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...]

When Martin Luther King, Jr. clashed with the Via Media Methodists

Paul Hardin

On first glance, making an analogy between anyone and one of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s adversaries is akin to tripping Godwin's Law by comparing someone to Hitler. Because MLK was always absolutely right and perfect and above all criticism and anybody who ever disagreed with him was a mean and evil racist. Except that's not real history. When Martin Luther King, Jr. and his entourage descended on Birmingham, Alabama in early 1963, a group of well-intentioned white clergy leaders including … [Read more...]

Cock-blocking and rape culture

the boot

It's one of those phrases you know not to use in mixed company. But there's a code of honor among heterosexual young adult men at bars and parties. To use nineties parlance, when another man is "busting a move" or "getting his mack on" with a woman, you don't interfere. Because that's "cock-blocking." And I have no idea why it wasn't completely obvious to me before that this unspoken law of young adult male sexual "ethics" is a cornerstone of rape culture. … [Read more...]

Does Janay Rice’s voice matter?


In my first job out of college, I was the program coordinator of the Nicaragua Network, a solidarity organization founded in the 1980's to support Nicaraguans when our country was trying to overthrow their government. I learned that being in solidarity with people means that they dictate the terms of your support for them. When you engage in activism on behalf of other people without submitting to their leadership, you are not in solidarity with them. So what does it mean to be in solidarity … [Read more...]

Could you listen to an angry black Jesus?


I know. He doesn't look all that angry. There just aren't any good angry black Jesus photos available on the internet. But the real Jesus in the Bible gets angry a lot more than most Christians really feel comfortable acknowledging. And he definitely wasn't white, physically or culturally. We generally gloss over things Jesus says that are offensive to modern white Enlightenment sensibilities. One of the most offensive stories in this regard is Jesus' encounter with the Canaanite woman in … [Read more...]

Our gated communities and the black bogeyman that haunts us

audubon place

I decided to take a picture of the most violent thing I've seen so far in New Orleans. Maybe that sounds silly to you. How can a sign in front of a peaceful gated community filled with ten million dollar homes far away from the tear gas street battles taking place tonight in Ferguson, Missouri be violent? But the ideology that is articulated in this sign is the source of great violence: the idea that super-rich white people must be kept absolutely safe and segregated from the poor people of … [Read more...]

A song that shows how war can destroy your humanity

tel aviv rally

This video was recorded in Tel Aviv by Ha'aertz journalist Haim Har-Zahav. The lyrics of the chant start off with an attack against the Israeli Arab lawmaker Ahmed Tibi saying that he's a terrorist and he needs to have his papers taken away from him. Then it comes to a line that is chilling to the bone: "There's no more school in Gaza; there are no children left. Ole! Ole!" The full transcript is provided by Ali Abunimah. I know there's no answer to the following question but I'll ask it anyway. … [Read more...]

The only two sides of any human conflict for Christians who love their enemies

arab jewish kid

We live in a world that loves to draw lines between "us" and "them." This line-drawing has grown very loud in recent days between supporters of the two sides in the Israel/Gaza conflict. Either it's God's chosen people vs. a degenerate race of terrorists or it's the colonial racist imperialists vs. their oppressed victims. Both easy narratives are deeply unjust to the history of the conflict. Many evangelical Christians in my generation "stand with Gaza" at least partly because our parents' … [Read more...]

An enemy is someone whose story you haven’t heard


A couple of weeks ago, Brian Zahnd preached a sermon on the healing of Naaman the Syrian commander by the Israelite prophet Elisha. He pointed out that Naaman was the head of an army that had been at war with the Israelites for years, so the analogy today would be if an Israelite prophet had healed the commander of Hamas. Zahnd made a profound statement as part of his sermon that I've been contemplating over the past couple of weeks: "An enemy is someone whose story you haven't heard." Jesus … [Read more...]

When children get in the way of our boundaries in Gaza and California

gaza kid

Children get in the way. It's what they do. My children get in my way all the time whenever I want to have a simple Gnostic life where I don't have to acknowledge the physical world outside of my laptop. My youngest son is the worst. He'll say things like "Daddy, I just want to spend some time with you," and then I can't just turn back to whatever I was doing. I was running on the beach with him last night, and I had a chilling moment. A wave hit him and he fell over and I panicked for an … [Read more...]