Why?

Trigger Warning for discussion of Sandy Hook Elementary shootingsWhy?I guess that's what everyone's wondering in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings this week. Why did this happen? Could we have prevented it? How can we stop it from happening again?As an activist, I turn my eyes to social structures, to laws, to ideologies of domination. I think of words from Martin Luther King Jr., from so many years ago, that apply still today: "we must be concerned not merely about … [Read more...]

A church “building project” that made a difference

Many churches get super excited about building projects. These projects are supposed to represent big changes to the church, new ideas, progress, and relevance.Even the fundamentalist churches I've attended got excited about building projects, though these usually involved new gymnasiums where we could play the A.W.A.N.A "run around the circle and then go in for the beanbag" games rather than stadium seats or new stages for the worship band.Still, the idea is the same. If we build THIS, they … [Read more...]

On apologetics

Often I try to process my faith publicly, either through my blog or through facebook or twitter. Sometimes in personal conversations, although my introverted self has a rough time with that. Usually this is a good experience. I receive support and affirmation, "me too"s and "I believe something else but your way is cool too"s, or "have you considered ____"s. I have friends who know more theology than I do, who chip in. I have friends who are atheists who challenge me. There are times when I … [Read more...]

Their caricatures of me aren’t me.

Language is powerful, and so, when we find ourselves with enemies, we use their own language against them. Oppressive people do this to me often.They tell me I must tolerate their hateful, abusive religious beliefs.They tell me that speaking out against their slurs is taking away their free speech. They say I must coexist by remaining friends with people who actively work to take away the rights of my other friends.They call me a bad pacifist when I get angry (even if I do not act out in … [Read more...]

A new hope

Today, I checked my phone compulsively for tweets from Connor Park and Dianna Anderson, who were updating the Twitter world on the status of the Church of England's synod on whether or not to ordain women bishops. Today, I thought that there was no way women could lose this battle. No way.But I was wrong.Today, I sat in the student union, and a couple of men (who I can only describe as "dudebros") sat down near me. As I received the disappointing news via Twitter that the Church of England h … [Read more...]

In Praise of the Doubting Thomas–A Book Review

My friend Travis Mamone has a new ebook out. It's called In Praise of the Doubting Thomas, and I recommend it.It's short, and I finished it in under two hours, but it's also thought-provoking and affirming. Travis, in his honest, conversational writing style, tells the story of his faith journey--how he made peace with his doubts without giving up on his faith.Travis's faith journey reminds me of my own (and, indeed, since we've been reading each other's blogs for a few years now, our j … [Read more...]

“Progressive” Christianity and Premarital Sex

Almost exactly one year ago, I read an article on Relevant Magazine that made me realize that I had absolutely no personal convictions to remain abstinent.I had grown up in the dead-center of the purity movement. I'd worn the silver rings, made the pledges, condescended to the teenage mothers, read the Joshua Harris books, and all the other lovely rituals that seem to be involved in that movement. However, after an abusive partner coerced me into sex and eventually raped me, I had to let go of … [Read more...]

The founding fathers get a free pass. The feminists? Not so much.

It is more than acceptable in our society to quote one of the founding fathers to prove a point. I see liberals and conservatives do this alike, and, even though I rarely quote these men, I am not necessarily going to criticize those who do (so if you're going to skip straight to the comments and argue with me about why it's okay to quote the founding fathers, save it).But many of our founding fathers were racists and slave-owners. This is undeniable. We know this, yet we quote their words … [Read more...]

Amazing bell hooks quote of the day

From bell hooks' book, All About Love: New Visions: Religious fundamentalism is often represented as authentic spiritual practice and given a level of mass media exposure that countercultural religious thought and practice never receive. Usually, fundamentalists, be they Christian, Muslim, or any faith, shape and interpret religious thought to make it conform to and legitimize a conservative status quo. Fundamentalist thinkers use religion to justify supporting imperialism, militarism, sexism, … [Read more...]

Love and the mystery of men and women

I've been reading bell hook's book All About Love: New Visions. In it, she stresses the importance of defining love so that we can't be controlled by abusive people who claim to love us. She borrows her definition of love from M. Scott Peck: "the will to extend one's self for the purpose of nurturing one's own or another's spiritual growth...Love is as love does. Love is an act of will--namely, both an intention and an action." hooks later discusses our culture's reluctance to define love: It i … [Read more...]


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