Welcome to CBE’s Library

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Recently, someone asked my thoughts on racial segregation in the US church on Sunday mornings: “How will we ever move forward together, as a unified church, if people of color don’t forgive us for the past?”

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It’s Thursday and I am four hours from home at my daughter, Shauna’s, house. I sit at my computer with my four-month-old grandson, Henry, on my lap.

While he grabs at the keypad I search the web for the most recent updates on the situation in Darfur. I find only bad news: escalated violence has led to another major withdrawal of international aid workers and supplies, leaving hundreds of thousands of refugees without food, water, blankets. 

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The doctrine of the fall of humanity is easy to verify — all we have to do is pay attention to the news. Injustice is easy to spot, both blatantly and subtly, in institutions such as the Church, government, corporations, families, and my own field, Christian 
higher education. 

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Despite the positive reviews I had heard of The Nativity Story, I went to the movie prepared to be a critic. After all, I thought, it was my duty to see through the cinematic gimmicks and factual errors to produce a film review. Though I came to the film a bit cynically, I left feeling uplifted and moved.

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Coming of Age is a result of the Young Male Spirituality Project, a joint effort of Lutheran Men in Mission, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and Luther Seminary (St. Paul, Minn.) to find out why young men are staying away from the church in droves, a pattern that surveys are showing is increasingly alarming.

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In the first recorded crime in the Bible, brother murders brother: Cain slays Abel out of jealousy. The pages of scripture that follow are filled with stories of difficult, often destructive relationships between siblings: Isaac and Ishmael, Esau and Jacob, Rachel and Leah, Joseph and his brothers. Certainly the most sanguinary and cold-blooded display of fratricide occurs in the book of Judges, when Abimelech massacres his seventy brothers! From the beginning of human history, one of the closest of family relationships is fraught with the dangers of alienation and violence.

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The new TNIV Bibles for women and men promise to help Christians gain an identity and maturity in Christ: the women’s Bible, entitled True Identity: The Bible for Women, includes the cover description, “becoming who you are in Christ,” and the men’s Bible, entitled Strive: The Bible for Men, says, “becoming the man Christ wants you to be.”

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Sure, Jesus used farmers to teach the disciples, but chickens? Little did producer DreamWorks and directors Nick Park and Peter Lord know when they released Chicken Run (2000) that their movie would be a modern parable.

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While it sounds virtuous, and is appealing to those who would like to believe that involved fathering is the answer to all society’s ills, the idea that any human being, apart from Christ himself, can take spiritual responsibility for another has no place in historic, biblically-based Christian doctrine.

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The gender equity component of the community’s development efforts came up repeatedly in my interviews and conversations. “Could it be possible,” I began to think, “that by modeling and empowering a community of equity, justice, and liberating education, such practice becomes modeled and reproduced continually?”

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