Stories Untold: Saving Sesame Street from the America First Budget

Guest post: Rev. Elizabeth GrashamI won’t bury the lede: I vehemently oppose President Trump’s “America First” budget for innumerable reasons.  But one of the big reasons I oppose it is because he’s threatening Sesame Street.Before my divorce was final, I took my son to see his incarcerated father on a once-a-month schedule.  Our visits were always the same: the car would be searched at the entrance gate, we would take a Ziploc bag of quarters, my keys and ID inside, we would go through a … [Read more...]

Coal is Not Coming Back: And Nostalgia May Kill Us

I could hear the trains from my bedroom. All hours of the day or night. The sound was such a part of the backdrop of my childhood, I feel a little disoriented now if I find myself too far from the tracks.Any tracks will do. Luckily, in America, trains are everywhere.My dad worked for the coal company for the better part of my first 20 years. He worked in the office, not underground, so I won't try to pretend I'm Loretta Lynn. But I do watch that movie whenever I'm homesick... because she … [Read more...]

The Growing Voice of Progressive Faith

Progressive Christian voices are gaining power on the political scene. And lately, I'm seeing reports to that effect from some unlikely secular sources. LikeHigh Noon for the Religious Left, from the Bloomberg News;and "Religious Left" Emerging as Political Force in Trump Era, from Reuters.On the one hand... like we been sayin'. In many ways, this is old news. These stories cite the influence of leaders like William Barber II and the Moral Mondays movement; Jim Wallis and the So … [Read more...]

My Belated Love Affair with Pawnee, Indiana

I'm inexcusably late to the party. I'm the first to admit that. But now, I am in. I am so, so in. I am in love with Pawnee, and I don't care who knows it. Leslie Knope is my spirit animal--as any Enneagram Type 7 will attest, a hilarious and sometimes painful window to my own soul. I can't get enough of Ron Swanson's off-beat brand of Libertarian feminism; and Chris Traeger is LIT-erally the best thing that ever happened to my Netflix queue.Also, I'm pretty sure I talked to the real life … [Read more...]

The False Idol of “Results:” The Sins of Our National Budget

If you want to know the heart of a nation, just look to its budget.Ours, at the moment, does not contain anything resembling a heart. Or a conscience. Or a brain, for that matter.The first draft of the proposed national budget, revealed this week, shows significant cuts to everything except security. Programs like Meals on Wheels, that serve the most vulnerable, have been eliminated completely. School lunches and after school nutrition programs are still on the chopping block. The … [Read more...]

A Traveling Musician’s America

Happy to share this great guest post with you today...by my little brother!As a touring musician, I’m abundantly fortunate to get the opportunity to see so much of this wonderful country. Red states, blue states, liberal bastions, “flyover” country - every bit of it. For 18 years, I was a staunch progressive raised in a small Kentucky town, and now I’ve ended up in the liberal enclave of Nashville, Tennessee - a progressive island in an extremely red state.Division, marked by geographic b … [Read more...]

Nazi Apologists and Klan Support: The New Normal for this GOP

So, this is where we are:This week, Rep. Steve King issued a confounding Tweet in which he shared a comic--from a European source widely recognized as racist-- and said that we "can't restore our civilization with someone else's babies!" (Meaning, stop letting all these immigrants and Muslims into our country). For this sentiment, he was congratulated by David Duke, the same former KKK leader who publicly endorsed Donald Trump in the campaign (and whose support, for the record, Trump never r … [Read more...]

Conversion Therapy is Exactly Why We Need Affirming Churches

It is horrific. It is abusive. It is inhumane. And it is happening with more frequency than we realize.In the last week, both Newsweek and ABC's 20/20 featured shocking exposés of Christian "conversion" therapy for LGBT youth. It will make you sick.Which is precisely why you should watch.And--precisely why more churches need to be more intentional about telling our LGBT kids that God loves them. As they are. Period. No ifs, ands, or "once you've completed this great program." Because … [Read more...]

My Hope is Built

Happy Friday, y'all. I am having THE best day. It's my day off, so I went to the gym, volunteered at my kids' school for a couple hours; having a green smoothie and getting ready to give myself a facial and a manicure. FURTHERMORE, it is beautiful outside (even if it's cold, the sunshine does a body good), I have zero church things to do tomorrow, and--get this--I'm not even preaching Sunday! I may even skip early service and just roll up for Sunday School and second service like a normal … [Read more...]