FYI: I've neglected my blog in recent months, so I'm posting some stuff I've sent out to my church during that time. This explains why some of the links and topics are somewhat dated. Here they are for the purposes of posterity.
Regularly, if somewhat spasmodically, I share a list of things I'm reading, watching and listening to with my congregation. If I remember to do so, I also post it here on my blog:
- Really good words from the December 31 UCC daily devotional (have you subscribed to it yet? If not, you should do so) to end the year on to help balance out all the negative feelings about news in 2016.
- 2016 Was the Year White Liberals Realized How Unjust, Racist, and Sexist America Is--The final paragraph is the kicker.
- "Rev. Barber: A "Moral Center" not a "Religious Left" Will Save Us in 2017"--How nice would it be if, as Rev. Barber says, battling poverty, combatting racism and working for social justice were no considered "liberal" religious ideas but rather a "moral center" to any faith which has integrity. 2016 demonstrates what happens when Christians make denying women the right to control what happens in their own bodies and denying rights to LGBTQ people the sum total of their understanding of what it means to be a moral Christian.
- "Believing Despite Grievous Suffering" by Molly Marshal, President of Central Baptist Theological Seminary
The Incoming Trump Administration
- This is a good explanation by an evangelical author of why the "Prosperity Gospel"--of which Trump is a fan and whose proponents will feature in the inauguration--is outside the bounds of pretty much any responsible reading of the New Testament. I hate to sound cynical, but given the immense popularity of people like T.D. Jakes, Creflo Dollar, Benny Hinn, and Paula White--most evangelical Christians don't seem to have read the Sermon on the Mount and aren't at all concerned what Jesus' teachings about sacrificial love actually mean. Is it any wonder that a president like Trump would surround himself with religious people who declare that if you are sick or poor then it is all your fault?
- "Houses of Worship Poised to Serve as Trump-Era Immigrant Sanctuaries"--The Religious Right likes to claim their kind of Christian is persecuted, but this is what it means to risk persecution in Christ's name while serving those whom our government considers to be the "least of these."
- "The New Battlegrounds for LGBT Rights Under Trump"-- It's going to be an ugly year when it comes to the rights of LGBTQ people. In the statehouses and on Capital Hill things look bad, and if those of us who love LGBTQ people and believe they deserve equal rights under the law don't want to see all the gains of the last few years lost, then we will have to march and protest. Kansas and Missouri look especially grim.
- "MO Baptist lawmaker seeks to remove the state from marriage debate"--It's fascinating that those who wanted to use the government to enforce their religious understanding of marriage--at least when it comes to same gender marriage--on this side of the Obergefell Supreme Court decision now want government out of the marriage business. It sounds great to me. I've always thought that the government is really only concerned with child custody, property and taxes, so having a government "contract of domestic union" as these conservative Missouri Baptists propose works just fine for me. Let religious groups call whatever relationships they want "marriage" according to their own understanding of the term, but let government worry about government stuff. As long as the government applies it equally to heterosexual and homosexual relationships then I'm good with it. Every time I sign a marriage license I'm aware I'm doing a task for the government, and I would be just fine keeping it out of my religious obligations as a minister.
Syrian Refugee Crisis
- "Churches connect Christmas story to refugee crisis"--Great story about churches of different types who nonetheless put the Gospel above scaremongering about refugees..
Other Stuff I Think is Cool
- Good words in yesterday's UCC daily devotional (you should subscribe if you haven't done so already): the dangers of liberal Christians looking like the "Pharisee" in the Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector--self-righteous and smug in our own superiority rather than humble recipients of God's grace.
- Nice thoughts about what Carrie Fisher meant to so many people and how her public vulnerability was liberating to hurting people.
- Remembering Huston Smith, Noted 'World's Religions' Scholar--excerpt from an interview on NPR's Fresh Air
- My wife passed along this video of Norah Jones singing her song "Peace" to our 13yo as he went back to school this week. It turns out I needed to hear it too. I share it here for anyone else who needs to worry less today.
- William Christopher, Father Mulcahy on â€˜M*A*S*H,â€™ Dies at 84--Father Francis Mulcahy is the best Christian character ever in tv or film. I was pleased to read about all his advocacy for people with autism--quite admirable.
- "Theologian says God not in control"--Frank Tupper's theology of providence, theodicy and suffering remains the best I've ever read.
- "Seminaries Part Of Metro's Secret Sauce" by Bill Tammeus
You can find more stuff that I think is worth reading, watching and listening to by following me on Facebook and Twitter.