Ryan Duncan spent eight years writing on faith and pop culture in a Christian environment before leaving to pursue new opportunities. He remains a passionate advocate of faith, social justice, the environment, and great stories.

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Christians Should Face US History, Not Suppress It

by Ryan Duncan 09-27-2023

Indian River School Board member Peggy Jones speaks during a town hall meeting in Gifford at the Gifford Community Center, July 31, 2023. Jones asks while holding back tears, "Can you imagine an African American middle school student sitting in a classroom and seeing there is a benefit of slavery? Can you imagine an African American teacher having to teach that?" Credit: USA TODAY NETWORK via Reuters Connect.

Across the U.S., a coordinated effort is being made to suppress any history that might be deemed “uncomfortable” to its listeners.

In Oklahoma, the state’s superintendent of public instruction Ryan Walters sparked outrage by saying that teachers could teach about the Tulsa Race Massacre so long as they did not, “tie it to the skin color and say that the skin color determined it.” New legislation restricting the teaching of “divisive concepts” in Tennessee, Georgia, and New Hampshire has teachers fearing they’ll be fired simply for discussing racism or sexism in history.

How the Pride Flag Speaks to the Promises of God

by Ryan Duncan 06-28-2023

Image design by Candace Sanders/Sojourners. Image of hands by Kavya via Adobe.

Though some colors have been removed or added over the years for different reasons, six of the original colors continue to exemplify the shared humanity of everyone who marches under their banner. Each color has a meaning that carries deep significance for the LGBTQ+ community. At the same time, there is a biblical connection to the rainbow that speaks to the promises of God. This Pride month, I feel it’s worthwhile to reflect on what each color has to teach us about God and ourselves.

No, ‘Being Fruitful and Multiplying’ Won’t Save the Church

by Ryan Duncan 05-03-2023

Image of multi-colored pacifiers. Credit: domenico zampaglione / Alamy.

It would appear that most people raised in the church do not, in fact, stay in the church.

In recent years, there’s been an uncomfortable shift in how the topics of marriage and families are being framed. Rather than simply acknowledging marriage and family as moral goods, children and families are frequently put forward as the solution for preserving Christianity amidst its perceived cultural decline.

Christians Started the ‘Groomer’ Lie — Now We Need to End It

by Ryan Duncan 04-19-2022

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signs the “Parental Rights in Education” bill surrounded by supporters and school children. Photo credit TNS/ABACA via Reuters.

Recently, Florida House Bill 1557, more commonly known as the “Don’t Say Gay Bill,” was signed into law by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis. Speaking from a podium adorned with the slogan “Protect Children, Support Parents” DeSantis, a Catholic, wasted no time vilifying the bill’s critics as sexual indoctrinators. He was hardly the first to do so. During the initial backlash to the legislation, Christina Pushaw, DeSantis’ press secretary tweeted from her personal Twitter account that opponents of H.B. 1557 were probably sexual groomers: “If you’re against the Anti-Grooming bill, you are probably a groomer or at least you don’t denounce the grooming of 4-8 year-old children.”

How Book Bans Hurt Kids and Hinder the Gospel

by Ryan Duncan 02-23-2022

Image of books (top to bottom): The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas; The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie; Burned by Ellen Hopkins; Looking for Alaska by John Green; Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher. Photo by Doug Hoke, The Oklahoman, USA Today via Reuters.

When Christians label books about queer people as perverse and fight to have them removed from public spaces, we are telling queer kids that they are undeserving of both love and dignity. When racist moments in history are sanitized for the benefit of white students, it shows that the Christian commitment to truth and justice extends no further than our own comfort. And when the church helps silence marginalized voices for the sake of politics, we show that our true allegiance is not to God, but to party lines. Banning books will not protect students. It will only cause them harm and hinder our ability to share the gospel.

The Administration Wants to Erase Transgender People. But Jesus Sees Them

by Ryan Duncan 10-29-2018

There is a great power and dignity in being seen. Seeing conveys worth. It welcomes the outsider into our world, gives them the courage to speak up, and assures them that what they have to say won’t fall on deaf ears. It should come as no surprise that Jesus was a champion for the unseen.