Embracing Brave Change as Christian Identity and Mission

For people in ministry, one of the most frustrating phrases to hear from congregants and committees is, “But we’ve never done it that way before.” There is often a lot packed into that one sentence—fear (of risk, of failure), hesitation around trusting the pastoral leader, and even grief over the loss of the familiar.  For leaders this phrase can feel like a roadblock.... Read more

Hanging out with Homeless Folks in Silicon Valley

Turning Off the Default Settings on "Service" to Begin Structural Change

On a warm Friday night in August I sat outdoors with my friend Xavier and three of his buddies, enjoying the pasta dinner I had prepared for the occasion. Xavier is affectionate and talkative, eager to regale us with pieces of his story—emigration from Cuba during the 1980 Mariel boatlift, life as a transgender dancer in San Francisco in the ‘80 and ‘90s, how these... Read more

Can the Church Welcome the Stranger without Challenging Mainline Christian Whiteness?

Examining Race to Build Solidarity with Immigrants and Refugees

The demands on us related to immigration are overwhelming and may seem insurmountable. There seems to be no end to the mass suffering and injustice being inflicted on immigrant families—in particular children and youth—who are simply trying to survive in the midst of economic despair, violence, and other uncertainties. As people of faith rooted in the values of... Read more

Playing Games with God

How Games Play Us, Stories Tell Us, and Faith Lives Us

It’s all a game. These are not the words that the demands of our time might seem to merit. With the world on fire and political turmoil having become the constantly unsettling norm, we know that the church is being called to action in ways many of us had not imagined even ten or fifteen years ago. Sitting in my office in a suburb of Oxford toiling away at my studies,... Read more

The Religious Impulse and Reality Show Politics

Perhaps you have noticed the increasingly large number of candidates putting their names forward for the Democratic presidential primary election. With the current president's popularity in constant question and his policies being excoriated by every news outlet not owned by Rupert Murdock, there are a lot of people hoping that the vultures are circling and that... Read more

Getting into the Weeds

Separation of Church and State is No Excuse for Separating Communities of Faith from Political Concerns

Because of my academic training and religious history, and because I am a lifelong Seventh-day Adventist, I come to a view of Christian faith and church life that is steeped in questions of religious liberty, the separation of church and state, and the acceptable role of the church in politics. In examining the modern American history of thought on this question,... Read more

Where does the Religion Classroom Begin?

Cultivating Religious Literacy at Home, School, Church and World

During Advent 2018, my 10-year-old—“Kiddo”—asked a series of specific questions that kicked off a 3-hour re-examination of a fundamental question at stake in the “religion as education” landscape: where does the religion classroom begin?  A quick scan of a park, Facebook, the gym, LinkedIn, or even Tinder spotlights the place of education in social interaction.... Read more

Quenching the Fire with Neighborliness

This fall, California has been on fire. Wide swaths of the state have been burned to the ground. Homes have been destroyed. Schools and hospitals shut down. This, after a summer of drought, a spring of hurricanes—each natural disaster piling upon the next. There is an political and social firestorm as well. We live in a country where deep divisions are being... Read more

There Will Always Be a Crisis

The Radical Politics of Finding Sanity, Grounding, and Grace in a Chaotic World

There has always been a crisis. There will always be a crisis until God reconciles the world to God’s self. Until that time comes, there will be crisis after crisis. In these days, it’s absurd to simply say that there is a crisis. There seems to be a crisis every 24 hours, if we’re lucky. Some days, the crises seem to pile one on top of the other into a fantastic... Read more
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