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…]

Risking together

It has been over two decades now, but I still remember being assigned A Feminist Ethic of Risk as an undergraduate political science major.  I did not know at the time how profoundly my ethical worldview was about to be shaped by a Unitarian Universalist theologian (…or even what Unitarian Universalism was).  Now I am a [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…]

Now What?

Help me think this through, people. On the one hand, there are folks—good, honorable folks—who are saying that we need to pay attention to the result of this election, to get serious about addressing the needs and concerns of people who feel abandoned by the system. That we need to really hear the perspective of [Read More…]

You Are Not Wrong

You are not wrong if you are grieving. You are not wrong if you are full of rage. You are not wrong if you are terrified. You are not wrong if your heart overflows in joy at the sight of the full moon or a running child. You are not wrong if you want to [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…]