Removing the plank from our own eye – T. Denise Anderson

There was a song by gospel group the Williams Brothers that came out when I was a child. I still remember the video — four black men in bright pastel blazers and pants (it was the 80’s, after all), wielding brooms as props. The song was called “Sweep Around,” and it invoked an old adage . . . → Read More: Removing the plank from our own eye – T. Denise Anderson

Equal Opportunity White Supremacy and the Race for the Presidency – Laura M. Cheifetz

No one political party has ever, in the history of politics in the U.S., attained a clean record when it comes to race and racism.

In the United States, race-baiting during elections is not restricted to one political party, despite one party increasingly identified with white voters and the other identified as more friendly to . . . → Read More: Equal Opportunity White Supremacy and the Race for the Presidency – Laura M. Cheifetz

Offensive, Disruptive, Miraculous – Colleen Toole

They came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gerasenes. And when he had stepped out of the boat, immediately a man out of the tombs with an unclean spirit met him. He lived among the tombs; and no one could restrain him any more, even with a chain; for . . . → Read More: Offensive, Disruptive, Miraculous – Colleen Toole

Transfigura(shhhh, don’t tell anyone) – Chad Wright Pittman

The Transfiguration of Christ in Mark 9 is a really tough passage for me for two reasons. The first reason is that, in one sense, it is so foreign. It contains mystical imagery… a voice from within a cloud, robes that are blindingly white, and the reappearance of Moses and Elijah, at least one of . . . → Read More: Transfigura(shhhh, don’t tell anyone) – Chad Wright Pittman

Validation of My Blackness in An Era of Wrongful Black Death: A Theological Commentary on Refusing to Be Kind – Quantisha Mason

O Lord, how long shall I cry for help, and you will not listen? Or cry to you “Violence!” and you will not save? Why do you make me see wrongdoing and look at trouble? Destruction and violence are before me; strife and contention arise. So the law becomes slack and justice never prevails. The . . . → Read More: Validation of My Blackness in An Era of Wrongful Black Death: A Theological Commentary on Refusing to Be Kind – Quantisha Mason

An Awkward Neighbor-ness – Owen Gray

Genesis 21:9-20 (NRSV)

9 But Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne to Abraham, playing with her son Isaac.10 So she said to Abraham, “Cast out this slave woman with her son; for the son of this slave woman shall not inherit along with my son Isaac.” 11 The matter . . . → Read More: An Awkward Neighbor-ness – Owen Gray

Post-Vegetarian – Jessie Light

This week on Ecclesio, five seminarians, representing five PC(USA) seminaries, will be sharing reflections on scripture and society, putting sacred texts and present-day societal issues in conversation with one another in poignant and powerful ways. We hope you will read something that speaks a (challenging, affirming, transformative) word of truth to you.

 

. . . → Read More: Post-Vegetarian – Jessie Light

The Church in Kenya: Balancing Colonial and Local – Cynthia Holder Rich

Kenya made the news – even international news in the US – because of terrorism. In April 2015, gunmen claiming membership in Al-Shabab stormed Garissa University College, killing 150 people, most of whom were students. This followed a well-publicized attack on a shopping mall in Nairobi, patronized by many Westerners, in which more than 80 . . . → Read More: The Church in Kenya: Balancing Colonial and Local – Cynthia Holder Rich

And in international news… – Cynthia Holder Rich

In the last 12 months, I have traveled to three countries outside the US – which is another way of saying that I am among the very blessed folk of the earth. International travel is a joy, albeit an exhausting, and often confusing, experience. Since the years we served overseas, I have come to enjoy, . . . → Read More: And in international news… – Cynthia Holder Rich

Racism Didn’t Take a Vacation While You Were Out – by Laura Cheifetz

Laura

This blog post is not about convincing you racism is real. This blog post is not about how talking about race is not the same as racism. This blog post is not ranking people of color groups from least to most oppressed. This blog post is not going to explain the basics (for that, . . . → Read More: Racism Didn’t Take a Vacation While You Were Out – by Laura Cheifetz

We Need to Hear Other Voices – by Harold M. Delhagen

Harold

It wasn’t the sort of compliment I might have hoped for, but it was the one I most needed. It came from a parent of one of our teen-aged son’s friends. Within our small town she was known as a highly enlightened, radically progressive thinker and feminist. She had decided to begin attending the church . . . → Read More: We Need to Hear Other Voices – by Harold M. Delhagen

Race and the Church: Another Post – by Ruth-Aimée Belonni-Rosario

Ruth-Aimée

Race and the Church… another article, another conversation starter, another catalyst attempt, another piece of the conversation. Honestly, I don’t feel like writing this post. Some would argue that conversations about race are uncomfortable. They sure are. At worst, conversations on race are draining. I know how much energy it takes to engage. It is . . . → Read More: Race and the Church: Another Post – by Ruth-Aimée Belonni-Rosario

Beyond the Social Problems: Life Together, Racism and the Church – by Amaury Tañón-Santos

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Racism is, indeed, a social problem. For three years we have all been made aware by the media of cases of abuse of power by police and other law enforcement officers against minoritized communities throughout the United States. There are, surely, multiple angles to these stories, and they are filled with complexities. And, yet, the . . . → Read More: Beyond the Social Problems: Life Together, Racism and the Church – by Amaury Tañón-Santos

Fiscal Transparency and Good Governance: Ensuring that communities bearing the burden receive the profits – Salome Boyd

Psalm 72:3-4 May the mountains bring prosperity to the people, the hills the fruit of righteousness. May he defend the afflicted among the people and save the children of the needy; may he crush the oppressor.

Luke 12:2-3 There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. . . . → Read More: Fiscal Transparency and Good Governance: Ensuring that communities bearing the burden receive the profits – Salome Boyd

Buying a Seat at the Negotiating Table: Money and Trade Agreements – Jenny Hyde

The United States is currently in the midst of negotiating two major trade deals. The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which would seek to build new bridges with Asia-Pacific economies, and an E.U.-U.S. agreement, commonly known as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), which would expand the U.S.’ trading relationship with Europe. The Obama Administration has . . . → Read More: Buying a Seat at the Negotiating Table: Money and Trade Agreements – Jenny Hyde

Caught in the Net of Corporate Greed: Our Immigrant Sisters and Brothers – AmyBeth Willis

“You cannot serve God and wealth.” – Matthew 6:24b

At any given time in the United States of America, 34,000 jail beds are made ready for immigrants to fill. According to the April 2015 report by the advocacy group Grassroots Leadership ‘Payoff: How Congress Ensures Private Prison Profit with an Immigrant Detention Quota’, sixty-two percent . . . → Read More: Caught in the Net of Corporate Greed: Our Immigrant Sisters and Brothers – AmyBeth Willis

Renew Our Democracy: Break the Chains Between Campaign Finance and Private Prisons – Nora Leccese

“[The Abolition of private prisons] is a cornerstone of our collective work to put justice back into the so-called criminal justice system.” This bold statement made in 2003 by the 215th General Assembly (2003) is still resonant over a decade later as the U.S. continues to invest heavily in private prisons. Despite documented human rights . . . → Read More: Renew Our Democracy: Break the Chains Between Campaign Finance and Private Prisons – Nora Leccese

To Change the Power Behind the Law – Leslie G. Woods

“In that city there was a widow who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Grant me justice against my opponent.’ For a while he refused; but later he said to himself, ‘Though I have no fear of God and no respect for anyone, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will grant her justice, . . . → Read More: To Change the Power Behind the Law – Leslie G. Woods

Reflections in light of the renewal of relations between the United States and Cuba – Rev. Dr. Antonio (Tony) Aja

Yesterday, I shared perspectives of Cuban Christian leaders on the renewal of relations between the US and Cuba, and the role of the churches in this rapprochement. Today, we turn to insights from Cuban exiled colleagues.

The Rev. Magdalena I. Garcia, a PCUSA minister who also migrated to the U.S. at a young age, writes . . . → Read More: Reflections in light of the renewal of relations between the United States and Cuba – Rev. Dr. Antonio (Tony) Aja

Reflections in light of the renewal of relations between the United States and Cuba – Rev. Dr. Antonio (Tony) Aja

Pope Francis recently announced that he would be meeting with Cuban President Raul Castro during his visit to Cuba in May. This came in the heels of President Barack Obama’s declaration in December 2014 that he was seeking to renew diplomatic relations with Cuba after half a century of strife, including eventually opening embassies in . . . → Read More: Reflections in light of the renewal of relations between the United States and Cuba – Rev. Dr. Antonio (Tony) Aja

2015 Unnamed Covert Sympathizer Nominees To Be Announced ;-)

Guest Post by Dr. Norman Glaubenleben, Ph.D. April 1, 2015

Earlier today, the selection committee for Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries’ annual Unnamed Covert Sympathizer (UCS) Award announced that it will soon release the list of nominees for this year’s award.

The Unnamed Covert Sympathizer Award, established through a generous gift from an anonymous donor (rumored to . . . → Read More: 2015 Unnamed Covert Sympathizer Nominees To Be Announced 😉

Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries: Why a ministry supporting LGBTQ Lutheran pastors is fruitful and multiplying and how that came to be – Amalia Vagts

Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries affirms & supports LGBTQ Lutheran rostered leaders and those pursuing a call to rostered leadership, while engaging allied congregations & ministries to proclaim God’s love and seek justice for all.

Now that the Lutheran Church (at least the Evangelical Lutheran Church in American and its Canadian counterpart, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in . . . → Read More: Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries: Why a ministry supporting LGBTQ Lutheran pastors is fruitful and multiplying and how that came to be – Amalia Vagts

Being God’s Pilgrim People: The Contemplative Life of Christian Pilgrimage – Brett Webb-Mitchell

Walking to El Santuario de Chimayo in northern New Mexico at 5:00 a.m. is a Holy experience. It is still evening to me, or early morning to other pilgrims. Even though it is a pilgrimage held in late May (right after Pentecost), it is chilly at this hour because this parcel of earth has not . . . → Read More: Being God’s Pilgrim People: The Contemplative Life of Christian Pilgrimage – Brett Webb-Mitchell

Being God’s Pilgrim People: Hospitality on Pilgrimage – Brett Webb-Mitchell

In 1999 I went on my first pilgrimage to El Santuario de Chimayo in Chimayo, NM, as one of the 135 pilgrims who were sponsored by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Santa Fe. My education in the art of pilgrimage began the very first morning I was there, around 5:00, when we stepped out of . . . → Read More: Being God’s Pilgrim People: Hospitality on Pilgrimage – Brett Webb-Mitchell

Being God’s Pilgrim People: Saints and Memory on Pilgrimage – Brett Webb-Mitchell

When teaching world religions at NC Central University, covering Hinduism, one figure that is very determinative in the Hindu faith community is Ganesh or Ganesha. Ganesha is one of the more famous gods in the Hindu tradition, well known for his elephant head, which makes him easy to identify. He is widely revered as the . . . → Read More: Being God’s Pilgrim People: Saints and Memory on Pilgrimage – Brett Webb-Mitchell

Being God’s Pilgrim People: Companions and Community on Pilgrimage – Brett Webb-Mitchell

In Wishful Thinking, Frederick Buechner writes about bread: “Man (sic) does not live by bread alone, but he also does not live long without it. To eat is to acknowledge our dependence—both on food and on each other. It also reminds us of other kinds of emptiness that not even the Blue Plate Special . . . → Read More: Being God’s Pilgrim People: Companions and Community on Pilgrimage – Brett Webb-Mitchell

Being God’s Pilgrim People: What’s a Pilgrimage – by Brett Webb-Mitchell

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Coming out of the season of Lent, I was fully aware of all the language of “journey” and “pilgrimage” that filled my in-box from other churches, pastor friends on Facebook, as well as religious books, periodicals, and conferences posted during this season. Many authors of these articles, opinion pieces, and book chapters wrote in . . . → Read More: Being God’s Pilgrim People: What’s a Pilgrimage – by Brett Webb-Mitchell

Repudiating The Doctrine of Discovery

The Doctrine of Discovery has been the seedbed of racism and colonialism for centuries, but Christians are beginning to wake up to the harm it has caused. A number of churches and organizations have made statements repudiating the Doctrine of Discovery in the past several years, and some are calling for much more concrete . . . → Read More: Repudiating The Doctrine of Discovery