Charleston and the Grief of Prophets

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Five of us from the Transform Network leadership team were at the Sojourners Summit when we heard about the killing of 9 people at Emmanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC. I happened to run into two people that next Wednesday morning in the lobby of the Summit that I had only met online and via phone, Lindsay Andreolli-Comstock from the Beatitudes Society and Jacqui Lewis from Middle Collegiate Church. We said our hellos and as they headed off to what looked to be a meeting, I was invited to join. … [Read more...]

Thy Kingdom Come, but how?

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When tragedies occur something within us cries out to respond. We want to say something to our fellow human beings — something meaningful, something we hope can temper the feelings of grief and despair one feels in the wake of great loss. But following last Wednesday’s massacre, I am once again painfully reminded of the poverty of language.Like many of you, I felt compelled to share a thought or prayer via social media. This desire was compounded by the fact that Rev. Clementa Pinckney, lead … [Read more...]

When the Golden Rule Fails

The Golden Rule asks us to do unto others as we would have them do unto us. Sometimes, this fails. Why? What can we do?

Recently, a friend of mine in their wheelchair had a walking person push past them in order to use the accessible stall. My friend showed patience and civility, but still ended up having to wait for the person to finish because that was the only stall they could use. The person who pushed past was probably not a bad person. They probably recycle and give to charity. They can probably recite the contents of Luke 6:31 without skipping a beat. If I just start the line, you’ll know how to finish it. … [Read more...]

Stepping Away from Leadership Voluntarily

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I have had, over the years, some interesting and deeply thoughtful conversations with leaders, primarily in the church, on the subject of leadership. Prior to my engagement with church leadership, I had experienced leadership roles in community nonprofit organizations, professional associations, and my career as a commercial banker.I believe that many leadership skills can be taught and enhanced through education and training, especially in workshop and seminar settings with other leaders … [Read more...]

Redeemed Bodies and Spaces: ‘Crazy, I know, but I might have seen a little of the Kingdom of Heaven’

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It's Tuesday morning in East Baltimore. More specifically, it's "Turnaround Tuesday" in East Baltimore. The basement of Zion Baptist Church is crowded with around 60 persons, most of them self-identified as former offenders, sitting in rows of uncomfortable chairs facing a podium, a randomly placed collection of white boards and chalk boards, and a small stage so characteristic of church basement fellowship halls. Many of the seated attendees are beaming. Their joy is obvious. A few others look … [Read more...]

What is family?

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Last night I co-officiated my first wedding, for one of my oldest friends, who I’ve known since 1992.  He and his bride were gracious enough to invite me to be apart of their wedding service, and the joining of two families to create a new one.  This morning I headed to join my family down at the beach in Kiawah Island, SC, for a bit of long over due rest and relaxation (if that’s possible when there are three generations of the same family in one house, but I digress).  These two adjacent experi … [Read more...]

Twelve

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12 the last year of childhood should be met with wonder promise adventureyours was met with police officers who thought you looked twenty-one and a toy that looked too real to wait more than three secondsit snowed here today my boy turned twelve it snowed on your last day of twelve toohe is a lot like you sweet face big sister brown skin loving mamatwelve. the last year of childhood 12for Tamir Eric Riceby Micky ScottBey Jones … [Read more...]

Pentecost: An Invitation to Dream

In the liturgical calendar of the Christian year, today is Pentecost — a celebration of the descent of the Holy Spirit on the early disciples of Jesus. From a historical perspective, Pentecost is the birthday of the Church, both in terms of marking the inauguration of a Jesus-movement and in celebrating the enlivening, efficacious stirrings of the Spirit in Christian community. And in the tradition of biblical birth narratives, the Pentecost story is an odd one:When the day of Pentecost ha … [Read more...]

When Religion Fails, Economics Becomes Demonic

Carbon pollution is undeniably the material cause of Earth’s climate breakdown, but what is the root cause? Blaming our growth-dependent economic systems does not, in my view, go deep enough. Ultimately, religion is responsible — but not in the way secularists might assume.Crippled by what I call “the triple idolatries,” our prevailing religions have failed to evolve norms and values on par with our species’ escalating technological prowess. Religious leaders have failed to notice and then de … [Read more...]

The Invisible Man, Language, and Faith

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This life, this adventure we are sharing here on Earth, is an interesting undertaking. And it’s pretty clear to me it’s all too easy to take it for granted.We tend to get so focused on ourselves and what is happening to us, basically losing track of everything except the sequential material events of our waking lives, that it’s nearly impossible to get any perspective or retain any understanding of what is really going on.Now, sure, I understand that what we experience moment to moment as … [Read more...]


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