Social Justice

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)

The People We Don't Care About, Part Two

The People We Don't Care About, Part Two

(Photo by Tamir Kalifa)

“If we truly felt like this was completely unacceptable in our nation and that our civic leaders have spent the past two decades doing little to systemically alter the circumstances that allows these realities to continue unabated, then the only possible response would be to march, to protest, to flood the offices of our elected leaders, to stand and be counted and be unmoved by the consequences of our actions until something, anything, changed. ”

(By Rev. Dr. Jamie McLeod)

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)

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)

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)

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)

The Weight of Peace

The Weight of Peace

(Photo: Audra Melton)

“If, because my life is fine, I decide that all lives are fine, I am only a mercenary and not a citizen, out to get the spoils of this life without regard for my sisters' and brothers' welfare. Real justice leaves no one behind. Hope won't allow it.

(By Leigh Anne Armstrong)

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)

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)

Remembering the Charleston Nine

Remembering the Charleston Nine

(Photo credit unknown)

“These mixed media icon-like images were done by members of The Gayton Kirk Presbyterian Church (Richmond, VA) for our All Saints’ Day celebration in November 2016.”

(By Rev. Janet James)

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.)

On Scriptural Interpretation

On Scriptural Interpretation

(Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images)

“Perhaps, though, winning the day isn't something to realistically be expected. Perhaps vigilance and persistence in liberative readings is the most we can hope for as long as we continue to make this text central to our lives of faith.”

(By Marc Boswell)