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

July 12, 2018

The light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not seize it. John 1:5 This verse is one of the most important metaphors in the Bible for describing the nature of truth. Truth is like light. It does not coerce anyone to take its point of view; it simply exposes what is real. Jesus says in John 3:19: “Light has come into the world but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.” Humans have an… Read more

July 9, 2018

“Go and find out what this means: ‘I desire mercy not sacrifice.'” Matthew 9:13 This is what Jesus tells the religious authorities when they criticize him for partying with sinners. I would say that this verse is the most important verse in the Bible for Christians and a summary of the gospel that we need to hear every day. Everything that God teaches us and commands of us is for the sake of mercy. Christian discipleship is this: receiving God’s… Read more

July 3, 2018

God has convicted me of the need to write a different set of blog posts for a while. I’m going to call this series “Good Biblical Words” because the Bible has many good words in it, but understanding how they fit together is not self-evident. The second century bishop Irenaeus wrote that the Bible is like a mosaic of jewels that is supposed to form the image of a king, but they are often rearranged to make the shape of… Read more

June 29, 2018

It’s an ancient image from July 2016, in a different age before Donald Trump was president. But two years later, I still can’t find a better representation of what it looks like to take up your cross and follow Jesus, which is literally what Ieshia Evans said she understood herself to be doing in her first political protest. There’s nothing civil about taking up your cross, and there’s nothing more dangerous in the world that we’ve created today than civility…. Read more

June 19, 2018

White feelings can be dangerous for people of color. When a white police officer feels scared and overwhelmed by a black person, he becomes lethally unsafe. When a white woman gets weepy after a confrontation with a person of color, the patriarchal chivalric response is to defend the white woman’s honor, which in the past, has had lethal repercussions for people of color. These very real historical implications of white feelings haunt interracial interactions even when they’re online and seem… Read more

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