Tuesday night was a surprise — a joyful surprise to many of us who have grown accustomed to seeing our country’s immorality find new depths. White racial bigotry lost Tuesday in Alabama. Misogyny, the abuse and mistreatment of women, lost Tuesday in Alabama. And let’s be clear: It was black voter turnout — and black women, in particular, who voted against Judge Roy Moore by 98 percent — that made the difference.
We cannot leave the fate of our world and our future generations exclusively to the political leaders of our time. As Christian citizens of every nation, we have a responsibility to bear witness to the things that make for peace.
In this sense, Star Wars: The Last Jedi is an Advent movie. Director Rian Johnson’s wildly fun and thoughtful entry into the Star Wars canon finds its heroes at a precarious turning point. The film makes its characters grapple with the flaws of their established order, consider whether any of it is worth saving, and move forward by embracing the hopeful qualities of the Force and the Resistance.
Despite arguments regarding the meaning of the so-called “separation of church and state,” the U.S. Constitution does not prohibit the expression of religious belief. As many Christian conservatives correctly point out, the phrase “separation of church and state” does not even occur in the Constitution.
When we can name even the source of our hopes and fears as some kind of grace, we can actually experience God’s grace.
The idea that government has an important role to play in human flourishing was made by Pope Leo XIII in his 1891 encyclical Rerum Novarum. In it, the pope argued that governments should promote “the common good.” Catholicism defines the “common good” as the “conditions which allow people, either as groups or as individuals, to reach their fulfillment more fully and more easily.”
As we face the 21st century realities of ISIS-backed terrorism and reactionary Christian nationalism, we are grappling with the nature of evil, as Merton and others did in the late 1930s. Given the similarity of our contexts, Merton’s insight is prescient. "There was something else in my own mind,” Merton wrote as he watched World War II coming, “the recognition, 'I myself am responsible for this. My sins have done this. Hitler is not the only one who has started this war: I have my share in it too.'"
I decided to search for two words on the article’s web page: “patriarchy” or “misogyny.” Zero results.
“It’s kinda like a children’s book … for men ... that is going to make this really simple.” Actress Tracee Ellis Ross reads her funny-but-oh-so-direct new book, The Handsy Man, on Jimmy Kimmel.
But Jesus said, if you would be perfect, go, and stop pretending racism doesn’t exist, stop supporting political leaders who lie and manipulate, stop being co-opted by political agendas, and stop slandering people who are different from you.
President Trump and the Republican National Committee, on the other hand, are supporting an accused child molester for the U.S. Senate. It is as if the Catholic bishops were promoting a child abuser for bishop.
The Darkest Hour raises uncomfortable questions about the nature of war and what justifies military action. We see the sacrifice of 4,000 British soldiers at Calais in order to rescue the 300,000 British Expeditionary Forces at Dunkirk. It is an agonizing moment, a devastating sacrifice. In May of 1940, none of those leaders and soldiers had any idea that those casualties were not a complete waste of human life, that were it not for Britain’s refusal to surrender and agree to terms with Hitler that world events could have taken an even darker turn.
These are the times in which we now live. The turbulence of this year has left many of us feeling buffeted by constant storms in politics, society, and nature. Amid this daily chaos, fear, and pain, one thing is clear: The role of faith leaders across society is more important than ever. Our call and our ministry requires us to stay radically rooted.
Peacemaking isn’t a passive withdrawal from conflict — it’s an intentional movement toward it with tools to understand, heal, and transform. It’s time for Christians across the U.S. to engage in this conflict in a helpful, curious way. I know there is a lot of confusion and complexity around this and, for the sake of my friends (Jews, Christians, and Muslims) in the region, as well as our collective wellbeing, I feel compelled to offer a few brief observations on today’s announcement by President Donald Trump on the U.S. embassy and the status of Jerusalem as the capitol.
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.