Teddy Roosevelt’s assumptions of white supremacy changed over time. What can that tell us about the United States today?
The bustle of the past few weeks slows today. It is a time of reflection and quieting the spirit. Even the relentless urge to consume begins to re-set as the year comes to a close. We realize that we are more than what we possess or give. Like Mary, we ponder what is yet to come.
We seem to wake up every day to new proofs that Twain was righter than rain.
To parody low income, impoverished people politically, ecclesiastically, theologically or pragmatically is to undermine or downright ignore the almost relentless concern offered them by the purported Good News of Christ’s gospel, especially at the season of Advent.
The Christmas season seems to bring out the worst (or most effective) in manipulative advertisements. These are seductive ways of viewing the world, of thinking of life, and of focusing on me.
A theology that that comforts the child trafficker but not the child, the exploiter but not the exploited, the sexual predator but not the victim, the rapist but not the raped, the con artist but not the conned is harmful to a world full of trafficked children, exploited people, and victims of assault and abuse.
Allegiance to Jesus’ kind of Kingdom will inevitably cause division with those who have different priorities. Peacemakers get in the way of warmongers. Justice hinders the power-brokers. Mercy impedes revenge.
Whites excluded from the uber rich have more in common with poor and middle-class communities of color than with their wealthier counterparts. But alt-right politicians and pundits succeeded in turning natural allies into mortal enemies.
Religious people have committed terrible acts of violence, but people who feel loved are less likely to hurt others. People who have been taught compassion are less likely to open fire with semi-automatic rifles. Caring for broken people can be scary, but not caring for them can be dangerous, too.
It is OK for followers of Jesus to address incomplete, poor or dangerous ideas as stupid. But it is never OK to decide that a person is of lower worth based on their I.Q.
Rather than presuming to possess the moral high ground, and constantly pointing the finger at those from the other side who are just as bad, or offering forgiveness before taking time to condemn acts of sexual abuse, it’s past time to actually accept the breadth of this problem and do something about it.
As preachers and stories go, we tend to pick them up all over and sometimes forget where we got them. I can’t recall the source, but one of my favorite Christmas stories is about a little church that traditionally had…
The central claim of our faith is: “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; and we beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father.” Don’t let the poetic familiarity of the language fool you, this is an audacious claim. Christians believe that God looks and loves like Jesus.
Instead of giving up privilege as Christ did, many Evangelicals seek privilege and advantage over others at all costs. Do people who seek their own advantage at every turn — even sacrificing moral authority and prophetic witness for political power — know the meaning of the words, Merry Christmas?