Category Archives: This I Believe

A Lament

October 24, 2015 · 5:43 am

A Lament

Lancaster bishops affirm proposal to leave denomination.

There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to make requests and a time to demand a hearing,
a time to hold my tongue and a time to rage.

Read More →

Partisan Social Media: Why I Don’t Unfriend

October 3, 2015 · 7:19 pm

Partisan Social Media: Why I Don't Unfriend

“If you’re voting for Hillary, unfriend me now.”

I’ve read this more than once while scrolling through my news feed.  I try not to take it too seriously, but it’s still a little hurtful.  The truth is, I don’t know if I’ll vote for Hillary Clinton.  I don’t fall neatly into one political camp, although I do tend to lean decidedly left of center.  But the fact that we might disagree about politics doesn’t stop me from wanting to hear about your new baby or that crazy thing that happened to you at work yesterday. It also doesn’t stop me from wanting to hear your point of view. Read More →

If Your Brother Sins: On The Baltimore Riots

April 28, 2015 · 5:11 pm

If Your Brother Sins: Baltimore Protests

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.

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Doves in the Temple

March 30, 2015 · 11:03 am

Doves in the Temple

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 →

Playing The Race Card

December 4, 2014 · 2:57 pm

Pulling The Race Card

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

November 25, 2014 · 12:45 am

No Charges For Officer In Michael Brown's Death

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
Buckles violently
From the impact of its fall,

If it groans and screams
Like broken branches
And torn limbs,

If the sound it makes
Isn’t beautiful
Like the songs of slaves,
Does it make a sound?

Take out your goddamn earplugs.

 

No Charges For Officer In Michael Brown’s Death

“Compassion Is Giving Me Clarity”

May 30, 2014 · 4:31 pm

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 →

Unanswered Prayers

April 18, 2014 · 6:30 am

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.

Unanswered Prayers

The straight and narrow.

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 →

World Vision Reverses Its Policy Reversal: They Will Not Be Hiring Gay Christians

March 26, 2014 · 8:44 pm

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 →

Dear Fred Phelps: Thank You and RIP

March 21, 2014 · 6:30 am

God Hates Loves Fred Phelps

God Loves Fred Phelps

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 →