My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Delicious sentences and a compelling story of growing up female in the black upper middle class in the 20th century with all the tensions and paradoxes generated by that life.
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David Brooks writes about how race, the issue on which the Republican Party was founded, is now ripping it apart.
The academic theologians of the United Church of Christ released a statement denouncing white supremacy and addressing the nation's current moral crisis.
Here is our United Church of Christ minister for Justice and Witness, Traci Blackmon, who was present in Charlottesville, calling out the lies yesterday of President Trump.
Here a Civil War historian writes refutes the President's lies about there existing two legitimate sides as she explains why one side was moral and the other wasn't. How sad that we must have this conversation, is what I'm thinking.
Here David Brook once again criticizes the President and advocates for the intellectual virtue of modesty. The column reminded me of Amy Kittelstrom's Religion of Democracy.
A good post on the New Yorker site about Charlottesville and how it downplays its racist history and present and how this represents an American problem. "What happened in Charlottesville is less an aberrant travesty in a progressive enclave than it is a reminder of how much evil can be obscured by the appearance of good."
One clergy woman's reflection on the cross as she risked her life to confront evil on Saturday. "That was the call: Be present; even if it means being present on your way to the cross."
Theologian Brian McLaren was present in Charlottesville on Saturday and he has written his observation, reflections, and thoughts going forward, including the urgent practical work we must do.
Here is an excerpt:
We Christians, in particular, need to face the degree to which white Christianity has failed – grievously, tragically, unarguably failed – to teach its white adherents to love their non-white neighbors as themselves. Congregations of all denominations need to make this an urgent priority – to acknowledge the degree to which white American Christianity has been a chaplaincy to white supremacy for centuries, and in that way, has betrayed the gospel.
Yesterday I borrowed these words for my pastoral prayer.
Sweet Jesus, what has happened to your beloved world? What darkness is on the loose when those who hate their neighbors pray in your name and ask for your blessing?
You have told us, O Lord, what is good: to do justice and love kindness and walk humbly with you, and yet there are those among us who wield machine guns to intimidate and chant vitriolic rhetoric to terrorize, and ram cars intentionally into crowds to kill.
Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, have mercy on us. . . . [Keep reading the rest of the prayer]
Some Willimon quotes from Who Lynched Willie Earle?
Race is a socially constructed, psychologically rooted attempt to name humanity through human designations. Christians defiantly believe that our identity and our human significance are bestowed upon us not by our culture, family, or skin color but rather given us in baptism.
The origins of Southern fundamentalist Christianity have their roots in the creation of this disincarnate "empty space" sealed off from theological scrutiny.
In a critique of how church often functions he writes "church is made into a font of positive feelings, a sabbatical for the soothing of anxiety, healing of stress, a place to receive placid balance, and a retreat where we go to pray for those in the hospital."
In a society of racial denial, blaming and falsehood, rituals that enable repentance are great gifts that the church offers. When so many white Americans adamantly maintain our innocence, our guiltlessness, it's a remarkable witness to be in a community where sin is admitted, confessed, and given to God.
Much of my church family wallows in the mire of anthropological moral, therapeutic deism, a "god" whom the modern world has robbed of agency, an ineffective godlet who allegedly cares but never gets around to doing anything. Such a "god" is an idol who is inadequate to the challenge of our racism.
Christians answer to a theological vocation whereby we must demonstrate to an unbelieving world, by our little lives and in our pitiful churches that, in spite of us, nevertheless there is hope because God is able.
We preach about race as those who believe we have seen as much of God as we hoped to see in his world when we look upon a brown-skinned Jew from Nazareth.
His critique on much worship and pastoral care is spot on:
Should we be surprised that a racially accommodated church reduces Christian worship to the cultivation of subjectivity and interiority, presenting the Christian faith as a therapeutic technique for acquiring personal, individual meaning and joy in life?
Though moral, therapeutic deism takes the guts out of preaching, truth, smothered by therapeutic mush and self-pitying theodicy, will rise.