Joe Kay is the associate minister at Nexus United Church of Christ, Butler County, Ohio. He also writes a weekly blog at https://joekay617.wordpress.com. His email address is listed on the blog, in case you care to contact him directly.
Posts By This Author
Our Faith Demands Personal Devotion and Public Action
Our conversations about the many challenges confronting us — poverty, immigration, racism, sexism, environmental destruction — must always begin with an acknowledgement of our shared responsibility to care for God’s people and God’s creation.
Drinking the Poison of White Nationalistic Violence
The struggle against hatred is as old as humans, and it will continue after each of us is gone from the planet. But God has given us this moment to join the struggle against the ideologies that that inflict such evil upon our families, our communities and our world.
Love Emerges From Our Ashes
Scripture reminds us that we’re formed from the dust of earth and thus bound intimately to all creation. Science describes how in our elemental form, we’re made of the same stuff as everything in the universe. Yes, we’re earth dust and star dust, too. Everything follows a path of endless transformation.
Adults Have a Responsibility to Educate Against Hate
Let's ask ourselves: Are we adults doing the best we can to teach young people what they need to know? What daily example are we setting for them in how we act and which leaders we endorse?
The Story of the Magi Is an Invitation. Will We Show Up?
The Magi finally appeared in nativity scenes over the weekend. Soon, if not already, they’ll be packed and stored away until next year’s Epiphany, which is a shame. These late arrivers are some of the most provocative, prophetic, and polarizing figures in the Christmas story, and we need to learn their lessons and carry them forward.
Mary's Defiant 'Let It Be'
The Jesus story begins with a young woman who also hears many critical voices around her. Mary lives in a culture that tells women they’re more property than persons. Galilee is considered the armpit of her society. Her religion portrays God as mostly a distant and disinterested deity.
Our Work Isn’t Done When Election Day Is Over
Vote today. Choose the candidates you think represent the best chance to bring God’s values of love, inclusion, justice, healing, and compassion into our world.
Death Cannot Separate Us From Love
Creation is all one thing, like a giant blanket. There are many threads on the blanket, all woven tightly together. When someone dies, they move from one thread to an adjacent one, but they’re still wrapped snugly around us, and not just in some metaphorical way.
Are Your Words Prophetic or Poisonous?
We’ve gotten yet another reminder of the power of words in the past few days. A man immersed in racist words killed black people in a Kentucky grocery store. A man immersed in fearful words sent bombs to people labeled as threats. A man immersed in anti-Semitic words killed Jewish people in their synagogue.
You Still Have the Power to Change the World. Use It
Do you feel powerless to challenge and change the deeply entrenched privilege that was on display last week? Don’t give into that feeling. You have the power to change the world. Look at how it’s changing already.
Thinking We Are Powerless Is Abandoning Faith
Jewish wisdom reminds us that we can’t be daunted by the world’s grief, but instead we are required to respond to it by acting justly, loving mercy, and walking humbly. We’re not obligated to complete the work of transformation, but we’re never free to abandon it, either.
The Courage to Challenge Caesar
Courage is an indispensable part of love, faith, and relationship. They exist only to the extent that we have the courage to take a risk and try to live them. Courage is the foundation of faith. Jesus often encourages his followers to live bravely because the kingdom of God grows only to the extent that we have the courage to enact it.
How Faith and Science Work Together
It’s a magical experience watching fireflies rise from the ground at dusk and blink their way high into the trees, performing their light show against the night sky. When I learned the science behind how the bugs make their light — a process called bioluminescence — it didn’t make them any less magical to me. Rather, my new insights made me appreciate them more.
In a Cave Or on the Border, They Are All Our Children
Our humanity and our faith insist that we identify with a child taken from their parent’s protective arms and sent off with strangers in a foreign land with no guarantee they’ll ever feel their parent’s embrace again. Our hearts are lifeless — and our faith meaningless — if we can’t identify with such a child or such a parent.
What Are We Doing With Our Freedom?
There’s always been a deep tension between those who believe the powerful words about freedom for all and those who believe that such freedom should be reserved to them alone. There have always been those who believe that their personal freedom is unbreakable but the freedom of others can be rationed.
The Perverted Theology That Supports Family Separation
People of all religions and political leanings are speaking up against the administration’s policy of taking children from parents — but that’s not enough. We also must challenge the ideology that produces these human indignities, the mindset that supports them, and the perverted theology that blesses them. Those things have been around from our country’s beginning.
Woe to Us for the Many Ways We Worship the Rich
When’s the last time you received a warning from the pulpit about the dangers of wealth? How often have you heard “Woe to the Rich” as theme of a sermon? Perhaps no part of Jesus’ message has been rejected so completely by U.S. Christianity as the dire warning against wealth and how it leads us astray. Instead, we admire the rich, envy them, and aspire to become one of the rich.
The Kingdom of God Isn't a Future Event
Strikingly, these Evangelical leaders made no public statements about what was right in front of them. They offered no words about the inhumane conditions their Palestinian brothers and sisters endure. They made no attempt to heal the fighting or bring justice to the situation.
The House Chaplain Saga Reminds Us of Our Need for Prophetic Words
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.
How Evangelicals Are Diluting Their Faith for Power
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.