October 1, 2018

Most of the people who read this blog post live in what we could call the world of the #blessed (a.k.a. the land of #firstworldproblems). We have very real, valid emotional experiences and suffer inconveniences and even infuriating injustices, but we do not usually have our lives crushed catastrophically by impersonal systems that are in the background of our awareness. Over the past four months that I have been supporting a refugee family, I have discovered first-hand a very different… Read more

September 27, 2018

I haven’t had the psychological tenacity to watch the Kavanaugh hearings today. But I have been spending the week supporting a refugee woman whose testimony wasn’t believed. In a world where truth is defined by institutional stamps that make things official or by rigorous scientific testing, personal testimony has no validity. For many Christians, truth is authoritarian by nature, because personal experience is fundamentally untrustworthy. This authoritarian definition of truth is the reason that institutions like the state and the… Read more

September 25, 2018

We live in a world that is sexually unsafe. Especially in college. Especially on the dance floor at alcohol-saturated parties and clubs. Last spring, Tulane released a survey in which its undergraduate females reported a 40% rate of sexual assault. The rate was even higher in the LGBTQ community. What would it look like to have a place where people can dance without being judged or hit on? That’s the idea behind Release, a judgment-free dance party that we’ve started… Read more

September 24, 2018

  Building a cohesive spiritual community with college students is the hardest thing I’ve ever tried to do. There are many valid, competing priorities in the lives of college students: studying for difficult classes, pursuing career-related internships, taking on leadership opportunities in student government. In the midst of all these priorities, why have spiritual roots? If you have a solid self-care routine and a good friend circle, then what is the relevance of church? Christian groups with a more black… Read more

September 15, 2018

Pope Francis is my problematic fave. I’m sure he’s exhibited plenty of personal moral failures in the Roman church’s ongoing sexual abuse scandal, though I don’t think I could have done better if I were in charge of a complicated organization where almost every bishop and cardinal has dirty hands. Francis preached a sermon to some bishops recently in which he talked about the role of Satan as the “accuser of the brethren” in perpetuating the church’s scandal. There was… Read more

September 11, 2018

Tennis has always been an aristocrats’ game. It’s like golf. You take your prospective business clients to play tennis at the country club when you need to close a deal. If you’ve really made it to the top, your backyard will have a tennis court in addition to a swimming pool. I grew up in the white aristocrat world of tennis. My grandparents had a court in their backyard. I played it on the grass courts at the country club…. Read more

August 29, 2018

[CN: church-based sexual trauma, some brief description] It’s getting hard to keep quiet about the cynical gamesmanship going on amidst the far-right cardinals in the latest iteration of the Roman Catholic sex abuse scandal. As a survivor of church-based sexual trauma, my blood has boiled to see the anti-Francis conservatives trying to leverage a scandal in which all of their hands are filthy to force his resignation. No matter what Francis is personally guilty of in terms of covering up… Read more

August 24, 2018

Admittedly I put the word “evangelicals” in the title of this blog post as click-bait, to some degree. I’ve been so busy trying to start a coffeehouse that I’ve blogged only one other time this month so I need to make up for my abysmal numbers. But I used Lou Reed in my opening sermon of the school year in a completely inappropriate and yet actually valid reference to the kingdom of God and so I wanted to share about… Read more

August 19, 2018

At my Thursday men’s group last week, somebody brought up a song from the punk band Dead Milkmen called “Methodist Coloring Book.” I haven’t been able to get the song out of my head. The chorus reveals an ugly caricature of the Christian gospel that is ubiquitous in American culture after 40 years of evangelical culture war: “You’ve got a Methodist coloring book and you color really well; just don’t color outside the lines or God will send you to… Read more

July 23, 2018

If there’s one book your church small group needs to order for this fall, it’s Austin Channing Brown’s I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made For Whiteness. It’s probably one of the most apt uses of memoir that I’ve ever encountered. If you want to understand how racial dynamics play out in predominantly white space from the perspective of a black woman, this is the most accessible, informative narrative account I’ve come across. I had the honor of… Read more

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