Social media, and Twitter especially, has become a place where people of all beliefs can come together for conversations about all manner of things, from men’s rompers to views on abortion. And from our worship leaders and in our pulpits, we hear the word of God for the people of God again, this time in person. So we’re constantly processing, constantly asking what God is saying to us, constantly asking who we should be as an institution, as the body of Christ.
But the strong affirmation of Christ’s absence kept the early church from centralizing around Jerusalem. Without the body of Jesus to create a memorial, no land or language could monopolize claim to sacredness. Ascension, in one sense, is an abdication of worldly authority. It is the empowerment of everyone, no matter their land and language.
Since hearing the news, I have anguished over one question: Why did white evangelical silence over this unprovoked attack by this white man on the black man bother me so much? Certainly racial attacks against African Americans by white Americans is not a new phenomenon. My answer came in reading the response of the judge where the attacker was held without bond.
Today is the historic meeting between President Donald Trump and Pope Francis, part of the three-nation visit the White House staff has been planning for weeks, following the well-established and delicate protocols that ensure a smooth visit with foreign leaders, before it all goes to crap with an early-morning tweet. (Several White House staffers have reportedly developed numbness in their hands from keeping their fingers crossed for the first hundred days of the Trump administration. And in packing for this trip, those same staffers had to find space for the president’s extra shoes, since another one seems to drop almost every day.)
Several years ago, Sojourners asked that question, leading a campaign to remind our leaders in Washington that: “A budget is a moral document. Our faith tells us that the moral test of a society is how it treats the poor. As a country, we face difficult choices, but whether or not we defend vulnerable people should not be one of them.” As we look at the priorities outlined in the Trump administration’s 2018 budget released today, it’s worth asking again: What would Jesus cut?
It is not only religion, and not only one particular religion, that produces murderous subcultures. Sometimes these subcultures are nationalist, sometimes racist, sometimes anarchist, and often a combination of many ideologies and convictions, many loves and hatreds. As we grieve Manchester, let us not forget murderous subcultures closer to home. Much closer.
President Donald Trump, like his predecessors before him, has discovered the potent language of religious tolerance and interfaith unity when discussing Islam, as he demonstrated in his speech in Saudi Arabia to leaders of some 50 Muslim nations. But unlike previous presidents, he has not linked that rhetoric with recognition of the large, vibrant Muslim community in the U.S.
For seminary administrations and faculty to operate with a business-as-usual approach after these experiences unflatteringly mirrors the indifference of U.S. society at large. Seminary indifference testifies not only to a lack of concern for human life — it also relays a message of indifference to the vocation of the very students they agreed to help upon admission.
These times of resistance are also heavy, and in the daily work that tethers us to the people who came before, we also have to stop, rest, and remember things like Sabbath, so that we don’t grow too weary. And I am weary. So when the weekend comes, our family carves out extra time to stop and breathe
In a world in which your opinions on a topic can change with a well-worded “well, actually” tweet, it’s more important than ever that we examine the roots of our beliefs. Read how, from The Establishment.
This is reminiscent of a time when European and American men went to Asia in the attempt to save Asian women from their own countries, or use Asian women for their pleasure, or — in many cases — both. In Pierre Loti’s 1983 novel, Madame Chrysanthéme, he writes a story of an affair between a French naval officer and a wife he’s taken in Japan. Loti describes the woman and her friends as docile, submissive, and overtly feminine, much like how Mantis is described by other characters in the movie, from Ego to the overtly masculine Drax.
Every day now, politicians and the pundits debate what obstruction of justice technically means, and ask how resilient our political institutions are to a presidency that almost daily goes beyond “unprecedented.” But while we all wait for the next crisis to hit and anticipate the new media cycle about it, we dare not miss what people are faith are always supposed to be most concentrated on — the poor and the vulnerable who are facing unprecedented threats from funding and policy decisions that lie just ahead.
This past year, the depression I had suffered twenty years ago returned with a vengeance. I made plans to end my life. Friends begged me to seek help. And I did – eventually. But one of the primary reasons I delayed getting help was because I am a pastor. I agonized over the contradiction of my life. As a pastor, I was expected to have all the answers. As a person with untreated depression, I felt like I had nothing but questions. And I worried that acknowledging I have a mental illness would irreparably damage my relationship with the church
The American Church’s division in our understandings of Jesus neatly follow the fault lines of American society. We hunker in our social groups, worshiping isolated from each other, hearing from preachers who talk like us, and so we natural come to assume Jesus is like us, in talk and in thought.
Resistance is holy work. It is an act of healing. But many clergy and faith leaders (myself included) are either traumatized themselves or so justice-fatigued that it becomes too difficult to sustain resistance.
I arrived at the church and was heartened to see a full parking lot. People scurried inside with umbrellas as shields, determined to comfort Emily and her family. I’m right here for you, they seemed to be saying. Nothing's going to stop us. Where have we heard this before?
Repairing isn’t as easy as it sounds. It’s rarely as straightforward as we hope for. And sometimes it’s downright costly, or worse, impossible. If the church wants to be a part of repairing entire communities, we need to be willing to do at least three things: Gather the experts, put in the time, and give and live sacrificially.
In an age when both explicit and implicit biases are becoming legitimate justifications to curse the image of God, it is time for the church in the U.S. to face itself. It is time to repair the broken fabric of our nation. It is time to interrogate the stories we tell our selves about ourselves by immersing ourselves in the stories of the other.
I’m not here to argue about whether Paul’s point is a good one — by all accounts, he does a fine job telling the biblical story in a way his gentile listeners can understand. I, like Paul, am a Christ-follower. I’ve already bought what he’s selling. I’m asking about the way he makes his point — I’m pushing back against the notion that Christianity is an idea that can and should be argued in the public square.