A Prayer for Nepal

A Prayer for Nepal

Merciful and loving God, we pray for all those affected by the earthquake in Nepal.  We know you to be a God whose love knows no bounds.  Although tragedies like this make it harder for us to affirm that, we thank You for being patient enough to allow us to cry out. At times to even cry out against You with questions and accusations.  In the end, however, we have hope that You fill all those who suffer with Your comfort and peace, through the hands of those acting from a place of love. Read More

Do Humans Have Souls ? – I Challenge You To A Dualism! – 007

BPI - Irenicast Episode 007

Do humans have souls?  Getting meta this week, the team talks about the nature of human nature, whether we have free will, how to think about souls, and how religion, philosophy and science can shape our understandings of these mysteries. Hilarity ensues when Jeff, Mona and Allen play a game called Judging A Book By Its Cover.

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Religious Freedom Restoration Act – You Can’t Have Your Cake OR Eat It – 006

BPI - Irenicast Episode 006

Jeff, Mona, & Allen tackle all things religious and free. This week, that happens to be Indiana’s widely disputed SB 101 Religious Freedom Restoration Act. They follow up the discussion with Say What?!, a segment involving speaking before thinking… as if their podcast didn’t have enough of that already.  Read More

Challenging Consumer Culture – All-Consuming Buyer – 005

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This week on Irenicast Jeff, Mona & Allen discuss the good, bad, and ugly about living in a consumer culture. Then, like good little consumers, they weigh in on favorite movies, what their celebrity couple name would be, and the meaning of the word “awesomeful.” Read More

The Nature of Biblical Texts – Wholly Scripture, Batman! – 004

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Hipsters, the Bible and Batman this week on Irenicast. The team gets into a deep discussion of the nature of Biblical texts, what interpretation means, and how to treat ancient sacred texts with respect. Also, Mona and Allen play a round of Missing Link, while Jeff plays an entirely different game. Read More

Reconciling Scripture with Science – EVILution – 003

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How do we go about reconciling scripture with science?  This week Jeff, Mona & Allen scratch the surface of the issues around Evolution versus Creationism, from ancient times to present.  Bookending their conversation they reflect on some moments from their history in youth groups and play a particularly scandalous round of Jesus Juke. Read More

A Christian Response to War – Finding A Third Way – 002

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Between discussing candy bars and playing a game of Famous Christians for 100, Jeff, Mona and Allen have a serious conversation about the curious relationship between Christianity and militarism.  What should be a Christian response to war?  In attempt to answer this question they explore visions for just religious responses to violence. Read More

Leaving Evangelicalism – BONUS Episode – 001.5

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In this Leaving Evangelicalism bonus episode, Mona takes on the quest of answering the following question: where did Evangelicalism come from? What is it, exactly, and how did it become the multi-faceted movement it is today? Along with her guest and co-host Allen, the two trace the family tree of Christianity through looking at church history, from ancient to modern times. This is a fun conversation, but we want to mention it is also quite information-heavy. Read More

Leaving Evangelicalism – East of Eden – 001

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In the inaugural episode of Irenicast, Jeff, Mona & Allen discuss their journeys leaving Evangelicalism.  Plus they will play a little game they like to call Jesus or Jay-Z. Read More

What If Shopping Malls Are Really Sanctuaries?

The mall in my town looks more like a religious sanctuary than I ever realized. 

I mean, its presence is literally cathedral-like.

mall entrance

In fact, the mall itself is a nod to medieval Christian architecture in its “cruciformity” (the building, from above, is the shape of a cross).

mall cruciformity Read More

Conversations on Faith and Culture – Introducing Irenicast – 000

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An Irenicon is very excited to introduce Irenicast, our new weekly podcast dedicated to conversations on faith and culture. Our first official episode will be posted on Tuesday, 3/10/15. Join hosts, Jeff, Mona & Allen as they explore various topics from pop culture to more serious issues impacting religion, society, and day-to-day life. Read More

Syrian refugees

When I See Pictures of Victims

To be sure, a cityscape is not made of flesh. Still, sheared-off buildings are almost as eloquent as bodies in the street.

-Susan Sontag, Regarding the Pain of Others

A photograph of refugees streaming out of war-torn Yarmouk introduces an online article. A humanitarian advertisement displays a malnourished dog, mostly skin and bones, on the brink of death. A Facebook friend posts infrared photographs of helicopter pilots firing rounds into a group of footsoldiers.

Violent images inundate my daily world.

Which is disturbing. Infuriating. I can’t tell you how many things I’ve seen that I would rather not see. Maybe should not see. My gut reacts and screams these pictures should not exist!

But another part of me thinks that they should. Read More

Pieter Bruegel the Elder - Hunters in the Snow (Winter) - Google Art Project

Guest Post: Our Christmas Hope – An Advent Reflection

Have you ever wondered why we celebrate Jesus’ birthday during the winter? Have you ever wondered why we celebrate his birthday at all? It is not as if we know Jesus’ actual date of birth.

All we know is what the gospels reveal. We know that at the first Christmas, “there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night” (Luke 2:8). Shepherds in the Middle East only pasture their flocks at night when it is warm out. During the winter, it is too cold. Instead of being in the fields, the sheep like being snuggled together toasty warm in a nice pen. This means that more than likely Jesus was born in the warmth of the late spring, the summer, or the early autumn. This is Read More

My Life With Night Terrors, Demons, And “Alice In Wonderland Syndrome”

“But I don’t want to go among mad people,” Alice remarked.
“Oh, you can’t help that,” said the Cat: “we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.”
“How do you know I’m mad?” said Alice.
“You must be,” said the Cat, “or you wouldn’t have come here.”

-Lewis Caroll, Alice in Wonderland

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My Childhood Demons

Peering out from beneath a pile of stuffed animals, I saw the shadowy figure sitting at the foot of my bunk bed. It stared at me from between the rungs of the ladder which led up to my snoring little brother; I felt the shadow watching me. A few days later, two more shadows would join the first and crowd around me.

I sunk further into my animals, desperate to avoid its gaze.

So goes my earliest memory and the beginning of my night terrors.

Until age ten, night terrors were a routine part of my childhood. Read More

Why We Love The Rapture

I know you all want answers, and believe me, so do I.

– Captain Rayford Steele, Left Behind 2014.

eclypse by hexx696

I was a child of the late 90’s and an evangelical Christian so, naturally, I read the wildly popular Left Behind novels (and I loved them). Even though I eventually moved on from the unique theology that made them possible, I never quite let go of the feelings they afforded me.

That might be the reason I was fairly disappointed this weekend when I discovered that the newest Left Behind movie is hardly better than the one starring Kirk Cameron back in 2000. Read More