Israel, the Internet, and Purging the Scapegoat

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In his new book A Farewell to Mars, my pastor-at-large Brian Zahnd spends some time on the powerful theme of scapegoating. This is not my full review of the book (that's coming soon), but it is a quick riff. Because this theme struck a particular chord, considering the way people so often engage in this destructive social practice. I think we've been seeing an extreme example of scapegoating in the Israel-Gaza conflict. And I think we see it happen in smaller ways all the time - perhaps e … [Read more...]

The War Is Over; It’s Time to Stop Fighting [Anderson Campbell]

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It was the day after Christmas, 1944. In Europe, the Battle of the Bulge was in full swing. On the other side of the world Hiroo Onoda, an elite Japanese soldier and intelligence officer, was dropped behind enemy lines on Lubang Island in the Philippines. His mission was to link up with a small group of soldiers already on the island and conduct guerrilla warfare and covert operations. The departing orders from Onoda’s commander, Major Taniguchi, were clear: You are absolutely forbidden to die b … [Read more...]

3 Ways That LGBT Christians are Blessing the Church

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We are a people prone to polarization.Ideologies - opinions mixed with certainty divorced from relationship and reality - help us to create all kinds of "others" and "thems" to justify ourselves and our group and the unhealthy antagonism and aggression we wish to perpetuate.Perhaps no "issue" is more of a lightning rod for polarization - and violent, often dehumnanizing rhetoric - than that of LGBT people in the church. But what if we zoomed out for a moment and detached from the … [Read more...]

Ending Well [Levi Holland]

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Leaving a place that has become home is difficult. It's unnatural really. We connect to a place and a people, understand the lay of the land and the ethic of a society. To simply uproot is not only becoming increasingly unpopular within a "local movement" orientation, but it is incredibly painful. This is a story about my family doing just that, uprooting from one place to replant ourselves in another.Ending well, as I have learned, is an artform, not a template. When I told 30 students and … [Read more...]

The Grand Budapest Hotel and Gaza: A Barbaric Slaughterhouse

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Looking for prophetic insights in a Wes Anderson film can be a little like looking for physics insights in a Will Ferrell movie.That's not really what Wes and Will are on about.But Wes is on about nostalgia - in a stylish, ironic, and occasionally hilarious sense. And the nostalgia of his latest film (now on Redbox, yay!) is front and center from start to finish. In fact, The Grand Budapest Hotel is basically a nostalgic film about nostalgia.The narrative centers on the hotel's … [Read more...]

#FFFF: Jason DeMeo

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If you want to get into a lively debate with anyone, just ask them a variation of this question: Which _________ was the greatest of all time? Which basketball player, singer, actor, writer, and especially rapper. Let's take a moment to ask the rappers themselves...Jay-Z (Who refers to himself as J-Hova, as in Jehovah): I drop that Black Album then I back out it/As the best rapper alive, ***** ask about me. Nas (Who refers to himself as God's Son) My first album had no famous guest ap … [Read more...]

3 Reasons the Church of England Decision is Right on Time

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On Monday, the Church of England voted to ordain women as bishops of the Church after years of debate and division.And almost immediately, commentators began to complain.The complaints generally came in one of two forms. From the conservative side, this vote represents a tragic capitulation to culture and sacrifice of biblical principles, leading inevitably to eventual ordination of open LGBT people. From the progressive side, this vote is decades too late, proving just how behind the t … [Read more...]

Having Faith in the Priesthood of Believers [John Hawthorne]

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But you are God's chosen and special people. You are a group of royal priests and a holy nation. God has brought you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Now you must tell all the wonderful things he has done. The Scriptures say, “Once you were nobody. Now you are God's people. At one time no one had mercy on you. Now God has treated you with kindness.” 1 Peter 2:9-10 I am not a biblical scholar or theologian. I'm a sociologically oriented social psychologist who studies evangelicalism. And … [Read more...]

Whirlwinds and Seeking Signs: The Bankruptcy of Science AND Religion

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Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind: “Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge. Gird up your loins like a man, I will question you, and you shall declare to me."Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding."- Job 38: 1-4 I've been thinking a bit about science and religion, mainly because my church is going through a series on the topic. And it's a sticky wicket because, as you know, the two have often found the … [Read more...]

Beautiful Simplicity or Beguiling Sophistication?

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But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. - 2 Cor. 11:3, KJV Navigating the waters of being a "progressive" Christian can be treacherous business.I put "progressive" in scare quotes because it's darn near impossible to pin down a definition for that adjective, and there is certainly quite a spectrum of Christian practice that claims the title. As I mentioned in my first new post … [Read more...]


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