Sixth Sunday after the Epiphany

Below is my sermon for the sixth Sunday after the Epiphany. The Collect: O God, the strength of all who put their trust in you: Mercifully accept our prayers; and because in our weakness we can do nothing good without you, give us the help of your grace, that in keeping your commandments we may please […]

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The Moral Injury at the Heart of Whiteness

This is an excerpt from Chanequa Walker-Barnes’s book, I Bring the Voices of My People, pp. 128-31. At the heart of whiteness, then, is a great moral injury. The justification and maintenance of a slave economy required the construction and defense of an elaborate cultural system. Literally everything—laws, religious beliefs and practices, educational systems—had to […]

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An Evangelical Culture of Disobedience

Attempting to explain evangelical support for President Trump, Brit Hume of Fox News wrote the following: Hume has rightly identified the deception to which evangelicals have fallen captive: they regard their place in the wider culture in terms of combat. Their twin error is that they imagine that they have human enemies and that they […]

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Meeting Physical and Spiritual Needs

I was talking to someone recently about our church’s involvement in helping homeless families obtain sustainable housing. He thought that it was great that we were helping people in this way, but then asked me whether we also look after their spiritual needs as well as their physical needs. I’ve heard this sentiment before and […]

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I Am the Object of the Great Commission

I told a friend recently about a conversation I had with some people who are not Christians. “What a great gospel opportunity!” he replied. This left me with an odd feeling that I took some time to excavate. I have come to see conversations as ends in themselves, as occasions for enjoying another person and […]

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Personal & Cultural Self-Criticism

In my opinion, a self-critical posture is essential to being Christian. By “self-critical,” I do not mean self-condemnation or self-loathing, but a pursuit of self-awareness. My quest to understand myself and my relationships has set me on a course of excavating the hidden dynamics that underlie my attitudes and behaviors. I constantly seek to understand […]

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Locking Up and Abusing Brown Children is Exactly Who We Are

Witnessing the horrors our nation is currently inflicting on people arriving at our southern border who are fleeing calamities and seeking refuge, Americans occasionally express the thought that “this is not who we are.” Or, “America is better than this.” I can understand the sentiment and its underlying impulse. We want to believe that we […]

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Why I Talk About ‘Social Justice’

The term ‘social justice’ has occasioned much discussion since the publication of a statement on the Christian gospel and its relation to social justice. One of the difficulties with the expression is that not everyone uses the term with an agreed-upon meaning. In what follows I will explain what I mean by ‘social justice’ and […]

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On the Use and Abuse of Romans 13

Attorney General of the United States Jeff Sessions cited Romans 13:1-7 in order to defend the Trump Administration’s policy of separating children from their parents among groups of people seeking to enter the country. Mr. Sessions, and later Sarah Huckabee Sanders, cited the Bible in order to ward off criticism that further traumatizing those who […]

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Romans 1 and Human Sexuality, Pt 4

In this series of reflections on Romans, I am asking how the context and purpose of the entire letter might shape Christian discussions about human sexuality. Paul refers to same gender erotic relations in Romans 1:26-27 as part of his aim to shape Christian identity as participation in a community of new creation flourishing characterized […]

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