I see burning cars and smashed windows accompanied by the words “dirty animals.” I see peaceful protesters holding up signs that read, “Black Lives Matter.” Thanks to the age of social media, this is a time for everyone to say what we really think…to see who we really are. Camps are formed, and wagons are circled. The name Freddie Gray is on our lips, and Baltimore is moving to the steps of the same dance that we watched in Ferguson, Missouri when we spoke of Michael Brown. Steps that we practiced again in New York when we spoke of Eric Garner. The rhythm of this dance has been beating in the heart of our nation for the decades since the Civil Rights movement, and since the age of slavery before that. It has been beating in the heart of humanity for the centuries and millennia during which differences in race and ideology have given us cause to fear each other.
When I was a child, my father once brought me to the temple for Passover. For two days, we walked the dusty roads to Jerusalem, choking on the clouds kicked up by camels and donkeys as caravan after caravan passed us. Many others walked with us, with scarves wrapped over their faces, and eyes squinting to keep out the dust.
My feet hurt. I could feel the blisters start to form on the first day, and when I peeled off my sandals by the light of the fire that night, they were raw and bleeding. My eyes stung with tears at the thought putting those sandals back on in the morning. Father said nothing about the blisters, or my misty eyes, but he poured a few drops of our precious drinking water onto a cloth and gently washed my feet. The pain was almost more than I could bare, but I have never loved my father more; I have never felt his love for me more. Read More →
I have nothing new to say about the deaths of Michael Brown or Eric Garner that hasn’t already cycled through your newsfeed a dozen times. But I’ve seen a lot of push-back about “race-bating” and “playing the race card”. Some people want to know why these two cases have garnered such a firestorm of media attention and popular protest when there are plenty of cases of unarmed white people being killed by police and of white people being killed by black people, and I think that deserves a response. Read More →
If a tree falls in a forest
And no one hears it
Does it make a sound?
If a tree succumbs
To six sharp swings
From the lumberjack’s axe,
If it crashes to the ground
With such great force
That it shakes a whole nation,
If the earth beneath the tree
From the impact of its fall,
If it groans and screams
Like broken branches
And torn limbs,
If the sound it makes
Like the songs of slaves,
Does it make a sound?
Take out your goddamn earplugs.
This is the most powerful sermon I have ever heard on the topic of homosexuality. It moved me to tears more than once.
If you can find the time, I strongly urge you to watch the whole thing. If you absolutely cannot spare the time, start by reading the outline of the first part of the video below, then skip to minute 45. Read More →
During each Sunday of Lent, our pastor asked someone from the congregation to share a story from their personal journey that related to the scripture for that week. She asked me to share the week we read about Nicodemus: a man who couldn’t seem to get a straightforward answer to the questions he asked Jesus. Below is a modified version of what I shared.
It’s always been confounding to me that we would call the day that commemorates the death of Jesus “Good Friday“. I understand that there were many good things that followed, but on Good Friday no one knew that those things were coming. They were living in a reality where their worst fears had been realized and their prayers hadn’t been answered.
I know this reality. Read More →
I think we all have a little bit of whiplash. It was just yesterday that I heard the news that World Vision would be changing their policy to sanction the hiring of married Christians, regardless of whether those marriages were heterosexual or homosexual.
While the news itself was a surprise, the response was not. Progressive Christians everywhere rejoiced. Conservative Christians everywhere objected. Some conservative Christians were so upset by the change that they decided to boycott World Vision, including the cancelling of more than 2,000 child sponsorships. In response, progressives rallied to raise funds to help diminish the impact of the boycott. Read More →
On Wednesday, Fred Phelps, founder of the notorious Westboro Baptist Church, passed away. While Westboro Baptist Church was made famous by their message of hate, I believe Fred Phelps and his clan have been one of the greatest driving forces of unity in mainstream Christian culture. Read More →
I want to thank everyone who read my posts last week. I am especially thankful for those who offered words of encouragement or gentle disagreement. It has taken me a long time to be honest about my beliefs, and I know I’m not alone in this. There will always be a few people who seem fearless with their opinions, but the rest of us tend to be wary of opening ourselves up to criticism. I prefer to put on my Facebook Face, and show the world a recipe for organic kale chips (even though we’ve eaten pizza three times this week), and a picture of the kids taken at an artistic angle (because that’s the only point of view where you can’t see the piles of unfolded laundry.) Read More →
The views expressed here are my own, and are not necessarily those of my family or friends. This is part two of a two-part series in response to the ongoing conversations at Eastern Mennonite University and Mennonite Church USA about how to live with our LGBTQ brothers and sisters.
Dear Conservative Christians,
I am speaking as someone who understands that you see changes in the church’s acceptance of homosexuality and believe that they reflect a weakening of regard for the authority of God’s Word. I know how important this is to you, and I know you are trying to do the right thing.
I am speaking as someone who believed, until a few short years ago, that the practice of homosexuality was wrong. I am speaking as someone who changed my mind. Let me be clear: I am not trying to persuade you of anything. I only want you to understand me. Read More →