Category: Blog Posts

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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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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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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No Government Deserves (or Can Handle) a Sacred Canopy

“There have been religions intimately linked to earthly governments, dominating men’s souls both by terror and by faith; but when a religion makes such an alliance, I am not afraid to say that is makes the same mistake as many might; it sacrifices the future for the present, and by gaining a power to which […]

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Using the Language of “Sacrifice” Can’t Hide the Rotten Smell of “Unnecessary”

Regular readers of this blog know I believe it is imperative for religious people to develop their capacities to relate politics and religion. Politics and religion share the cultural spaces and work of offering founding stories, defining belonging, setting moral order, and imagining what it would take to be a fully-empowered people. But politicians dealing […]

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The Best and Worst of Religion in Public During the Pandemic

The pandemic highlights the worst and the best of humanity and of religion. Examples of the worst of humanity include selling personal protective equipment at World Series scalpers’ prices and manufacturing shoddy tests and ineffective sanitizers. Examples of the best of our species include medical teams “leaving it all on the field” to save lives, […]

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The Pandemic and Moral Dilemmas

The first movie I saw with my friends as a teen was Planet of the Apes. I will always remember my surprise at the final scene when Taylor completes his journey, falling to his knees in front of a buried Statue of Liberty, swearing, and condemning humanity for destroying the earth. That ending was a […]

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Taking the Long View, Farmers and Scientists are Attending to the Health of the World’s Soil

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following was written by the Rev. Heather Coates (and before the pandemic). Rev. Coates, ordained in the United Church of Christ, is currently serving out her call to ministry by teaching World Religions to middle school students. She received a masters degree in Theological Studies from Weston Jesuit School of Theology, and […]

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