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

January 23, 2014

On January 30 we talked with Professor Andrew McKenna and theologian and blogger Benjamin Corey about mimetic theory and America’s broken justice system. Andrew teaches mimetic theory and French literature at Loyola University in Chicago and has been teaching English at a prison near Chicago. We will also discuss a recent lecture he delivered at the Midwest Modern Language Association entitled “Rene Girard and Black on Black Violence: Teaching African American Literature in Maximum Security.” The paper has a slightly… Read more

December 14, 2013

(Sermon text: Isaiah 11:1-10 and Matthew 3:1-12) How many of you in your life time have lain an ax or chainsaw to a tree, or the menfolk around you have?  As a ten year old child I always carried a pocket knife and many a sapling has fallen to my blade.  I have created many stumps, some that sprouted back and some that did not.  In my hand and imagination the fallen trees became spears, guns and knives.  I employed… Read more

December 3, 2013

Year A, Advent 1 December 1st, 2013 Isaiah 2:1-5 and Matthew 24:36-44 Riding Out the Flood Isaiah presents this beautiful image of peace and my heart stirs with longing.  “In the days to come the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be raised above the hills; all the nations shall stream to it.”  Ah, if that could happen, what a wonderful thing it would be!  People would be streaming in… Read more

September 4, 2013

As I began my morning devotions on Tuesday this week, Syria was on my mind. No surprise, right? The debate about whether to respond militarily to the use of chemical weapons is all over the news right now. Mostly folks are arguing about what actually happened and the larger geo-political questions that a military strike involves, which are important and necessary issues. But here’s the question that was rattling around in my head as I turned to the day’s devotional… Read more

August 28, 2013

I’ve been excited to tell you this ever since July…The much anticipated conversation between Brian McLaren and James Alison has been posted! You can listen to the podcast over at Homebrewed Christianity by clicking here. I first need to point out that this recording never would have happened without Tripp Fuller and Bo Sanders of Homebrewed Christianity. At the last minute we were scrambling to find a way to record the live Internet broadcast of the discussion. Brian called up his friend Tripp who graciously dropped… Read more

July 25, 2013

So much of Christian identity is wrapped up in being “not” some other type of Christian. To shore up our identity, we locate an oppositional other and put distance between us. The sign that we are doing this is that little tweak of repugnance we feel towards another type of Christian. It can manifest, among other ways, with an inner monologue that we sometimes blurt out: “Don’t confuse me with Roman Catholics, I’m an Episcopalian!” Or, “Please – I’m Lutheran… Read more

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