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Defeating White Nationalism: The Realities of Online Warfare

As the violence descended Charlottesville, Virginia on Saturday August 12th led by 1,000 demonstrators who marched in protest of the removal of a Confederate memorial, and one counter-protestor was killed, the question millions were asking: Who is the Alt-right and from where did they come? The movement is young, and not monolithic, but it does claim to be “conservative” in some loose…

Patriotism with Perspective

As we celebrate the 243rd anniversary of America’s Independence, the holiday presents an opportunity to reflect on the nature of patriotism. At a fundamental level, patriotism is an expression of gratitude for citizenship in one’s nation. In this sense, it is a virtue. Affection for a place and people to whom you belong is imminently natural. Patriotism is also a profoundly complex…

A Quest for Perfection: Going it Solo

“For a brief moment, I feel perfect.” Alex Honnold’s revelatory statement is crucial to understanding the internal drive that led the climber to successfully scale Yosemite’s El Capitan alone, and without equipment—”free solo”—in June 2017. This pursuit is what drives the plot in Free Solo, the 2018 documentary directed by Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Vasarhelyi.  When applied to Honnold’s staggering feat, “perfection”…

A Generation Enslaved: The Devastation of Pornography and a Cultural Revolt

  I became a subscriber to Sports Illustrated as a Freshman in high school. Being an athlete who played baseball and football, articles about professional sports naturally piqued my interest. But one issue that came every February never passed through my hands: The annual swimsuit edition. Mom made sure it moved swiftly from mail box to trash can. It was a few…

A Baptist Faith-Healing?

What is a Baptist understanding of miracles in the church today? While a diversity of views can be found, looking into the denomination’s past might illuminate the present. The Baptist tradition begins early in seventeenth-century, a tumultuous period in English history with various revolutionary religious and political changes, many of which are closely connected to Puritanism, a spiritual renewal movement that began…

“Sermon on the Afternoon of Christmas Day” by Martin Luther

This message, preached on December 25, 1530 is among the most poignant and well-known sermons by the German reformer Martin Luther (1483-1546). The sermon focuses on the “trust” aspect of faith that leads a person to believe not only that Jesus Christ was born of a virgin, but that Christ was born for them, yes even born for you. You have heard today…

Promises Made, Promises Kept

Christmas brings joy because God keeps his promises. In her Magnificant, upon being told that she will give birth to the Messiah, Mary jubilantly proclaims, “He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and his offspring forever.”—Luke 1:54–55 The Father’s sending of his eternally begotten son to became incarnate in the…

Frankenstein: A Parable of our Times

A chlorine green muscular giant with jet black hair, yellow eyes, and nails protruding from his neck is such an ubiquitous sight at Halloween that any semblance of terror that would’ve plagued the original readers of Mary Shelly’s epic novel, Frankenstein, is lost. It has been called the first piece of science fiction, a modern reiteration of the classic Greek saga, Prometheus.…

Sermonic Reflections on Sonoma’s Recent fires

You Hold My Right Hand Psalm 73:23–26 Considering the destructive wildfires that have ravaged our community for the last week, there are genuine reasons to be discouraged, even afraid. Maybe you’re asking yourself why things like this happen. Perhaps you’ve had friends who’ve lost their homes. Scores of individuals have already lost their lives, and no doubt, many are wondering, “Where is…

What if the Robots take your Job? Theological Perspectives on Artificial Intelligence

What will you do when the robots take your job? If you reflect on the last 40, and particularly 20 years, you might discover that they already have taken jobs. Whether telephone automation, ATM’s, or express checkouts at the grocery store, technology works faster, more efficiently, and quite simply, better, than humans. Companies know that machines increase profit without the complexities of…