Protest and God’s Presence (Isaiah 61:10–62:3)

Brian_Bantum

By Brian Bantum.We asked people on the street about the effectiveness of demonstrations and protests.While every year is filled with its triumphs and its terrors, 2014 has been a year that has felt particularly fraught. It is not because this is a year where evil and terror appeared from nowhere, surprising us in our general euphoria or mundane lives. Perhaps, this year has seemed more fraught as the weight of evil seems to bear down on the lives of the marginalized in egregiously … [Read more...]

The Self-Righteous System and the Prophetic Task (2 Samuel 7:1-11, 16)

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By Brennan Breed.We asked people on the street if they think our institutions are failing us. On December 8, an Orlando-area police officer shot Cedric Bartee, an African-American man, while he was unarmed and standing with his hands in the air. The Sherriff asked the public to trust that the justice system will discover the “truth.” In the wake of grand juries refusing to indict the police officers responsible for killing Eric Garner and Michael Brown, however, it seems inevitable to ma … [Read more...]

You Don’t Want To Be A Prophet (Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11)

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By Eric Barreto. 90-year-old Arnold Abbott feeds the homeless despite a local ban on the practice in public places. You don’t want God to ask you to be a prophet. You really don’t. When God calls you to some holy task, you might expect a contemplative path, a quiet life of service and love of neighbor. You might expect a comfortable life of piety and hopefulness, grace and caring. But true prophets know better. Prophets tend not to have such idyllic hopes for God’s call. Prophets kno … [Read more...]

Voices Crying Out: Comfort and Transformation in an Age of Mass Incarceration (Isaiah 40:1-11)

By David Garber. Antoinne Murphy shares his achievements since his incarceration. The topic of exile often gives pause to mainline Christians. While many might draw personal analogies to the experience of exile—through individual traumas such as illness, the loss of a family member, or the break-up of a relationship—most of us have not experienced forced migration to a land that is not our own, stealing our personal freedom and thwarting our economic opportunity. The words in Isaiah 40:1 … [Read more...]

Release. Repair. Restore: Thoughts Beyond Ferguson Toward Racial Healing

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By Jacqueline J. Lewis.A timeline of the events in Ferguson.  I suppose if Ferguson was an isolated context or if Michael Brown’s death was an anomaly, congregations this Sunday might simply pray for the families, for the burning buildings, for the broken glass in the streets and the broken hearts in Ferguson and around the nation. But neither is true. Eric Garner. Marlene Pinnock. Akai Gurley. Trayvon Martin. Emmett Till. The stories attached to these names break our hearts and m … [Read more...]

It’s Time Again: Depression and the Holidays (Isaiah 64:1-9)

By Barbara Lundblad.Depression hits Americans hard during the holidays. What time is it? Don’t check your watch. This is something else all together. We know it will soon be the end of November and the end of Thanksgiving weekend. In the Christian calendar, it’s the beginning of Advent, the season leading up to Christmas. For many people, the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas is a tough time to get through. There are too many reminders of loss:the empty chair at the Tha … [Read more...]


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