Category: Blog Posts

Label Bubbles

Political partisanship rules all types of discourse, including religious discourse. The terms that express political partisanship—alt-right, right, conservative, moderate, liberal, progressive, radical—have infected the nation’s speech. It is nearly impossible for religious types, who have been labeling ourselves and others for centuries, to eschew labels. But, today, labeling is dominated by partisan politics. And this […]

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The Morality of the Endgame

Let’s imagine that the end justifies the means to get there. The assumption of that statement is that the end is a good or that the end is morally good—for someone or some group. In our acutely polarized era, considering the good of the ends toward which we drive seems essential but I’m not seeing […]

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One from Many: Exercising Faith in Public

By Gary Peluso-Verdend On July 30, 1956, President Eisenhower signed the bill that made “In God We Trust” the national motto. This was the first official national motto and replaced the unofficial one, which goes back to the Franklin-Jefferson-Adams era, E Pluribus Unum: Out of many, one. At the same time in the 1950s, America […]

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A Parable: The Pastor Who Can Do Anything He Wants

I’m called by God to the ministry, I’m called by the people to this pulpit, and I can do anything I want. Called by God. And successful. Believe me, I’m successful. I don’t care what data points one wants to assess me with. No congregational stats are more compelling than attendance and money. Look at […]

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If You Don’t Like What You’re Harvesting, Pay Attention to the Soil

Culture is like soil. Life on the entire planet depends on healthy soil to create and sustain the necessary matrix for life. Similarly, good life in any human community requires healthy cultures that contain the nutrients for desirable elements to grow and flourish and that discourage the growth of undesirable elements. Growing religion is not […]

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We Need More Kitchen Table Conversations about Politics and Religion

I have previously written on why moderate and progressive religious communities need to talk more about politics. Here, I want to expand on the topic with which I opened that essay: the reticence and resistance to engaging and fostering conversations about politics in religious communities. (Politics in terms of ethics, policies, desired ends, taxing and […]

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Why Oklahoma’s “Year of the Bible” Bill is Both Inappropriate and Wrong

It is good to know from whence your food and your legislation come. I’ve written previously about Project Blitz, which is now known as “Freedom for All.” Project Blitz/Freedom for All is an effort of the Congressional Prayer Caucus Foundation to do for hot-button Christian Right religious issues what ALEC does for other matters: provide […]

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Christmas Is Over, Herod (Thinks He) Won

+ Editor’s Note: The following is a fictional narrative, relating Matthew chapter 2 from Herod’s point of view. Did those Persian astrologer no-good liars think they got away with something? Those guys were clowns. What a mess they caused, and they made me do something awful. But, hey, that’s how the game works. Cause and […]

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Lessons from the Christianity Today Dust-Up

The current danger, for religious people, is that we baptize political and partisan stances with “God’s” holy waters. However, those stances are not thereby cleansed; to the contrary, holy waters used for partisan purposes lose their sacramental power, and God becomes god or simply irrelevant.

If individuals and community of faith cannot do, say, or imagine differently from the options represented by today’s political positions, then we are dangerous if taken seriously, for the sword of the spirit and the sword of the state are wielded again as one.

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Musing about Impeachment in Advent

Rather than essaying a sustained opinion-piece today, I’m going to muse about impeachment in the “light” of Advent—or, maybe, the darkness of Advent. I’m not going to weigh in directly on the matter, at least not in the way that some Christians on the Right have done; they have declared that the President is God’s […]

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