Today is the feast day of St. John Chrysostom in the Roman Catholic Church. At my neighborhood mass this morning, the priest described Luke 6:20-26 as the beatitudes of Chrysostom, since he was a pretty ruthless prophet against the excesses of the rich. Whereas the Matthew 5 beatitudes tend to be hopeful and encouraging, Luke 6:20-26 contains three blessings and three curses that have an apocalyptic feel to them. In particular, I’m drawn to the curse against those who are… Read more

Once again, I feel demoralized by the cynicism and intransigence in our nation’s immigration policy. Read more

Post-evangelical social media got fired up yesterday after the release of an anti-queer statement from the Council of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. I hadn’t wanted to engage this statement because I’m tired of the way that online Christian conversation always takes the form of fundamentalist provocation and progressive reaction. But then I came across the beautiful Christians United Statement on LGBT Inclusion signed by some solid young progressive Christian leaders like Alicia Crosby, Jarell Wilson, Elliel Cruz, Naomi Washington-Leapheart, Mike McHargue,… Read more

Last night I witnessed a white United Methodist pastor seeking to justify Donald Trump’s pardon of infamously racist Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio by appealing to Jesus’ cross. Since Jesus’ sacrifice pardons our sin when we don’t deserve it, why shouldn’t Donald Trump be allowed to pardon people who don’t deserve it? It was an argument that reflects a very common theology of sin and atonement pervasive throughout white evangelicalism that makes it helpless against white supremacy. For too many white evangelicals,… Read more

My older son and I have been having some conversations during the past year about the confederate monuments. When New Orleans was taking down the monuments here this spring, he had some concerns about history being erased. So I explained to him that when we drive past the monuments, we just see ancient historical figures, but when black people drive past them, the message is that racist white people are still in charge of our country. Last week, after Charlottesville… Read more

First of all, I have not yet participated in a protest where Antifa was present. I know that there’s an impossibly entangled mess of spin and truth about what Antifa has actually done. So the purpose of this post is not to critique actions I haven’t witnessed so much as offer my own reflections about when and how physical confrontation seems acceptable to me in street protest. Whatever has or hasn’t actually happened, I am unequivocally against engaging in acts… Read more

[Content Note: childhood sexual trauma] Sometimes my personal life is out of step with the national narrative. Earlier this week, my wife Cheryl and I were at an in-person kickoff to our three year online counseling program with Dr. John Townsend, co-author of the book Boundaries, a 25-year old groundbreaking text in the movement that today we call “self-care.” It’s a book about “setting boundaries” (a phrase we wouldn’t otherwise use today), which means saying no without guilt, owning what’s… Read more

[I asked my dear friend Deborah Porras to share her eyewitness account of what happened in Charlottesville because of the outside perception that “many sides” were violent except for the one guy who got mad and killed the woman with his car. Deborah watched a mob of neo-Nazis beat a black woman without any consequences and only a much delayed intervention by the police. This content may be triggering. Here is her story.] I am an elder in the United Methodist Church, serving… Read more

I’ve been thinking about what I would preach today if I were preaching. And I keep on seeing this image of Cornel West and other clergy marching in Charlottesville today, many of them queer or female clergy whose legitimacy would be called into question by many Christians. And the phrase that came into my head is this is what the new church looks like. It doesn’t matter that church hasn’t looked like this since Constantine made church the same thing as… Read more

Last night, a group of white nationalists carrying tiki torches took over the UVA Lawn in Charlottesville, Virginia, the place where I lived my fourth year in college. This picture shows a group of counterprotesters completely encircled by the white nationalists. Somebody got into a fight. Some people were taken away in handcuffs. Today was supposed to be their big rally but it got shut down after violence between the white nationalists and counterprotesters, which was actually the perfect outcome for the… Read more

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