RPLI Posts

Negative Freedom is Killing the United States

In the first theology class I took in seminary, near the start of the course, the professor, lecturing on the Apostle Paul, said: “Christ sets us free. But there is freedom from and freedom for. Protestant Christian theology claims that, in some significant way, Christians are freed from the power of sin. But what are […]

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What if Christians Hid Our Symbols from Public Life?

Leaders in Tulsa’s Black community used what I thought was a brilliant strategy during the president’s campaign rally. They did not think it was fitting for visiting dignitaries to appropriate markers such as the Black Wall Street mural or memorial monument as photo ops. Greenwood’s leaders tarped the monument and papered over the mural. They […]

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Let’s Imagine a U.S. American Holy Week

What is the relationship between Juneteenth and the 4th of July? I’m going to address that question by referring to Christianity’s Holy Week. Church goers hear a combination of admonition and lament from pulpits as Holy Week approaches: “You can’t understand and experience the meaning of Easter unless you attend to the stories of betrayal, […]

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The Lord’s Prayer is Christianity’s Most Dangerous Prayer

This past semester, I taught a class about the relationship between Christianity and democracy in the United States. Since there are multiple practices of both Christianity and of democracy, rooted in different founding narratives and value systems, studying “the relationship” is a complicated task. One of my statements toward the start of the class was, […]

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The Term “Essential Business” is a Misnomer that Caused Unnecessary Suffering

In college, I took several sociology courses. I still remember the professor’s opening remark in the class Social Problems, “The most important part of a social problem is defining the problem, because we pursue remedies based on how the problem is defined.” Sounds self-evident. But this insight is not simplistic. How we define an issue […]

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Committing Faith in Public Podcast with Chaplain Jacob George

Chaplains can be found in all kinds of institutional roles these days, from Tyson Foods to the military and hospitals. The Rev. Dr. Jacob George is the director of pastoral care at Hillcrest Medical Center in Tulsa. After years in hospice work, he moved into the hospital setting. He is a Clinical Pastoral Education supervisor […]

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An Open Letter to White American Christians

My fellow white American Christians: On the soil of indigenous people’s nations, our forebears planted a version of Christianity, and they planted the rhizome of racism. They  brought that rhizome to America and planted it along with all the wonderful aspirations expressed in the opening of the Declaration and the Preamble to the Constitution. That […]

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One from Many Online Session Three

One from Many was envisioned to be a monthly public gathering throughout 2020, sponsored by the Center for Religion in Public Life at Phillips Seminary and the Oklahoma Center for Community and Justice. One from Many welcomes people of spiritual and moral conviction who want to work side by side to ensure the U.S. motto […]

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Religious Communities Could Help Us Develop the Power to Slow Down our Moral Responses

All religious communities are schools of moral formation and moral discourse. The work of defining the gap between “is” and “ought,” the difference between right and wrong, between the desirable and the undesirable, between what to love and hold close and what to reject, between times to act and times to wait—this work is essential […]

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