November 28, 2020

If I open my phone and swipe left, top of the screen are indicators for the DOW, NASDAQ, and S&P 500. Numbers measuring the value of these funds also top the page of the newspaper, get mention on NPR, and scroll across the bottom of CNN. Last week, the DOW topped 30,000. It’s never been valued so highly. Now, ask yourself: is the value of the DOW a true measure of how we are doing as a society? Also ask… Read more

November 27, 2020

Let’s start here: if you were against Donald Trump’s Muslim ban, you should be against Andrew Cuomo’s restrictions targeting Hasidic Jews. In this sense, the Supreme Court made the right call. Let’s continue here: The Hasidic Jews gathering in large groups are foolish and irresponsible, as are any religious groups gathering during this pandemic. In this sense, the Supreme Court seems to have disregarded the need sometimes for emergency measures to supersede certain rights. Herein lies my central belief: we… Read more

November 24, 2020

This week we remember we live on the original, unceded lands of the Osage people, humans who knew every creek and hill of this area as a tapestry of homeland. We can see visual reminders yet today of some of this history. You can walk the trail in South Fayetteville marked as the Trail of Tears. The Cherokees who left their homelands voluntarily, years before the forced march, were assigned lands all over middle Arkansas. Then, when the forced removal… Read more

November 23, 2020

We are culturally quite adapted to the concept of “membership.” Probably most of us have memberships in many things. You may be a member of the Rotary, or Planet Fitness, the AARP, a political party, or a monthly club for the delivery of chocolates. Protestant churches, particularly in North America, have conformed their understanding of membership to these popular “voluntary association” patterns. For example, our church has an official definition of a member. You become a member either by baptism,… Read more

November 16, 2020

I was raised in a Christian culture that idealized charity and mission trips. Our church, solidly middle class, was one of those large churches before there were mega-churches. When we helped people, which we did often, it was very much a patron-client model. As in: Our youth group is going to the soup kitchen to feed the hungry We are taking a group on a mission trip to help that blighted community two states away We are donating some funds… Read more

November 16, 2020

Gonna start dropping various advocacy letters here as I/we write and use them. Hoping they might inspire local advocacy among readers of this blog. — You know that feeling, the tingle that runs up your spine and neck when you come into close proximity with threat, or see evil embodied in a horror film? That’s about exactly the feeling I had when I read the Northwest Arkansas Council was investing a million dollars over the next six months in ten… Read more

November 9, 2020

There are no special ways to be Christian. If you woke up today and thought to yourself, “I really want to do something special for God,” you might start with washing the dishes. And this because there isn’t a Christian life to live separate from your daily life. Pastoring, volunteering, none of these are particular forms of the Christian life. No, daily life IS the Christian life. It’s hard to shake off our attraction to works of supererogation. We think,… Read more

November 9, 2020

“As much as Americans may hanker after individualism in Christianity, the facts are that there is no such thing as the solitary believer but only the Christian assembly, gathered around Word and sacrament” (Timothy Wengert, The Augsburg Confession). In some ways, this insight is being sorely tested by a global pandemic. The Christian assembly is not “assembling/gathering” around Word and sacrament in the way it had grown accustomed. In other ways, this insight is expanding and transforming. We are learning… Read more

November 3, 2020

A Review: Because Scripture has been hijacked by religious, cultural, and political forces, we need books like this one that free it from its conscription as justification for oppression. Jennifer Butler is uniquely positioned to offer readers a primer on progressive Christian organizing, and I would have anticipated such a primer from her. That she instead reclaims Scripture, offering nine new entries into ancient texts, comes as a pleasant and welcome surprise. Let me start with a simple recommendation. If… Read more

October 26, 2020

During the Second World War, Americans sacrificed in many ways. The United States rationed gasoline, sugar, butter, and other goods and diverted them for the war effort. Such sacrifice was considered patriotic, part of a unified war effort to combat fascism. Juxtapose this with the mentality of so many Americans today, whose basic response to calls for simple forms of sacrifice is: “I’m not going to wear no damn mask!” I wonder, where did the patriotic commitment to sacrifice go?… Read more




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