The Opposite of Faith

“The opposite of faith is not doubt, its certainty.”   -Anne Lamott Most of us believe that a weak faith is a doubting faith, but maybe it is not. Perhaps a weak faith is one that must be propped up by certainty. If we have evidence for the things we believe, is it really faith? If […]

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The Opposite of Good

What is the opposite of hot? The opposite of alive? The opposite of fat? The opposite of good? The opposite of tall? We probably all did some kind of activity in elementary school that required us to match a word with its opposite. Since then,the idea of opposites, opposing ideas, opposing forces, has been a […]

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The Pope Goes to Prison

Although I am not Roman Catholic, I am impressed with the new Pope. I am especially impressed with the announcement that he will be observing Holy Thursday (the Thursday before Easter) at a prison. Past Popes have traditionally lead the Holy Thursday service at a church, but this year Pope Francis will celebrate Mass in […]

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Christian Pornography

Probably the most famous quote about pornography is by Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart:  “I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced within that shorthand description, and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it.” Perhaps pornography is […]

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Conditional Love

A story Jesus told: There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them. Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild […]

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My Growing Appreciation for Christmas Carols

As my understanding of God has changed over the years, I have come to dislike many of the church’s popular hymns. Not because they are old fashioned, but because they are bad theology. Recently, I have come to appreciate the hymns that we (often mindlessly) sing at Christmas time. Even though Christmas is past, we […]

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I Am Adam Lanza

Amid all the debates about guns over this past week, I heard a radio conversation in which a young gun owner was demanding that he had nothing in common with Adam Lanza, the Sandy Brook Elementary shooter. While I understand the point, I believe that I might have a few things in common with Adam […]

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Where is God When Children Die?

Whenever we face tragedy we wonder. Some of us find comfort in answers such as “God is in control” or “All things work together for good.” For many of us though, these statements are trite and empty. If God is in control, did He want 20 children to be gunned down in their classroom? If […]

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Jesus’ Shockingly Radical Perspective on Achieving Peace

The accounts of Jesus birth have become so common that few of us recognize the subversiveness present in the Biblical Christmas stories. When the books of Matthew and Luke speak of the newborn Jesus as King, Lord, and Savior they are making the bold, implicit statement that Caesar, despite the claims of the imperial cult […]

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Jesus’ Shockingly Radical Perspective on Justice

For most of us, justice has to do with getting what we deserve. We say that “justice has been served” when a person receives punishment for a crime they have committed. We strive to develop systems that mete out “fair” sentences; assigning retribution that is equal to the crime. If a person is given too […]

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Lincoln

Lincoln is nearly a perfect film. From the opening scene until the last moment it is compelling, emotional, beautiful, and sophisticated. Lincoln tells the story of our sixteenth president’s struggle to end slavery in the United States. The film’s focus is the passage of the thirteenth amendment. The characterization of Abraham Lincoln in this movie is without […]

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Do Christians Like Violence?

When I was a teenager there was a lot of debate about the kind of movies that were appropriate for Christians. I remember hearing quite often that violence was okay (and sometimes even good) but nudity and bad language was not. I wonder why we have such an accepting attitude toward violence. When we look […]

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Jesus’ Shockingly Radical Perspective on the Weather

“But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous.” Jesus’ original audience had an understanding […]

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Someone the Blame

The term “scapegoat” comes from Old Testament Jewish law. Once each year the priest would symbolically place the sin of all the people on a goat which was then sent away into the wilderness. It seems that the creating of the scapegoat is something built into all of us; every community and every time. We […]

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What if the World is Getting Better?

It is hard to see amid all the apocalyptic prophesy and political fear mongering, but maybe . . . just maybe, the world is getting better, not worse. We very rarely hear anyone say that the world is getting better. This is likely because the loudest voices are those with large investments in the idea of cultural […]

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