Why Do I Write All These Sad Songs?

“What came first: the music or the misery?” – Nick Hornby   I cut my vocational teeth as a musician, part of the band Satellite Soul who was signed to Ardent/Forefront. Where label-mates like Skillet, DC Talk, and Newsboys were exceedingly successful, my band was always critically acclaimed but commercially unsuccessful. I’ve always wondered why. A few weeks ago I was listening to Malcolm Gladwell’s podcast, Revisionist History. The episode is called “The King of Tears.” In it Gladwell tells the story of… Read more

The Nashville Statement and the Evangelical Parents of Gay Children

I’ve been avoiding the Nashville Statement. But I finally broke down and read the thing this morning. The plain text is pretty much what I expected. I grew up among evangelicals. I know the rhetoric. The Nashville Statement is full of language that tries to make black and white out of an issue that defies binary characterization. The world is not black and white, but full-color and three-dimensional. A black and white statement like this one could never come anywhere close to… Read more

DACA Is Literally the Least We Can Do: Here’s Why Ending It Is Stupid

Meet Larissa Martinez. She was the 2016 valedictorian of McKinney Boyd High School, and is on full scholarship to Yale. She is bright, hardworking, and is a credit to her family and community. She is also in danger of being deported at any moment. She was brought to America with her mother, who was fleeing an abusive alcoholic husband … a few years too late to take part in DACA, as it turns out. Nevertheless, her speech is an inspiring look at what… Read more

Labor Unions are Back In: And they have Never Been More Important

Did you know that the entire coal industry employs fewer people than Arby’s? Election year bluster aside, manufacturing jobs are not coming back. The coal industry is not the future of the American economy. The future of the American labor force is in the service sector. Look at the above graph from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics. Total manufacturing jobs have stayed level for three decades now. The major growth in the labor market comes from service industries … which presents a bit of… Read more

The Economy No Longer Works for Average People. Here’s Why.

It’s clear that rich people are the only ones getting richer. Here’s why. Read more

America’s Wisdom Problem

Dietrich Bonhoeffer warned about societies that lose access to wisdom. Read more

Ex-White Nationalist Derek Black’s Unique Perspective on Trump’s Rhetoric

I’ve got a podcast to recommend. It’s called The Daily, from The New York Times. I listen often because the host Michael Barbaro takes an in depth look at one important story from each day’s NYT. The particular episode I want to recommend is from Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2017 and its the story of a man named Derek Black. Derek Black grew up in one of the leading families of the white nationalist movement. His mother was once married to David Duke. His father, once… Read more

The Numbers Say Evangelicals are Losing Faith in Trump … I don’t Buy It

  “White Christian conservatives were Trump’s largest single voting bloc: bigger than the “white working class,” bigger than establishment Republicans, bigger than Trump’s Tea Party base. Over 80 percent of white evangelicals voted for Trump, despite the candidate’s lewdness, greed, and inability to pronounce “Second Corinthians.” That’s how Jay Michaelson’s recent article at The Daily Beast begins. Michaelson separates evangelical Trump voters into two camps. The first camp held their noses in order to get a conservative Supreme Court, a born again VP, and a… Read more

How to Pray When You Don’t Believe in God: Some Perspective from Frederick Buechner

On my sabbatical I’ve been slowly reading back through the trilogy of Frederick Buechner’s memoirs. I’ve read them all more than once, so for variety’s sake I took them in reverse order – Telling Secrets, Now and Then, The Sacred Journey. The middle book contains what has to be one of my favorite bits of writing by Buechner in all his work. He tells the story of going to a seminar on prayer. The presenter was an Episcopalian faith-healer (I… Read more

Reporters Are Actually Forced to Have Integrity – Here’s How It Works

I’m so tired of hearing the fake news meme, especially because true reporters are actually forced to have integrity. Here’s what I mean. The phrase fake news entered the American lexicon during the 2016 presidential campaign. Headlines like “FBI Agent Suspected In Hillary Email Leaks Found Dead In Apparent Murder-Suicide” were completely fabricated. This particular article, written by a man named Jestin Coler, was shared on Facebook over a half-million times. That kind of traffic generates income for fake news writers like… Read more

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