Alexia Salvatierra 9-28-2017

Pastor Noe and Vicky Carias with their children after he was released. Photo courtesy Matthew 25 SoCal.

Pastor Carias and his family had done everything right. We in his network of supporters had done everything that normally should have resulted in a just outcome. We had to face that these were not normal times; we had to examine our methods.

Image via Shutterstock.com/Parilov

We pray for others far away

Who’ve seen destruction, too;

We look beyond ourselves, for they

Are also loved by you.

Image via Gino Santa Maria/ Shutterstock 

The test for religious leaders in this context has been nothing short of a demand for a prophetic voice which sees, names, and challenges the reality of a system that destroys the lives of some while parading as “law and order” for others. Faith leaders are finding themselves tangled in a quagmire of competing rhetoric about what makes for peace, walking the line of proclaiming prophetic vision amid a culture, a church, and a people tightly wrapped in the clutches of white supremacy.

Image via Shutterstock.com

By the grace of our God, you brought life to the earth;

As you healed those in need, you saw each person’s worth.

May we who proclaim you now answer your call

To bring hope and healing — and health care to all.

Joe Kay 9-26-2017

Grace works that way. People come into our lives unexpectedly and show us things we need to see. Those people and those moments become edge pieces for us, if we let them. It’s good to remind ourselves of that now, when we’re so divided and disconnected that we can’t even see the picture we’re meant to form together. We’ve forgotten that each of us is a piece of something bigger than ourselves.

Adam Ericksen 9-26-2017

Dallas Cowboys players kneel together with their arms locked prior to the game against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
 

Trump’s mythical narrative is a lie because he’s wrong about the motivations of the NFL players who kneel during the national anthem. They don’t kneel because they hate the flag. They aren’t monsters threatening the United States. They kneel because they love the flag and the ideals for which it stands.

Abby Olcese 9-26-2017

Image via "mother!" trailer.

mother!'s grotesquely literal take on the Eucharist also fundamentally misses what communion means.

Hannah Reynolds 9-26-2017


A man looks at the damages to his house after the area was hit by Hurricane Maria in Toa Baja,Puerto Rico September 24, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
 

Meanwhile, Puerto Rico remains flooded and without power. The aftermath of the storm continues to unfold as the damage builds upon itself, forcing hundreds from their homes. Without electricity, cell service, or reliable communications, the situation on the ground is difficult to imagine for Americans living on the mainland.

Jim Wallis 9-25-2017

Image via REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque.

The Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson ACA repeal bill is the most radical and most disruptive plan to reorder one-sixth of the U.S. economy, in no small part due to the rush to pass something, anything that would fulfill the 7-year Republican promise to “repeal and replace Obamacare” ahead of a critical Sept. 30 deadline this Saturday. On Oct. 1 a new fiscal year starts for the U.S. government, forcing the GOP to start over with the complex budget maneuvering that allows them to pass a bill with only 50 votes in the Senate rather than the 60 that are generally required.

Charles Camosy 9-25-2017

Image via RNS/Anton_Ivanov/Shutterstock

What is Star Wars? For the first decade or so after George Lucas made what would come to be known as Episode IV, which celebrates its 40th anniversary this year, the answer to that question was easy: Star Wars was whatever Lucas said it was.

Kermit Hovey 9-25-2017

Image via DarwelShots / Shutterstock.com
 

In my experience, Democrats in Congress see the iceberg and want to steer away while Republicans, with mercifully increasing exceptions, don't. Congressional offices tend to fall into three categories: climate affirmative, climate dismissive, and climate indifferent.

Two realities here in South Korea seem unknown or underappreciated in the U.S. First is the fact that the Korean War has not ended. There’s no treaty, and no permanently recognized peace — only an agreement 60 years ago to cease actual hostilities. 

Jennifer Harvey 9-22-2017

If you went to church after Charlottesville, DACA, or the latest racial violence in your community, and were disappointed your pastor didn't speak, then it's time for you to act. Sitting and not liking what’s going on matters as much now as it did to stay in a segregated church back then. It’s time for you to find others in the congregation who are also disappointed. It’s time for you to go to your pastor and other leaders in the church. It’s time to insist he/she begin to speak justice — gospel — from the pulpit. (Pastors, it’s time for you to find those in your congregation who will stand with you as you do the same.)

the Web Editors 9-22-2017

1. The Juggalo March Is Not a Joke

"What's unique about Juggalos is that they embrace and throw their class status in everyone's face—they’re flaunting their own disenfranchisement. ...They've recognized that the American dream is unattainable and made new dreams for themselves. That scares people. That scares the FBI. This is not what poor people are supposed to do."

Joe Kay 9-21-2017

It seems that the message people in the pews are hearing is deliberately divorced from Jesus’ values. Being a disciple no longer means sitting at Jesus’ feet, hearing his passionate, God-filled words, and trying to live them.

Alaura Carter 9-20-2017

Rescue workers pray before walking out from the Emergency Operation Centre after the area was hit by Hurricane Maria in Guayama, Puerto Rico September 20, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins

As creation cries out to us, let us listen, let us learn, 
let us open our hearts to those devastated by the storms
and open our minds to care for creation. 

Kaitlin Curtice 9-20-2017

Image via Simon & His Camera/Flickr

whether we listen to the numerologists who count the days until Armageddon or to the storms hurtling toward us and the daily violations of justice, it is healthy to remember that our days are, indeed, counted.

Thomas Long 9-19-2017

The first element that gets blown up by the parable is the motive of the landowner. Sometimes preachers, trying to fill in the gaps in the story, will surmise something like, “So the landowner, needing more laborers to work the vineyard, went back to the marketplace,” but this distorts the parable. 

Patrick Hubbard 9-19-2017

Image via mother! trailer 

mother! is a disturbing portrait of God that says nothing good about God's followers. Immediately after watching the visitors kill her child, mother hears Him say that these people must be forgiven — that they didn’t mean to do it, that they only want to be close to Him. The Christian theory of redemption is supposedly one of forgiveness and sacrifice, predicated on Christ’s death and resurrection, but the death of this child doesn’t read at all triumphant. From the mother's point of view, the visitors were never supposed to be in the house in the first place — if they hadn’t intruded on her life, they wouldn’t need forgiveness for killing her child.

Faith communities can play a powerful role in preventing violence and supporting survivors, but collectively we’re falling short. Two-thirds (65 percent) of pastors say they speak once a year or less about sexual and domestic violence, with 1 in 10 never addressing it at all. This failure has a deep and lasting impact.

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