America’s Original Sin

President George Washington owned about 120 slaves who worked on his plantation in Virginia but when he moved to Philadelphia to serve as president, he took a few household slaves with him. One of them, Oney Judge, escaped. She spent the rest of her life as a fugitive avoiding being captured by George Washington’s representatives who were under orders to return Oney to slavery. It turns out that George really could tell a lie, as he tried to publicly advocate for liberty and freedom while personally profiting from slave labor even when people all around him were working to bring slavery to an end. America’s original sin deserves reflection today because it still casts a shadow over our nation’s ethical thinking.

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Trill LeBeau of Cosmic Serenity – No Lies (Music Exchange Session)

Trill taught himself to sing and play guitar at 19 in college. He would sit in the racquetball court, turn the lights out, and as he likes to say, Experiment with the Experience. Diving Further In to his roots, and listening through his ancestors, he has found a voice and essence that is as captivating as it is charismatic. With a side note of comedy, and an eccentric yet eclectic fashion style, Trill LeBeau (singer/songwriter) and younger brother Collin “Jaledub” (percussionist) make up Cosmic Serenity. They are also often joined sporadically and nomadically with other beautiful Creatures of Creation, while exploring the features of a full band, or with Trill as a solo artist.

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Hart’s heartless apology

While I will continue to argue that the African American community doesn’t have a patent on homophobia, it does however, have a problem with it.

And comedian Kevin Hart is another glaring example of the malady.

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On the 50th Anniversary of Thomas Merton’s Death

Monday, December 10th marks the 50th anniversary of Thomas Merton’s death—which has now been confirmed as a martyr’s death by the recent solid and important investigative study, The Martyrdom of Thomas Merton by Hugh Turley and David Marin (as well as by my own encounters over the years with three CIA agents who were in Southeast Asia at the time).

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Terrorism: Playing with Numbers

I was in a debate recently with some friends about the NFL protests over police brutality. Some folks were saying there are no structural injustices in the police force. Rather, they argued there are some isolated “bad apples” who do bad things. The incidents may be bad, but the number of them is not statistically large when you look at a nation of 300 million (I’m paraphrasing a bit here).

Numbers can be funny. You can get them to say all sorts of things.

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The Strength of Her Witness: Jesus Christ in the Global Voices of Women

These essays, drawn from around the world, reflect the many ways that women have reflected on and borne witness to the person, teaching, and praxis of Jesus Christ in light of their own varied contexts. These contexts include their struggles for life amidst wrenching poverty, racism, and violence; their experience of being female in male-dominated structures in the church and society; and their commitment to promote justice in view of the human dignity of women, all done in tandem with their faith relationship with the living God.

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A Secular and Spiritual Examination of the Soul of America

The Presidency is not merely an administrative office. That’s the least of it. It is more than an engineering job, efficient or inefficient. It is pre-eminently a place of moral leadership. All our great Presidents were leaders …

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Yolanda Pierce – Interview and videos

Watch excerpts from our interview with Yolanda Pierce, associate professor of African-American religion and literature at Princeton Theological Seminary, as she talks about the new movie “12 Years a Slave” and about Christianity and slavery in America. Her most recent book is “Hell without Fires: Slavery, Christianity, and the African-American Spiritual Narrative” (University Press of Florida, 2005).

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The Matthew Shepard murder revisited

With October being LGBTQ History Month it allows the LGBTQ community to look back at historical events. And Matthew Shepard’s murder is one of them.

This October 12 marks twenty years since the death of Matthew Shepard. In October 1998, Shepard, then 21, was a first-year college student at University of Wyoming. Under the guise of friendship, two men (Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson) lured Shepard from a tavern, tortured and bludgeoned him with their rifles, and then tethered him to a rough-hewn wooden fence to die – simply because he was gay.

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Confronting the Denial of American White Racism (Part 4 of 4)

Intergenerational White Victimhood

For my last installment on the topic of ‘Confronting the Denial of American White Racism’, I humbly submit a discussion on the pervasiveness of white victimhood through generations of American history; in fact, I call it: ‘Intergenerational White Victimhood’ (a psychological theory I’m developing). The basis for my research comes from a Newsweek/Gallup Survey, August 19, 1969, one year after the death of Dr. King, revealing that 44% of whites believed that black people had a better chance than they did at obtaining employment and earning a higher wage. 88%, in the same survey, outright stated that their chances were worse, insisting that they knew this to be true, not just a mere belief. Moreover, 80% of whites said that black people already possessed equal or better educational opportunities as well; only 17% of whites said otherwise (3% were indifferent). Remember, we are talking about 1969…

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Confronting the Denial of American White Racism (Part 3 of 4)

The Protests will NOT Stop!

On Tuesday evening, I joined the distressed voices of many freedom fighters protesting the brutal murder of Stephon Clark by the Sacramento Police Department. We converged upon city hall to confront SacPD, the mayor, and the city council, letting them know, in a way that we (the people) deemed necessary, we will no longer stand for the intimidation, violation, brutalization, and killing of our neighbors, especially those of color. As has been well documented, America has a history of oppressing communities of color through city, county and state police units. The citizens of Sacramento, CA want to make it abundantly clear: NO ON OUR STREETS! This ain’t Alabama; this ain’t Mississippi, or any of those other good ole’ boy, backwoods, country, down home states; this is California, and we will act by any means necessary before we allow state executions in our streets—any means necessary!

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Confronting the Denial of American White Racism (Part 2 of 4)

About five years ago, my best friends and I sat down at Leatherby’s Ice Cream one evening, and we began to discuss race relations in America. Three of us at the table recognized the fact that (systemic) racism was still a problem, while one of us was vehemently maintaining that it was not. We tried to have a conversation about this friend’s own white denial of racism, but this friend was NOT having any of that conversation. This friend became flustered, red, and angry at the entire discussion. Yes, this friend is a white male; one who in no way, shape, or form wanted to converse about American white racism. I knew, right then, this was not only a social issue, it was psychological. (It’s also spiritual, but that’s another post.)

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A bold sharpening of the Progressive narrative and counter-narrative a must

Politics is a dirty sport. The old saying “don’t bring a knife to a gunfight” rings true in the political realm—and today’s politics are, indeed, a gunfight. Civility is essential but when it’s lost, it cannot be recovered by living up to Michelle Obama’s admirable motto: “When they go low, we go high.” Too many Americans are in dire straits, and they are looking for someone they believe will fight for them, instead of taking the high road.

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Journey to Liberation: The Legacy of Womanist Theology

By Filmmaker Anika Gibbons

In this film, filmmaker Anika Gibbons ’13 takes a deeper look at the radical spirituality and scholarship within the lives of the founding mothers of Womanist theology and Womanist ethics. She focuses on their significance as African-American theology and history, and on the role played by Union in that founding.

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Does the GOP have a racist cut-off point?

President Donald Trump traffics in racial epithets.

Since his first year in office, Trump’s displays of xenophobic, misogynistic, LGBTQ-phobic, and racist remarks (to name just a few from his laundry list of bigotries) appear to have no cutoff point.

The Republican Party under Trump doesn’t seem to have one, either.

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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.

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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.

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San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral’s Beyoncé Mass

Finding God at a Beyoncé Mass

Beyoncé is undeniably the most powerful force in pop culture. So it makes sense that someone decided to bring her music and philosophy into church, where it belongs.

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