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Unity

Violence erupted in a staid university town this weekend, and the symbolism of the white supremacists was startling. A Nazi swastika alongside the Confederate “stars and bars” was a mash-up, to be sure, and the U.S. flag was thrown in for good measure, as if all of this was mutually reinforcing. It is not; it […] Read More

The song “Ebony and Ivory” laments that, when played on the instrument of our lives, diversity is not easy. “Ebony and ivory live together in perfect harmony / Side by side on my piano keyboard, oh Lord, why don’t we?” the song’s refrain asks. We must work at it, and our first attempts often are […] Read More

I like the story of the man from the Northeast who was in the South for a conference. He went to a diner for breakfast and asked for eggs, sausage and toast. As the server brought the order, the man noticed a little white puddle on his plate. “What’s that?” he wondered. “Grits,” she replied. […] Read More

Christianity too often has been divided as a result of failing to emphasize unity amid its various faith expressions. Missiologist Paul Hiebert has offered a positive alternative, sketching out two ways to determine who should be considered a Christian. His concern was the new believer from a non-Christian background who, though desirous to follow Christ, […] Read More

A new word keeps showing up in the news describing radical Islamic groups – “takfÄ«r.” It’s the English transliteration of an Arabic word that means “to anathematize” or “to declare someone apostate or an infidel.” The ideology of takfÄ«rÄ« groups (for example, ISIS, al-Qaida and so on) draws a very tight circle around what is […] Read More

Our collective dismay and compassion for victims and for our human family in general is immediate and profound in the aftermath of such horrific events as the Orlando shooting. Some have observed that we as a society are more “together” than any other time in response to such things as 9/11, Sandy Hook, Charleston, the […] Read More

Today is the first anniversary of the shooting in Charleston, South Carolina. On June 17, 2015, nine black members of Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, including Pastor Clementa Carlos Pinckney, were gunned down by a visitor during a Wednesday night Bible study. Like many, I was horrified. My thoughts and prayers were with the victims […] Read More

The collegiality among auctioneers offers a model for Christian churches. I began conducting auctions several years ago, and it’s not uncommon for other auctioneers to attend my auctions. One of the things I always try to do is introduce any auctioneer who might be in attendance and ask them about upcoming auctions. They often do […] Read More

Christian churches have a grand opportunity in the United States from now through the year’s end. This presidential campaign is more raucous and polarizing than we’ve seen in some time. Christian disciples with very different political views find themselves part of the same congregation, making this quite a testing time when it comes to Christian […] Read More

Barbara Brown Taylor recounts in her book, “Leaving Church,” her time as a parish minister serving in rural Georgia. “In a big city they might have found homes in five markedly different parishes, but in a county with only one Episcopal church they learned to live together – the Yellow Dog Democrats, the National Rifle […] Read More