Pairing Jesus’ last seven words with statements by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. demonstrates that while Jesus’ death carries unique spiritual and theological import for the church, King’s assassination is a continuing reminder of the prophetic significance of martyrs and martyrdom in Christian life and history.
Those churches that define and differentiate themselves in a healthy way will be the ones that have a chance to manage the challenges of the 21st century successfully. Those who do not will probably not survive past mid-century.
Perhaps you know a way to love people while saying that it’s only the church’s job to care for them while others work against their interests. Perhaps you know a way to love someone in the here and now while only caring about the afterlife. Perhaps you know how to believe in mercy not universally applied, or compassion that keeps its distance. But I’m afraid I don’t.
To come to the realization that I, a pastor who regularly helps other people in times of crisis, could not help myself — that was a revelation. I am so accustomed to being the helper that I didn’t know how to be the one needing help.
Achieving the American Dream shouldn’t be like trying to get into a treehouse in which only certain people are welcome. The Puritan work ethic shouldn’t just ensure success for those who look like the early white Puritans. Francis McDormand was right. We need an inclusion rider. But not just for Hollywood contracts — we need one for life.
We have to admit: If we are fans of sports on any level, we sometimes choose to support and sometimes choose to shun, and we are not always consistent about it.
Reports now are that the Rohingya, a Muslim minority living in Myanmar (Burma), will now be driven from their camps in neighboring Bangladesh back to western Myanmar, likely facing murder, rape and pillage all the way. They are terrified, and rightfully so.
Reading the obituaries sounds gloomy, but that has not been my experience. Being encouraged to make my days count feels like preparing for Easter.
For churches to survive it might mean (realizing that I say this as a white dude with too much education) finally coming to grips with the fact that white dudes with too much education have gotten us into the mess we’re currently enjoying as a Christian movement in America. Because of that, maybe the only way we can fix it is by handing the microphone to those who know what it’s like to be powerless, ignored, marginalized, poor, desperate, and searching for a “yes” in a sea of “no.”