Litany for Religious Bigotry

Litany for Religious Bigotry

(Photo: Jewel Samad/Getty Images)

“We pray for this violence to end. We pray for the root causes of religious and racial bigotry to end. We pray for terrorism and the hate that fuels it to end. I have written many litanies about terrorism and war, and the fallout and grief that follow them. But today I’m offering this prayer and reflection, in hopes that they may find their way out into the world, to soften hearts, to open ears and minds, and to bring us all closer in to Love’s consciousness.“

(By Rev. Fran Pratt)

Litany for Re-Naming...

Litany for Re-Naming...

(Photo: Ryan Loughlin)

This liturgy is for people who wish to change their name to align with their gender identity and wish to make a public proclamation and receive support from a community. Functioning also as a reaffirmation of baptism, it should take place by the baptismal font with water. The presider may wish to use oil to anoint the head of the candidate.

(By Jess Cook)

The Empty T(W)omb

The Empty T(W)omb

(Photo by FreeStocks)

“The lived experiences of women have often been sidelined or silenced by the preachers and theologians of the Church, and relegated to spaces just for women...like beauty parlors and birthing centers. Why is this?

These are the thoughts I was pondering a couple of weeks ago….[a]nd then it came to me: If men can make sports analogies and tell Dad jokes in sermons, why can’t my postpartum experience be fodder for theological reflection?

(By Rev. Amelia Fulbright)

Profiles in Leadership (ii)

Profiles in Leadership (ii)

(Photo: Rev. Lacette Cross)

“The following is the second installment of our new interview series, “Profiles in Leadership.” In this edition, we’re featuring the work of Reverend Lacette Cross of Richmond, Virginia. For decades, Rev. Cross has worked around issues of sexual health, ethics, and HIV/AIDS education….She is currently the founder/CEO of Will You Be Whole ministries and the pastor of Restoration Fellowship RVA.”

(Interview with Rev. Lacette Cross)

A Promise Fulfilled

A Promise Fulfilled

(Photo by Eddie Stigson)

“The crucifiers are transformed by the crucified. Their hearts are changed, and because of that, our world is changed….For those of us who think we know how and when God speaks—let us be surprised when God is revealed in unexpected ways—like in the Roman centurion. For those of us who are weary of waiting, let us hope in the God whose Spirit gradually transforms our hearts, so that when we finally see, we can realize like the apostles— “were not our hearts burning?”

(By Rev. Kate Hanch)

The Ghost of God

The Ghost of God

(Photo by Rythik)

“Though this deity has long since died in my theological imagination, I’ve still yet to eradicate it from the deeper structures of my mind. While I wish it was possible to simply exchange one set of beliefs for another, I’ve come to question whether our minds work like that. Trauma doesn’t neatly or quietly subside due to the passage of time. Some things insist on haunting us.

In the following sections, I’ll describe what it was like growing up in a fundamentalist congregation in the South and what it’s been like on the other side of this “death of God” – how I tried to cope in mainline, liberal seminaries, and what I’ve learned along the way from my attempts to rid myself of this ghastly presence. “

(By Rev. Dr. Marc Boswell)

Therapy is My Church

Therapy is My Church

(Photo: MindBodyStock)

“As a therapist, I believe my commission is to close the distance between myself and those who have been wounded – which is no different than how I understand the Christian commission.  As a therapist, I believe that my job is to listen well and ask good questions – which is no different than I understand how to be in relationship with anyone, client or otherwise.   When I find myself rejecting others (clients, friends, family members, politicians, people on Twitter), I try my best to understand what is being triggered in me and find a way to avoid treating them as an ‘other.’ “

(Dr. Devlyn McCreight)

The Restoration of Holy Week

The Restoration of Holy Week

(Photo by Tucker Tangeman)

“The week is meant to transform us as we come face-to-face with the week’s tragic end. And yet, we learn to bear this journey of adoration, betrayal, death, and silence. For despite all the pageantry and ceremony, Holy Week isn’t a time of celebration. Instead, it marks the despair, cruelty, and hardness of existence—an existence that Christ lived, experienced, and ultimately died in. Therefore, our journey from Sunday to Saturday is a cruel one. And it’s this cruelty that prepares us for the redemptive love of the Resurrection.”

(By Rev. Dr. Jonathan Best)

Profiles in Leadership (i)

Profiles in Leadership (i)

(Photo by Marc Boswell)

“The whole person is important, and if the whole person is hungry, then Christ calls us to meet that need. Isn’t that Matthew 25 [The Parable of the Sheep and the Goats]. "I was hungry and you gave me something to eat.” I’ve very seldom heard that preached in this area, but it inspires me. It kind of scares me, to be honest. It’s accountability for us, right? What am I going to say when St. Peter asks me all of those questions? Where were you when I was hungry, or in prison, or without clothing, or sick?”

(Interview with Sr. Bernie Barrett)

MLK and Marxism

MLK and Marxism

(Photo: Michael Ochs Archive / Getty Images)

“The only way to beat a politics of identity is to offer a more compelling vision of what our identity ought to be.” Until Black people become a new people with a new identity, they will continue to be defined and identified by capitalists as the modern day proletariat—an expendable class of workers whom capitalists feel can easily be taken advantage of.”

(By Rev. Dr. Darvin Adams)

Unmasked

Unmasked

(Photo Unknown)

“Masks allow us to pretend, to be someone or something other than who we are for a bit. The timid can be brave, in lion masks. The plain can put on feathers and flambouyance. The wise can be foolish. And the foolish…well…you know… Masks are all pretense, misdirection, fantasy. Masks are fun or spooky, glamorous or mysterious.

But friends. When masks become our daily uniform, when we hide the reality of our lives, our truest joys and our deepest anguishes, from the world--when we hide us from ourselves--then our masks will be our undoing.”

(By Leigh Anne Armstrong)

Mary, Joseph, and Appalachia

Mary, Joseph, and Appalachia

(Photo: Emma Frances Logan)

“Dayton, Tennessee, is a place where half the time you fuss about how Walmart took away business from the downtown stores with their dusty merchandise, and the rest of the time you’re grateful for the steady employment Walmart brings to your cousins who otherwise would never have found a real paying job within fifty miles of downtown. Dayton is a place where you can get stuck with your family’s reputation because everyone thinks that apples don’t fall far from the tree.”

(By Rev. Janet James)

Biblical Abundance and Gender

Biblical Abundance and Gender

(Photo by Raphael Rychetsky)

Using a transgender person’s name is a big deal. A recent study published by the Journal of Adolescent Health found that simply using a transgender person’s chosen name can reduce their risk of suicide by 65 percent….Extending the notion of coming out as a process akin to discerning a call, Scripture presents us with abundant evidence of the importance of a name with regard to one’s sense of call. When God promises Abram and Sarai they will be the ancestors of multitudes, God calls them Abraham and Sarah (Genesis 17:5,15). After Jacob wrestles his blessing from the angel, he is no longer Jacob, but Israel (Genesis 32:28)….”

(By Jess Cook)

Nones, Dones, and the Rural South

Nones, Dones, and the Rural South

(Photo Unknown)

“Outside of certain periods, like the two Great Awakenings or the post-World War II era, a full-throated, zealous participation in Christianity has never been 100% in these Southern states. Perhaps what we’re witnessing in the rural South, then, is similar to a decline in church membership elsewhere in the country, and perhaps it’s also more in line with the general trends throughout the South’s own checkered past. We’ve never collectively been as fervently Christian as what is often told about us or what we tell others about ourselves.”

(By Rev. Dr. Marc Boswell)

An Unattainable Path

An Unattainable Path

(Photo by Fischer Twins)

“The way we have told this story of God for a very long time is an utterly unattainable path of perfectionism. The practice of regular church attendance, and studying your Bible every day, and giving the right amount of money to church, and "being Christian = being nice to everyone" not only sets us all up for failure but sets us all up for not telling the truth about our lives.“

(By Rev. Elizabeth Mangham Lott)

Revolutionaries Always Let You Down...

Revolutionaries Always Let You Down...

(Photo: Vladislaw Peljuchno)

“There is much work to be done by any and all who wish to come together and struggle for equality, justice, change. At the same time, let’s all take a step back from the different groups that we support and ask the question: Are they being led in a manner that is open, honest, and accountable or is there a cabal where a community is most needed? Support revolutions, not revolutionaries. “

(By Rev. Dr. Jamie McLeod, Jr.)

The Geography of Black Poverty

The Geography of Black Poverty

(Photo Unknown)

“It bears repeating that Black poverty in the United States stems from an outgrowth of an oppressive and violent system of idolatry. This system of idolatry is rooted in the slavery chains of previous centuries and the antics of Jim and Jane Crow that severely curtailed the generational wealth and life chances of Black communities well into the late 20th century, and still continues into the 21st. “

(By Rev. Dr. Darvin Adams, I)

When Hope isn't Found in the Resurrection

When Hope isn't Found in the Resurrection

(Photo by Marc Boswell)

“For some, these questions are uncomfortable ones.  Like me, they were likely taught to never be angry with or to question God.  To do so was to be unfaithful, but I no longer believe that crap.  Jesus asked these very questions and experienced the same seasons of grief, fear and isolation that we all do, and yet Jesus found hope not in being delivered from evil, but in knowing that God was with him no matter what came.”

(By Rev. Bojangles Blanchard)

Who Gets to be Racist?

Who Gets to be Racist?

(Photo by Sarah Vilardo)

“Another way to approach this matter is to ask: Who gets to be racist in the white, liberal social imaginary? When white people tell ourselves stories about racism and white supremacy, what are the types and figures that we use? How do we position ourselves over against other white folks in our attempts to make meaning of the racism we run up against and/or benefit from in our society?”

(By Rev. Dr. Marc Boswell)