Category: Blog Posts

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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Which Democracy, Which Spirituality?

Not long ago, I thought “democracy” carried a near-sacred aura in American public life. No longer. There is a book I’ve not read yet, but the title is so spot-on the book is on my “must read” list. Astra Taylor wrote Democracy May Not Exist, But We’ll Miss It When It’s Gone. Confidence in democracy […]

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The Spiritual and Ethical Limits of National Sovereignty When the Planet is Burning

A few months ago, Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro took refuge in a concept that may prove to be a dinosaur sooner rather than later: national sovereignty. When the leaders of world’s nations expressed alarm about the statistically abnormal rate the Amazon rain forest is burning this year, and offered financial assistance to battle the blazes, […]

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Fred Rogers, Best of the Protestant Mainline

Fred Rogers, known to generations of children and their parents, as Mister Rogers, was a Presbyterian minister. His show, begun in 1968, embodied much of old mainline Protestantism at its best. Without naming the Name, he walked the walk, in public spaces, and taught more what the way of Jesus by living it than most […]

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The ethic of “first, do no harm” would require major changes

There are laws, and there are ethics. Corporations in the U.S. have been granted legal “personhood” when it comes to matters such as political speech and campaign contributions. Some “closely held” corporations, such as Hobby Lobby, are allowed to extend their founders’ religious convictions to take precedence over laws that otherwise would apply. But what […]

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