What is wrong with this picture?

Orange County’s latest project cost $35 million and is located on a ten-acre campus with state-of-the-art housing for up to four hundred homeless occupants. Each separate area is entirely soundproof and temperature-controlled. The five-star facility is two stories and over thirty thousand square feet. It features a large reception area with friendly greeters, large outdoor recreational areas, well-marked drop-off locations, outstanding medical facilities, and classrooms for educational activities.

The Orange County Board of Supervisors is extremely proud of this facility, and one of the county supervisors has publicly stated that this huge expenditure serves a critical need in the county.

Did I mention that this facility, built on former a Marine Corps air station, is a shelter for dogs, cats, and other animals?

read more

Right and Wrong Times and Places

Those who believe there is a right and wrong time and place to protest injustices are those whose privilege keeps them from the injustices. Those who with Rev. Dr. M.L. King, Jr., live by the principle that the right time to do the right thing is now, privileged or not, remind us of the immorality of acquiescence, apathy, indifference, denial, negligence, and procrastination in confronting injustice and evil.

read more

Our Witness: The unheard stories of LGBT+ Christians

I have met thousands of LGBT+ Christians around the world, and have witnessed the work of the Holy Spirit moving through them in the most profound ways. I have been blown away by how many Christian leaders have reached out to tell me that they too have felt the Spirit of God nudging them to step forward and embrace LGBT+ people as faithful members of Christ’s Church. I have watched as societies around the world have stepped closer and closer to affirming and embracing LGBT+ people as equal and essential parts of their communities. And I have seen true revival breaking forth in the midst of LGBT+ Christian communities.

read more

Affordable Health Care: Why It’s a Right for Everyone

The debate continues on whether or not healthcare is a right for everyone or only for the privileged. Often people ask if healthcare is an act of charity or a luxury. No matter which side you take on this issue, we should all agree that everyone should be taken care of, especially in times of sickness. Healthcare can be expensive and finding the right affordable resource for you and your family is vital. Here are a few reasons why affordable healthcare should be available to all families, no matter what their faith is.

read more

Presbyterian Church USA takes stand on political issues

A denomination not known for controversy is taking stances on issues such as assault weapons, universal health care and President Donald Trump’s border wall.

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) adopted a declaration during a meeting of the denominations leaders in St. Louis to stake out positions on several social issues, leaving it up to the church’s 10,000 congregations and 1.7 million members to decide whether to stand behind the declaration.

read more

The miracle of being

I have been on a journey much like John Spong’s for almost 67 years. I have followed his work over the years with interest and used to be on his regular mailing list. I just finished his “last Book” and found it both enlightening, and frustrating. I appreciated the insights and the bio of his and our shared journey, and resonate with many of his conclusions. Where I part company is his “insight” that we human’s alone have “self-consciousness,” which allows only us to grasp: life, death, fear, joy, God, spirit etc. Sadly Spong trots out the age old notion that humans are mentally & spiritually superior to the “lower” beings on our planet. This attitude has justified our human lethal domination of this planet to the detriment of every species including human beings. Worst of all it is a conjecture that can neither be proven nor disproven (which I personally think is the easier of the two tasks) because we humans lack the ability to communicate with our fellow travelers. Stating this opinion and maintaining it as “fact” throughout the book diminishes, Bishop Spong’s logic and conclusions, because it is so basic to every argument that follows. I pray that as we humans expand our own spiritual consciousness we will outgrow all of the assumptions we’ve nurtured about our innate superiority.

read more

Pride

It is obviously and indisputably true that “all lives matter.” However, this statement of the obvious, and its cousin, “blue lives matter,” are used to dismiss, shout down, or reject the “black lives matter” movement. No heterosexual ever had to pretend to be gay in order to be accepted at family gatherings, job interviews, or as school. We have gay pride weekends because every weekend is a heterosexual pride weekend. We have a Black History month because every month is a white history month. Black people are trying to explain what it means to be black in America in the 21st century and before we offer any replies at all, we white folks probably need to just shut up and listen.

read more

That n-word, again

Papa Johns is the latest to use the n-word and then apologize. Because John Schnatter known as Papa John blurted out the n-word during a crisis communication training session over the phone- and not in the face of an African American- he argues his use of the word doesn’t constitute as a “slur.”

read more

In This Life

While hiding in the failed hope of evading murder at the hands of the Nazis, Ann Frank was able to write in her diary that she believed that people were basically good and that peace would return to the world. This is a helpful statement of faith now that we are living through a dangerously turbulent time that threatens to see a return to fascism in countries that have formerly loved democracy. This season of history will pass and perhaps, if we are patient and compassionate, we can help it to pass a bit more quickly.

read more

Discrimination or Discernment in the name of Religious Expression

Postscript of an Independence Day Observance

What happens when the discernment of one citizen’s religious beliefs are deemed to be discriminatory; infringing upon the civil liberties and rights of another citizen? In fact, what constitutes any set of beliefs as “religious,” with the constitutional protections accorded it?

read more

Christians need be Christian and the Church to be The Church

No argument: the Christian church was complacent about standing up to Hitler and the holocaust. But … in the United States, it also failed to stand up to Vietnam. It has tolerated racism, slavery, lynching, torture, and the death penalty. It is substantially failing to stand up to climate change. And now, it is failing to stand up to Trump’s immorality, enrichment of the wealthy, military buildup, and trashing of the environment. What should our expectations be? I’m not convinced that saying “thank you” to God is adequate.

read more

Love, please. Love please. Please, love. Please love.

I am doing my part as I am certain you are doing yours. And, the state of the world right now requires us to double down and do more. So, let us pepper the world in a myriad of small, little, unsexy ways of being more loving, compassionate, caring, long-suffering, kind, humble, gentle, virtuous?

read more

Progressives & Democrats must be strategic if we are to win 2018

It is important that we point out problems we all perceive within the Democratic Party or within Progressive groups that fall out of scope with the tenets of the party or Progressive values.

read more

The Rich Fool and the Bigger Barn Economy

  And [Jesus] said to them, ‘Take care! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions.’ Then he told them a parable: ‘The land of …

read more

On Being Awake

The Christian life is a call to a discipline. It is an undertaking. Sometimes it takes us where we do not want to go, to do difficult things while we are there, and then sometimes to suffer. The alternative is to remain asleep, to persist in indifference, to surrender hope. We can still do that, we can still abdicate our moral and spiritual responsibilities and call ourselves Americans. Many today are doing just that. But if we do that, what we cannot call ourselves are followers of Jesus.

read more

How White Male Privilege Leads to Fragility and Violence

Society can be tough on white males these days, especially if you are a white male with a conscience. White males have had a disproportionate amount of power for a very long time. The rest of society is clamoring for justice and equality. And rightly so. We are becoming increasingly aware of just how much power and privilege white men have had and just how much that power has been abused.

read more

Imagining a World Where Love is the Way (HT Bishop Curry)

By Morgan Guyton

n his sermon at the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, Episcopal Presiding Bishop Michael Curry invites all of us to “imagine a world where love is the way.” So I thought I would take a minute to do that. I will say that my first instinct sadly is to dismiss it as an overly flimsy concept reserved for a shallow Beatles song, a fake, feel-good, liberal “revolution.”

But a world where love is the way is actually a lot harder and more complex than a world where my team wins everything since we claim to be the team on love’s side. A world where love is the way is a world where empathy is not a zero sum game. It’s a world in which disagreements are not resolved through the categorically invalidating ad hominem attacks of postmodernity. It’s a world where nobody gets shot because somebody else was feeling afraid, where nobody gets mocked for crying, and where nobody’s feelings are more or less important than anyone else’s. It’s a world where the goal is not to make our enemies shut up and disappear but to sit at a table together and see each other fully.

A world where love is the way doesn’t dismiss nuance, nor does it use “nuance” to wave away uncomfortable truths. It doesn’t oversimplify the parties in one historical conflict as being identical to the parties in any other historical conflict. It doesn’t tell people that their humanity can be explained away by academic theories or sacred texts. It doesn’t apply labels to entire populations universally like terrorist or imperialist though it does recognize the existence of systemic realities like white supremacy, patriarchy, and colonialism that cannot be adjudicated individualistically. It doesn’t see suicide bombs as any more or less tragic than missiles from F-15’s, though it does recognize the reality of power differentials. In a world where love is the way, nobody is dehumanized and nobody is shielded from facing the truth.

A world where love is the way does not have gated communities or walls to shut one group of people out so that another group of people can deny them as neighbors. It doesn’t marginalize suffering but allows the widest possible community to absorb and shoulder it together. In this kind of world, no one ever says, “I am not my brother’s keeper.” No one tries to write anyone else out of the story. In a world where love is the way, every story matters and stories that haven’t mattered are prioritized as a result.
There are plenty of ways that I fall short of that kind of world. Creating it would not be nearly as glamorous or emotionally satisfying as getting off on the outrage porn that has saturated everything today. But it’s never too late to engage in the tiny, banal acts of love that are infinitely powerful when they’re all gathered together by the God who is love. In every given moment, we are invited to resist the enemy who makes us all enemies and follow the lead of the savior who is our perfect model of the love that always takes sides and always works to create the best possible world for everyone.

read more

Kissing in the Chapel, Praying in the Frat House

Wrestling with Faith and College

College is a time to learn, explore, and grow, but what does faith have to do with it? In this collection of essays, gifted writers in their twenties and early thirties reflect on their college years by telling stories—some hilarious, some heart-wrenching—on the intersection of faith and college.

read more