The saga of politicians firing the U.S. House Chaplain is a reminder of how we prefer God in small doses. We try to confine the transformative spirit of God to a few carefully chosen areas of our lives.
If racism was and is America’s original sin, and repentance is the only sufficient response to sin, James Cone was the most important theologian of his generation. To white Americans, he said, “Repentance means dying to whiteness.”
Times reporter Edward B. Fiske observed how conservative evangelical Protestants supported the war. Many, like the theologian and editor of Christianity Today, Carl F. Henry, believed it to be morally defensible. Fiske wrote that “the majority of laymen and clergy in this country” were more in agreement with Carl Henry than with William Sloane Coffin.
Meanwhile, the growth of the world-wide church surges in the global South. Gina Zurlo, Assistant Director of the Center for the Study of Global Christianity, explained today’s facts. Two-thirds of all Christians now live in the Global South. During the lifetime of most those gathered in Bogota, Christians in Africa have grown from 134 million in 1970 to 621 million today, making that continent home to more of world Christianity than any other region. Almost as many Christians are in the continent of Latin America where we met. Pentecostalism drives much of this growth. But the complexity, divisiveness, and conflicts between churches in these regions as well as globally clouds the picture projecting Christianity’s future.
"It’s very easy for people to say, 'This will make you stronger,' or even, 'You’re strong already, you’ll get through this.' But that’s just not really the whole story."
It is noteworthy that congressional chaplains do not demographically represent the American public, and quite strikingly so. Every congressional chaplain since 1789 has been a Christian man, and of those nearly all have been Protestant. Only one, the current Senate chaplain, Rev. Barry Black, has been a person of color. The only time that Muslim and Hindu chaplains have delivered prayers was as one-time guest clergy. It’s the same for women.
Critics mock that success at football does not qualify Kaepernick to speak on social issues. Yet the athletes of the NFL have achieved their elite status through years of focus, passion and training in an industry that is inextricably tied to conceptions (right or wrong) of black and brown masculinity and success. They are probably more qualified than anyone to comment on the intersection of strength, fear, security, and vulnerability that undergird the state-sanctioned brutality in America’s streets.
Even though many view this summit with cynicism, it is an important step towards any possibility of peace on the Korean peninsula. The summit was historic because Kim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in met for the first time and agreed to end the Korean War. They also agreed on the Panmunjom declaration which seeks a denuclearization of the peninsula. Russia, China and Japan have also welcomed the agreement.
One of the most disturbing actions of Congress in recent weeks was Speaker Paul Ryan's firing of House of Representatives Jesuit Chaplain, Father Patrick Conroy, allegedly for praying about the GOP tax bill. Conroy wrote in an April 15 letter to Ryan, "As you have requested, I hereby offer my resignation as the 60th Chaplain of the United States House of Representatives."
Previous Avengers movies were about the challenges of building and sustaining and a community. Infinity War is a sobering reminder that even the biggest, strongest communities sometimes face adversity that results in sacrifice, uncertainty and loss. This is the MCU’s equivalent of C.S. Lewis’ The Last Battle, gathering characters both beloved and new, and throwing them into a brutal endgame. It’s a Good Friday movie, too, putting those left standing at the end into their own version of Gethsemane.
Evangelicals recognize their dilemma. If they encourage the president to change, he’ll kick them to the curb. They’ve seen his ugly responses whenever anyone challenges him or suggests he is less than perfect.
Churches must not be scared of what an independent investigation will uncover. Instead, they should fear what an investigation that prioritizes the accused won’t uncover. We cannot truly preach the Good News until we are ready to reveal the bad news of the harassment and violence at work in many of our churches and homes.
Much has been said over the past couple of weeks about the impact of white women’s tears. Here, the author unpacks that and offers ways to stand strong in a misogynistic culture without harming others.
What is an “evangelical” is a question now at stake on a global level. Last week at Wheaton College, a historic evangelical site, 50 fairly diverse leaders met to pray and discern together the future of evangelicalism in the U.S. When Fox News, Breitbart, and CBN (Christian Broadcasting Network) launched coordinated coverage of the meeting as “ Trump bashing,” featuring the Trump evangelical advisers to the president, you knew the meeting hit a nerve.
The #MeToo hashtag has revealed horrific stories of sexual abuse around the world. The #ChurchToo hashtag has done the same, in the context of the church. As a marriage counselor and pastor, I’ve seen cases of sexual abuse that would make your skin crawl. They’re evil, inhumane, and an abomination to God. But I’ve also encountered another kind of abuse that is equally appalling to God. It isn’t necessarily sexual in nature. It probably won’t gain a famous hashtag. It has become disturbingly prevalent in our culture — and yet it remains largely hidden. It’s called domestic spiritual abuse.
For a country that so often claims to purport liberty and democracy, the displacement of 400,000 people in Marawi and the 20,000 killings under Duterte’s drug war should concern the United States. But in the treatment of Jerome Aba, U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents enacted an ideology of scarcity, Islamaphobia, and “America First.” It is an ideology that carries international U.S. military intervention and control as the key to safety. And as a Muslim and peace advocate, Aba was a threat to that and treated as an “enemy combatant”.
In much of the last century, American Evangelicalism has had a complex relationship with power. On one hand, it has felt itself marginalized and repudiated, defeated, and silenced. On the other, it has often seemed to seek — even fawn over — worldly power, mimicking in the church forms of power evident in our culture. (I remember being at a conference where it was announced we should all be back after dinner for “an evening of star-studded worship.”) An evangelical dance with political power has been going on from the time of Billy Graham, through the Moral Majority and the religious right, to the Tea Party, and most recently with the white evangelical vote—the result being, as honorary Chairman of the Lausanne Movement Doug Birdsall has said, “When you Google ‘evangelical,’ you get Trump.”
I Feel Pretty is mainly a superficial enterprise. There are plenty of opportunities for smart satire here, but co-writers and directors Abby Kohn and Marc Silverstein stick to a simplistic interpretation — one that claims to push for female empowerment, but still remains concerned with looks and a pretty narrow definition of beauty norms.