Ay Caramba! Decolonizing the Mind

The darkness drops again but now I know     That twenty centuries of stony sleep     Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,     And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,     Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born? William Butler Yeats   We all walk around with [Read More…]

#Resolutions and Diseases of the Soul 

It’s that time of year again—time for resolutions. List makers will list them; the sloppy among us will make mental notes; the cynical will say, “Never again!” Yes, resolutions for the new year are a cliche, but determining to do things differently—taking ourselves off autopilot and living more consciously—is anything but a tired cliche. This year, [Read More…]

Happy Holidays From the Cruel Optimisms

Isn’t it just a tad too ironic that one of the US national icons is called Mt. “Rush-more”? Sure, I know—it’s named after a rich white guy, but Mt. Rushmore? I’m thinking Americans need a Mt. Rush-less or a Mt. Chill Out. Sure, it’s pure happenstance that Mt. Rushmore is the name of the place [Read More…]

Communities of Resilience and Resistance

As a young theology student, James Luther Adams watched the Nazi rise to power. For the rest of his life he insisted that voluntary associations are the key to resisting oppression—voluntary associations such as congregations. When facing the breakdown of the rule of law, voluntary associations provide a place of both resilience and resistance—resilience for [Read More…]

Better Living Through #Cynicism

Good. Better. Best. Choice. In consumerist cultures we learn to make choices but are discouraged  from thinking through to the ultimate value of things. For example, last weekend, the center-left Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi resigned after a resounding defeat at the polls. The victors were populist parties such as the Five Star Movement, led by former [Read More…]

As the People Fell into a Well

JUNK The popular Christian writer Father Richard Rohr says, “If your religion is not showing you how to transform your pain, it is junk religion.” I’d expand on that and say that if your politics is not showing you how to transform your pain, it is junk politics. Think about that as I relate a [Read More…]

At #Thanksgiving, A Wish for Freedoms

I lost one of my cousins this week. (As a hillbilly, I have lots of cousins.) In lieu of flowers, his wife is asking for donations for his burial—open casket of course, because that’s the only way Christians of their ilk can do it. The expensive way. My cousin worked two jobs and died of [Read More…]

Kick the Dog, Pet the Dog—Off-Loading Anxiety

There’s two things we can do with suffering: we can kick the dog; or we can pet the dog. That’s really as complicated as it gets. We can kick the dog; or we can pet the dog. Or the cat. Or the parakeet. Or our partners or kids or co-workers or fellow citizens. Because, as [Read More…]

A Republic If You Can Keep It

I’ve long been a member of PEN America, a writers group dedicated to freedom of expression. One year, at an international convention in a capital city better left unnamed, I remember realizing that being “hosted” by a government could also mean being controlled by a government. We authors were wined and dined at the president’s [Read More…]

Social Gospel 2.0: Public Theology and #StandingWithStandingRock 

#MoralMonday, #MoralRevival, and #StandingWithStandingRock have ushered in a new day for public theology. Religions can easily lead to navel gazing—all about me and my issues and problems. Public theology is about directing our attention outward into such areas as politics and economics. Public theology necessarily takes into account sociology, anthropology, psychology, and on and on. [Read More…]