“When a nation has to lie, and get a lying president and actually has to put all of this money into the military to keep other people from hurting it, it’s a weak nation. A strong nation has the moral fabric that people want to be a part of and they don’t want to hurt it because you’re doing good things and you’re helping people to live good lives.”— Rev. Nelson Johnson
Rev. Nelson Johnson of the Beloved Community Center in Greensboro, North Carolina speaks at The Gathering. Learn more and take action at breachrepairers.org.
Nelson Johnson has been active in the movement for social and economic justice since high school in the late 1950’s. Though involved in a myriad of initiatives, Rev. Johnson centers his efforts on facilitating a process of comprehensive community building, which include a convergence of racial and ethnic diversity, social and economic justice, and genuine participatory democracy. He is is actively building relationships with and providing leadership within organized labor, faith groups and other public and private community organizations.
The choice is stark, unsettling and serious: between what Christians call the “Great Commission” and President’s Trump’s call to “Make America Great Again” (MAGA). The Great Commission is racially and radically inclusive, while MAGA, as a matter of rhetoric and reality, is racially exclusive and divisive. Jesus praised a foreigner, an ethnic outcast, and religiously unpopular “good Samaritan” as an example of great compassion.—Cornell Brooks
Churches are in serious decline. This fundamental shift away from churches is [caused by] the death of “cultural Christianity.” As the pressure to associate with a local church diminished in society, “cultural Christians” have integrated back into a church-less culture. Church attendance became the spiritual crutch for many cultural Christians; many churches lost their focus; [and] it has presented them with a clear choice: refocus or perish. The atmosphere of “cultural Christianity” actually discouraged honesty about your spiritual state and encouraged people to “blend in” to the cultural norms of religion.
Christians have gullibly consumed much of the fake news out there. And when Christians believe fake news, it makes us all look stupid—and causes Christianity itself to look foolish. Some in the media do mischaracterize Christians. But, regardless, this doesn’t mean that we should be so desperate to find stories to prop up our view that we indiscriminately accept anything that supports the person that we like (or disparages the person we do not). We should be those who seek truth no matter what.
Christian, if you post fake facts, you reflect on the faith—and that’s bad for the gospel and it hinders the mission.
Many Evangelicals voted for Trump, and many Evangelicals are serving in his administration. That means they have influence, and this would be a good time to use that. It’s time for them to say that facts matter. And it’s time for them to call the Trump administration to do the same. But, first, we need to get our own act together. Christians seem attracted to an alternative set of facts, but we don’t need them. Even if the truth doesn’t seem favorable to us, we don’t have to go looking for an opposing story.
If unchurched people think they must commit intellectual suicide to become Christians, it hinders the work of gospel proclamation and cultural engagement. — Ed Stetzer
The religious right understand themselves to be in an epic battle against what they call “humanism,” that liberals have too positive a view of human nature. I don’t think the Bible requires us to adopt a nihilistic, anti-humanist view of human nature. Sin is very real and very imprisoning to humanity. And yet, people are capable of many good and beautiful things, even people who have never “accepted Jesus as their personal Lord and savior.” — Morgan Guyton
We don’t have to push each other away. We can actually come together in our differences. We come together to practice connection, contemplation, critical thinking, creativity, and compassionate action for the common good. Our gatherings emphasize building friendships over a meal and having deep conversations about topics that transform the way we see the world while inspiring us all to live peacefully with more beauty, wholeness, passion, urgency, and love.
The Way Collective is a new movement in Santa Barbara, CA, and is a community for people looking to unite by living well for the common good in an increasingly divisive world.
James 4:4 says, “Friendship with the world is enmity with God.” For early church fathers like St. Basil, “friendship with the world” meant attachment to wealth, power, and other worldly idols that get in the way of our connection with God. But for many white evangelicals today, being addicted to wealth and power is not a problem as long as you don’t associate with liberals. Whenever anything good or beautiful or true happens, God is at work no matter whose human agency God is using to accomplish his work. — Morgan Guyton
Too many people are hanging onto a worldview and way of life that is fast slipping away. California is roughly 15 years ahead of the rest of America in confronting the very different realities of the 21st century. It’s a more people-oriented politics, not tethered to 20th-century welfare state liberal solutions. Californians tend to be more pro-growth, practical progressives. Innovation is rippling through all sectors of the economy and society. The rise of Trump is likely nothing more than the last emotional backlash before America moves forward again. One way or another, Trump will eventually crash and take down a good chunk of the Republican establishment with him.
Max Lucado is a best-selling Christian author, writer and preacher at Oak Hills Church in San Antonio, Texas. Lucado chose to speak out against what he calls Trump’s “antics,” insisting that, “such insensitivities wouldn’t even be acceptable even for a middle school student body election.” Follow him on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/MaxLucado
“The far right of the evangelical movement in the United States has a highly organized campaign to impose biblical law on every aspect of American society. As the church becomes more aggressive and militant in its political cause, this may precipitate a seizing of religious freedom. Jesus had very little to say about the political power of His day. “Legislating morality” was not a platform for Jesus or the apostles in their ministry in the good news of Christ.” — Paul Vieira
“Good citizens test assumptions, question leaders, argue details, research claims. Investigate. Read. Write. Listen. Speak. Think. Be wary of those who disparage the investigators, the readers, the writers, the listeners, the speakers and the thinkers. Be suspicious of those who confuse reality with reality TV, and those who repeat falsehoods while insisting, against all evidence, that they are true. To defend freedom, demand fact.” — LA Times Editorial Board
“The Christian life is not about pleasing God the finger-shaker and judge. It is not about believing now or being good now for the sake of heaven later. It is about entering a relationship in the present that begins to change everything now. Spirituality is about this process: the opening of the heart to the God who is already here.” — Marcus J. Borg
“It’s one of the dirty little secrets of American politics that there has been a religious left all along and it just hasn’t done a good job of organizing. It has taken a crisis, or perceived crisis, like Trump’s election to cause folks on the religious left to really own their religion in the public square.” — J. Patrick Hornbeck II
J. Patrick Hornbeck II is chairman of the theology department at Fordham University, a Jesuit school in New York.
“Grasping for power, as Brueggemann notes, ‘is never innocent or disinterested; it is always, to some important extent, a front for self-interest perpetrated through violence.’
The evangelical church detours from its true mission by seeking alignment with the rich and powerful instead of calling them to account and speaking for those whose voices have been silenced. Self-interest and self-protection run counter to the gospel. So does silence in the face of injustice.” — Evangelical—When a Good Word Goes Bad
Carolyn Custis James is a popular speaker for women’s conferences, churches, colleges, seminaries, and other Christian organizations.
Walter Brueggemann is an American Protestant Old Testament scholar and theologian who is widely considered one of the most influential Old Testament scholars of the last several decades.