Transphobia’s newest target: Winnie the Pooh


The transphobic Polish town council of Tuszyn has banished Winnie the Pooh from being a mascot for their playground, and Fox News wants you to know all about it. The reason: Pooh doesn't wear any pants (just a shirt) and there is no bodily indication of which gender Pooh is. I'm used to defaulting to a "he" for Winnie the Pooh, but I'm realizing that might not be Pooh's preferred gender pronoun. After all, Pooh's character is not depicted with anatomical correctness, as the Tuszyn council … [Read more...]

If you need for undocumented immigrants to be punished, then you don’t believe in Jesus’ cross


We have a broken immigration system. And it's broken in a way that is incredibly unfair to people from south of our border who have the wherewithal and the work ethic to come up to the United States and work in the temporary labor market. You cannot get a visa to migrate to the United States if you are a blue-collar independent contractor. The solution is simple: we need about ten million temporary work visas for blue-collar independent contractors. If people could migrate back and forth legally … [Read more...]

Two offensive analogies in the gay marriage debate from David Gushee and Andrew Wilson

gay marriage symbols

During the past couple of weeks, two arguments have surfaced on opposite sides of the gay marriage debate that are based upon offensive analogies (or "provocative" ones, depending which side you're on). At the Reformation Project conference in DC, evangelical ethicist David Gushee made an analogy between the Biblically-based, tradition-affirmed anti-Semitism of the pre-Holocaust church and the church's opposition to homosexuality. Then in response to the Reformation Project, British … [Read more...]

The Jesuit martyrs, the pueblo crucificado, and the kingdom of God

el salvador martyrs

25 years ago, on November 16, 1989, six Jesuit priests, their housekeeper and her daughter were brutally murdered by a US-trained Salvadoran death squad at the Universidad de Centroamerica in San Salvador. It was one of the lowest points in the shameful story of the US-orchestrated Central American civil wars of the 1980's. This incident triggered an ongoing protest movement led by American priest Father Roy Bourgeois to close the School of the Americas in Ft. Benning, Georgia, where some of the … [Read more...]

Help us build stoves with the Highland Support Project!!!

hsp stove cooking

The short term mission trip industrial complex is now a multi-billion dollar industry. Unfortunately, many short term mission trips are designed to cater to the participant more than the people being served. According to the book Toxic Charity, one church in Mexico was repainted seven times in a single summer by a series of mission teams. That is why NOLA Wesley is so pleased to be partnered with the Highland Support Project to build stoves for our spring 2015 mission trip. They are an … [Read more...]

Can God improvise outside the boundaries of Christian orthodoxy?


Generally there are two extreme positions that Christians can take when talking about where other religions come from. Some Christians would say that in order for Christianity to be uniquely right, we have to believe that Buddhism, Islam, Sikhism, Hinduism, Ba'hai, and everything else besides Judaism and Christianity are the entirely false products of demons who have deliberately misled billions of people in order to consign them to an eternity in hell. On the opposite end of the spectrum would … [Read more...]

Love is not our choice, but God’s gift (featuring Simone Weil)

simone weil

One of the most problematic axioms in the popular evangelical culture that raised me is to say that love is a choice, not a feeling. Evangelicals say this to contrast "Christian" love (agape), which is all about arduous self-sacrifice, with "worldly" love (eros), which is fickle and self-centered. But if you asked an orthodox Christian from any other era whether it's proper to call agape our choice, they would say rightly that our ability to channel agape is not something we can do on our own, … [Read more...]

Should we accept ourselves or despise ourselves? [reflections on Henri Nouwen and Thomas a Kempis]

nouwen a kempis

I've been reading two books simultaneously from two guys who have been deeply influential on my contemplative spirituality: Thomas a Kempis's Imitation of Christ and Henri Nouwen's Discernment. When I discovered Nouwen at a very dark time in my life, I felt like I'd found the gospel that I never heard before: that God loves and accepts me unconditionally, and my inability to trust and embrace this wonderful truth is the reason beneath all of my sin. I had grown up thinking that if I hated and c … [Read more...]

When I need a weak Jesus to be my friend (an encounter with an icon)


Yesterday was a very rich day of healing for me. So many of my readers reached out to me after my last post about feeling myself sliding back into depression again. My district superintendent from Virginia called me yesterday morning less than twelve hours after I'd posted. Another pastor friend texted me a beautiful prayer. I could feel palpably the support of so many prayers. But the richest part of yesterday happened when I spent an hour and a half in a room with an icon of Jesus at the … [Read more...]

Hello darkness, my old friend


There's a certain line that gets crossed between the normal daily inadequacies I experience and the return of my old friend depression. There's a certain kind of heart-heaviness that indicates I've descended into the darkness again. It's a physical feeling like a heavy medallion that hangs down inside of my chest like Frodo's necklace when he carried the ring of doom. I enter into an acute self-awareness that isn't the same thing as mindfulness and contemplative prayer, but kind of like its … [Read more...]