Am I My Brother’s Keeper? Social Solidarity and Gang Violence

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Author's note: An African American friend of mine raised respectful concern over my use of a Lynyrd Skynyrd song "None of Us Are Free" while discussing gang violence. Regardless of what others might think of the use of this song and Lynyrd Skynyrd's music generally, my friend’s concern over what he (and he believes many other African Americans) takes to be the group’s racist associations (he referred to the song "Sweet Home Alabama" as an example of the concern) has led me to remove the allusion … [Read more...]

’12 Years a Slave’ — Could It Happen Again?

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This piece originally appeared at Sojourners on October 14, 2013.I watched 12 Years a Slave today. The film is based on Solomon Northup’s autobiography by that name. Northrup was a free black man living in Saratoga, N.Y. He was lured away from his home to Washington, D. C., on the promise of lucrative work and was kidnapped, transported to Louisiana, and sold into slavery. He was rescued 12 years later.Some of the questions and issues that the movie raises are: What right do people have t … [Read more...]

Burdened by the Burden of Proof: From Eve to Marissa Alexander

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How in the world did Marissa Alexander get sentenced to twenty years in prison for firing a gun in the air in self-defense against her husband whom she claimed violently attacked her and threatened to kill her? She didn’t even hurt him, and yet she ended up getting severely hurt by the whole ordeal.How did Eve get blamed for everything in the garden of Eden in many circles for much of church history, when she wasn’t the only one eating forbidden fruit?Is there a connection between the two … [Read more...]

Just Thinking about Justice: Humility is the Best Policy

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When it comes to justice issues, activists, theorists and policy makers living in the moment often charge where angels fear to tread and newcomers to the issues waffle in confusion. The newbies like myself can easily feel like they are drowning in the depths of the complexities surrounding the issues in question. What should they (we) do? Wait for handouts, where the experts on the issues give them basic meat and potato food for thought?Newbies should be humble enough to ask questions about … [Read more...]

Uncomfortably Numb on Health Care Reform

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Some of you may be familiar with Pink Floyd’s classic song “Comfortably Numb,” which appears on the album, The Wall. As I understand it, the song is about the character Pink's battle to deal with the world as a result of abandonment and isolation. The song fits within the framework of The Wall as a concept album. Among other things expressed through the album, Pink had experienced the loss of his dad during World War II and his teachers’ hostilities growing up. These and other experiences lead hi … [Read more...]

Theological Health and Healthcare

What makes for healthy theology on the subject of healthcare?I suppose it all depends on which theologian you are asking. From my vantage point, drawing as I do from certain Trinitarian thought forms, one must be attentive to guard against the extremes of individualism and collectivism respectively. The ground of all reality is neither an individual(s) in isolation who is selfishly concerned nor a collective without distinctive particularity and responsibility. God is three distinct persons … [Read more...]

The High Costs of Healthcare in the Free Market

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The jury is still out on Obamacare. Opinions vary.If somehow it were shut down or largely gutted, what would be done to curb the spiraling costs associated with healthcare in America’s free market economy? If the Affordable Care Act goes forward untouched, will it be able to address the problem based on “market incentives” rather than by “government decree,” as one columnist noted?What’s the solution to making quality healthcare affordable? I believe we all want quality, affordable health … [Read more...]


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