Arrests Resume As Moral Movement Continues

Two years ago this week, seventeen people were arrested on the first “Moral Monday,” sparking a summer of protests in which tens of thousands came to register their objection to immoral policies backed by dark money and extremist legislators. More than 1,000 people were arrested in the largest civil disobedience campaign since the 1960s sit-in movement. Yesterday, 20 moral witnesses returned to the NC Legislature with hundreds of supporters. They were arrested while reading aloud the … [Read More...]

A Palm Sunday Invitation to Holy Ground

A few weeks ago, I got to worship at First Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama alongside John Lewis, one of the most courageous nonviolent freedom fighters of the 1960s. I thought about how we were standing in the place where nonviolence came to America in 1955. We talked to the grandson of the woman who played the organ at all those mass meetings that sustained the Bus Boycott through 1956. I studied the faces of the choir members, wondering what their parents and grandparents had told them … [Read More...]

A White Southerner in the Freedom Movement

Since meeting Rosa Parks and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, in the late 50s, Bob Zellner has lived his life in the Southern Freedom Movement. May 6-10 this year, he will serve as elder and guide for School for Conversion's 21st-Century Freedom Ride to Selma, Alabama. Bob has nearly 60 years of experience from which to speak about why antiracist organizing and freedom work is good news for white people. By Bob Zellner When I was COMING OF AGE IN ALABAMA, I realized my … [Read More...]

If Past Is Prologue, Pay Attention to the Present

Now that it’s black history month, kids across American are learning about Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman, Martin King and Rosa Parks. These heroes of the black-led freedom movement remind us that #BlackLivesMatter has been a bold assertion throughout US history. But it is as true now as it was during abolition. In so many ways, America could not have become the nation we are—and the one we are still becoming—without the gifts of strong black leaders... many of whom we still don’t know. Se … [Read More...]

#RacialJusticeEpiphany: The Lord Will Raise a Prophet

I spent a few days this week away from Durham in another Southern town, visiting with young people who’ve relocated to under-resourced neighborhoods there. They told me what they’ve learned about themselves and their home communities, living on the other side of the tracks. I listened to them struggle with what they’ve seen and heard—and wonder aloud about what they still can’t see. John Perkins taught us that relocation is about re-educating white folks as much as it is about redist … [Read More...]

#RacialJusticeEpiphany: Radical Grace in a History of Race

Clarence Jordan, the Southern Baptist radical who started an inter-racial farming community in Southwest Georgia in 1942, used to tell a story about a time when he was invited to preach at a big, fancy church in the city. The pastor showed Jordan around his mid-20th century version of a mega church, celebrating the merits of an education wing, an office suite, and an expansive sanctuary. Standing outside, the pastor pointed to the top of the church’s steeple and said, “You see that golden cross u … [Read More...]

#RacialJusticeEpiphany: Listening in the Dark

This weekend, 47 years after Martin King’s death, America will pause to remember his life and witness. At celebrations in churches, community centers and town squares across the country, many will wax eloquent, remembering Dr. King’s Dream. Amidst the accolades, it’s also important to remember what people were saying about Dr. King 50 years ago. Take, for example, the propaganda, funded by the Governor of Georgia and distributed widely by a national conservative newspap … [Read More...]

#RacialJusticeEpiphany: Shine the Light on Inequality

Some years ago, when George W. Bush was president and some folks from Christian Peacemaker Teams were being held hostage in Iraq, Leah and I spent this first weekend of Epiphany across the street from the White House, keeping vigil and to “shine the light” on the Iraq War. January nights in DC are long and cold. Of course, the lights never go off at the White House. But by early Sunday morning, I felt like for my whole body aching for the light of the rising sun. To begin the Epi … [Read More...]

A Midnight Clear: Hope in America’s Present Darkeness

 For Christmas in 1849, when nearly four million people were enslaved in America, abolitionists introduced a new carol. “It Came Upon A Midnight Clear” celebrated the announcement of “peace on earth, good will to men” as more than a sentiment to warm people’s hearts. It was a proclamation that injustice could not last forever. In the midst of the darkest night, a light had shone and was shining still.They say “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear” wasn’t very popular in 1849.For Christmas in 201 … [Read More...]

No One Knows Enough

Since we opened a third home here at Rutba House(s) this summer, I’ve found myself praying morning prayer in three different places each week. The same old songs ring a bit differently in each place, inviting me to see what God is up to from a different vantage point.I’ve been praying with my eyes open.Last Thursday morning, sitting on the red couch at the house on Onslow Street, I was thinking about Henry Lee McCollum, who’d gone home from North Carolina’s death row the day before. Henry … [Read More...]

Vote Your Dreams, Not Your Fears: #MoralWeekofAction Concludes in Raleigh

On the 51st anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Justice, the #MoralWeekofAction concluded yesterday with rallies and organizing meetings at 12 state capitals.  Though local print and TV media covered many of these events, Sarah Bufkin of the NC NAACP captured the spirit of the one I attended in Raleigh, NC. The Forward Together Moral Movement is a foretaste of a 4th Great Awakening in America. Anyone interested in the future of public religion should pay attention to what's h … [Read More...]

Sound the Shofar! Women Lead #MoralWeekofAction

In 14 state capitals across the US, faith and justice leaders are organizing a Moral Week of Action to conclude the 50th anniversary of Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, in which he exhorted the crowd to “go home” to Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi to work for justice. As a faith-rooted organizing effort, the Moral Week of Action is grounded in prayer. RLC is sharing daily meditations from movement leaders. Catch up on meditations from previous days here: Day 1: Labor and Economic Justice, … [Read More...]