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Setting the Inner Compass – October 2020

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Reading poetry is one of the ways some of us nourish our faith, a way we set or reset our inner compass and stay focused on the big picture, on the spiritual journey. I know that is true for me. In this monthly column, Setting the Inner Compass I share some of the poems I find nourishing to the soul. November 1st is ALL SAINTS DAY, a day in the church year when we remember those who have gone before us. It is a day when I remember the women and men through whom the light of God shined on my life. When I talk about saints in this context, I am not talking about those canonized by the church. I am talking about those people through whom God’s light has shined on our life, on our path.

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6 Reasons Healthcare is a Christian Issue

Healthcare is once again in the public eye with the confirmation hearings of Amy Comey Barrett to be seated on the United States Supreme Court. In the past, she has sided with many conservatives to denounce the Affordable Care Act which protects people with preexisting conditions and allows people 26 years old and younger to stay on their parents’ insurance. We have also seen many people of faith (in our context we will focus on Christians) join conservative efforts to undermine the Affordable Care Act and to abolish it. Many reasons for these actions claim that it catapults us into a socialist model of governance, or it takes away our choices.

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White Allyship

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

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Thoughts from Inside a Siege

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

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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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  • 4 mins read

    It is far past time that people of the Christian faith show up for racial justice in our country especially since many churches and religious institutions have perpetuated racist systems. Christianity is a faith of love and justice, not one that should be tied to nationalism, tyranny, or systems of

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  • 11 mins read

    The story of the Canaanite woman infuriates me. Commentators and scholars, particularly male identifying ones, that focus on this woman’s persistence (which is notable) often make me wonder why we can’t hold Jesus accountable for his actions toward her? Breaking down this story we see that Jesus, after he gives

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  • 15 mins read

    I know you; you’re an ally. You read the books, you listen to the podcasts, and you wear the pins. I get it. (Here’s a secret — I have all the pins, too.) Recently, I was quarantine cooking and listening to the Queerology podcast, “On Performative Allyship and Black Joy,”

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  • 5 mins read

    As the call for racial justice for our Black siblings echoes throughout the country, it has not only hit large cities, but also small communities. Local ministry leaders are calling out racism and white supremacy within their own contexts. Jeff Moles, a Christian educator in Owensboro, Kentucky, recently submitted

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  • 7 mins read

    On any given Sunday morning these days, we gather around our laptops or phones, or gather in small, distant family groups in our churches’ sanctuaries to worship and to hear a word from God. In the context of our beautiful liturgical traditions, we are comforted by the familiar rhythm of

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  • 5 mins read

    As the pandemic continues to spiral out of control, it has consumed news media making little to no room for the fact that the US Justice Department has executed 3 men in the past couple of weeks. In the state of Tennessee, executions resumed in 2018 and has since executed

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  • 5 mins read

    Scattered throughout this country, both North and South, are statues and monuments dedicated to the remembrance of specific people in a specific time and place. For the South, it is quite common to stroll through a park and see the bust or a full figured cast of a man

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  • 21 mins read

    On a chilly day in February of this year, I was enjoying a delightful time with one of my daughters, replacing the radiator on her hand-me-down, 240,000 mile vehicle. Changing the radiator in the middle of my southwest Baltimore street made for some unexpectedly wonderful encounters. There was

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  • 42 mins read

    Initially, it seemed like small talk on a typical Sunday afternoon. That, at least, is what I imagined when I sat down at a round table with Treshawna Williams, LaChelle Rice, and Phyllis Scott in Reid Chapel, just outside the main sanctuary of the First & Franklin Presbyterian Church, in

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  • 5 mins read

    For many white folk, the image of Christ as a white man is normal. Portraits by the famous artist, Warren Sallman, hung is many white households instilling the image of the white Jesus in the minds of white church members. When a Google search is conducted to find images

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Our Country is in the Midst of Twin Pandemics

Our country is in the midst of twin pandemics. One, the coronavirus pandemic, is dominating headlines. The other is a nationwide spike in gun violence. Gun violence is up in cities across the country. On Independence Day Weekend, violence broke out in cities nationwide, including two shootings in my hometown of Dallas that left one dead and four wounded. That local violence has tragically continued since then. Summer violence is, sadly, an American tradition. Each summer, as the temperature goes up, so do incidents of gun violence. This year, if anything, is worse than usual. In June, murder and shootings increased in Chicago and New York despite falls in other kinds of crime compared to years past.

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CRISIS MINISTRY CAPACITY: Now is the time to build more of it.

“Don’t just do something, stand there.” The first thing to do in a crisis or even disaster is not to panic. This is not “fight, flight, or paralysis,” but steadiness, rooted in the inner security of faith. A national or international crisis is something that it helps to have a denomination to address, and an

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