The Ballad of Ruth and Naomi

The following is a sermon I delivered at Church of the Common Table  as one of three reflections on the book of Ruth in conversation with the Syrian refugee crisis. To read those, and other brilliant musings, visit our Tumblr.   ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Earlier this week, while riffling through the Pandora’s box of chaos that is our Tupperware drawer, I came across an … [Read more...]

Is it all right for white people to participate with Black Lives Matter?

Black Lives Matter is  call for white and non-Black people of color to show up for racial justice.

Recently, someone asked me a question about the participation of white people in the Black Lives Matter movement: Is it cultural appropriation? Thank you for asking, friend.White people have a call to heed when it comes to Black Lives Matter, but it is worthwhile to examine exactly what that means. It means being willing to start at a place of being supportive of Black leadership without having to set an agenda and take charge. Specifically, showing up for Black Lives Matter is not … [Read more...]

We Must Weather the Storm to See the Rainbow

1. Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Northern Nevada's Banner vandalized on August 26 with _White_ written over Black

An Open Love Letter to White Unitarian Universalists Struggling With Their Commitment to Black Lives MatterBy Chris CrassOur commitment to living the values of our faith is being tested. We are standing in the storm of reaction against the Black Lives Matter movement. Now is the time when we must ask ourselves, “do we become even more out and proud for racial justice or do we shrink down in retreat?”With FOX news leading a media frenzy denouncing the Black Lives Matter movement as a h … [Read more...]

Call and Affirmation

Call & Affirmation

“No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.” [Matthew 5:16-16 NRSV]I’ve learned to be someone who’s trustworthy enough to listen deeply without judgment, to make connections with other people at a soul-deep level, and to reflect back the innate goodness and inner wholeness of the … [Read more...]

“Thank-you Donald Trump!”


Seriously. Thank-you Donald Trump and your 'realityshowesque' and 'plainspoken' Presidential campaign. Let me quickly explain myself. My recently found gratitude for the GOP front runner is not some form of liberal campaign rubbernecking — my slowing down the car just so I can gawk at the aftermath of an inevitable accident in the other lane.Trump's campaign has regularly inspired glee among liberals and pundits (cf. John Stewart a year ago when confronted with a potential Trump run impishly … [Read more...]

What’s Your Story?

Hipster Lola

First of all, I am sorry. I've been gone for, oh, five months? In my defense, this happened:Yes, my dear, sweet, brain-eating zombie baby was born in April, and thus I have an excuse for everything. Or not. Whatever.But, right, yes, I came here to say something, didn't I?I jumped ship from the S.S. Christianity a while ago. This is not a secret.Yet, no one seems to know how to make sense of this. I've heard everything from "So you're an atheist?" to "Well, you'll come … [Read more...]

How we failed to plant a successful church

Bec Cranford-Smith works at the Gateway Center in Atlanta. She is the site supervisor of  contextual education in partnership with Gateway Center and  Candler School of Theology. She is the pastor of Church of the Misfits.

 How We failed at Successful Church Planting  I sat with middle aged white men in a room decorated by someone infatuated with browns and oranges. The paintings seemed vaguely reminiscent of French vineyards and Italian streets, yet I was closer to crop dust, cotton and Crepe Myrtles in Macon, Georgia. The inquiry began after a couple of jokes and a word of prayer. I crafted my vision of the Church of The Misfits, sharing with conviction about contextualizing Christ to … [Read more...]

Lithium and a Prayer: A Few Thoughts on Mental Illness, Medication, and Spirituality


Two weeks ago spiritually-minded people from across the country flocked to Hot Springs, NC for the 2015 Wild Goose Festival. The Wild Goose Festival is a progressive Christian festival celebrating art, justice, and spirituality.One of the talks was given by Sarah Lund, author of "Blessed Are the Crazy," and David Hosey, Associate Chaplain for the United Methodist Protestant Community at American University in Washington, DC. Their presentation,  entitled "Christ on the Psych Ward," explored … [Read more...]

The Confederate Flag, the History of the South, and the Testimony of our Sisters and Brothers

A few weeks before the Rev. Clementa C. Pinckney was killed at Emmanuel AME Church, he spoke on the floor of the South Carolina Senate about Walter Scott. As he spoke of Walter Scott and the video evidence of his slaying, he likened the nation to Thomas, who said he would not believe in the risen Christ until he had seen for himself. Senator Pinckney said that many could not believe that a police officer would shoot someone in the back six, seven, or eight times. But many saw the video. They … [Read more...]

When Life Cannot Go On As Normal

The Sunday after the murders of Clementa Pinckney and his congregation members of Mother Emanuel AME was a difficult Sunday for pastors. There are some church contexts where people would not welcome any kind of reminder that there is a need for justice in the world. I would imagine that those churches would be even less inviting to the thought that they add to and benefit from the injustice that now pervades it. The idea that they may be somehow a part of an unjust kingdom built on a foundation … [Read more...]