Saturday, August 24, 2013

What Impedes the Dream Today?

This week marks the fiftieth anniversary of the transformative March on Washington and Martin Luther King's famed "I Have a Dream" speech. When King delivered that speech, segregation remained a legal and social reality--an overt expression of racial division that no one could deny, even if many still sought to justify it.

Today, legal segregation is gone. Today, we have a sitting president whose father was African. Today, I have a student in one of my classes who can assert with all sincerity that racial prejudice is "fading" from American society.

A lot has changed in fifty years, and although I don't share my student's optimistic assessment, I understand why he said it. The dividing lines of race--the sharp divides imposed and reinforced by "Whites Only" signs and Jim Crow laws and police enforcement--are no longer so stark. If you don't see something with the vividness that you used to, the term "faded" makes some sense.

But a faded image may be every bit as present as it ever was, even though its colors are less sharp.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

The Transforming Power of Grace Exemplified: The Case of Antoinette Tuff

A few months ago I offered the following remarks in a blog post, in answer to what Christians should think of Wayne LaPierre's idea that a good guy with a gun is the only thing that can stop a bad guy with one:

If there’s a common theme in Jesus’ ministry and message, it’s about a different way of responding to evil, to injustice, to violence, than the traditional human response of fighting fire with fire. Jesus’ life and death were a testament to this divine Third Way—a way that refuses to identify sin with sinners, evil with evil-doers, that insists on the possibility of redemption and seeks to transform a violent situation not by a final lethal stroke of violence, but by a creative act of love—even, if necessary, love that suffers unto death.  
As a response to evil, there’s an unbridgeable gulf between picking up a cross and picking up a gun.

Sardines, Beondegi, and Not-My-Kind-of-Sex: The Irrelevance of Gag Reflexes

A recent essay at the Gospel Coalition, by Thabiti Anyabwile (Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church of Grand Cayman in the Grand Cayman Islands), has garnered quite a bit of reactions from more progressive Christian writers.

This is not surprising. The essay, "The Importance of Your Gag Reflex When Discussing Homosexuality and 'Gay Marriage'", is striking in what it advocates. One might even say shocking. Anyabwile, with obvious sincerity and a sense of moral conviction, argues that conservative Christians should make more use of the following strategy when debating homosexuality and same sex marriage:

They should try harder to fire up and channel visceral disgust against same-sex activity. 

Monday, August 5, 2013

Family History

I'm in my childhood home for a few days, walking among the memories, the familiar paintings and photographs and objects laden with personal and family history. I'm here, perhaps, for the last time. My mother has decided it's time to move into a smaller space, into one of those independent living communities that's paired with a nursing home. We'll be looking at some of the options today.

Last night my mother shared some family history. I've heard pieces of it before, but as I lay in bed last night those pieces fell together in a new way, forming a story that dovetailed with a mood defined by my awareness of both history and impermanence.