As I came down the escalator at the library, the man in front of me apologized when he saw that I had stopped behind him. He gently moved his cane-carrying companion over to one side, apologized again, and motioned me past.
Years ago, I might not have thought twice about it. Now, having a family member for whom movements such as standing up can be painful because of degenerative arthritis has made me more aware—perhaps nowhere more so than at church.
Growing up as a cradle Presbyterian and a preacher’s kid, Presbyterianism was my sociocultural world. When my father got angry with me or my sister, he would often preface his remarks with the exasperated endearment, “Child of the covenant!”
Many conservatives think advocating for unborn life is a continuation of the civil rights movement. Many liberals believe they’re carrying on the legacy of the civil rights movement in the struggle for LGBT equality. These two issues have been the hot-button issues of the culture wars for several decades now. It seems to me that we are now getting a sense of how those wars are playing out.
Yesterday flags stood at half mast to mark the 150th anniversary of the death of Abraham Lincoln. It was, to borrow the man’s own phrase, altogether fitting and proper that we should do this in recognition of our greatest president and his tragic end.
From Ava DuVernay’s award-winning film to President Obama’s speech at the Edmund Pettus Bridge, America has remembered Selma this year. We have honored grass-roots leaders, acknowledged the sacrifices of civil rights workers and celebrated the great achievement of the Voting Rights Act. At the same time, we have recalled the hatred and fear of white supremacy in 1960s Alabama. But we may not have looked closely enough at this ugly history.
Their voices were passionate and sometimes poignant: we want a safe space where we can speak openly, listen as non-judgmentally as possible, and hold each other accountable. We want to make room for questions without feeling the need to give answers. We want to share our gifts—from baking to yoga. And we don’t want what we’re doing to be called a meeting! Such were the comments of several young women professionals who gathered for a group I hosted and facilitated.
It was put forward by a conservative Christian pastor who says that “Faithful American Christians are increasingly under attack across the country by the gay lobby.” And it’s a proposal for Christian-owned small businesses who don’t want to serve people like me: gay people, especially ones who are out, loud, and proud.
The feet and legs of the homeless men we serve at the Bowery Mission in New York are a testimony to the pain they endure daily. Many of their legs are swollen because, like Jesus, they have nowhere to lay their head to rest.