Bec Cranford: tattooed Pentecostal wonder-woman

I'm continuing to play catch up on my Wild Goose interviews for Crackers and Grape Juice. The fourth interview was with one of my best friends Bec Cranford. Bec really embodies the spirit of Wild Goose, which is to say she's a wild, heavily tattooed Pentecostal wonder-woman. Bec has been through a lot of heavy stuff in life and it's made her into an incredibly empathetic and authentic person. She is the volunteer director at the Gateway Center for homeless people in downtown Atlanta. Bec … [Read more...]

I alone can fix it: the delusion of the white messiah

"I alone can fix it." Donald Trump has said a lot of things that he's gotten away with, but this might be the line that finally brings him down. If it does, then maybe it will help usher in the death of the white messiah as a cultural figure. Donald Trump isn't the only one who thinks that he alone can fix it. Many twenty year old starry-eyed white kids who go on mission trips to Africa have the same basic delusion. It seems to be part of growing up white and thinking that you're supposed to … [Read more...]

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Brandan Robertson’s rich nomadic spirituality

I've gotten way behind in sharing my Wild Goose interviews on the Crackers and Grape Juice podcast. If you haven't heard of Brandan Robertson, you need to hear this interview and get his new book Nomad. Brandan grew up in very difficult circumstances in a trailer park with an abusive alcoholic father. He got saved by a fundamentalist church at age 12. He was street preaching at the Baltimore inner harbor by age 13. His exposure to Mark Driscoll saved him from fundamentalism at age 16 (yes, I did … [Read more...]

Seven ways to be an untoxic Christian during a toxic presidential campaign

We're living through what seems like the most toxic presidential campaign in American history. It's partly due to having extremely unpopular candidates. It's partly due to the particularities of our historical moment when white Christian America has lost its political majority for the first time. It's partly due to the addictive, toxic nature of social media. Can Christians who are passionate and outspoken about our political views voice these views without destroying our witness? How do we … [Read more...]

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Our Chicago #DetoxifyChristianity panel

In Chicago last night, I had the privilege of sitting in a panel discussion with three incredible Christian leaders: Deborah Jian Lee, the author of Rescuing Jesus: How People of Color, Women, and Queer Christians are Reclaiming Evangelicalism; Alicia Crosby, the co-director of the Center for Inclusivity; and Jarell Wilson, a queer United Methodist pastor who is a church plant intern at Chicago's Urban Village Church. Our conversation was moderated by Pierre Keys, the social justice director at … [Read more...]

Donald Trump and evangelical law and order

Law and order. A three word phrase Donald Trump used dozens of times in his presidential nomination speech. This phrase has been the backbone of conservative politics for many years. But not since the days of segregation has it been so explicitly racialized. Many conservative evangelical leaders are horrified by Donald Trump, but the same vision of law and order that he so clumsily espouses is the cornerstone of white evangelical theology. In Donald Trump's nomination process, he had more … [Read more...]

Sarah Heath’s contagious love

If you're a super nerdy Methodist and you know about the production Chuck Knows Church, you might be familiar with a series they did called "The Committee." It's a story about a dying church that puts together a committee to try to revitalize the church. It's corny in the adorable way that all official United Methodist Church productions are. They put out a call throughout the country for churches to nominate a new pastor to revitalize the fictitious Park Grove Community Church in the last epi … [Read more...]

So your local church can’t do ministry because there’s a gay bishop out there?

Good News magazine recently published an open letter to the United Methodist Council of Bishops complaining that Bishop Karen Oliveto's election "seriously undermines the ministries of thousands of clergy colleagues and the work of thousands of local churches" because "pastors and lay leaders have spent precious time and talent trying to carefully explain to new and old members why our church’s leaders have failed to uphold the Discipline" and it's caused "the departure of faithful members and cl … [Read more...]

So what about those values in Melania’s plagiarized speech?

I'm used to treating political speeches like fluff. I don't expect them to actually be inspiring or teach moral values that are worth emulating. But as I've been looking at lines that Melania Trump's speech-writer plagiarized from Michelle Obama, I've grown interested in meditating on the values that these words are promoting. What's really interesting is the way that these values resonate differently depending upon the social location of the speaker. It's very different for a black middle class … [Read more...]

Please support our inclusive, justice-seeking campus ministry!

There is not a more critical time in the spiritual journey of Christians today than when they go off to college. This is especially true in a day when many good Christians are ambivalent about their faith because of the ugly toxicity of our nation's culture wars. Our campus ministry NOLA Wesley is a place where Christian students can discover a rich, authentic faith amidst vulnerable, safe community. We believe that the real gospel of God's grace has never been more urgently needed in the … [Read more...]