September 11, 2019

On September 11, 2001, as the Twin Towers burned and fell, an ancient prayer rattled in my head. The words fumbled around as background music as I evacuated my office near the United Nations headquarters and miraculously located my newlywed husband as he was in transit to New York City.  The internet was down so I could not google the verses. But the fragmented version of it lingering in my anxiety-ridden brain gave me direction and some measure of peace…. Read more

September 3, 2019

Last week, I received training on how to reverse an opioid overdose. The trainer first taught us the signs of an overdose: unconsciousness, unresponsiveness, shallow or absent breath, purple lips. After she taught us how to administer the overdose-reversal drug Naloxone, she described the rapid reversal the overdosing person experiences. From the very edge of death, they emerge wide awake in a matter of seconds, albeit in considerable pain. As a pastor, it brought to mind Jesus’ resurrection of Jairus’… Read more

August 20, 2019

Recently, I was in Columbus and was blessed to preach at St. John’s UCC. Below is my sermon: Long before Darth Vader and Mordor, Babylon was the ultimate symbol of evil and oppression requiring miraculous resistance from the faithful. Psalm 137, written 2,500 years ago, captures the agony and resistance of a people carried into exile by one of the most brutal Empires in all of history. Nearly 70 percent of the Bible wrestles with this cataclysmic event. As Rachel… Read more

July 25, 2019

As 2020 Presidential candidates road test their stump speeches, jockey to distinguish themselves in debates and search for faith outreach staff, now is the time for campaigns to plan how to connect with the decentralized, diverse, highly motivated communities of the Religious Left. As a pastor who has worked in progressive faith communities nationwide for the past 25 years, I’ve watched Democrats cede religion to the Republican party in election after election. They’ve shied away from moral language on the… Read more

June 20, 2019

Throughout Scripture, from Exodus to the Babylonian exile to Jesus’s flight, forced migration and deportation are formative experiences. God calls us to take on the identity of those who are expelled and those who are forced to flee. From the Indian Removal Act of 1830 to Operation Wetback of 1954 to the millions of deportations in the last decade, U.S. history too is marred by dislocation of innocent people. By announcing this week his intention to deport millions of immigrants,… Read more

May 15, 2019

Remarks I gave at a Mother’s Day rally – calling for action from the Trump administration to reunite all the families which they separated. I’m a mom, I’m a Presbyterian pastor, and I’m a believer in the values that our nation espouses. Today I speak as all three, and I’m proud to gather here with you. In fact, today is a day of worship in my community and worship means to serve in Hebrew, so I can think of no… Read more

March 14, 2019

In many places in the United States, a same-sex couple can be legally married on a Saturday and fired for it on Monday. LGBTQ people — my neighbors, family, friends and fellow congregants — can be fired from a job, denied a place to live, refused service at a place of business, ordered to leave a bathroom, or deprived of medical care because of who they are or who they love. This discrimination is unjust and immoral. But in many… Read more

March 6, 2019

Today I went to a hearing held by the House Homeland Security Committee where Secretary Kristjen Nielsen was speaking. After the hearing, I went outside with a coalition of groups to call her – and our whole nation – to repentance for how we have treated immigrants. Below is an edited version of my remarks. My God teaches that love casts out all fear. My God has created all people and all families in the divine image. I believe that… Read more

February 11, 2019

I have to wonder what Bible President Trump’s close evangelical advisors are reading. Pastor Jeffress of First Baptist Church of Dallas Texas in a recent NPR interview justified Trump’s build-a-wall solution to immigration by cherry-picking certain biblical texts and misconstruing them. As a seminary professor once told me, a text without a context is a pretext. Religious supporters of compassionate immigration laws often cite the hundreds of verses of Christian and Jewish scripture that command us to welcome the alien… Read more

January 10, 2019

Earlier this week, President Trump delivered an Oval Office address on immigration that sought to stoke fear and hatred in the hearts of the American people. He pleaded for funds to build a monument of bigotry that we don’t need. Today, President Trump visited the border town of McAllen, Texas to double down on his racist and immoral rhetoric. People of faith must condemn racist ideology. Children and mothers seeking safety at our borders from insurmountable violence are deserving of… Read more

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