Plainly and without question, both the hatred and prejudice expressed last night in Charlottesville and the attack on counter-protesters today are murderous acts.  Neither the words nor the actions of these self-styled supremacists are protected by the Constitution.  Nor is there any way in which to justify behavior of this kind as even remotely “Christian.”  Indeed, the religious and patriotic patina wrapped around the rhetoric of this group is reminiscent of the entirely cynical manipulation of the Gospel by Adolf… Read more

Note: The following guest article is by my friend, Ashley Mowers.  I invited Ashley to respond to last week’s article on generational differences for reasons that will be immediately obvious.  Ashley is Community Life Architect at National Institute for Community – Community Life Program.  She is also an adjunct professor at Judson University and she begins working on a Doctor of Philosophy at St. Andrews University in Scotland next autumn.  You can follow Ashley at any of the following:… Read more

We have the good fortune of living in a world in which an ever-greater number of generations share the world at the same time. Advances in nutrition and medical care have increased our life expectancy. But what we have failed to do is to begin re-thinking the way in which we think about mentoring, aging, and sharing the tasks that lie ahead of us in creating a stronger, healthier society. Read more

I’ve spent a bit of time following the story of Charlie Gard this summer. First as covered by American news outlets and then, while on vacation, as covered by reporters in the United Kingdom. As you might remember, Charlie Gard is the child of two parents seeking permission to travel to the United States in order to seek treatment for their son that is considered a last-ditch, extraordinary effort to save his life. The court said “no” to the parents’… Read more

  As the news spills out from every corner of the globe and as our capacity as a nation to respond seems to evaporate, I’ve found myself thinking about the church. What is the church? How should the church respond? And why is it that too many Christians seem to be indistinguishable from their political counterparts in describing a way forward? We are equally at war with one another. We are armed with the same capacity for vulgarity and name-calling…. Read more

A new study by political scientists notes that clergy, on the whole, are more partisan than their parishioners. You can read the study here. Which raises the question: If clergy are tasked to “keep the faith,” exactly what “faith” is it that they “keep?” The faith of their respective religious traditions or the faith of their partisan political commitments? The study would suggest that far too often, it’s the latter. And that’s not a good thing. The immediate protest to… Read more

Pastors work in what students of organization call “loosely linked bureaucracies.” What experts mean by that phrase is that clergy are largely unsupervised. Even in churches with bishops or district superintendents at the denominational level and boards or administrative councils at the local level, there is a good deal of work that many pastors do without immediate oversight. It is not surprising, then, that patterns in leadership emerge on the congregational level that are corrosive – corrosive to the ministries… Read more

From this morning’s Wall Street Journal: Unknown gunmen opened fire Friday on a bus carrying Coptic Christians to a monastery in southern Egypt, local media reports said, killing at least 20 people, in the latest attack on the minority Christian community. The bus was headed to the monastery in the city of Minya, some 190 miles south of the capital Cairo, Al Ahram newspaper quoted unnamed security officials as saying. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack,… Read more

The world is divided into two camps by the answer to this question: Is human failing finally tragic or therapeutic?** If one omits the adverb, “finally,” of course, it is possible to believe that both the tragic and therapeutic provide windows into human behavior. One can believe that human failing is often tragic without excluding the therapeutic, and one can believe that therapy provides a window into human conduct without excluding the tragic. But when the adverb, “finally,” comes into… Read more

Confessing the sins of others is an addictive practice. It feeds self-righteous certainty. It simplifies life’s complex demands. It elicits confirmation from those who share our views. It spares us the effort associated with thinking and reasoning carefully. Above all, it insulates us from the painful process of self-examination. This is why Jesus urged us to consider the log in our own eye, before contemplating the speck in someone else’s eye. It is also why, as First Peter puts it,… Read more

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