!

From Our Friends

Now that you’ve seen what we’ve written, check out these articles to see what we read to spur us on in our peacemaking efforts!

Peace and Violence

Earlier this week, we shared the inspirational peacemaking work of the Metta Center For Nonviolence, inviting Raven readers to listen to their Peace Paradigm Radio program from last Friday, Nonviolent Action and Unarmed Peacekeeping. Listen to how we can undo the contagion of violence and build democracy without weapons.

Now that her memoir, In Borrowed Houses, received multiple awards, Raven friend Frances Fuller has upgraded her website! To see human faces in the conflict in the Middle East, check out her blog, a well-spring of hope in the midst of violence!

Raven founder Suzanne Ross recently found the Ten Commandments for A Better American World, by Tom Engelhardt of Tom Dispatch, to provide a far more sane and effective foreign policy for peace and prosperity than our current militant strategies.

And Raven contributing author Kathy Kelly writes from Lexington federal prison, where she resides with nonviolent inmates sentenced to years of jail time for the disease of drug addiction. But it is just as much our own addiction to retribution and merciless punishment that keeps these women behind bars. Can we find it in our hearts to work for prison reform? Can we be more flexible than stone and iron, and work to give prisoners a Possibility of Escape?

Politics and Pop Culture

50 years after the Voting Rights Act was won with the march on the historic Edmund Pettus Brigde in Selma, many believe that these rights are once again under threat. A 2013 Supreme Court ruling that makes it easier for states to change voting laws has many concerned, and with de facto segregation once again dividing school children by color, these concerns are not unfounded. Kim Chandler of The Associated Press documents these concerns in her Huffington Post article, Large Crowd Sets Out To Retrace Legendary Selma – To – Montgomery March.

Raven friend Benjamin Corey, blogging at “Formerly Fundie” on Patheos, claims, “I’m Not Scared of Muslims; I’m Scared of White Guys With Guns.” While the increasing attempts of some to fear-monger against Muslims leaves him unfazed, Benjamin Corey is wary of those who “have been indoctrinated into the acceptability of violence,” taught to fear based on stereotypes that dehumanize, and consider it their God-given right to carry a firearm in any circumstance.


At his Patheos blog, “Edges of Faith,” David Henson receives a revelation about the true nature of God’s love and absolute lack of condemnation through a prodigious parenting moment. Recognizing that the fear holding his son back from admitting an accident is creating a barrier to reconciliation, David gives us a new take on John 3:18: “Those who do not believe are condemned already.” Read his extraordinary homily on Lent 4B: Broken Wands, John 3:16, and the Condemnation of God.

Eric Alexander of ChristianEvolution.com and Ro Waseem of the Quranalyze It blog on Patheos had an amazing interfaith dialogue between progressive Christianity and progressive Islam. Touching on topics of Islamophobia, the authority of scripture with respect to the Bible and the Qur’an, and what it means to be a progressive believer, this hope-filled conversation is a must-read! The Muslims We Aren’t Hearing About: Interview With Progressive Muslim Huffington Post Writer, Ro Waseem.


Michael Miller of “Ministry Matters” contrasts the abusive relationship in a certain popular film with real love in 50 Shades of Sadness. Mimetic theory might help us consider what makes scandalous erotica desirable even when it falls far short of the mutual, respectful love God intends for all couples.

Frida Berrigan (daughter of peacemakers Phil Berrigan and Elizabeth McAlister) wonders in her column, “Little Insurrections,” “Am I Still A Rebellious Mom If I Use Disposable Diapers?” A bit of mimetic envy almost prevented me from sharing this, as it first made me feel like I’m falling short of my responsibilities to mother earth when I use disposable diapers for my own little one. But then I decided to bless the voices of self-doubt (thanks, Adam!) and now I use this column to inspire me to do what I can for the environment.


Happy Pi Day! It is March 14, 2015, or 3/14/15, the first 5 digits in Pi! Just a reminder that while we seek to make religion reasonable, even math can be irrational! In celebration of the day, I’ll be perusing articles to prepare next week’s columns over a slice of pie! Happy reading, friends!

2 replies
  1. Frances Fuller
    Frances Fuller says:

    I love the idea of your wrap-up. Because of it, I saw the thought-provoking articles by Kathy Kelly and David Henson. I plan to recommend the first to a woman friend who does ministry in prisons, and I will take another deep look into the third chapter of John.

    • Lindsey Paris-Lopez
      Lindsey Paris-Lopez says:

      I’m so glad you like it, Frances! Unfortunately, this week I won’t be able to do it… I spent this past week battling the stomach flu. No worries; I am much better now! “Flock and Friends” and “Repent For Lent” should be back next week!


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