Is the Eucharist more powerful than an executive order?

On a recent podcast episode with Scot McKnight and Kenneth Tanner, Kenneth made the comment that the Eucharist is more powerful than any of Donald Trump's executive orders. I want to live in a world where that's true. I'm just not sure it is. Or rather I'm trying to understand why the church is undergoing such a massive failure to produce a grateful, merciful humanity, which is what we ought to become when our lives are ordered around the Eucharist.One of the most beautiful books I've ever … [Read more...]

The visa that would fix our immigration system

Fifteen years ago, I worked for the Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC), a mostly Latino immigrant labor union. We were part of a coalition of immigrant rights organizations that developed an immigration reform proposal in consultation with Congressman Luis Gutierrez called the DREAM Act which had a goal of normalizing the immigration status of the undocumented immigrants living in the US as well as creating a sustainable system for the future. It's never been passed, but it's the basis for … [Read more...]

The revolution will not be built on white shame

When I first entered the world of white radicalism in the early 2000's, I noticed something that was fascinating to me. The posturing was almost identical to the world of white evangelicalism I had left behind. People who called themselves the greatest of sinners were as ruthlessly critical of other white people as evangelicals were of non-Christians. In both communities, self-flagellation was the currency by which we legitimized ourselves. In both communities, we were always one inappropriate … [Read more...]

The spirit of power, love, and self-discipline (2 Timothy 1:7)

On Tuesday, the daily office lectionary included this verse from 2 Timothy 1:7: "God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power, love, and self-discipline." As I contemplated this verse, my mind immediately went to this photo of Ieshia Evans, a devout Christian nurse who was arrested at a protest in Baton Rouge this July after one of the recent police shootings of unarmed black men. I have rarely seen a picture that captured such a perfect contrast between the worldly … [Read more...]

The number one problem in public education

Ten years ago, my name was Mr. G. I was the 10th grade English and journalism teacher at Graham High School in North Carolina. After five semesters of teaching, I had finally acquired the right combination of backbone, charm, and humor to manipulate a group of 25 teenagers into basically following my instructions or at least not blatantly derailing me. And then I quit to go to seminary.I just went back to check out the Graham High School website. There are now two teachers on a staff of … [Read more...]

A Muslim immigrant who loves our country more than I do

I recently had the opportunity to interview a Muslim immigrant woman named Mona as part of the Crackers and Grape Juice podcast. It was convicting to realize as she talked that she loves my country more than I do. Mona shared that many immigrants like her come from parts of the world where government corruption is expected, where political demonstrations are always bloody, where the basic infrastructural stability that we take for granted in the US is entirely nonexistent. So as much as we … [Read more...]

A visit to the ICE office

This week, I got to do church in a way that I hadn't experienced before. After my morning men's group meeting, I attended our church's sanctuary committee meeting, which is exploring ways to support and protect undocumented immigrants in a political climate defined by hatred against them. Attending the meeting were a local labor organizer named Chloe and a Honduran immigrant named Jose who had a very scary appointment at the ICE immigration office where he was facing likely arrest and … [Read more...]

Jesus doesn’t do walls (Ephesians 2:14)

If you want to get to the core ethos of true Christianity, Ephesians 2:14 is a good place to start: "For [Jesus] is our peace; in his flesh he has made [all humanity] into one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us." Jesus' purpose is to make humanity one, to tear down every wall that keeps us from loving God and each other completely. Jesus doesn't do walls. His disrespect for social walls is what got him crucified. And yet so many Christians today have … [Read more...]

It’s time for the true conservatives to stand up!

In order to cope with the events of last week, my wife and I have been watching Alpha House, a cancelled two season Amazon Prime series about Republican senators. My favorite character is Gil John Biggs, played by John Goodman. Gil John is an old-school, pre-Tea Party Republican, a throwback to the day when bipartisan friendships on Capitol Hill were actually possible. He reminds me a lot of my grandpa Ralph Storm, who was a true conservative and not a populist hatemonger.True conservatism … [Read more...]

If the Dow Jones goes up, does that mean everything is just fine?

The stock market was supposed to crash when Donald Trump became president, because of all the instability he was going to bring the world. But it hasn't crashed; it's soared. Trump's son in law Jared Kushner noticed. The investors get it, he said in a recent article. They understand that Trump is really going to be a pragmatist and that all of his outrageous tweets are nothing more than bread and circuses for the riffraff. So if the Dow Jones is going up, does that mean everything is going to be … [Read more...]