Finding Hope From The Westboro Baptist Church

A Westboro Baptist Church protest. (Wikimedia Commons, alterations by Cody Ray Shafer).

For years, the Westboro Baptist Church have been synonymous with bigotry. I learned this when they protested at my high school in 2004 over a production of The Laramie Project (documented by my embarrassing teenager blog). A large counter protest was organized, and an event originally sparked with hate turned into a largely positive, jovial affair. The Phelps clan were woefully outnumbered, and they left rather quickly, while the crowd left behind cheered and laughed and prayed together. As an … [Read more...]

Ahmed Mohamed, and The Need For A New Narrative

Photo courtesy of Anil Dash

  Ahmed Mohamed, a high school student in Irving, Texas, had a rude awakening this past week when he brought a homemade clock to school. Much has already been written about Ahmed’s experience, as he appeared on Good Morning America, had a shout out from Mark Zuckerberg, and President Obama himself.One of his teachers thought the clock looked like a bomb, and alerted authorities. Ahmed was escorted out of class, handcuffed, and interrogated. He was not even allowed to call his p … [Read more...]

“It seems as if the whole world has gone crazy”: Seeking peace in the midst of turmoil


For the first eighteen years of my life, I was Catholic. As I like to say, “the real kind, not the Christmas-and-Easter kind.” My family still is. Anyway, for fourteen of those eighteen years, I attended Catholic school. During the elementary and junior high-aged years, on Fridays during Lent, we as a school would go across the street to the church and practice a more child-oriented version of the Stations of the Cross. When we got to the station for the Crucifixion, there was a description of th … [Read more...]

There Will Be Blood

On Saturday President Obama took to the podium in the Rose Garden and announced that he had decided that in response to the Syrian government’s use of chemical weapons against its own people, resulting in well over a thousand casualties including hundreds of children, he believed that the United States “should take military action against Syrian regime targets.”  Acknowledging paralysis at the level of the United Nations Security Council and a lack of will even among our closest allies, he assert … [Read more...]

Why I Pray

Last August I discovered a little cancer in my eye, ocular melanoma. For a week or so I was scanned and tested and faced the possibility of my imminent demise. Dramatic. Then I had my left eye removed, which rid me of the cancer but the wound did not heal. Months and followup surgeries later, my eye looks to be healing properly and I am cancer free.Lucky as I am, these months have given me plenty of time to ponder, to experience the shocking goodness and generosity of friends and strangers, … [Read more...]

The Politics of Jesus

Tonight we will hear two presidential candidates talk about United States foreign policy.  Though it won’t be phrased quite so baldly, much of their conversation will be about when our nation should send its sons and daughters to kill and be killed – or more likely in our era, when we should send unmanned drones to kill other people’s sons and daughters.  All of this will be framed by way of preserving national security and promoting peace.  (Indeed, one of the two men on the stage is a Nobel Pea … [Read more...]