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

July 25, 2013

Star Trek: Into Darkness is a fascinating and complicated story that is well worth watching. Instead of providing a summary, I want to explore three related aspects of the movie that have to do with mimetic theory: sacrifice, blood, and hope for a more peaceful future. Live Long and Prosper – The Sacrificial Formula In a reference to my favorite Star Trek movie, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, the current movie’s Spock (Zachary Quinto) restates the sacrificial formula:… Read more

July 25, 2013

“The 1970s were the beginning of the end of older forms of Christianity, and now, decades later, we are witnessing the end of the beginning.”  –Diana Butler Bass I graduated from my Catholic girls high school in 1973 as an avowed agnostic. Having rejected Catholicism and all of Christianity for that matter, I had no idea that I was part of a tidal wave of change sweeping  American Christianity. I felt alone in my decision, completely unaware that there were… Read more

July 25, 2013

You may not realize this, but senior pastors throughout the world were on vacation last Sunday. Not because they were celebrating the American holiday weekend of Memorial Day. No, senior pastors the world over were conveniently on vacation because it was…Trinity Sunday. Of course, I can’t blame pastors for taking a nice weekend vacation and leaving the challenge of preaching the Trinity Sunday sermon to their associates. I’ve always had a hard time with the Trinity. Not because of the… Read more

July 17, 2013

After three years of working with James Alison to put his introduction to Christianity for adults into video format,  we launched Jesus, the Forgiving Victim: Listening for the Unheard Voice, in June 2013.  As part of our development of the course, last fall we invited folks to beta test it for us. Over 65 people signed up for four retreats around the country and at the time I was feeling giddy, joyful, humbled, insecure, confident, panicked – oh, yes, I felt it all! As… Read more

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