Writing About #BlackLivesMatter While White

By now, you know whether or not Alton Sterling and Philando Castile had criminal records. As if that justifies either of them being shot and killed by police while pinned to the ground or while sitting in a car with a four-year-old in the back seat. One day I got my neighbor’s “rap sheet” in [Read More…]

#JesseWilliamsSyllabus

I was going to write about the liberation theology of Jesse Williams. I immediately zoned in on this piece of his speech when I watched it Sunday night on the BET Awards: “But freedom is somehow always conditional here. ‘You’re free,’ they keep telling us. But she would have been alive if she hadn’t acted [Read More…]

#BlackLivesMatter in Barbershop’s Love Letter to Chicago

I spent five formative years in my mid-twenties living in Hyde Park on the South Side, learning about racial divides and economic stratification in ways that only Chicago can teach. And Barbershop: The Next Cut is above all else a love letter to Chicago. The film finds Calvin’s barbershop sharing space with Angie’s beauty shop [Read More…]

Prince Was My Third Tween Love (the naughty one)

After memorizing every word of every song on my Rick Springfield cassette tape of Living in Oz, and mooning over my poster of Michael Jackson in his yellow sweater-vest, I came of a certain-age knowing that there was something dangerous and the right amount of naughty about Prince. I knew that he was a different kind [Read More…]

Water, Water, Everywhere: On Death, Flint & “Formation”

Consider images of water flooding recent news and pop culture: Parents holding up baby bottles filled with brown water. Black and brown children with invisible toxins running through their veins, attacking their futures. Families paralyzed, unable to sell houses hooked up to poisonous infrastructure. A police car submerged in water. Ladies in formation dancing in [Read More…]

At the Intersections: The Public Body of Christ

Many good people live and work at the intersections and I occasionally invite someone to tell a story from where they stand. I first encountered Samantha Nichols via Twitter and our common engagement with the Interfaith Youth Core. I met her this fall when she was on a #BlackLivesMatter panel at a meeting of the ELCA Theological [Read More…]

A Big Magic Believer

Some people would say that because I’m a theologian I already embrace magical thinking (i.e., all religion = magical thinking). Elizabeth Gilbert has me embracing big magic in a whole new way this year. I got her newest book, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, for Christmas and have made it part of my morning [Read More…]

Defending the Value of Muslim Lives, No Matter Where You Live

I wrote this piece which first appeared in the December 18, 2015, issue of the Jacksonville Journal-Courier, my local newspaper. While it addresses the demographics of this place, its relevance extends to all those who live in religiously homogenous places. If you agree with Donald Trump’s proposal to ban all Muslims from entering the United [Read More…]

Top Five Posts of 2015

It’s the week of year-in-review lists and posts, so I thought I’d see what the top five posts from my Patheos year have been. They are a pretty decent indication of hot topics from 2015, and a fair representation of the kinds of things I like to blog about: Jesus is Not a Get-Out-of-Jail Free [Read More…]

Must Interfaith Solidarity Cost a Woman Her Job?

Apparently, at Wheaton College, a tenured political science professor who decides to wear hijab as an expression of her Christian solidarity with Muslim neighbors and quotes Pope Francis in support of that decision, is failing to “faithfully represent the College’s evangelical Statement of Faith.” In part of a December 10 public post on Facebook, Dr. Larycia [Read More…]


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