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.
The media has built up the summit between he and Kim Jung Un as the greatest meeting ever between two people. It is, of course, significant. Rarely do we see two dictators come together on such a world stage. The handshake was staged perfectly for prime time while the news anchors whispered and analyzed every aspect like it was The Masters golf tournament. But this summit will fail not for what they will discuss, but for what they will completely ignore.
God is not just God of Israel. God is God of the universe. God has created all countries and all cultures. As such, all nations must uphold the dignity and integrity of all people. God's sovereignty comes from God's role as Creator of the universe and allows God the right to be the ultimate judge of all nations, regardless of who they are, who they worship, or what their belief systems are.
Progressives so easily turn into the Debbie Downer police that we get distracted from the fact that what Samantha Bee was talking about when she called Ivanka Trump a name is actually still happening! So distracted by schoolyard names, how quickly we forget that Bee was talking about the inhumane policy of the trump administration separating families who cross the border without necessary papers. And this is what matters y'all.
The day after the furor of Roseanne's racist tweets and her show being cancelled as a result, she once again took to Twitter and offered up a whole host of defenses; some from her and others she retweeted. After she apologized yesterday for one of the racist tweets she has posted, apparently, her apology was solely directed not towards making amends, but to save her job. When it didn't do the trick, she has now switched back to comfortable ground for conservatives who do something wrong: blame everyone but themselves.
So, you would think, given my past distaste with how the evangelical movement co-opted Jesus for their own political, social, and cultural ends (and for the distinct economic advantage of corporate America), that I would be in favor of something that was recently begun by the evangelical group, Sojourners called Reclaiming Jesus. I am not.
Simply put, you cannot be America First and a follow of Jesus at the same time. You just can't. God desired not only to save the people (and the animals too!) of Nineveh, God wanted to save Jonah. God wants not only to save the world today. God wants desperately to save the United States for we are lost, especially when so many of those who so lavishly and loudly claim to follow God also cry "America First!"
I have watched all of what is happening in the United Methodist Church from the safe confines of the sidelines and I have felt deeply troubled. I was troubled not only for the deep pain that continues to be inflicted on many people I care about and deeply respect. But even more, I felt troubled because even though I had left the church I still felt responsible for what was happening; for the pain that was being caused.
On Wednesday, Gina Haspel will go before the Senate Intelligence Committee to begin her confirmation process as the next Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. Haspel was a senior operative what was nicely called the CIA’s "enhanced interrogation program." The better name for this is simply torture.
Who are the Debbie Downer Police? I am talking people who are so in favor of maintaining the status quo, who are so opposed to institutional transparency and honesty that they will do everything they can to squash cutting or sarcastic humor. Indeed, it has always been a sarcastic sense of humor that has exposed darkness and has shed light on systemic injustice or marginalization. I am talking about humor that makes us laugh while also creating a space for liberating new perspectives.
This all seems so random. Just walking into a city and yelling something that is quite alarming, but without any context or ascribed call to change and then to get the response described here means the people of Nineveh, along with their king, were either very easily induced into following random town criers,or something was happening among the people of Nineveh that had prepared them for Jonah's proclamation.