While steering clear of the story of Brett Kavanaugh and Dr. Christine Blasey-Ford is clearly the safest thing for pastors and church leaders to do, it is the wrong thing to do. This is precisely the area that the church can have the clearest voice and can have a tremendous impact, especially in terms of being an agent of healing for those who have experienced sexual assault.
My break with evangelicalism was truly a significant moment in my life, much like the one many evangelicals are now experiencing in their own lives, which is the primary reason I write this. In the evangelical movement’s quest to be socially accepted as well as socially and politically dominant, they are once again running the risk of losing the people that make up their movement, just as they did with me over fifteen years ago. Most importantly, they are running the risk of building a movement proclaiming their belief in a Savior they no longer really follow.
No matter if you are an elected official, or a lawyer in a powerful lobby office, or even if you just work in the non-profit or faith organization world - there is shame that is poured on those who are fired, lose their jobs, or who move to less prestigious employment. Though I have been out of my previous job for over 2 1/2 years now, I still get condescending looks from former colleagues who I once thought were my friends because I no longer have a powerful position in the third largest denomination in the country. Positions of power is what DC is all about. But all of this is nothing when compared to the shaming that happens inside the church.
trump and his administration are going out of their way to hurt workers and their families, and they are finding creative and sneaky ways to do so. These are the actions that do not garnish the same kind of headlines that porn stars and attacks on the Justice Department do. In fact, these actions garnish no headlines in most instances. But these actions cause tremendous harm to real people
Whether we are individually or collectively lost, we can learn new things, try new things, and fail repeatedly, and keep trying for more. It's called the wonders of life. And that gets and keeps me excited to be alive. I am just thankful for my sons who give me the grace and support to keep playing catch, no matter how badly I throw.
And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, “Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”
We must not quit fact-checking and editorializing. Good journalism is enshrined as a fundamental right in the U.S. Bill of Rights for good reason. In addition, some political compromises and other tediousness can happen on the road to that vision, but none of these is a substitute for the vision itself. We need to know where we are going and invite others into that excitement.
Now, I am not writing this because I am fishing for secret messages of encouragement. I am not sure random messages via Facebook or email from people will end this lostness I am in the midst of. I am writing this because I can't help but feel that others are either feeling this now or have in the past. I write this to hopefully resonate with others. I write this because I sure as hell hope there is a way out.
It should be expected that no matter if someone is United Methodist or not, that groups of Christians coming together, who share the same passion and the same vision, should be expected to help one another do no harm. That seems a given doesn't it? That seems a baseline of the lowest kind of expectations. Sadly, tragically, it is not.
The belief in American exceptionalism and the chosenness of the United States makes us feel good about ourselves - how could it not? But it is false and frankly, dangerous. Second only to naming some of the poor "worthy" while casting away the rest of the poor as "unworthy" and to continued suffering, this kind of delusional belief in our own moral and theological superiority has hampered if not completely distorted missional engagement to the world.
In response to a complaint filed against Attorney General Jeff Sessions by over 600 fellow United Methodists that charged Sessions with violating church law by engaging in what amounted to child abuse through initiating his “zero-tolerance” policy of separating families seeking asylum, the District Superintendent in Mobile, AL dismissed the complaint entirely.
Speaking the truth in love is too often said by those who aren't interested in truth or love as much as they are with maintaining a false sense of peace; ensuring that their comfort level not be disturbed by any kind of conflict. Avoiding conflict may guarantee that things remain pleasant on the surface, but maturity is impossible without some level of conflict. Maturity is impossible without truth.
This summer I have gone to a number of football prospect camps held at universities and colleges. Prospect camps attract high school athletes to check out the school's football program and they give college coaches a chance to do some recruiting for their programs. The not-so-fun side of this has often been hearing from some of the coaches. There is one thing I can say for sure: sexism and misogyny are being propagated and spread through many of our football programs in this country.
Distinctive relationship with God is not based on any of the things that we seem to value more and more in our local churches and certainly at the institutional level of the church. Distinction of our relationship with God is based entirely on how we treat the most vulnerable, at least according to Amos in the second chapter.
So, what do we do with this very troubling chapter Paul's letter to the church in Rome? We do have to admit that AG Beauregard is correct, Paul does encourage the Christians in Rome in verse one to be subject to ruling authorities. But let us do better than Beauregard and his evangelical Methodist leaders who discipled him and let's look briefly at the context of this letter and this passage.