These field notes of a fictional ethnographer on an imagined planet touch on a truth: As a woman who was conditioned to see God as father, my role as a Christian was shaped by the nature of a father relationship. And while this may not inherently be harmful, it is limiting. In The Left Hand of Darkness, I was invited to step into and imagine a world where gender was not a burden, privilege, or factor — for me, or for God.
The conversation around women in Christian leadership erupted recently, after well-known complementarian pastor and writer John Piper published a piece at Desiring God in which he claimed that because women aren’t fit to preach, they aren’t fit to teach and train men in seminary. After seeing the argument, I put out a call on Twitter to the men of the Christian faith to name the women who have led and theologically shaped them throughout their lives.
The report estimates that an average of 23-27 honor killings occur every year in the United States, and suggests that 513,000 women and girls are at risk of FGM. These are horrific acts of violence against women. But simply preventing immigrants from entering the U.S. won’t stop these acts. If the Trump administration is serious about combating these abuses against women and girls, it would be funding education initiatives, preventative programs, and resources designed to help survivors. But that isn’t where the administration is putting money, suggesting their goal isn’t to stop these acts from happening — it’s simply to make sure these violent acts against women happen somewhere else.
There is enormous public support for DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) from the American people. According to a poll released by CBS News in the past week, “nearly 9 in 10 Americans (87%) favor allowing young immigrants who entered the U.S. illegally as children to remain in the U.S.” This number includes 79 percent of Republicans, 92 percent of Democrats, and 87 percent of independents who favor the policy.
The Women’s March in 2017 was one of the largest protests in history. Why is it that coworkers and friends who are active in social justice movements did not even realize that the march was taking place again this weekend? Why is it that I am still explaining why it was important for me to attend?
Every year, U.S. public schools suspend enough students to fill 45 Super Bowl stadiums—nearly 3.5 million, amounting to nearly 18 million missed days of school. It’s a policy that negatively affects learning of all students, but in the United States, of course, there is also a racial gap: Studies show students of color are suspended at three times the rate of white students.
Are we a nation of immigrants or of ethno-nationalists? Do we believe in “American Exceptionalism” or “America First”? Do we prioritize narrowly conceived national interests over enduring American values? Should we lead and preserve the international order, or simply compete with craven superpowers like China and Russia? Will we compassionately open our doors to the world’s “tired, poor and huddled masses yearning to be free,” or will we tell them to go back to the “s***hole countries” they come from? Put starkly, are we a nation “under God” or under Trump? We must choose.
I marched because I serve a Master whose yoke is easy, whose burden is light. Labor rights are essential to the health and well-being of the country, both economically and spiritually. The decline of the middle class is a result of the decline of union membership and influence. Appointing as Secretary of Labor a CEO who opposes overtime pay and increasing the minimum wage is an attack on working people.
For Augustine and his followers, attention was a rare and valuable experience, perhaps even more than for us since they associated it with the divine. One might expect that as a result they should have simply dismissed distraction. But they didn’t.
“You are bringing politics into the church!” That is a frequently heard comment when pastors and community leaders bring things like MLK Day commemoration services into their churches. I asked the gathered audience at the Millbrook Christian Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, Mich., on Monday night if they had ever heard that question before. I was honored to give the keynote address for their MLK Day 2018 service — which was filled up with leaders and members of local Christian Reformed Churches and students and faculty from Calvin College. Heads were nodding yes in response to my question all over the congregation.
"When a black man gets shot and killed on the side of the road for doing nothing other than being black, and no one says anything about it but maybe some black people for a little while, and then it goes away, the church has not done enough. It has done nearly nothing."
How did religious liberty come to mean nearly the opposite of what its founders intended?
From rural, residential life to news cameras to FBI investigations, I, Tonya is a sweeping view of an America that has barely changed since 1994, and certainly hasn’t improved much. It’s a film about how, in the words of screenwriter Steven Rogers, “America wants someone to love, but they also want someone to hate.”
Donald Trump’s hateful words spoken in the Oval Office have been now been heard around the world and may be among the most ugly and harmful words to ever come from the White House of the United States of America. The people of America and around the world have heard that Trump asked, “Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?” The “shithole” countries named were those in Africa, as well as Haiti and El Salvador — places from which he didn’t want more people to come to America. Instead he said he would like more people from “places like Norway.” The message, about the color of skin the people Trump wants and doesn’t want in America, was clear.
Times have also changed for my country of birth. Last year, the Colombian armed conflict with the guerrillas officially ended with the signing of a historic peace agreement overseen by the UN. The economy is booming. The Colombian president, Juan Manuel Santos, won the Nobel Peace prize last year for his tireless efforts for the peace process — the first Colombian citizen to win the award.
Maybe Trump could take some advice from “shithole countries.”
During the late 19th century, unbelief and indifference to religion, especially the U.S.‘s dominant religion of Christianity, became more acceptable in public opinion. This was especially true among educated elites because of the combination of two phenomena. On the one hand, new scholarship called the origin and history of the Bible into question. On the other, evolution suggested that a divine being was not needed to explain the world’s development.