With unprecedented intimacy and frequency, Americans are becoming witnesses to murder.
With the videos of beheadings and the footage of black people being murdered by police, we’ve begun watching real people die violently in real time, often from the palm of our hands or from the screens in our laps.
Last Saturday, my youngest son and I spent an afternoon carefully stacking a half-dozen rocks that had been worn smooth and elliptical by the French Broad River that eddied around our knees. The swift river and its small pockets of whitewater drowned out the world around us as we built a small impromptu cairn together for his birthday. After we balanced the final stone, he sat on the large foundation rock rising out of the river and clasped his hands together.
As his lips whispered a prayer, I looked around and felt at peace.
I have burned one flag in my life. In college, some friends and I set a Confederate flag ablaze in a parking lot one summer afternoon. It was a symbolic way for us to renounce our racist heritage as young southern men.
It’s true. God doesn’t have anything to do with winning a football game.
On Sunday, Russell Wilson, quarterback for the Seattle Seahawks, became the latest professional athlete to draw the ire of progressive Christians for expressing gratitude to God for winning a football game.
The God of Pentecost doesn’t have an official language.
This is the shocking revelation of the day of Pentecost, but one often lost amid the day’s more bombastic metaphors of rushing winds, descending doves and intoxicated disciples with tongues touched by fire.
There is a wicked irony that as the United States marks the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Movement, the country’s highest court is edging closer to gutting one of the movement’s greatest victories.
And, as a progressive Christian, I’m also reclaiming repentance.
Given Lent’s themes of penitence, it’s actually a season well-suited for progressives. Unfortunately, it is also season often marred by the popular piety of giving up sodas and sweets and frequently misrepresented through a common misunderstanding of repentance.
A curious thing is happening this Sunday in churches across America.
For some, this curious thing is Pulpit Freedom Sunday. The day, promoted by the conservative group Alliance Defending Freedom for the fourth year, urges pastors to speak out in favor of candidates they support, defying IRS restrictions that forbid such political speech in religious nonprofits.
In a nutshell, this is Pentecost, or at least, the most intriguing detail of the famous Acts story. But too often this significant detail gets lost in the celebration of rushing wind, fiery tongues and the so-called birth of the church.
I became a stay-at-home father several years ago, I slowly realized
that all the theology I had studied in seminary, if I were honest,
didn’t connect with my new reality of diapers, spit-up and frozen breast