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4 Spiritual Practices for a More Just Lent

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Justice work constitutes more than simply reading a book or declarations on social media. Thinking about the work of justice must be backed, when pondered by people of faith, by a spiritual renewal and transformation. Soul work is critical to the work of compassion, empathy, equity, and loving justice. The season of Lent offers us a time in the Christian calendar to develop spiritual practices that aid in our work to bend the arch in the direction of a more beloved community. Lent is a time of repentance, a time of turning into one's self to correct our relationship with God and with the divine. Lent offers moments of confession that we may take into the entirety of our lives so that we may look into the ways we perpetuate systems of oppression that separate humanity from the glorious creations God created us to be, and correct those ways.

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Who Do You Love?

On this pandemic Valentine’s Day (or day after) I wanted us to really think about love. I know it seems cliche to have a post about love on this highly capitalistic holiday, but you know this will not be just the ordinary “love your neighbor” (Mark 12:31) kind of post. No, on this pandemic day of love I want us to question our love. I want us to really think about what we love and how it motivates us and where love is situated in all that we do. I was given the opportunity to preach virtually for a classmate’s congregation. It was quite unusual to record a sermon. Though my girlfriend was watching off video, there is something humbling about not being able to see expressions and reactions while having a conversation with others. I preached on this very subject with the sermon also titled, “Who Do You Love.”

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  • 8 mins read

    Like millions of Americans who paid attention in seventh-grade Social Studies class, I was acculturated to believe that I descend from God-fearing people who came to the United States to live in an environment of religious tolerance and healthy capitalism. In the mid-19th century, my great-great-grandparents moved from eastern Germany

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  • 15 mins read

    Reconciliation is at the heart of the Gospel—a core value and a central commandment we find woven throughout our sacred texts as Christians. The stories of Ishmael, Esau, Joseph, and other spiritual ancestors set the pace, and Jesus makes reconciliation central to the message of the Gospel. Jesus embodied reconciliation

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  • 17 mins read

    We are now a few weeks past the violent insurrection and attempted coup at the U.S. Capitol. If you are like me, your social media and text messages started pinging early in the afternoon on Wednesday, January 6, 2021. Around 1:45 pm, I started getting frantic messages from friends and

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  • 7 mins read

    In 1967, Canadian radio invited Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to give a series of lectures on the issues he considered most pressing at the time. One such issue was the world's place in the conscience and social responsibility of youth. This series of lectures was then

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  • 4 mins read

    2020 has been some kind of year. We have experienced a pandemic, racial injustice, environmental disasters, massive amounts of death, and political unrest. So the new year, 2021, is a welcoming sight in the distance that many in our world are finding hope within. But as the pandemic rages, specifically

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  • 14 mins read

    I spent the summer of 1994 being trained as a chaplain at the largest Level I trauma hospital in Atlanta. I was twenty-three when I began the program. At that point I had only peripherally met one person who I knew was HIV-positive, and I questioned if my life experience

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  • 13 mins read

    In tossing a coin, the possibility of either heads or tails remain equally viable options as the coin remains suspended in midair. In this moment, there is no way to be sure which way the coin will fall. However, the moment the coin lands on heads, the possibility of its

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  • 14 mins read

    Before I became the Gun Violence Prevention Ministry Coordinator with the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship, I volunteered as a restorative circle facilitator at an elementary school. This elementary school was located in an area with the highest level of childhood poverty in the state and the highest level of violence in

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  • 5 mins read

    The Latin American community is not a single monolithic group; instead, it reflects the diversity of the continent’s colonization and is part of our past and present. Today in the United States, the Latin community demonstrates racial diversity and distinctive heritages. The native population is still strong with their traditions

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  • 11 mins read

    Many people have begun to head to the polls to vote. Some will wait until November 3rd to cast their votes. Today is a great time to talk about what it means to be an ally. Voting is one of the biggest ways people show their alliance and allyship. As

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  • 9 mins read

    I am not a radical. At least, I don’t think I am. What I am is a very mainstream pastor of a very mainstream Presbyterian congregation in Louisville, Kentucky. I know that there are many mainstream, non-radical people who are seeing news of the ongoing protests against racial injustice directed

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  • 14 mins read

    A lot has transpired between the Week of Action and my partaking in the Young Adult Round Table. It is 2020 and to say that so much happens in a day, in a week, is now normal. Lately it seems extra heavy and unbearable. Where I feel numb, I also

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Abolition and the Cross: Reimagining Society and Salvation through Restorative Justice

I was recently at a book club facilitated by Abolition Apostles, a Christian abolitionist ministry, where we discussed the book The Fall of the Prison: Biblical Perspectives on Prison Abolition by Lee Griffon. Micah Herskind, a Public Policy Associate at the Southern Center for Human Rights and a Christian abolitionist, led that day’s session and said something that has stayed with me since. He was speaking about retributive justice and its connection to the Christian faith and said, “Do we believe in prisons because we believe in Hell or do we believe in Hell because we believe in prisons.”

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Hallowed but not Sacred: An Epiphany of Capitol Violation

Moderate and progressive Christians have always found it hard to take Donald Trump seriously as a false messiah, much less an actual one. In the name of Trump, some 1000 or so extremists invaded and occupied the Senate and House chambers for several hours on January 6, prompting many Republicans and Democrats to refer to those sites as “sacred” spaces that had been desecrated by force and vandalism. For some, democracy may itself be sacred, by which they mean of highest value. The ritual of publicly counting the electoral votes from the states was thus a sworn duty that was interrupted. Such public ceremonies are

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