About the Author: Peter Laarman

Peter Laarman is a United Church of Christ minister and activist who recently retired as executive director of Progressive Christians Uniting in Los Angeles. He remains involved in numerous justice struggles, in particular a campaign known as Justice Not Jails that calls upon faith communities to critique and combat the system of racialized mass incarceration often referred to as The New Jim Crow. Rev. Peter Laarman is a graduate of Brown University and Yale Divinity School with a background in community organizing and in media work for the U.S. labor movement. Before joining the PCU staff in 2004, Laarman served for ten years as senior minister of New York City's historic Judson Memorial Church, during which time he focused the church's public ministry on support for low-wage workers and popular education addressing rising social and economic inequality in New York and the nation. In 2005 Laarman was instrumental in establishing the new resource center for faith and public life that is affiliated with the Center for American Progress. He is viewed as a key leader and strategist within the interfaith worlds of Southern California and the nation.
  • Book Review of Why I Am an Atheist Who Believes in God: How to Give Love, Create Beauty and Find Peace, by Frank Schaeffer

    By Published On: June 11, 2014

    Although this book is very much about Schaeffer’s own journey to freedom, there’s enough of the good theologian and good biblical scholar in him to delight those of us who can never get enough of that kind of thing. He does a lot with the figure of Jesus as the only lens through which to grasp what God might be like, if God existed (the key God-marker in Jesus, according to Schaeffer: “non-judgmental co-suffering empathy”). He notes that Jesus violated every religious taboo of his time and place: touching dead people, touching lepers, touching women and letting women touch him.

  • By Published On: November 16, 2012

    Dear Rev. Rodriguez, I hope this finds you well. Some friends made me aware of your statement on the reelection of President Obama. I read

  • By Published On: August 14, 2012

    “You have to understand, one of our primary aspirations is to grow the economy, is to create jobs… We’re not demand-side Keynesians. So

  • By Published On: May 28, 2012

    Religion and a Non-White American Future The U.S. Census Bureau, never one to rush to judgment, has now made it official: fewer than

  • By Published On: May 16, 2012

    Dear NPR, As an early riser I am a fairly faithful Morning Edition listener. I am also an ordained minister who has been engaged in

  • By Published On: October 29, 2010

    This coming weekend will be marked by a 25th anniversary gathering and celebration for the important scholarly enterprise known as the Jesus Seminar. A good time to ask what difference it makes when the Jesus of history turns out to be considerably more interesting than the myth-encrusted Christ created by the church over the centuries. Or does it make any difference at all?

  • By Published On: January 6, 2009

    Bill Coffin said, Liberal Christianity, or what we today call progressive Christianity and what some call "seminar room Christianity" has until now had a really unhelpful taint of elitism around it. We need to change that. So let's just agree to get the conversation started. Let's begin to grow in faith. Find strength in one another. See the world more clearly. And in and through all this, liberate ourselves and liberate one another for the sake of social transformation. If we ourselves can become the first fruits of the change we seek, then change itself-real change-cannot be far behind.