Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Last Week's Recommended Reading

Each week I share a list of articles that were meaningful to me on my church e-mail list.  Here's last week's list--still worth reading this week:
  • KC Public Schools: This week members of CCCUCC joined with members of other congregations in MORE2 and went to Jefferson City to protest at the state Board of Education meeting at which the director of CEE Trust presented its plan for the future of KC Public schools (he was interviewed on KCUR the day after).  The many weaknesses of the CEE Trust plan are detailed in this article by Bruce Baker.  Lewis Diuguid also had an editorial in the KC Star opposing the CEE Trust.   
  • Just in case you don't see enough of me, you can see a video of me talking about why it is a moral duty to fix our broken immigration systemMore2 and its parent organization the Gamaliel Foundation are using my video and videos of other clergy from across the country in a push for immigration reform.  
  • Speaking of immigration reform, if you're wondering why you should care about it, I encourage you to watch this video of Mary Small, Asst. Policy Director for Jesuit Refugee Services/USA.  She precisely and prayerfully outlines the 5 important issues around comprehensive immigration reform(Citizenship, Family Unity, Worker Protection, Humane Borders and Vulnerable People) that make up this movement.
  • One of the most provocative articles I've read in some time seems particularly relevant for our congregation.  It asks "Are Liberals Too Special to Go to Church?"  New research says liberals have an "illusion of uniqueness" that does not lend itself to social cohesion, joining together for real social reform or religious community.  I think this goes a long way towards explaining why there will never really be a "Religious Left" in our country.   
  • Why is it that voters in "Red States" vote against their own economic self-interest?  This has been an on-going debate--think Thomas Frank's book What's the Matter With Kansas?   Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich has his own idea and it goes beyond hot-button issues like guns and abortion.  He thinks a major factor is that most Red States are so starved for jobs that their voters will never stand up for better working conditions, higher pay, environmental regulation, etc.  It's a provocative idea for us Christians to consider if we really want economic justice as described in the Bible.
  • If CCCUCC really wishes to be an Open and Affirming church to LGBT people, that means expanding our conceptions of what family is and can be.  Here's an article about transgender people having children for you to consider.
  • In Nigeria, homosexuals were arrested and tortured.  If that's not bad enough, American Evangelical Christians are fueling actions like this one in Africa in places like Nigeria and Uganda.  UCC theologian Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite writes about it in a piece titled "Jesus, Torture and Homophobia in Nigeria."  
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