21stCenturyMission

Theology in Living Color

Recently, I was at a missions event at a conservative Christian university. There, I met a white missionary who had been working in India. As we talked, he spoke patronizingly of the Hindu temple and the many gods displayed. So I took out my phone and Tweeted: An important goal of evangelical mission work is to share the gospel and to win the… Read More

Disunion of the State

Church, Community & New Power in Flint

Much has been written and said about the Flint Water Crisis. If you haven’t heard about it yet, here’s a brief summary: In 2011, following the collapse of the auto industry, the city of Flint, a predominantly working-class black community, went broke. Because of the dire financial impact the city was experiencing, Michigan governor Rick… Read More

Loving in Public

Why I Won't Stop Talking About Racial Justice

On December 29, 2015, my 14th wedding anniversary, I spent most of the day researching and thinking about the death of Tamir Rice, the 12-year-old African-American boy gunned down by the police in Cleveland, Ohio. His murder had happened a little over a year earlier. Yet my shock, outrage, and grief over his death linger… Read More

Rethinking Church, Communally and Creatively

I spend a curious amount of time discussing, studying, and writing about polity—the structures and procedures of congregational/denominational governance. As other theologians and sociologists of religion speculate about the decline, revival, or re-emergence of Christianity and the church, I focus on how emerging congregations organize themselves and structure their decision-making processes. As a “body”—ecclesial, social,… Read More

After Charleston

By now we all know the basic details of the story: More than a week ago, Dylann Storm Roof entered Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church and joined a small Bible study. He prayed with the assembled group. After an hour, he started shooting, even though he later admitted that everyone was “so nice” that he… Read More

Selma’s Prophetic Call to Ministry Leaders

The movie “Selma” opened across the nation last week, anticipating Monday’s Martin Luther King holiday. Featuring David Oyelowo as The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Tom Wilkinson as President Lyndon B. Johnson, a star-studded cast enacts the wrenching circumstances and political wrangling that resulted in the historic 1965 march from Selma to Montgomery,… Read More