July 22, 2021

Two weeks ago our church hosted Queer Camp. This was the first camp of its kind in Arkansas, or in the South. Ninety LGBTQIA youth in attendance, some traveling in from across the state, staffed by dozens of queer adults and parents of queer youth from Northwest Arkansas. Before you read the rest of this blog, I encourage you to listen to two NPR installments that introduce the camp in the voice of volunteers and campers. This national spot on… Read more

July 16, 2021

Last night as one local county official walked into the courthouse for their monthly meeting, they asked me, “Do you know Jesus?” I responded. “Yes.” He asked, “Personally?” Then turned around and walked into the building, with an armed escort by his side. Now, admittedly, I was standing next to him speaking very loudly and calling on him to do better. He and his crew have been obstructing the distribution of funds from the Cares act, and are currently also… Read more

July 1, 2021

This story necessarily starts at the harbor master’s office and a conversation with Lady J. It’s still early on this Sunday morning, and we are down on the pier. Lady J, the assistant harbor master, is giving a review of the responsibilities, the vocation if you will, of the Camden harbor master–maintain the moorings, ensure safety, repair the docks, rent out the anchors, ensure all ground tackle is in working order, measure the spaces between the moorings. Toward the end… Read more

June 14, 2021

Nobody ever expects The Grateful Dead. I mean, I guess there’s that lyric in Chinatown Shuffle, “Get it right, do it nice/But if you make a mistake you’re gonna pay for it twice.” That song ends with the absolute opposite of grace, “If you fall in my direction/don’t expect no help at all.” So count me (pleasantly) surprised to find Pastor Duncan one-third of the way into his new memoir, United States of Grace, dancing his heart out on a… Read more

June 12, 2021

I’m starting here with a confession. I would like to confess before God and my neighbors that I have a certain level of Schadenfreude watching recent events in the Southern Baptist and Evangelical camps, Russell Moore’s departure and the fall of the Falwell’s in particular. I also have some guilt feeling such joy at the suffering of others, but on the other hand, given how much harm these communities (and individuals) have done to so many people I love, and… Read more

May 19, 2021

Smart messaging has long been critical to political success. Think “Contract With America” or “Fake News.” Often, these messages carry more emotional impact than anything else, tapping into the affect  and worldview of those who resonate with them. Academics construct messaging also, and sometimes those terms make their way into wider academic usage. One academician who has had greater impact than many is Kimberlé Crenshaw, who coined the term “intersectionality” and also the phrase “Critical Race Theory.” What is rare:… Read more

May 13, 2021

“Information, however, comes into the cosmos without trumpet blasts and lavish parades. In living phenomena, for example, information settles humbly and unobtrusively into the physical universe without altering the laws of thermodynamics. Just as unprecedented strings of letters and words can be introduced into my word processor without modifying the hardware for the syntax governing the computational process, so also the insinuation of novel informational patterns into the fabric of the universe can happen so unostentatiously that it goes unnoticed… Read more

April 26, 2021

One year into this pandemic, I’m just now coming to terms with some of the spiritual implications. I’ve been impressed with the creative writers who produced book-length meditations during the pandemic. Myself, for the most part I was lower on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, taking naps and addressing survival issues in our community. But I am starting to see a few things more clearly. One is obvious: we’ve had a ton of people join our church during the pandemic (seventy… Read more

April 21, 2021

A new book by Ross Murray A Review Ross Murray is well-known for his founding and directing of The Naming Project, a faith-based camp for LGBTQ youth and their allies. This book is a reflection on the many practical and spiritual learnings he has gleaned from doing such cutting edge and needed work. Ross is a deacon in our denomination, the ELCA. His clear spiritual gift is the consideration of how the living and active word of God applies in… Read more

April 16, 2021

Hi, my name is Clint Schnekloth and I’m a racist. On the gaming podcast I listen to, they always ask game developers how they first got into gaming, so I guess you could ask me, “How did you first get into racism?” I’d start by mentioning my white German family bought farm land originally belonging to the Kickapoo, Sauk and Meskwaki but sold by the French to the United States. Growing up, I was taught dozens of racist jokes in… Read more

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