This Christmas season, we need to remember that Jesus was not white. And in solidarity with that truth, we need to make space in our Advent season for the church to openly lament that American Christianity has often stood on the side of the oppressor and not on the side of the oppressed.
If you were of age in 1993, you don’t need to be reminded who the Branch Davidians were and what the Federal Bureau of Investigation did to them on April 19th of that year.
For newcomers to the scene, these “Davidians” were well-known for their extremist activities in Waco, Texas. They were a typical “cult” during a decade in which intense and isolated religious groups were a threat to their neighbors, the relatives of their members, and the public at large. In that April incident, the FBI, urged by public opinion, set out to discipline them and prevent them from creating public disturbances. Yet, create a disturbance they did.
As a woman who attended Catholic school for 16 years of her life, Lady Bird is possibly the most relatable movie of the year. Lady Bird could have added the subtitle “inspired by true events” and I would have asked myself which person from my hometown sold the rights to their life story to Greta Gerwig.
This has been a devastatingly difficult year for many of us, to say the least — even for those of us whose homes and families haven’t been directly hit by any of the ongoing wars, natural disasters, or the reckless actions of the current president. Around this time last year, many in our country were insisting we needed to withhold judgment and give #45 a chance. While some church leaders led us in lament after the election, too many in our churches urged us to “wait and see.” More than 10 months in now, we’ve had time enough to witness more grievous offenses than we thought were possible from anyone in that office within such a brief period.
When Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) accused the non-rich of squandering their money on “booze or women or movies,” my progressive friends quickly denounced him, as they should. Sen. Grassley is clearly suffering from the senility of a political dogma long past its freshness date. But me, I kept my mouth shut.
Mildred rents the three billboards down the road from her house to cover with messages shaming the local police chief, Willoughby (Woody Harrelson) in hopes of galvanizing the department into action. She merely irritates the sympathetic Willoughby, but infuriates Dixon (Sam Rockwell), a dim officer with racist and homophobic tendencies and an anger management problem. As tensions escalate and anger begets violence (which begets more violence), Mildred and Dixon are each forced to address the deeper issues inside them that fuel their actions.
1. Christians Arrested Reading Scripture in Senate Office Building
Powerful video of 12 Christian leaders arrested in the Hart Senate Building while reading from the #2000verses in the Bible on poverty and justice, speaking out against the GOP Tax Bill.
2. Great Injustice Calls for Great Action
“… this milestone bill will determine social outcomes for many years to come. Its passage will create a complete shift in the social safety net as we have known it, and it will signal a change that government will no longer care for the needs of the poor — the criteria that the biblical prophets demand of all those who rule.”
This week, the U.S. Senate is set to vote on the Republican tax bill, following the House vote on a similar bill earlier this month. The proposed plan in the Senate is very complicated and it is being rushed through the political process with little time to consider it and draw public attention to it. But this milestone bill will determine social outcomes for many years to come. Its passage will create a complete shift in the social safety net as we have known it, and it will signal a change that government will no longer care for the needs of the poor — the criteria that the biblical prophets demand of all those who rule.
God’s kingdom is a place of unlimited love and unending compassion. It’s a place where everyone is welcomed — especially the marginalized — and nobody is treated like an outcast.
Many Muslims and non-Muslims around the globe celebrate Sufi saints and gather together for worship in their shrines. Such practices, however, do not conform to the Islamic ideologies of intolerant revivalist groups such as Islamic State. On the contrary, IS finds these practices threatening. Here’s why.
Genuine gratitude brings us humility and reconnects us with God and each other —especially those who need us in some way. It erases our society’s illusions about winners and losers. It directly challenges our judgments about who is deserving and who is undeserving. It reminds us of our total dependence on God for everything.
Starting with Thanksgiving’s early champion, Sarah Josepha Hale, the history of Thanksgiving is rooted in marketing. Marketers not only helped create many of the rituals and cultural myths associated with the Thanksgiving meal, but they also legitimized and maintained them.
“It offers not just a new version of the poem, but a new way of thinking about it in the context of gender and power relationships today. As Wilson puts it, ‘the question of who matters is actually central to what the text is about.’”
Gratitude, say religious leaders from many traditions, is one of the most important spiritual disciplines for a whole and healing life. And the discipline of remembering what and who you are most grateful for is especially important in difficult and even dangerous times like these. There are gratitude prayers, meditations, and walks, which focus our minds and hearts on the things and people we are most thankful for when we are most easily conscious of the things and people who make our times most difficult and even dangerous.
The story of Soule’s and Cramer’s actions and their courage to say “no” to the killing of peaceful people at Sand Creek is an important chapter of U.S. history. I maintain that it is people like Soule and Cramer who truly deserve to be remembered through monuments and memorials, and can be a source for a different kind of historical understanding: one based not on abstract notions of justice and right, but upon the courage and integrity it takes to breathe life into those virtues.
Among the victims of police brutality was none other than Christ himself. While this notion conjures up mixed emotions — including unbearable sadness — we should also take heart. Jesus experienced and overcame police brutality — so can innocent, powerless black women and men. To do so, churches with those most affected by police violence in attendance must cultivate a liberating praxis of anti-oppression retaliation, which includes teaching the characteristics of Christ’s response to law enforcement victimization. The writings of the great theologian James Cone, and others after him allowed us to rip the misguided veil of blasphemy and usher black people into a newfound solidarity with Jesus of Nazareth.