Fifty years ago, when Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee, he had a national disapproval rating of 66%. This was largely due to the shift of his political organizing to address the Vietnam War and economic injustice. He was assassinated while making preparations for a Poor People’s Campaign that was going to culminate in another march on Washington. Though King’s assassination transformed public perception of him, conservative white lawmakers like North Carolina Senator Jesse Helms fought vociferously… Read more

Why does it matter that Jesus was raised from the dead? Perhaps it doesn’t if your world is just fine and you’re completely comfortable with the status quo as it is. Or maybe what doesn’t matter is whether he was actually raised from the dead, but whether you believe in it, so that you can plant your feet solidly inside of Christian orthodoxy. But for the people who aren’t winning, the resurrection is not an intriguing pub theology topic. It… Read more

Today is Holy Saturday, the day Jesus spent in the grave. It’s a day on which we are invited to sit with the unresolved brokenness of our world. Yes, we will say Jesus is risen tomorrow, but today is a day for not looking away from the suffering of the people whose company Jesus consistently chose and whose needs he consistently prioritized: the pueblo crucificado. Pueblo crucificado is a term I encountered in liberation theologian Jon Sobrino’s book El Principio… Read more

Jesus’ cross is hard to talk about. It’s an impossibly awkward, illogical mystery. It’s very easy to oversimplify it and get it wrong. So here are some both/ands that I think are essential to how we think about the cross as we ponder it on this Good Friday. 1. Jesus’ cross is both a crime against God and part of God’s plan When we turn Jesus’ cross into a simple math equation by which God resolves the problem of sin,… Read more

It’s Ash Wednesday which means it’s time for that new practice that makes the liturgical purists cringe. I call it sidewalk ashes. Some people call it ashes to go, which is terribly corny marketing. I’ve seen some strong critiques of sidewalk ashes this year. I understand the rationale. We need to do liturgy as a community. We need to stop bending over backwards to make things so easy for people. I get it. And yet, the fact that sidewalk ashes… Read more

If you have not yet seen the interview with Iranian-American blogger Hoda Katebi on Chicago’s WGN that’s been making rounds on social media, you need to take a few minutes to check it out. It’s incredible. I’ve never heard anybody unpack complex sociopolitical analysis so quickly and graciously in a hostile interview environment. Apparently, WGN had invited her onto the air to try to co-opt her fashion talk for islamophobic propaganda, but she wasn’t having any of it. Basically, what… Read more

Ten years ago, in one of the earliest viral Youtube videos, comedian and vlogger Chris Crocker told the world to “leave Britney Spears alone!” I wish Chris Crocker would make another video for Jen Hatmaker, the target of choice for neo-Calvinist think-pieces. In the latest version, the Gospel Coalition deconstructs what it calls Jen Hatmaker’s “Deconversion Story” (you can google it since I’m not going to give them free clicks). Now I imagine the guy who wrote it is not… Read more

It’s taken me some time to respond to the latest attack on women in the ministry from John Piper. As a husband of the best pastor I know, it’s hard not to fantasize about enacting some form of physical violence on anyone who attacks her call. But that kind of chivalric bravado is part of the patriarchy that needs to be put to death on Jesus’ cross. I haven’t known exactly how to frame what I want to say. I… Read more

For the past several decades, it has been taboo for white people to make disparaging generalizations about people of other races. We call it racism when somebody does that. Because of this taboo, we have developed an elaborate system of innuendo and coded language to get around it. But the Trump age has shattered white taboo. The most recent example of this was the widespread defense of Trump’s categorization of African countries as shitholes. It was in this context that American… Read more

In the 1999 film Magnolia, Tom Cruise plays professional misogynist self-help guru Frank “T.J.” Mackie who makes retreats and videos under the brand “Seduce and Destroy” for men who need help getting laid. His presentations include titles like “How to Fake Like You are Nice and Caring.” I think it’s the best role Tom Cruise has ever played, and it’s a dark satirical commentary on the player culture he’s helped create as a male celebrity. Players are guys who know how to… Read more

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