White Moderates and Moderate Baptists: Moderateness as Betrayal of the Gospel

I wrote this for the National Association of Baptist Professors meeting in May at Belmont University in Nashville, TN (May 2017), and have since had a few people ask for it, so I decided to post it in a blog format.  This is a modified version. I admit, it’s a bit scary, and I know this isn’t perfect, but I hope it sparks discussion.

In his 1963 “Letter from a Birmingham Jail”, Martin Luther King Jr. criticizes the “white moderate,” identifying them as feeling empathy toward the Civil Rights Movement, but not acting upon it.  King’s “white moderate” compares to contemporary white Baptists who claim (or, who embody) the title “moderate.” By putting the two in conversation, I argue that moderateness perpetuates a status quo that does not reflect the gospel. Continue reading “White Moderates and Moderate Baptists: Moderateness as Betrayal of the Gospel”

An Advent Prayer

I did the Advent prayer for my church this past Sunday for Advent 4 (Peace). I thought I would share it with you.

Holy God,

This 4th Sunday of Advent we light the candle of peace,

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Image source

 

But inside our hearts ache.

They ache for Aleppo

They ache for Yemen

They ache for the deep divisions in our country

They ache for our neighbors and our families.

At times, we don’t feel peace within our hearts,

With the pressures of our world crashing up against us

peace seems to be an allusion.

Lord, hear our lament, hear our confession, and hear our prayers.

We are reminded by Jeremiah that your peace is established by justice,

And that your justice came in the form of a poor baby in the Middle East

Who turned the world right side up*

And gave us a new vision of peace.

As we wait in advent, longing when this peace will fully be realized,

Let us recognize the Spirit you gave us

To continue your work of peace today.

And remind us

That our hearts are not at peace, until found in you, o God**

Amen

 

 

*I first heard this phrase is attributed to my preaching professor. Dr. Mike Graves, at St. Paul School of Theology.

**This is an allusion to Augustine’s Confessions, where he says “Our hearts cannot rest until found in you, O Lord.”

 

A Theology of the Cross: A post on Reformation Day

While I’ve always loved Halloween, it was only until I was in college that I learned it was also Reformation Day. Reformation Day commemorates Martin Luther’s nailing of his 95 theses to the door of the Wittenberg Church, in part to protest the sale of indulgences. This is often perceived as the start of the Protestant Reformation.[i]  Continue reading “A Theology of the Cross: A post on Reformation Day”

On Julian of Norwich

Recently, Dr. W. Travis McMaken at Lindenwood University, where I’m currently adjuncting, asked if we could have a conversation on Julian of Norwich, who features prominently in my research. I said sure, and it’s now on Youtube.

This year, I’ve presented three papers on Julian of Norwich, comparing her theology to Augustine (AAR Midwest); Anne Dutton (NABPR); and Paul Fiddes (Young Scholars in the Baptist Academy). All of these figures speak about theosis, though not as we may expect.

There are many things I appreciate about Julian.  She is a theologian, teacher, and a pastor. Her writings articulate her care for her community, her awe of God, and her desire to express the Triune God’s extravagant love to a people whose parents had witnessed the plague; whose church had been less than trustworthy, and whose leaders were intent on maintaining the status quo.

Here’s the video:  Continue reading “On Julian of Norwich”

Sabbath and Labor Day

It’s that time of year when we think about our work and how our work connects with our faith. This is something I’ve often pondered. In what ways do our jobs affect our participation in our faith communities? In what instance may the participation in a faith community may be an economic privilege?

Continue reading “Sabbath and Labor Day”

No one is an island

I’ve been reflecting upon John Donne’s “Meditation 17” quite a bit lately, so I thought I’d portions of it with you. John Donne was an English poet living in the late 1500s-early 1600s. From my understanding, the church bells were rung upon someone’s illness or death. His “Meditation 17” is mentioned by both Ernest Hemingway and Metallica. I’m changing some of the language to reflect inclusive language.

Continue reading “No one is an island”

A Prayer After the Pulse Shooting in Orlando

After the shooting at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, FL, I, like several white straight Christians, struggled to respond. Here’s my imperfect prayer following this tragedy, stemming from my own context. Below are some helpful resources that have guided my prayers. Please note: this will be edited to include additional resources below. Please feel free to recommend any additional resources. 

Oh God,

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Our hearts are broken.

Our world is broken. Continue reading “A Prayer After the Pulse Shooting in Orlando”