Category: Blog Posts

The Work of Public Health Requires a Public. Do We Have One?

Do we have a genuine “public” in the U.S. or has “the public” (or, the publics) been sold to private interests for the sake of private profits? While one can find counterexamples to those I offer below, the preponderance of evidence is that “the public” in the U.S. is more fiction than reality. And a […]

Read More

Reckoning with History is Very Different from Erasing History

Throughout history, religious-political regimes have frequently tried to erase conquered rivals from history. Jumping from era to era, and citing just a few examples: Scholars have no idea when Jesus of Nazareth was born. But the early Roman church wanted to erase the festival of Saturnalia and picked December 25 in order to smudge out […]

Read More

Which Civility do You Want?

In Western Europe, the 16th century Reformation and its long aftermath broke the Christian churches’ hope for concord in church and society, if by concord we mean peace based on unity grounded in religious belief and practice. While some leaders are hardheaded and have delusions of returning to a religious-based unity, Christian churches cannot claim, […]

Read More

It’s the Economy, Not the Children

What has the pandemic revealed about whom or what we U.S. Americans most value? Whatever the answer, it can’t be “our children.” In a “values clarification” exercise from many years ago, I heard the speaker say something like this: “If someone stretched a tightrope between two buildings in your city, would you walk it? Most […]

Read More

Faith Based (and all other) Nonprofit Recipients Should Disclose Why They Applied and What They Received in PPP Funds

How do you feel about Edmond-based LifeChurch.TV receiving in the category of $5-10 million in taxpayer funds? How about the $2-5 million for the Hobby Lobby owner-supported Museum of the Bible? Or the millions received collectively by conservative Christian colleges in Oklahoma? Or various Catholic entities (a national story last week said the Catholic Church, […]

Read More

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 […]

Read More

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 […]

Read More

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, […]

Read More

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, […]

Read More

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 […]

Read More