Clinton, Trump, and the Kings of Israel

A friend originally from the UK wondered out loud this week (and I'm paraphrasing): "Watching American political campaigns, what has made a great nation afraid of its own shadow?"The question troubles me. It angers me -- not toward him, but toward the politicians and pundits who have created that impression.It is laughable that either one of the candidates for President is capable of making this country great again or capable of uniting it.With all its flaws (flaws that bedevil all … [Read more...]

Mark Burns illustrates how not to pray

Some years ago I was invited to a Congressman’s office along with leaders to discuss legislative issues that impinged on religious communities. Having concluded our conversation, the Congressman finished by observing, “If you ever want to pray in Congress, let my office know, and remember, don’t be afraid to pray in the name of Jesus.”I’m not afraid to pray in the name of Jesus – or the Trinity – and I do all the time. But I was embarrassed by the Congressman’s remark, and I wondered why his … [Read more...]

Baton Rouge, Minneapolis, Dallas: What Next?

I grew up in a racist home.Prejudice was privately expressed. Racial slurs were commonplace behind closed doors, and Martin Luther King was the object of anger and suspicion.I was intuitively uncomfortable with the racism that surrounded me. I avoided using the language that I heard, and I didn’t allow the prejudices to influence my behavior. I can’t explain my resistance to the language of racism that I heard so often as a child, and it took time to acquire the language that I needed to … [Read more...]

The One Thing that Matters in a Changing Church

A dear friend, who recently converted to Catholicism, told this story about a recent experience at church: This past Easter I was given a Rosary from a friend in commemoration of my having completed the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) process and entered the Catholic Church. Ours is a fairly large church for a rural area: about 1,200 families from several counties in north Texas and southern Oklahoma. We serve a large area partly because we are a place where Hispanic families can … [Read more...]

Public Discourse and The Language of Derision

The language of derision has become increasingly commonplace in public discourse. The labels, “stupid,” “elitist,” “racist,” and their synonyms have become increasingly commonplace in public discourse.Our political leaders use the language of derision to describe the people they lead when they fail to respond positively to their appeals. Political operatives use the language of derision in ads and promotions that provide cover for candidates who hope to benefit from that kind of language, but … [Read more...]

Evangelicals, Donald Trump, and 4 Lessons in Politics for the Church

The meeting that a handful of Evangelicals had with Donald Trump this week has something to teach Evangelicals and Christians of every stripe.One:Meetings of this kind run the risk of painting the whole of a segment of the Christian community in terms that appear unified and homogenous. Christians -- even hyphenated Christians (Evangelical-Christians, Progressive-Christians, Roman Catholic-Christians, etc.) -- do not see their faith or political issues in the same way.But when a … [Read more...]

3 Things Religious Leaders Can Do in the Wake of the Massacre in Orlando

Reflecting on the terrorist attack on “The Pulse” in Orlando, columnist, Bruce Bower, notes that the events “’shocked’” some politicians. “’Who would have expected such a thing?’ people kept asking.”Bower observes something that I’ve thought for some time as well: “Actually, I’ve been expecting just such a thing for years. The only shock was that it took this long for some jihadist to go after a gay establishment. Islamic law, after all, is crystal clear on homosexuality, though the various … [Read more...]


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