Each week (more or less) I send out an e-mail to my congregation with my thoughts including stuff I've read over the past week that I want to pass along.
Same Gender Marriage Stuff
- Good thoughts by UCC minister Dwight Welch on why he continues to be a Christian despite all the crap Christians do to judge him as a gay man.
- Tired of conservative Christians acting like they're the persecuted ones in the wake of the SCOTUS decision on same gender marriage? Me too. So is Rachel Held Evans who is asking Christians to drop the persecution complex.
- Dent County, MO supervisors decided to lower their flags to half staff in protest of the SCOTUS decision on same gender marriage. Here's what happened next.
- Perhaps the most powerful think I've read recently about racism was presented as a sermon at a UCC church. Given by an African American layperson, it is titled, "I, Racist: Why I Don't Talk About Racism With White People"
- A powerful sermon by William Barber, "Only Black Deaths Matter," about how America only seems to deal with racism when certain kinds of black people are killed in terrible ways.
- "Dear White People, We are All Atticus Finch"
- Ta-Nehisi Coates, one of the most profound writers currently writing about race in America, has a new book out, "Between the World and Me," which is a letter from him to his black son. I've already ordered a copy. Here's a good review of it on Slate.com.
- A great essay on white privilege, "Privilege is Not What You Think"
More on the United Church of Christ Decision to Divest from Companies profiting from the Israeli Occupation of Palestinian Lands
- Much nastiness has been directed at the United Church of Christ, for voting to divest from companies profiting from the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands. For those interested in how the sausage gets made in the UCC and how difficult decisions like this get done, this is a great description of how thoughtful and faithful the difficult work of the church can be.
Christians Behaving Badly
- Ever been in another church's worship service and refused communion? It doesn't feel so good. Amy Butler, pastor of the Riverside Church in NYC, shares about such an experience in her life.
- Here's a great essay arguing denominations who refuse to ordain women are operating in an un-Christian manner.
- Speaking of denominations who don't ordain women. Most religious women belong to denominations which don't allow women to lead.
Confederate Flag Stuff
- I don't know this minister so I don't know if I would agree with other things he's written or not, but I find this blog post to be a powerful testimony of how one's Christian's faith can change a person's mind. His change f heart about the Confederate flag is profound.
- Here's what it looks like when a state denies Medicaid expansion.
- This week after pressure from faith groups and community groups and organized labor, the KC city council voted to raise the minimum wage. Here's an argument for doing so that shows higher wages don't have to lead to higher costs for consumers by economist Paul Krugman.
- Haven't you heard? Pope Francis is just a commie who hates capitalism! Or maybe not. Pope Francis responds to his critics.
- 5 Don'ts for Church Leaders--what would happen if we did some or all of these things?
- My favorite part of the UCC General Synod meeting I attended a few weeks ago was hearing Rev. Molly Baskette's sermon. She described everything I think the church should be. Here are her reflections about preaching to a room full of clergy. Best line: "I know how audiences can be-especially audiences filled with clergy. You think we are nicer than the general population but the truth is, we are not. When we hear other preachers we are alternately snarky and relieved because we think we could do better than them, or snarky and jealous because we know we can't.?"
- "An Open Letter on Why We are Breaking up (Or Why I am Leaving the Church I Grew Up In)"
- A great column by UCC Kansas-Oklahoma Conference minister Edith Guffey about why the UCC focuses on social justice--not because of our politics but because of our faith.
- "Mr. Rogers' Radical Pacificst Neighborhood"
- A fascinating article about victims of crime sharing their stories in prisons to help offenders learn empathy, to reduce recidivism and to create restorative justice.