Breaking the Church’s Silence About Sex Addiction, Trafficking & Recovery

Breaking the SilenceLast weekend I sat among a group of 70 pastors listening intently as police Sgt Grant Snyder described his work setting up sting operations to arrest men and rescue victims of sex trafficking and forced prostitution in Minneapolis.Snyder's work, as part of the Crimes Against Children Unit of the Minneapolis Police Department, consists largely of working with detectives to plot the arrest of men in the Twin Cities who are purchasing sex from children, mostly from … [Read more...]

The shortest verse

I remember being a kid and finding out that the shortest verse in the King James Bible was John 11:35, “Jesus wept.” I was fascinated with how short it was. I was a teenager when I realized the context, that Jesus was worried and heartbroken for people that they could not reach. The Beloved One was crying for their beloveds. Yet, sometimes people say that they are crying happy tears, not just being sad. I remember feeling that way when I graduated from high school, happy but also sad, crying in o … [Read more...]

Contemplative Activism: An Outflow of the Broken Heart

“Justice is the outflow of the broken heart.” James FinleyI have been an activist longer than I have been a Christian. I always get a laugh when I say that I broke up with Jesus in high school. But like any break up, it was painful and losing my faith was no party. Fast forward 20 years of activism and I found myself having a “dark night of the soul” and grieving my mother after her passing. During that time a friend gave me a book by Rob Bell and I encountered another kind of Christianity, o … [Read more...]

That Small Voice

Last week, I was approved by the credentialing body of my denomination; that is, the panel agreed that I am ready to begin professional ministry. It was really exciting, and also a moment in which I could take some time to remember my call to ministry, or why I was doing this at all.One thing I like about the fact that we call it that is that, in a lot of ways, being called to ministry reminds me of a phone call.It’s an important message. And for me, the important message has built up t … [Read more...]

Midwives in the Struggle

In the United States we have moved away from the practice of midwifery for the most part, although it is making a return. Midwives have been seen as many things through the centuries. Some people have seen them as dangerous, maybe even witches. On the other hand, in the story of the exodus it is the midwives that help to save the baby boys of the Hebrew women by safely delivering them and then falsely reporting their deaths to the pharaoh. (See Mercy Amba Oduyoye's book Beads and Strands for a … [Read more...]

Trump, the ministry of reconciliation, and how to train your new puppy!

As the race towards the presidential nomination builds momentum, the rhetoric between candidates is becoming increasingly vitriolic. In the case of Donald Trump, months of hurling insults at racial minorities, Muslims and his fellow republican candidates has lead to fits of violence between protestors and supporters at his rallies. Now it looks as if one —if not both— party conventions will be contested, increasing the likelihood of future conflict.The tone of our current political climate sc … [Read more...]

Activism, Nurture, Community: This Is My Body, Which Is For You

March 12 is the 26th anniversary of the Capitol Crawl, one of the most significant events in disability history. Michael Winter, former director of the Berkeley Center for Independent Living, had this to say about the crowd of disabled people crawling up the steps of the United States Capitol.“The night before they asked for volunteers to. . . crawl up the steps, and I thought it was a great idea. Some people thought it would be really demeaning to see a bunch of disabled people . . . but my … [Read more...]

Invite the misfits

“Next time you have the opportunity,” Jesus taught, “when you are having a dinner for friends,” invite the misfits from thewrong side of the tracks. You’ll be a blessing, and you’ll be blessed.” (Luke 14:12-14, The Message). Who is invited to your church? Your first instinct might be to say, “Everyone!”But who’s invited, welcome, is much more than who can come in theory.During winter holidays, I have the opportunity to visit a few churches that were new to me. I found that church … [Read more...]

The Walls We Build Can’t Protect Us From Ourselves

It would be amusing if it wasn't so chilling.  Looking at old movies at the thrift store, I smirk at our former fear-mongering.  It seems so quaint, so naive, from such a bygone era.  And it makes me think about the present-day fear-mongering that I probably don't even notice.  Remember Red Dawn, when it seemed so plausible that Russians would invade the US?  Thirty years later, the remake of the same film depicts nefarious North Koreans doing the deed-- a new boogeyman for a new generation.  Th … [Read more...]

How I Found God After Leaving Religion

The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance. - Alan WattsAfter having left religion, I found God. Let me be clear here as not to confuse the pop-culture appropriation of hipster spirituality so prevalent today; wherein, someone re-organizes their linguistic choices and creates new aphorisms like: I left religion but gained a relationship (and etc.). For me, leaving organized religion, in this case, Christianity, wasn't just leaving some of … [Read more...]