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

Copyright:  / 123RF Stock Photo

“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 control.” Many believe that God’s sovereignty means that God is behind everything that … [Read more...]

Bill O’Reilly, Brian Williams, and Jesus: On Goodness and Love

Bill O'Reilly (Photo: Flickr, Justin Hoch, The Hudson Union Society, no changes made to image.)

I’m cringing as I write this.That tells you a lot about me. When it comes to politics and theology, I identify as liberal. I firmly believe that Jesus wanted everyone fed, wanted universal health care, and that the Kingdom of God is about politics. It’s about structuring our personal and communal lives in a nonviolent way that ensures everyone has food to eat, debts are forgiven, and healing is freely provided for everyone.Bill O’Reilly symbolizes almost everything that I loath about Amer … [Read more...]

Facing My Mortality: Praying the Compline, Part 2

The Compline, or Night Prayer, is the last prayer said as part of the Liturgy of the Hours. As my Lenten discipline, I have added the Night Prayer to my rather thin prayer practice, which has consisted of praying the Office of Readings in the morning. I’ve tried to pray the Compline before, but it hasn’t worked. My darkest thoughts come to me at night. Doubts about my work, the purpose of my life, and fear of death haunt me. The Compline’s focus on resting in peace cuts too close to the bone. It … [Read more...]

Why Was Jesus Crucified? Curriculum Writers Discuss Their Answers, Part 1

During Lent we are inviting curriculum writers to tell us how their curriculum for children and youth deals with the violence at the Cross. We are delighted to open the series with a contribution from Catherine Maresca because her works shifts our normal approach to curriculum design. If you are like me, you start with a theological idea or interpretation of a text and design your class around that starting point. Catherine takes the opposite approach: she allows young children to offer their … [Read more...]

Relaxing into Lent: Identity and those Voices in Your Head

"The Temptation of Christ" by Ary Scheffer

The Christian journey of Lent is upon us. Lent commemorates Jesus’ journey into the wilderness. After his baptism, where Jesus heard the voice of God say to him, “This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased,” Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness. After 40 days of fasting, he was tempted by the devil.In good mimetic fashion, Jesus had received his true identity from God at his baptism. As radically relational creatures, mimetic theory claims that we receive our ident … [Read more...]

Finding Atonement in the Greatest Rivalry in College Basketball

"Carolina-Duke basketball 2006 1" by Bluedog423 at en.wikipedia. - Taken by Bluedog423.. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons -

“You may not know what this means because you don’t live in North Carolina” my friend began. “But, for us, if just for a moment, hell froze over.”He was talking about the greatest rivalry in all of college basketball:Duke versus North Carolina.They played last night at Duke University. It was the 239th game of their rivalry. The teams are similar in their successful histories. Even their different shades of the same color of blue point to their similarities. And those similarities onl … [Read more...]

Facing My Mortality: Why I’m Praying the Compline During Lent

For my Lenten discipline this year, I’ve decided to become more comfortable with death. To date, I have not been a big fan. Fifteen years ago at the tender age of 45 my blissful life of denial was interrupted with a breast cancer diagnosis. Okay, it felt like a tender age at the time. I hadn’t given my own mortality much thought and when it was forced into my consciousness in an unforgettable way, I was miffed. Denial had been my favorite coping mechanism, but it failed me in the face of the rea … [Read more...]