Rural

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)

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)

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)

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)

Spiritual Musings on the Blues

Spiritual Musings on the Blues

(Photo: Marc Boswell)

“This is why Black theologians should not hesitate to seek the Spiritual within and reflect theologically upon all facets of cultural productions present in the Black community that are shaping the contours of Black life. This led Cone to examine the Blues as theological texts, defying the binary mentioned at the beginning of this essay in which some theologians ignore the religious depth of so-called secular texts.”

(By Rev. Dr. Darvin Adams, I)

A Baptist Meets the Buddha

A Baptist Meets the Buddha

(Photo credit unknown)

“Buddhist meditation, therefore, not only taught me a new way to pray, it also provided a desperately needed detour around an anthropomorphic mode of thinking about the Sacred…. To state it differently, my soul was yearning for a concept and experience of the divine that wasn’t rooted in a theology anchored by a powerful male deity who held sinners in ‘H’is hands over the pits of hell.”

(By Rev. Dr. Marc Boswell)

The People We Don't Care About

The People We Don't Care About

(Photo by Walter Bennett)

“Today, the forgotten folks of Appalachia, the rural South, the formerly industrial midwest, need a greater voice to speak for them just as the addicted across the country need folks to move beyond sympathy and towards honest to God care and concern.”

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

Who is it For?

Who is it For?

(Photo credit unknown)

“Why am I such a verbal curmudgeon when confronted with a grand gesture of generosity? Why am I so critical, indeed?  Is it the what people do for others in crisis moments that so unsettles me, or the when or the why? Or the who?”

(By Rev. Dr. Ellen Richardson)

After the Goldrush

After the Goldrush

(Photo: Alex Edelman, AFP/Getty Images)

“My hometown is underwater. This is the second time that this has happened in the past two years…. The folks who can least afford to rebuild will now have to begin again….”

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