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Would you take your car to a mechanic who was not knowledgeable about the basic parts of an automobile? Would you visit a doctor a second or third time if they told you that they were “not an expert” in medicine? Why would anyone return to an expensive restaurant that served fast-food quality cuisine? Common […]

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“Perfect love casts out fear.” “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind.” “Take courage! It is I. Do not be afraid.” There was a point in my life – not long ago at all, actually – where I was immensely afraid of the stomach flu. […]

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We are creatures who cannot help but be hopeful. We speak in the future tense, we make plans that will not come about until one day, or even one year, from now, and have an idyllic vision of events that we would like to come to pass. This ranges from devising meal plans with a […]

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“Father, where are you?” he asks. Wind howls, sand bites his skin. His hair tangles in a thorn bush, an eerie foreshadowing of things to come. The skies remain silent, and the dusty desert gives more of a response than the empty echo that returns to him. The Spirit led him here only to abandon […]

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When I went through a faith upheaval a couple of years ago, one of the concepts that helped me retain my willingness to remain a Christian was a redefinition of what it means to have ‘faith’ in something. Prior to this, my understanding of ‘faith’ was that it was interchangeable with the word ‘belief.’ And […]

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Christians and Culture Humans are cultural beings. Throughout history, humans have excelled at making and changing the tapestry of their cultures. Cultures are dynamic and constantly shifting with the changing of authorities – not only shifting governmental authorities, but also shifting ideological authorities in the academy, in art districts, and in religious structures. Religion is […]

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In previous posts, I have indicated that I accept the scientific fact of evolution, and that I don’t think this necessarily precludes orthodox Christian faith. I think there are other ways to read the creation accounts in Genesis than literally, because I don’t think the original authors were attempting to give us a pure, empirical […]

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[HOUSE OF CARDS SPOILER ALERT THROUGH SEASON 3, EPISODE 4] Have you seen House of Cards? It’s not a show for the faint of heart. While some of its portrayal of American politics is fairly outlandish, watching Francis Underwood, the protagonist (antagonist? the devil incarnate?) pursue power at all costs makes the show addictive. He […]

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Last week, Elaine and I watched a movie called Take Shelter, which has been roiling in my mind since we saw it. The plot follows a father and husband named Curtis who, from the beginning of the film, has increasingly ominous and anxiety-inducing apocalyptic nightmares. The nightmares, while clear, are never long or detailed. In […]

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Last week, I had the distinct pleasure of helping serve and talk through Communion with our small group that we attend weekly. I am by no means a preacher (actually, I’m really bad at it… just ask my former Biblical Preaching professor!). But Communion, as a physical space where we meet grace in unison, at […]

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Eric Seibert’s book The Violence of Scripture: Overcoming the Old Testament’s Troubling Legacy seeks to contribute to the effort of stripping Christianity of any heritage of violence or continuation of violent behavior. Seibert’s endeavor is to persuade readers that violence cannot be, in any case, virtuous. It is because of this ethical position that Seibert […]

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I am something of a coffee snob. Not in the “I’ll only drink Starbucks” sort of way – oh no. More like an “I look down my nose on anyone who might think Starbucks is good coffee” sort of way. Anytime someone offers me coffee at a party or gathering, I politely refuse, secretly (or […]

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C. S. Lewis, The Pilgrim’s Regress: The Wade Annotated Edition, ed. David C. Downing (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2014). Hardcover First published in 1933, The Pilgrim’s Regress by C. S. Lewis is “an allegorical apology for Christianity, reason, and romanticism” (in the words of the subtitle). It was Lewis’s first Christian book, written over the course of two weeks […]

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 Thomas S. Kidd, George Whitefield: America’s Spiritual Founding Father (New Haven, CT: Yale, 2014). Hardcover / Kindle George Whitefield is not well known by Americans today, including American evangelical Christians, his spiritual heirs. In the eighteenth century, however, Whitefield was well known not only in America, but also in his native England—well known, well loved, and widely criticized. Thomas S. […]

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This is my final post in my atonement series. Previously, we discussed how humans are bound, both systemically and individually, and how Jesus’ death and resurrection saves us on both levels. *** Why is this important? Why should we care about how exactly Jesus’ death and resurrection are necessary for our salvation? Can’t we just go about […]

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Yesterday’s post discussed Jesus’ role in saving us systemically from our inherent tendency to scapegoat and victimize others. In today’s post, we are address how Jesus saves us individually. *** Remember, Beck’s argument about the human predicament is that we are enslaved, or in bondage, to the fear of death. This neurotic fear produces sin in our […]

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In the previous two posts, I laid out a different understanding of original sin, both systemically and individually. Today, my attempt is to address how Jesus saves us from the sacrificial scapegoating mechanism, addressed on Friday. [Side note: From this point forward, I run the risk of distilling the story of Jesus and de-contextualizing it to […]

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In my last post, I discussed one side of the human “original sin” issue: systemically, we are bound to tribal ways of thinking, and we inherently blame and victimize outsiders to ease tensions within communities. In this post, I will address the individual aspect of sin. *** Along with the mimetic cycle of sacrificial violence, humans are […]