May 11, 2017

You have your ups and downs. Years ago a professor (Stanley Hauerwas) at the Duke Divinity School made it to the cover of Time Magazine. More recently DDS students managed to get their school on national TV by holding up a banner behind the commentators booth in the NCAA Basketball finals. Priceless. Now Duke is again in the national news, but not in such a good way. Duke, according to the New York Times, has become a new battle ground... Read more

May 4, 2017

As I turned into a parking lot I saw something on the van in front of me. It was a large sticker we’ve all seen. It had an empty cross draped by a robe. Beneath it were the words “He Has Risen!” On the cross was a placard with the initials, INRI. The story of the cross with the placard is found in the Gospel of John, Chapter 19. Pilate, the Roman Governor, put a placard on the cross of Jesus... Read more

April 23, 2017

With the United Methodist Judicial Council meeting next week to consider several cases related to human sexuality the interwebs are abuzz with debate, particularly about Bishop Oliveto, who was an acting leader and was consecrated as bishop while married to another woman. As I read the various blogs and multiple responses one thing becomes clear. United Methodist discussions about human sexuality, while polarized into pro-LGBTQ marriage and ordination and anti-LBGTQ marriage and ordination, involve so many and varied appeals to... Read more

April 20, 2017

As she stretched my muscles until a tear rolled dripped into the bowl of rose water beneath my face the massage therapist said, “You never find comfort being comfortable,” and proceeded with a little lecture on posture while working. She was right in many ways. And I thought of all the people who seek comfort by making their world more comfortable. And all the pain we cause ourselves and others. I am really sorry, Representative Huffines, that Muslims make you anxious. And... Read more

April 16, 2017

On Easter Sunday as I listen to the familiar hymns I’m contemplating one of the biggest reasons that it is difficult to believe in God. The Christian representation of God (and for that matter the common representations in other religions) simply isn’t up to being God of the universe as we know it today. In the popular imagination, formed by decades of science fiction and science fact, the universe is a place of countless rational creatures other than humans, and... Read more

April 3, 2017

I recently read a book review that got me thinking about privilege. As it happened I’d been identified as “cis-gendered male,” on Facebook. And so I started to reflect on just what privilege means in terms of identity When I was 12 my father died. The family moved to a new town. I had to start working (newspaper delivery, Dairy Queen, etc. etc.) From age 12 to 61 I have worked for a living. Most of my friends didn’t. I didn’t think of myself as privileged. Then... Read more

March 23, 2017

An editorial in the New York Times on Wednesday March 8th, a feminist who is also Jewish wondered if she could really join in the international women’s day movement. After all, the organizers were linked to groups promoting the “decolonization of Palestine,” which effectively means putting an end to the nation of Israel. (https:/ She wasn’t the only person to wonder. A strong pro “reproductive rights” agenda was bound to exclude those who believe that human life begins at conception and... Read more

March 21, 2017

Texas State Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office just sent a letter that demonstrates again how deeply Islamophobia has infected Texas state government. You can find an account and copy here: The letter is problematic for any number of reasons. First it opens with a falsehood, “Our initial inquiry left several questions unresolved.” The AG’s office contacted no one in the Frisco ISD. Their “inquiry,” as the letter makes clear, consisted entirely of reading an ambiguous sentence in a student newspaper and that’s all. If they... Read more

March 18, 2017

“‘Culture and demographics are our destiny” according to Representative Steve King. Well depending on what you mean this is hardly arguable. Culture deeply shapes the way any society evolves. And everyone from marketers to evangelists to politicians to educators knows that shifting demographics across multiple dimensions will determine what products sell, who gets converted, who wins the election, and who goes to school and what they learn. So what is the big controversy in Rep. King’s statement the other day? Oh yeah,... Read more

February 21, 2017

Christian Churches, from local congregations to Annual Conferences (or Diocese or Presbyteries or Synods) to national and international organizations are almost invariable run by people who started by studying theology. The Bible and Theology are their hammers, and that often makes everything a doctrinal nail. Its Not You I Hate, Its What You Believe Take the current problems of the United Methodist Church – which after a divisive and often angry General Conference last year has spawned a commission to work out... Read more

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