white noise: an homage to Christian think-pieces

white noise: an homage to Christian think-pieces

Until White American Middle Class churches, denominations, parishioners, pastors, and priests start to interact with our actual communities from a place of generous, non-coercive, non-anxious interest in who they are, what gives them life, what sucks life out of them, and how they make sense of existence in 2017, we will continue to be little more than an aging, tone-deaf, and dangerously self-unaware cover band playing "the hits" for audiences that seem smaller and older than we remember. 

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how to survive the death of God.

how to survive the death of God.

the resurrection has become the only thing terribly interesting at all about the Christian faith. Namely, because the first time it happened not one person who knew Jesus personally expected it, not one person who knew Jesus personally planned for it, not one person who knew Jesus personally had any idea what to do with it, and not one person who knew Jesus personally would have chosen it for him or for themselves.

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blessed are the blessed.

blessed are the blessed.

What fills the nooks and crannies of my 32 year old heart is the prevailing understanding that if I have enough money I never have to explain myself, my choices, my renovations, my weekend plans, my preferences, my car(s), my beliefs, my politics, and my son’s exhausting extra-curricular calendar to anyone, ever.

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on how to be cynical.

on how to be cynical.

Optimism that silences dissent and releases the pressure of our convictions and beliefs about the way the world should work in favor of a religiously motivated abdication of personal and collective responsibility is laying waste to our churches, our faith, our world, and our God. 

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Ash Wednesday: or how (not) to be Baptist in Trump's America: Baptist News Global

Ash Wednesday: or how (not) to be Baptist in Trump's America: Baptist News Global

For those of us who grew up Baptist in the Southeast, this disavowed dichotomy between our faith and our political life isn’t a recent aberration brought starkly into view by Donald Trump. Instead, it’s the manifestation of a longstanding unwillingness to unite these two parts of our souls out of both the practice of let’s-all-get-along Caucasian Southern politeness, and the misguided application of the inherently Baptist belief in the separation of church and state. Which is why, in times like these, Baptist pastors remain warmly vague and intentionally circumspect in their sermons, while fuming indignantly about their congregations’ politics behind closed doors.

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the work is the work.

the work is the work.

Maybe the point of awareness isn’t the realization that we should be somewhere else, doing something else, with someone else, but that when we finally wake up from the sometimes paralyzing dreams of other, far wiser, braver, and decidedly more eloquent souls, we uncover the ability to dream our own dreams about the place our feet actually meet the floor in the morning. 

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unburdening.

unburdening.

Wherever we find ourselves sociologically or geographically, most of us are just trying to make it, and the point of faith in the Jesus-style is that it asks us to band together by throwing off unhelpful and rather weighty beliefs we may have about God, the Bible, the Remington Bolt Action Shotgun, and whether or not two-dudes can get married in our state, in order to free up a bit of bandwidth to say yes to the Incarnation and Resurrection awaiting all of us arguing with one another about the direction of our country and the place of our religion in it

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sermoning.

sermoning.

This marks the inaugural voyage of a new series I'm doing where each Monday I greet you with an Internet sermon. Creatively, I’m calling them “Monday Sermons,” and please do feel free to tithe on the way out.

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okaying.

okaying.

God isn’t so much a king or a ruler, furiously demanding fidelity from slaves charged with erecting his temples and towers, as much as God is a tree, quietly converting the carbon dioxide of our fears about the future, our regrets about the past, and our anxiety about the present into oxygen and light and shade for generation after generation after generation. 

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internetting.

internetting.

A great lie filling the nooks and crannies of our world is that both this life and the one following it, are crowded. The idea that there’s only so much space, meaning, resources, grace, and redemption to go around is a popular one. So much so, that each time someone discovers their own belonging in a sea of noisy anonymity, a sudden fear wells up within the rest of us that ours is now in peril.

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fearing.

fearing.

Instead of ignoring our shared fears, or suppressing them, or scapegoating them, or externalizing them, another option involves owning them, expressing them, allowing them to be the white flag we wave in a world that refuses to live with the safety on. 

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if it does, then it is.

if it does, then it is.

Things spending the lion’s share of their time explaining to us how meaningful they are, oftentimes aren’t, no matter how hard they try; while things all of us are quite content to believe have little to no meaning, are oozing with sacredness.

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the jar is always smaller than the sky

the jar is always smaller than the sky

The idea that what people do together for an hour a week in business causal before complaining about the wait at Applebees could also be confused for the thing motivating millions of people across thousands of years to give up everything in the name of a self-sacrificing God desperate to put the world back together even if it kills him is (in a nutshell) everything that is wrong with Christianity in America

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resurrecting.

resurrecting.

Jesus was executed by a global superpower occupying his Middle Eastern homeland for stirring up the hopes and dreams of the poor and marginalized and here we are celebrating the discovery of his empty tomb by disciples (TWO WOMEN thank you very much) who would later be executed themselves for following his beliefs to their natural conclusions with, again, PLASTIC EGGS, SCRIPTURE CITATIONS POSTED UNDER WELL DRESSED FAMILY PHOTOS ON FACEBOOK, AND SPIRAL SLICED HAM!  

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failing

failing

It's one thing to come to the conclusion that various parts of your professional life might not materialize or develop in ways you always dreamed (this is what it means for everyone who didn't become professional-football-playing-astronaut-presidents to grow up), but it's quite another to come to terms with the death of almost everything you believed you were supposed to do and be. Especially when you were, so to speak, a "man of the cloth". 

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