We Must Weather the Storm to See the Rainbow

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

“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?

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

 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...]

Which are the good gifts?

Recently, I wrote about how the Golden Rule doesn't always clarify for people how they should treat people with disabilities The main reason that's true is that people can experience fear and disgust when they encounter people with disabilities. It's not an intentional choice, like name-calling, but rather a reaction that's learned, like slowing down when we encounter yellow traffic signs.The effects of that learned caution on people with disabilities are worth examining closely. One effect … [Read more...]

Room at the Table

I've been around long enough to know that the best parts of a conference don't happen at the conference, but around it.  The meals, the conversations in the hallways, the impromptu meetings in hotel lobbies, the setup, the cleanup, and the sharing of rides to and from the airport.  So several weeks back when the Transform Network was doing their thing in nearby DC, I was disappointed to not be able to attend the whole thing, but I was also resting in the confidence that I'd be able to skim the cr … [Read more...]