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Brian's Blog

  • March 31, 2015

    Paul Harder gets it right ...

    on Christian values here.

    God does not require us to make a list of things that others are not permitted to do. Rather, he wants us to follow a fairly simple list of what we, ourselves, should do.

    Those who focus on thou-shalt-not pronouncements about the behavior of others, ignoring the thou-shalts that Jesus actually spoke, are not trying to uphold Christian values.

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  • March 30, 2015

    It's Monday, but Good Friday's coming ...

    Lots of pastors and priests will be preaching on the meaning of the crucifixion this week. If you haven't downloaded or purchased Did God Kill Jesus? yet, this is a great week to do so. Here's what I wrote in my endorsement: “An extended exploration of one of Christian theology’s oldest, most vexing, intriguing, and important questions… You’ll be grateful for a chance to think alongside a passionate, inspiring theologian who writes with clarity, intensity, and relentless curiosity.”

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  • President Carter gets it right ...


    Ultimately, only a peace agreement that grants freedom to self-governed Palestinians can bring the security that both the Israeli and Palestinian people deserve. As long as Palestinians remain divided, it will be difficult for any leader to sell to the Palestinian people a peace agreement with Israel. Absent such an agreement, lifting the closure and jump-starting Gaza’s reconstruction can do much to avert the next war.

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  • March 28, 2015

  • March 25, 2015

  • March 21, 2015

  • March 19, 2015

    A reader writes … easily accessible to our youth

    A reader writes:

    I've been doing an internship at a small Presbyterian church since last summer. In addition to my intern duties, I have been offered a position as Christian Education Administrator as they decide how to reorganize after losing their long time DCE.

    Our youth group has dwindled over the years. They were wanting something that would create excitement and help the youth think about their faith. A few weeks ago, we introduced WMTRBW. We used John Stonecypher's videos and worked with the material to make it easily accessible to our youth. The response has been great.

    Your book has made a new way of approaching scripture easily understood by congregations who are wanting to move forward but are not sure of how to do so.

    It's great to hear how the book is being employed in congregations like yours. I'm so glad to be in partnership with you and John Stonecypher and many others.

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  • March 18, 2015

    God becomes real to us ...

    when incarnated in the kindness and love of others. This beautiful video from Rob Leveridge offers a beautiful insight into incarnation … and eucharist. So worth your next 3 minutes and 55 seconds!

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  • March 17, 2015

    Banking With a Conscience: George Bailey or Mr. Potter?


    George Bailey or Mr. Potter?

    This article points to a trend I think we all should be paying attention to … using moral influence upon corporations, beginning with banks, to move people toward the common good. More here. Quotable:

    Last week, with little fanfare, PNC Financial, the nation’s seventh-largest bank, disclosed a significant strategic shift. The bank said it would no longer finance coal-mining companies that pursue mountaintop removal of coal in Appalachia, an environmentally devastating practice that has long drawn opposition.

    It was a big decision for PNC, which has been one of the largest financiers of companies that engage in the mountaintop mining of coal, which involves blasting off the summits of mountains to expose the coal beneath them and dumping the debris into valleys and rivers, which the environmental law organization Earthjustice described as “strip mining on steroids.”

    For more on related matters, see Everything Must Change.

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  • March 15, 2015

    Hell: Jesus is Against It

    by my friend Roy Terry.

    More about Cornerstone UMC here.
    More about the curriculum they're following this year here.

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  • March 14, 2015

  • March 13, 2015

    If you liked Benjamin Netanyahu's speech to Congress ...

    or if you didn't, these insights from Navajo Christian activist Mark Charles deserve your attention:


    Did anyone else catch this statement made last week by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in his address to a joint session of Congress?

    He said (to applause):
    "Because America and Israel, we share a common destiny, the destiny of promised lands that cherish freedom and offer hope..."

    The belief that the lands of North America are a "promised land" to the colonizing nations of Europe is rooted in the Doctrine of Discovery and requires an acceptance of at least 2 extra-Biblical components.

    1. Christian empires are ordained and established by God..
    2. God gave the lands of North America to colonists in order to plant the United States, a new nation with a God-given destiny

    Both Jesus and Paul rejected the notion that Christ came to establish a worldly "Christian" empire.

    The belief that the United States is a Christian Empire that has a land covenant with God is a self-serving fabrication that has no moral or spiritual basis. Whether or not the United States is a Christian nation has absolutely no bearing on the salvation of any follower of Christ. Yet many American Christians embrace this national identity with such devotion that one would think our eternal destiny depended upon our citizenship in a Christian Empire.

    I was shocked by the Prime Minister's words. Not only because they were extremely inaccurate, both historically and theologically. But also because one does not need to read very far into the Old Testament book of Joshua to discovery the God ordained fate of any nations or peoples that pre-exist in "Promised Lands". His words, before a joint session of Congress, implied Biblical justification for 5 centuries of incredible injustice, racism and dehumanization towards the indigenous peoples of North America.

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  • March 12, 2015

    If you're a parent, educator, youth worker, teacher, or pastor - check out this awesomeness

    by geek-dad John Stonecypher. Here.

    Check this out by Catherine Maresca - here.

    And if you want to hang around fascinating kindred spirits - who care about fresh ways of teaching kids and youth about God, faith, Jesus, the cross, and life - don't miss Faith Forward in Chicago, April 20-23. I'll be there. I hope you will too!

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  • A reader writes: For your inner geek ...

    My wife Karen and I are working through "we make the road…" which, with some of your other books, advocates using candles during spiritual exercises.

    Alan Alda, the actor, has an inner geek too. He funded a contest a few years ago to answer the question "what makes a flame?" in a way a 10-12 year old could understand.

    Here is winning entry, https://vimeo.com/40271657. I think your blog readers might enjoy it too.

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