April 30, 2014

Parenting is hard. It happened to me again on Sunday morning. We just moved to Oregon last week and were about to try a new church. Our morning routine is pretty typical: we tell our children it’s time to get dressed. Our first and third child diligently put on their clothes, while our middle child finds a thousand and one ways to stall. Driving. Me. Crazy. Intellectually, I could sympathize with the boy. I remembered that I hate it when… Read more

April 28, 2014

What’s Emerging? A New Perspective on Victims Something new is happening in Christianity today. The Spirit is moving among us, shaking up old ways, raising new questions, and challenging thousand year old tenets of our faith. Books with titles like Everything Must Change (Brian McLaren), Jesus Feminist (Sarah Bessey) and Banned Questions About the Bible (Christian Piatt) are populating our bookshelves. Some call these authors heretics who are destroying the fabric of Christianity. Others claim that without these prophetic voices,… Read more

April 25, 2014

Part 1:  Just what is emerging?  There’s a lot of talk about “emergent church” these days. But just what is emerging? Phyllis Tickle, popular author and founding editor of the Religion Department of Publishers Weekly, says we are entering the age of the Spirit, and I agree. But where is the Spirit leading us? Brian McLaren, a leading voice in the emergent church movement, calls it “A New Kind of Christianity.” But what is this new Christianity all about? Having… Read more

April 23, 2014

Have you ever wondered how mimetic theory changes lives? ME TOO! So, I decided to put together a top ten list. Here you go: 10. You will impress others with your bold use of words like “mimetic,” “interdividual,” and “internal/external mediation.” 9. You will understand the destructive nature of religion. 8. You will understand the constructive nature of religion. 7. You will understand the paradox of numbers 9& 8. 6. You will see how scapegoating works and that the goat you… Read more

April 23, 2014

At the center of Christianity is a weird claim: that we have been saved by sacrifice. And it was a gruesome sacrifice at that, a snapshot of humanity at our worst, for the Christian claim is that what saved us was the torture and putting to death on a cross of an innocent man falsely charged as a criminal. Weird doesn’t begin to describe the strangeness of this idea. The talented and thoughtful writer, Colm Toibin, has taken the church… Read more

April 22, 2014

Subscribers to Teaching Nonviolent Atonement will have the opportunity to talk with the Rev. Paul Nuechterlein, creator of Girardian Reflections on the Lectionary: Understanding the Bible Anew Through the Mimetic Theory of René Girard and one of the leading voices of nonviolent Christianity. Beginning in September, we will conduct monthly online video chats with this innovative Girardian thinker who is helping to make possible a nonviolent understanding of Christianity. The monumental task of preaching and teaching nonviolent Christianity requires a… Read more

April 21, 2014

Today, 9/11/2012, marks the release of Brian McLaren’s book Why Did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha, and Muhammad Cross the Road?: Christian Identity in a Multi-Faith World. The date, of course, is significant. It’s been 11 years since the tragedy of 9/11 – a tragedy that had religious overtones, but also political and economic overtones as well. The question I often ask myself about religion is simple: What needs to stay and what needs to go? Jesus might have asked, “What’s… Read more

April 20, 2014

Reza Aslan begins of his book, Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth, with a prescient warning: “Scholars tend to see the Jesus they want to see. Too often they see themselves—their own reflection—in the image of Jesus they have constructed” (xxxi). I don’t think Aslan had himself in mind when wrote that statement, but you should be warned: the Jesus in Zealot is Aslan’s own false construction. His central thesis is that the Jesus of history, and the God Jesus believed… Read more

April 19, 2014

Are you feeling a bit smug about the way historian and author Reza Aslan out-debated Lauren Green on Fox News on Friday, July 26? The clip of the interview about his new book, Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth, has become a YouTube sensation with almost 3 million views in four days and much of its popularity is due to liberals gloating over Lauren Green’s obvious embarrassment at being out maneuvered on her own show. From her opening question it was clear… Read more

March 19, 2014

“Once a person begins to desire what the model desires, he learns very quickly that disclosing the desire – naming it, speaking it – is the shortest route to making certain that he will never obtain the object. In this situation only dissimulation will succeed, and the best way to dissimulate is to say the opposite of what one means.” Jeremiah Alberg, Beneath the Veil of the Strange Verses: Reading Scandalous Texts Everyone lies. We tell little lies all the… Read more

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