Ryan Lochte and Everything Wrong with America

Ryan Lochte is an embarrassment to the United States. Maybe even the world.We don’t know the full story. But we do know that he peed. He lied. He vandalized a sign, if not a bathroom. He “over-exaggerated,” lied, and embarrassed Brazil. He drank himself so full of alcohol that he struggled to control his body. He acted like an immature jock and brought down his younger teammates with him.Good articles have been written about Lochte’s white privilege, which has allowed him to manage his si … [Read more...]

Jesus is at the Border: Immigration, Barriers, and God’s Economy

I am not a politician, so I’m not an expert on immigration policies.I am not an economist, so I’m not an expert on the economic benefits or burdens of immigration.But I am a public theologian. I try to understand how we can participate with God in setting things right, healing the world, and reconciling human beings with one another, with the world, and with God.How is God setting things right? Jesus, in one of his most important, if also confusing, prayers, offered these words of uni … [Read more...]

Exercises in Empathy: Seeing Humanity Through the Flames

Milwaukee, the shooting of Sylville Smith, uprisings, a toxic, lethal system catching fire… words fail me.I can’t imagine the challenge of growing up black in the most segregated city in a nation built on slavery, trying to stay in school in a district where the drop-out rate and the achievement gaps are at their highest. I can’t imagine growing up black where the incarceration rate for black males is twice a too-high national average. I can’t imagine living in a world where upward mobility i … [Read more...]

The Apocalypse Revealed – The Bible Explained: Part 4

Contrary to the common understanding, Apocalypse does not mean end of the world destruction. Please, when you think of Apocalypse, do not think of things like the Left Behind series. It’s wrong and has done a lot of damage to the word.Apocalypse is a Greek word that means unveiling or revealing. Apocalypse is a revealing of truth.For the New Testament, the Apocalypse, or the ultimate revealing, is Jesus Christ. Jesus is the apocalypse. He reveals what it means for God to be God and w … [Read more...]

Gabby Douglas and a Better America

I love watching the Olympics. The world comes together for competition at its best.My country, the United States, has done pretty well this year. Simone Biles has amazed us with her gymnastic skills and four gold medals. Simone Manuel won gold and silver, and inspired us by becoming “the first African American woman to win an individual swimming medal in the Olympics.” As Jerry Brewer of the Washington Post states, she broke a color barrier that goes back to racist laws of Jim Crow that “ke … [Read more...]

Jesus Brings the Fire – A Progressive Reclaiming of the Apocalypse

A sermon based on Luke 12:49-56I’ve always loved Billy Joel’s song We Didn’t Start the Fire. I was 10 years old when it was released in 1989. I remember singing the song, trying to keep up with the lyrics, specifically the names of 20th century icons that Billy Joel sang faster and faster. The first stanza goes like this, Harry Truman, Doris Day, Red China, Johnny Ray South Pacific, Walter Winchell, Joe DiMaggio Joe McCarthy, Richard Nixon, Studebaker, Television North Korea, South Korea … [Read more...]

A Nation of “Second Amendment People”: Rhetoric, Reality, and Redemption

Donald Trump's despicable comments about "Second Amendment people" being able to do something  about Hillary Clinton and her judicial nominees – which many interpret as a veiled call for assassination – were made in the context of a nation that has made assassination its official policy for years. The violent rhetoric is wrapped in a reprehensible reality.Five and a half years ago, when Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords survived a shooting that left six people dead and 13 injured, our … [Read more...]