Theology

After El Paso and Dayton

After El Paso and Dayton

The following is a collection of sermon and prayer responses to our nation’s two most recent mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio. We give thanks for the bold leadership of these pastors and the many others whose work isn’t featured here. Until we reach a day in which these responses are unnecessary…

“God with us, we come to you today a people changed by violence. When O Lord will we be a culture changed by peace? When will we take seriously the work of this table, this bread, this juice? You commanded that we sit and eat together; it is that simple and yet that hard.”

(Rev. Holly Clark-Porter)

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)

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)

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)

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)

Returning...

Returning...

(Photo: Unknown)

“What I can do is bear witness to the impact that [Thich Nhat Hahn], his writings, his teachings, and his life had on me and, I suspect, other Western Christians. And while I have no idea if this was his intention…I can state, unambiguously, that his Buddhism made me a better Christian, a truth that I’d like to offer a few words to explain.”

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

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)

Prayer for After a Person Comes Out

Prayer for After a Person Comes Out

(Photo Credit Unknown)

“Like Lazarus being called out of the tomb, or Mary Magdalene whose eyes were opened to the resurrected Christ upon hearing her name, we know you have called ___’s name and claimed them as your own. When things get difficult, remind ___ of this community who loves them and has promised to walk through life with them.”

(By Jess Cook, M.Div.)

A Migrant Caravan

A Migrant Caravan

(John Moore/Getty Images)

“Our sacred story tells us of mothers and fathers who grab their babies and children and whatever they can carry on their back because the food has run out and there are no more jobs and people actively want to kill them. Our sacred story tells us to care for and welcome and embrace these people who are fleeing.”

(By Rev. Elizabeth Mangham Lott)

In-Between Patriotism

In-Between Patriotism

(iStockPhoto)

“Today, it's hard to recapture this spirit of optimism, the trust we once placed in our political institutions. In many respects, the American project is suffering a crisis of confidence. Thus, it's almost a truism to state that the confidence we had in our political institutions to "do the right thing" has been severely eroded.”

(By Dr. Jonathan Best)

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.)

Litany for the Border

Litany for the Border

(Photo: Brendan McDermid / Reuters file)

Oh God, we lament the trauma that is happening to asylum seekers at the U.S. Border
Lord, have mercy…

(By Rev. Fran Pratt)

An Introduction

An Introduction

(Photo by Marc Boswell)

“We hope – through this work – to continue keeping one another company on the journey. It will hopefully speak to others living in the South who feel the difficulty of traversing the arid (or, rather, the thickly humid) environment that does not often welcome the Stranger…”

(By Marc Boswell)