I kept examining these ancient walls. Often, they were slabs of granite laid on top of one another, with thousands of pieces. Their age and the constant moisture of the air in Galicia, blowing from the sea miles away, meant walls were covered the moss, and vegetation wove through them like a net, holding them in place. Certainly, some of this was engineered as the pilgrimage gained in popularity, and political and religious authorities invested in the Camino’s infrastructure.
Starting in the 1890s, churches began to set aside the Sunday before Labor Day as a time for lifting up working people’s voices and experiences. Some pastors even turned their pulpits over to union organizers, who never failed to bring the fire. On Labor Sunday 1910, one Chicago painter matter-of-factly informed his Presbyterian audience, “Some of the worst enemies organized labor has are very ardent church goers.”
The day that I and my three American companions left the Albergue Turistico de Salceda and walked our final 20 miles into the Santiago, arriving exhausted but thrilled in front of the Cathedral, the city was thronged with pilgrims. This happens day after day. But who are these people? Why do they make this journey? And what does this say about the future of faith?
Camp Manna is the story about Ian, a young orphaned boy who doesn’t believe in Jesus. He is sent to Camp Manna, a Christian camp led by Jack “Cujo” Parrish (Gary Busey). Once there, he’s placed in a cabin of misfits and forced to participate in the God Games, a camp-wide competition. Antics invariably ensue.
The startling finding of the 2000 census that by 2060 there would be no majority race in America sent shock waves through country, terrifying many white Americans. It also set in motion bold efforts to diminish the growing political power of African-American citizens. Among these were the census undercount, gerrymandering to dilute heavily black voting areas, and voter suppression. Today, at least 33 states have intentionally erected barriers to voting by enacting voter suppression laws.
In the midst of recent public sexual assault allegations – including those against various church leaders – some Christians bring up the story of Joseph and Potiphar's wife. While the ostensible reason for these references is to remind us of the idea of “innocent until proven guilty” in protecting the accused, the implicit purpose and functional result is to discredit victims. If we can find a woman in history who lied about sexual assault, the insinuation goes, then we should hold off on deciding anything until all the facts are in.
Walking the Camino with my companions I’ve tried so far, as a spiritual practice, to stop thinking about American politics and Donald Trump. But then I’ve been given tomatoes, and orange juice, and coffee by total strangers, wishing me well on my pilgrimage. I’ve been a vulnerable one on a journey in a strange place.
Both the Protestant and Roman Catholic worlds have been rocked in the past couple of weeks by news involving abuse and sexual misconduct. Willow Creek Community Church, one of the first churches to popularize the megachurch model, became the Protestant epicenter when more allegations of sexual harassment about its founder came to light. And six Catholic dioceses are now the Roman Catholic epicenter after an 884-page grand jury report revealed a massive cover-up in which priests abused at least 1,000, and likely many more, children over a period of 70 years.
Why is diversity essential for the educational mission of U.S. universities? Advocates for diversity in higher education emphasize a variety of reasons. They range from business oriented considerations, like the need for a diverse and well-educated workforce to meet the needs of an increasingly diverse marketplace or the belief that diversity fosters innovation and creativity.
“Abolish ICE” is no mere campaign slogan. It is a goal focused on dismantling a single young agency. I believe that, in its historical context, “Abolish ICE” is part of a larger vision to build a new a social order committed to the liberation of all.
At a time when the Trump administration has created a new task force to address discrimination against certain religious groups, the exclusion of Bears Ears and other places of religious significance from these discussions raises important questions about religious freedom in the United States and also the legacy of the American Indian Religious Freedom Act.
The great temptation for the church is to remain settled in its comfort zone, doing the same routine. While it may be on the course to a slow death, it can get by and not feel much pain. But the people of God are never meant to be settled; they are called to join in God’s transformational mission in the world, bringing God’s intended justice, healing, and reconciliation to a wounded creation. This requires an intentional commitment by the church to embark on a pilgrimage.
Courage is an indispensable part of love, faith, and relationship. They exist only to the extent that we have the courage to take a risk and try to live them. Courage is the foundation of faith. Jesus often encourages his followers to live bravely because the kingdom of God grows only to the extent that we have the courage to enact it.
It seems the role of climate change is seldom mentioned in many or even most news stories about the multitude of fires and heat waves. In part, this is because the issue of attribution is not usually clear. The argument is that there have always been wildfires, and how can we attribute any particular wildfire to climate change?
Pew Research just released results of a major survey on why Americans go, and don’t go, to church today. Not surprisingly, the number of those attending religious services regularly is declining, with numbers of younger people the highest. But among these, there is a surprise: Of those who cite a reason other than lack of belief for not attending, 70 percent say that religion is important in their lives. When asked why they do not regularly attend religious services, the most frequently cited reason is this: “I practice my faith in other ways.” That’s what intrigues me about the Camino.
On Aug. 12, 2017, I woke up keenly aware that I might die. I reflected on this reality during my drive to Charlottesville, Va., with plans to stand up for love and peace against white supremacy. I left Charlottesville physically unharmed, but scarred for life. I was scarred by the fact that Heather Heyer had been killed, that people, including friends, were injured in the terrorist attack, that my life had been blatantly threatened numerous times with people who chanted racial epithets and glared at me with their rifles, and that I had personally witnessed such intense vitriol towards my very existence. I drove away convinced that I would never return.
The racist attacks spiked again after 9/11, particularly because Americans did not know about the Sikh religion and conflated the unique Sikh appearance with popular stereotypes of what terrorists look like.
While the INS’s mission was primarily to maintain control of the border and monitor immigration, the CBP’s mission aims to “safeguard America's borders thereby protecting the public from dangerous people”. The shift in mission from INS to CBP reflects an emphasis on anti-terrorism rather than immigration management.
They have been the targets not only of electoral discrimination but also of vandalism against their places of worship.