Lindsey Paris-Lopez 09-04-2015

Image via /Shutterstock

We have nurtured an enemy mentality that pits us against the world — even as we justify it by claiming to be a force for protection of the world. And the violence we export abroad is taking its toll on us. It’s been taking its toll on us for a long, long time — eroding our souls with every weapon made, let alone used, to destroy another child of God half a world away or right next door. How could a nation that spends more money than any other in the world on the military not be infected by a culture of violence? How can we spend billions on bombs and guns and drones and missiles while neglecting the necessary funds for education and housing and healthcare, and yet claim to respect life? How can our leaders instruct us to kill abroad and be surprised when we find no other way to handle our problems here at home? How can we demand respect for human dignity while we continually glorify violence that tears human beings apart? How can we respect life while waging death?

We live in a deadly world, and we keep making it deadlier. So we are afraid, and we cling to our guns, and when someone poisoned by the idolatry of violence fires one of those guns, fearful people cling ever more tightly to their guns. When our own government clings to its nuclear arsenal in the name of "deterrence," how can we expect anything less of citizens?

As long as we live in fear and glorify violence, we can’t be surprised that efforts for gun control go nowhere. Of course we need gun control, but we also need to control our addiction to the myth that peace can be waged through violence. I can’t think of any myth that has so thoroughly duped humanity as the satanic lie that peace can be bought from sacrifice — from murder and war. The notion of a war to end all wars, a permanent peace arising from the rubble of destruction and death, is so demonstrably false. The house divided against itself is our own world, and we cannot stand like this. Will we keep hurtling ourselves headfirst toward our own destruction, putting our faith in instruments of death?

Aaron Taylor 02-15-2012
Mr. Bean (aka Rowan Atkinson). Image via Wylio,

Mr. Bean (aka Rowan Atkinson). Image via Wylio,

Allow me to share with you a list of characters I’ve been told that I look like. I got all of these when I was in elementary, junior high, and high school.

  • Screech
  • Mr. Bean
  • Ernie of Bert and
  • Boy George
  • The elf that wants to be a dentist from Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

Imagine being a 12-year-old boy and all of your classmates agree that you look like the nerd on Saved by the Bell. Not exactly a confidence booster when it comes time to ask a girl if she wants to — as I remember the phrase —“go out with you.”

But that was me. Scrawny. Brainy. Goofy. Religious. Socially-awkward. I sucked at sports, but could sing and act, which were gifts that no adolescent male wanted back then. These were the days before, High School Musical, American Idol, and Justin Bieber. Go figure.

Joshua Witchger 10-04-2011

This Sunday (Oct. 9) , Sesame Street will introduce a brand-new Muppet character — a magenta-faced, impoverished 7-year-old named Lily who represents one of the 17-million Americans who struggle daily with hunger and poverty — during a rare prime-time special called, "Growing Hope Against Hunger."

Marie Dennis 08-24-2011

For the past 30 years, through my work with Maryknoll and Pax Christi International, I've come to know grassroots communities around the world in situations of war and poverty. My mission focus base been largely international, but people, were in the "center of my screen." The environment, I thought, would have to wait.

A few weeks ago, I went with two of my grandchildren, Lauren (10) and Bobby (9), to see the documentary Hubble, which is about NASA's final shuttle expedition to repair a a broken part of the Hubble telescope. We watched in awe at the spectacular photos of the expanding universe. What an amazing sense these photos give of our own location as humans who are part of a larger earth community, who are part of a cosmos with which our own future is inextricably linked.

Julie Clawson 08-22-2011

Earlier this summer I attended a church service where the pastor, a man struggling with what appears to be his final bout with cancer, preached about the hope that Jesus promises to those who trust in him. After describing the returning Jesus brandishing a sword and dripping with the blood of all our vanquished enemies, he invited the audience to share what they saw as the hope that this Jesus promises. The responses ranged from no cancer, to no pain, to no worries about paying the bills, to the promise of an upgraded body -- all of course in heaven someday after we die. The congregation was encouraged to find contentment in the present from the possibility of realizing these promises someday. Our souls are what matter; the body just has to endure until our souls reach heaven. No mention of help with how to pay this month's rent or what it means for a cancer-ridden body to be the temple of the Holy Spirit, just the spiritual promise that someday all will be well.

Daniel Groody 08-12-2010

[Editor's Note: This week we will have a series of reviews on films with a focus on immigration. Check back each day for a new film review, and visit for more information]

Once again, Glenn Beck has waded into theological waters beyond his depth.
Ernesto Tinajero 04-30-2010
The defenses that Goldman Sachs execs gave to this week's Senate hearings for their actions were full of emotion and denial. They claimed shock that anyone could question their actions.
Heather Wilson 03-11-2010
When was the last time you felt gripped by crushing fear? Like the kind that might take over as you listen to friends and co-workers being killed?
Cesar Baldelomar 02-22-2010
Debates about immigration policies and reform continue to rage. Consequently, op-ed pieces, books, and reports on this contentious topic appear daily.
Martha St. Jean 02-15-2010
One month later rain pours into the streets of Port-au-Prince.
The United States is a country that is at once overweight and hungry. There are those among us who are overweight and obese. There are those among us who live with food insecurity.
Elizabeth Palmberg 08-31-2009
The outgoing commander of the U.N./African Union peacekeeping force in Darfur has garnered much press by saying, on his way out of the door, that "I would not say there is a war going on in Darfur.
Angela Whitenhill 04-24-2009

This piece was written as a personal testimony as to how we can use scripture to liberate us from mental and physical bondage. Through the Eyes of the Beholder is dedicated to all of us who struggle with insecurities; that we may know how to alter our perceptions to see ourselves and others through God's eyes.

Elizabeth Palmberg 04-08-2009
Many thanks to the folks who answered our request for your thoughts and stories about
Soong-Chan Rah 10-01-2008

[Continued from part 1] More reflections from the North Park Theological Seminary's Scripture Symposium on "The Idolatry of Security."