Zero Dark Thirty and Zero Sum Gain


Listen to this piece.How can violence ever bring closure to violence? I considered this question while watching Zero Dark Thirty—the controversial movie on the hunt and killing of Osama Bin Laden. So much of the controversy around the movie centers on factuality and on whether or not it glorifies torture. From the standpoint of acting and cinematography, the movie is a great success. Moreover, regardless of whether or not the movie is accurate, it can prove beneficial for fostering important … [Read more...]

How to Sustain Jesus’ Justice Movement, Part 4

Listen to this piece."We can't do this alone." These were the sentiments of my former student and her husband, who moved from Portland to Minneapolis/St. Paul to be involved in a community focused on addressing poverty while taking the vow of simplicty themselves.How do you sustain a justice movement? Stay crazy. But it's hard to stay crazy if you don't live among beautifully crazy people who share the same values and who will inspire you and hold you accountable.Hopefully, your acco … [Read more...]

Fight Club

Aggressive men wrestling

Listen to this piece.I watched Fight Club the other night. It took me several tries to sit down and watch it all the way through. It’s not the easiest film to watch, but it is one of those movies that will be difficult to forget any time soon. Moreover, the story so encapsulates the traumatic experiences of a significant number of men in our society; so long after the memories of scenes from the movie have faded, I will have instant recall of lives in pain as violence committed against o … [Read more...]

Moving Beyond the Christian-Muslim Impasse


This piece was originally published at Middle East Experience on January 1, 2013 and is reproduced here with permission.Challenging Evangelical Assumptionsco-authored by Paul Louis Metzger and John W. MoreheadEvangelicals face enormous challenges in the pluralistic public square in the 21st century, especially among Muslims. Suspicion and fear of Muslims exist in many quarters as a result of 9/11 and other radical Muslim acts of terror in places like Spain and London and some bad … [Read more...]

How to Sustain Jesus’ Justice Movement, Part 3

Jesus, Adam and Eve

Listen to this piece.Do you look at those you serve as the objects of your good will and charity or as subjects who shape you—even to the point of becoming your benefactors and friends? In discussing this subject with my colleague Beyth Hogue Greenetz, she said it is a lot more difficult to get burned out on serving people when they are your friends. It may very well have been the case that the same Mother Teresa who saw Jesus in those she served saw herself as the friend of those she s … [Read more...]

Where Do We Go After Newtown?


Listen to this piece.A tragedy like the mass shooting in an elementary school in an affluent, well-educated community unnerves America. If a tragedy like this had occurred in an impoverished region, it might not have had the same guttural impact. We might expect such mass violence against children to occur in places where education and economic levels are low.As a society, we put a lot of stock in solving our problems through education and economics. While education and economics play … [Read more...]

Are You Smoking What You’re Selling?


Listen to this piece.WARNING: Not smoking what you're selling severely harms you and those around you.This post is not about the legalization of marijuana or what smoking can do to one's lungs, but about the authenticity of one’s faith. I wish we could make it illegal to smoke anything other than what we ourselves are selling.A while back, I asked one of my seminary classes to reflect upon a movie clip from Walk The Line and to relate it to our Christian witness. The movie is about t … [Read more...]