03 Jul 2020

On Original Sin and Racism

A great thing about writing for Conciliar Post: any time I’m unsure of what to write about, all I have to do is read recent posts from my fellow contributors and without fail a) a writing topic is sparked by one of their pieces, or b) I find something I disagree with and decide to respond. Both are welcome sights. This time, it’s the latter and directed at AJ Maynard (my resident competition in facial

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01 Jul 2020

Trinity Brings Unity: Hope for a Divided World

Not long ago, my parish was offering the Prayers of the People as part of our Sunday liturgy. Worshippers were free to raise their own voices and add their personal petitions to those of the Book of Common Prayer. As we did so, two seemingly different prayers arose from our midst. One prayer was for the protection of police officers and first responders. Another was for the protection of protesters and all those seeking justice

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29 Jun 2020

Reclaiming Original Sin in the Face of White Supremacy

NASCAR’s recent decision to ban the confederate flag from their events, coupled with an increased willingness amongst policymakers to remove confederate monuments from the public square, has ignited much debate regarding what is, and is not, racist. The debate presents a question: Can honoring a socially relative symbol of family history and geographical heritage be objectively racist? Many say yes. Others say no. Indeed, members of my own family can be counted amongst those proclaiming,

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10 Jun 2020

Racism and Sin

“It is the divinely imposed task of the prophet to break down the wall of our indifference by voicing the suffering and anguish of the poor, the widow, the orphan, and the oppressed of our society.” -Abraham Heschel A wound, when it is not properly treated, will fester to the point that it will suppurate. This is not only true of our physical wounds but, also, our interior wounds. Imagine a couple who begin a

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05 Jun 2020

Antiracism Defined: A Response to David Justice

One of my favorite things about being part of the Conciliar Post community is getting to read about (and discuss) what other writers are reading. Although Joshua Schendel and a few others write more or less from the perspective of my own theological tradition, most do not. That’s the best part. David Justice’s recent review of Irbam X. Kendi’s big hit How To Be An Antiracist is no exception. David’s review comes at an opportune

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04 Jun 2020

The Desecration of St John’s

Many of us have encountered the frequently quoted phrase, “When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.” But this prophetic statement has never rung more true than on June 1st, 2020, when United States forces used tear gas and other violent methods to clear out St John’s Episcopal Church yard so that President Trump could stage a photo-op in front of it, Bible in hand.  These past

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11 Nov 2019

Review of ‘The Devil’s Music’ by Randall J. Stephens

Randall J. Stephens. The Devil’s Music: How Christians Inspired, Condemned, and Embraced Rock ‘n’ Roll. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2018. 337 pp. Hbk. ISBN 9780674980846.   Introduction Last year saw the publication of two landmark books about Christians and rock music: Gregory Alan Thornbury’s Why Should the Devil Have All the Good Music? Larry Norman and the Perils of Christian Rock (New York: Convergent) and Randall J. Stephens’s The Devil’s Music. The works complement

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07 Oct 2019

Withered Souls

“There comes a time when one must take the position that is neither safe nor politic nor popular, but he must do it because conscience tells him it is right.”[1] Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. What happens when one consistently ignores their conscience? What kind of damage might that do to a person or people group? These are questions Martin Luther King Jr. took up, specifically regarding white people. King recognized that from the

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15 Aug 2018

(Spoiler-Free) Book Review: The Underground Railroad

Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad is a beautiful and devastating novel that centers on Cora, a slave in mid-nineteenth-century Georgia, as she tries to escape to freedom. This book has been the recipient of plenty of awards, including the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. While I’m no literary scholar, this book seems to deserve the praise it’s received. The Underground Railroad doesn’t pull any punches. The first chapter begins with a harrowing depiction of the

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09 Jul 2018

The Book of Joy

The Book of Joy chronicles a series of conversations and interactions between two of the world’s great spiritual leaders. The Dalai Lama is the spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism and one of the world’s most recognizable spiritual icons. Desmond Tutu was the Archbishop of the Anglican Church in South Africa. He won a Nobel Peace Prize and played an integral role in helping the people of South Africa move past the era of apartheid. In

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16 Aug 2017

I Want a Solution

I Want a Solution    for Charlottesville, VA I want a solution but my mind offers platitudes maybe they’re enough to seal the gap the whistling cold the difference between yesterday and today in Charlottesville where others carry thoughts like a sickness that kills them first swinging their fever in censers anointing their steps with ash walking by them I try to keep quiet and pass unseen my easy answers held out of sight like

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06 Sep 2016

Dear White Christians, It’s Time for Us to Listen

Saying that the last few months in America have been horrific and tragic is an understatement. America is, once again, confronted with the needless deaths of innocent people. The racial tensions in America have been laid bare for all to see again, whether we acknowledge them or not. But where do we go from here? I want to say what so many have already said before, and are still saying today, but is all too

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07 May 2015

5 Mistakes White Folks Make When Discussing Race

The recent events in Baltimore and Ferguson, along with the killings of Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice, Walter Scott, Eric Garner and John Crawford III, have thrust the issue of race back into our public discourse. It is a discussion that needs to take place. It is a talk we must have. Unfortunately, discussions on race relations often devolve into shouting matches, tired cliches, and playing the “blame game.” Here, I would like to outline 5

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12 Mar 2015

Are you willing to cross that bridge? – A review of Selma

This past Sunday, as America commemorated the 50th anniversary of “Bloody Sunday” and the civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., I decided to take my 10-year-old daughter to see the film Selma. I am so glad I did. It was one of the most important and powerful films I have ever seen. I was brought to tears during the opening scenes of the film.   Selma opens

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