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

Advent candles symbolizing John 1:5 - "The light shines in the darkness." (Copyright: martinan / 123RF Stock Photo )

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 sister gently encouraged.“No! It’s not okay! It’s not okay! It’s not okay!”Th … [Read more...]

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

The CIA (Photo: Getty)

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 response to the report, President Obama claimed that torture is inconsistent with Ameri … [Read more...]

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

Jeremiah Lamenting the Destruction of Jerusalem (Rembrandt)

Lamentations comes from the word “lament” which means a “passionate expression of grief or sorrow.”(For more in the Bible Matters series, visit the Raven Foundation 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 our sorrow and grief and to honor sorrow and grief in othe … [Read more...]

Why God is Sending Christians Straight to Hell

Sign leading to Hell, Michigan.

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 God, also known in the Gospels as the kingdom of Heaven, is a present reality. You d … [Read more...]

Think Big or Die: Why Global Disarmament Must Be On The Table

god is alien to violence

A proposal for worldwide disarmament in which every nation in the world demilitarizes by eliminating all defense spending is considered a non-starter. Deemed impractical, impossible, and downright dangerous, global disarmament is dismissed out of hand by the very people responsible for creating peace and security in our world. Diplomats, politicians and military professionals insist that we must invest in defensive weapons to protect ourselves from present and future threats. There will always … [Read more...]

Big Hero 6: How to Love like a Superhero

2014 Walt Disney Studios

“I love Baymax! He is the nicest superhero ever!” – My son, age 7 “Of all the threats presently looming over us, the most dreadful one…the only one that really matters, is ourselves.” – René Girard, The One by Whom Scandal Comes, 3.Big Hero 6 is Disney’s latest superhero animation film. It’s a profound story that explores the human condition. It’s a story about love, rivalry, betrayal, violence, loss, death, and healing.As a parent of three young children, this is the movie that I … [Read more...]

America’s Leading Historian on the First Thanksgiving and Faith

Robert Tracy McKenzie, chair of department of history, Wheaton College

We recently had the great honor of talking with Dr. R. Tracy McKenzie about his book The First Thanksgiving: What the Real Story Tells Us about Loving God and Learning from History. Read my review of Tracy's book here.Tracy McKenzie is professor and chair of the Department of History at Wheaton College. His book The First Thanksgiving: What the Real Story Tells Us about Loving God and Learning from History was released last year from Intervarsity Press. The book explores the Pilgrims' cel … [Read more...]