People of faith have a choice to make

In America’s Gilded Age, slaveholder religion went national, blessing an alliance between industrial capital and white nationalism. “One Nation Under God” promised to save America from the “immorality” of the New Deal, Communism and the Civil Rights movement. Writing in the 19th century, when slaveholder religion was still taking root in white Americans’ consciousness, Frederick Douglass said, “Between the Christianity of the slaveholder and the Christianity of Christ, I see the widest possible difference.” People of faith have a choice to make.

Source: Why Evangelicals Support Trump, Despite His Immorality | Time

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Gun ownership is the one thing our country refuses to manage, and the result is a lot of dead people

Every weapon that a US Army soldier uses has the express purpose of killing human beings. The choice rifle for years has been some variant of what civilians are sold as an AR-15. These are not deer rifles. They are not target rifles. They are people killing rifles. Let’s stop pretending they’re not. In addition to cars, we manage drugs, alcohol, exotic animals, and fireworks. We restrict what types of businesses can operate in which zones. Gun ownership is the one thing our country collectively refuses to manage, and the result is a lot of dead people. We can enact gun control without infringing on the right to bear arms. You can have your deer rifle.

Source: “Fuck you, I like guns.” – Engineering, Parenthood, and a Solid Attempt at Adult Status

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The Greatest Showman Is The Wake Up Call That the Church Needs

Racial discrimination? Check. Gender inequality? Check. Class warfare? Check. Prejudice based on physical ability and differences? Check. The choice between family values and power? Check. The undying pursuit of the American dream at all costs? Check. The Greatest Showman is an allegory about what the church should be. If we don’t address the fissure currently dividing the church now, we will never put out the fire currently raging through our halls and hearts. Like Barnum, we have forgotten to love. To love people who look, sound, think and feel differently to us. To love other Christians who didn’t vote the same way we did.

Source: The Greatest Showman Is The Wake Up Call That the Church Needs – RELEVANT Magazine

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What matters is that more and more people are seeing Trump for what he is, not that some core group of people refuses to do so

The evidence is stronger than ever that Trump’s remaining supporters are never coming back. Most of the people who love Trump are exulting in making liberals angry, and they are not going to be convinced to change their minds. The people who peddle the idea that rural whites are all in Trump’s corner are wrong. Those voters are not insulted by coastal condescension but by the attempts to reduce them to stereotypes who do not — and can never — know any better. What matters is that more and more people are seeing Trump for what he is, not that some core group of people refuses to do so.

Source: Did Roseanne Vote Trump? And Can the Dems Win Her Support?

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America’s cult of guns has a lot of money behind it

Guns are a religion now. And too many of our fellow citizens — including evangelical Christians, of all people — will continue to heedlessly worship at this altar, despite the dead children, the dead teachers, the dead concertgoers and the innocent bystanders who must sacrifice their lives for others’ overriding faith in their weapons. It is safe to say that nobody in the cult of guns listens to Jesus. None of this will stop unless the cult of guns is curbed. This won’t be easy; the cult has a lot of money behind it.

Source: America’s cult of guns (opinion) – CNN

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The trick is when white politicians persuade poor white working class people that the source of their pain is people of color, immigrants and other scapegoats

The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. died trying to beat the trick. The trick is when white politicians persuade poor white working class people that the source of their pain is people of color, immigrants and other scapegoats. King recruited impoverished white residents of Appalachia, Latino farm workers from California and impoverished blacks from Mississippi. It was a Rainbow Coalition before the term was even coined. Organizers for a “new Poor People’s Campaign” and the Fight for $15 movement will launch rallies across the mid-South to raise awareness of the plight of the nation’s poor. The campaign is calling for thousands of cooks and cashiers to walk off their jobs Monday and join protests in two dozen cities.

Source: A pastor helps revive MLK’s most radical campaign – CNN

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We continue feeding the bipartisan military-industrial complex, ignoring basic needs of our people

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis deprioritizes counter-terror efforts and  aggressively pursues a massive arms race with both Russia and China. This extremely aggressive stance is exactly why law requires the Secretary of Defense to be a civilian, at least seven years removed from active duty. This law was waived for Mattis’ appointment. Shockingly, Mattis was approved in a nearly unanimous 98-1 vote and still enjoys bipartisan support. We continue feeding the bipartisan military-industrial complex, while ignoring the basic needs of our people.

Source: Bipartisan Militarism Endangers Us All

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$700 billion for what? Military expenditures provide no benefit

Many left-liberal groups ignore the Pentagon’s swollen budget even as it devours resources that could be put to much better use. Sadly, a bipartisan majority in Congress gave [Trump] all he asked for [and] then some. Beyond spending sufficient to provide reasonable defense, military expenditures provide no benefit; they fail utterly to improve our quality of life. The growth in so-called “Islamist terror groups” was largely blowback — the result of and reaction to U.S. intervention in the region. The citizenry would be far better off if our nation abandoned the role of global hegemon, led the world into multilateral disarmament negotiations and redirected billions into investments in our people and infrastructure.—Mark Haim

Mark Haim is a longtime advocate for peace, justice, sustainability and climate action. He serves as director of Mid-Missouri Peaceworks, a grassroots activist group.

Source: $700 Billion For What? | The Indypendent

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The death of “cultural Christianity” is good

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.

Source: Is the church really dying? – Lifestyle – The Courier-Tribune – Asheboro, NC

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Gen Xers will help bridge the divide between government and the people and the two large and idealistic generations that bookend us

We were the “whatever” teens, considered — at least in comparison to the shake-up-the-world boomers — lazy, disengaged, cynical eye-rollers who didn’t care much about much, especially adulting. Collectively, no one’s ever thought much of us. The boomers have for the most part ignored us and when the millennials came along — a group just as large and self-obsessed and overly dramatic as their parents — we became the forgotten middle children. [We] grew up into people no one expected us to be: hardworking, open-minded, pragmatic, inclusive, [and] charitable. Gen Xers rising into political leadership will help bridge the divide. We have a more modern approach. Being a bridge — not just between government and the people, but between the two large and idealistic generations that bookend us — may ultimately prove to be Gen X’s destiny. We’re much more comfortable living in the gray. There’s great hope in our secret sauce of cynicism, humor, resiliency and tough love. We see and embrace the idealism but are a marriage of the better parts of both generations.

Source: Whatever Happened to Generation X? – Philadelphia Magazine

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All people are capable of many good and beautiful things

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

Morgan Guyton is director of the NOLA Wesley Foundation, which is the United Methodist campus ministry at Tulane and Loyola University in New Orleans, LA. He is also a United Methodist pastor, blogger, and author of dozens of articles featured in Red Letter Christians, Huffington Post Religion, Think Christian, Ministry Matters, and others.

Source: If Donald Trump wins, I will blame toxic Christianity and here’s why

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The Poor People’s Campaign is the most hopeful, most powerful coalition we have going. Nothing compares to it in breadth

The formal launch of the contemporary Poor People’s Campaign was held exactly 50 years after King announced the campaign in 1967 and is gearing up to be the largest nonviolent mobilization in the United States this year. One of the major strengths is its potential to appeal to Americans across party lines. It aims to unite the grievances of the marginalized white working class with marginalized communities of immigrants and people of color throughout the country.

Source: A renewed Poor People’s Campaign revives King’s dream of challenging class divide

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There’s got to be a better way to engage Jesus’ teachings in the 21st century

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.

Source: Way Collective

 

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We must learn to regard people more in the light of what they suffer

“We must learn to regard people less in the light of what they do or omit to do, and more in the light of what they suffer.” — Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Letters and Papers from Prison

Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a German pastor, theologian, spy, and anti-Nazi dissident. His writings on Christianity’s role in the secular world have become widely influential. He was known for his staunch resistance to Nazi dictatorship, including vocal opposition to Hitler’s euthanasia program and genocidal persecution of the Jews. He was arrested by the Gestapo and imprisoned for one and a half years. Later he was transferred to a Nazi concentration camp. After being accused of being associated with the plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler, he was quickly tried and then executed by hanging.

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2018 will be a year where interfaith work will protect the most vulnerable

2018 will be a year where interfaith work will be about recalibrating our nation’s moral and ethical social agenda. 2018 will be the year that churches, mosques, temples, synagogues, Gurdwaras and sacred spaces will work together to protect the most vulnerable. I see more people of faith coming together motivated to heal the divides and ugliness not just in their societies, but in their neighborhoods.

Source: What’s next for religion in 2018? | National Catholic Reporter

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Christianity, what the hell is it about if it’s not this?

The Gubbio Project at St Boniface church in San Francisco opens its doors every weekday at 6am to allow homeless people to rest until 3pm.

Apart from St Boniface and its sister church, no other place of worship in San Francisco welcomes homeless people. In fact, many have begun, even at this season of goodwill, to lock their doors to all comers simply so as to exclude homeless people.

Source: A journey through a land of extreme poverty: welcome to America | Society | The Guardian

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Has the church become more of a luxury cruise ship than a rescue boat?

America has kicked God out of the country and now it is time for Christians to do their part to invite Him back in, according to contemporary Christian singer and songwriter Michael W. Smith. Even if this were true, (Ed Stetzer believes “The Church is not dying. It is just being more clearly defined. So for those who really don’t have any skin in the game, shedding the label makes sense.”) how do we invite Him back in? Luxury cruises or more care for the poor and needy out on the streets?

Tickets for his upcoming Unforgettable Christian Cruise to Alaska (and similar) are up to $10,000. “There’s just something about a gathering of the family of God in a gorgeous setting, on a luxurious ship, that leads to memories you never forget.” he says.

America’s homeless population has risen this year for the first time since the Great Recession, propelled by the housing crisis afflicting the west coast, according to a new federal study. The study has found that 553,742 people were homeless on a single night this year, a 0.7% increase over last year.

One ticket to Michael W. Smith’s Alaskan cruise (or something similar by a variety of singers and speakers in the Christian circuit) could buy 10,000 pairs of socks for the homeless. Has the church become more of a luxury cruise ship to keep people comfortable within the Christian bubble than a rescue boat? In times like these, perhaps we spend less on lavish cruises and tours and start handing out socks to the homeless. It could lead to memories they never forget.

Source: America’s homeless population rises for the first time since the Great Recession

 

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Fox & Friends is the authoritarian Today Show.

The chief goal of Fox & Friends is asserting one’s own status by belittling others. Doocy is an expert at keeping things simultaneously light and nasty. Earhardt is the show’s resident softball interviewer. Kilmeade loves mispronouncing certain words in order to mock those who use them in earnest. Their signature tune is reactionary resentment. There are workout segments and cooking segments and music segments, interspersed randomly with deranged political commentary and militaristic iconography. [It] pairs its banalities with a pettiness of spirit. In lockstep with Trump’s reactionary agenda, it yearns for the past while destabilizing the present and future. It is a witch’s mirror, showing you only those things that you hate most in other people, preventing any meaningful self-reflection.

Source: Fox & Friends is the authoritarian Today Show.

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I am Mennonite, and we are Racist

“Segregation is one face of racism. The Mennonite tradition perpetuates through family. It shows charity to the outsider, but does not necessarily allow the outsider to be included unless they assimilate into everything – the faith, the culture, the family traditions. Despite being a people who endlessly preach peace and justice, who claim to be fighting against the evils of prejudice, most of us aren’t even aware how complicit we are with our own racism. I need transformation. We all do.”

Source: I am Mennonite, and we are Racist | Pastors in Exile

Pastors in Exile (PiE) is an Anabaptist-rooted movement of community pastors outside of church walls. We believe that church is evolving into something beyond just a specific community in a specific place at a specific time. Everyone who seeks to join God’s loving and transforming work in the world is invited to be a pastor in exile with us.

Follow them on Twitter at: @pastorsinexile.

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US History, Structural Racism, NFL Protests, and the Kingdom of God

We have a James 2:17 responsibility to put our faith into action for voiceless persons. Their issues were ‘unarmed black people being killed by police,’ ‘systemic oppression against people of color, police brutality and the criminal justice system, and President Trump’s referral ‘to us with slurs but the neo-Nazis in Charlottesville, Va., as “very fine people.”’ We must serve as mediators and translators between two worlds.

Source: US History, Structural Racism, NFL Protests, and the Kingdom of God

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