Category: Blog Posts

Is the Future Ecumenical or Parochial?

In the aftermath of World War II, ecumenically-involved Christian churches urgently mobilized to prevent World War III. Churches that believed they were following the commandment of Christ to love one another and to discern their God-given unity organized missions, social action, and dialogue as aspects of the modern ecumenical movement from about 1908 through World […]

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Evil and Ill? Yes but…

There is evil afoot as well as some kind of mental illness regarding gun violence in the U.S. On those points I agree with those who attribute America’s excessive gun violence to evil and mental illness. But I see very differently where the evil and mental illness are located. Americans kill each other with guns […]

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Speak Up Against White Christian Nationalism

The United States is not God’s chosen nation. The United States is a nation and not a church. These truths are under attack and responding to the attack needs the attention of every person who believes these two statements are true. White Christian nationalism is one of the greatest threats facing the U.S., and it […]

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What is the End Game?

From the day Vladimir Putin told his military to invade Ukraine, the world has been asking what is Mr. Putin’s end game. Is it to claim a couple of regions? Is it to make Ukraine a vassal state? Or is the end game much larger: all of Ukraine? Russia realigns the world through its use […]

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Ethics and Public Health

I think we should expect public health to be premised upon some version of utilitarianism, promoting the greatest good for the greatest number and minimizing pain and suffering. I think what we have seen is a principle of “my freedom” exercised without regard to the freedom of anyone else–as long as the freedom we’re talking about is the freedom to remain unmasked.

It was both disheartening and angering to see Christian pastors denigrating public health practices as secular tyrannies and attacks upon freedom. If Christian principles meant more, at least the way that Paul wrote about Christian principles, we would have seen much more concern for the weakest and most vulnerable. Instead, we saw and still see something that looks a lot more like Nietzsche’s world where are the strong scoff at the vulnerable. No person invoking religious principles should resonate.

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Help Me Plan Public Ceremonies of Grief and Lament

The most recent statistics are these. Worldwide, while the official death total is around 6 million people, it is estimated that up to 20 million people have died from COVID-19. In the United States, given that we have surpassed 900,000 official deaths, it is probably fair to estimate the total deaths from COVID exceed 1,000,000. […]

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Imperial Christianity Again

The following is an excerpt from Patriarch Kirill’s sermon on “Forgiveness Sunday” on the Orthodox Church calendar. For eight years there have been attempts to destroy what exists in the Donbass. And in the Donbass there is rejection, a fundamental rejection of the so-called values that are offered today by those who claim world power. […]

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History is Not Linear. It is Not Even Quite Cyclical.

Movements and ideas travel history in loops that end in different places from where they began. Sometimes the loops are virtuous and sometimes they are vicious. Today, I am afraid vicious loops are intensifying and tightening. We in the 21st century seem intent on repeating 20th century conflicts with the addition of climate destabilization, instantaneous […]

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The Immorality of Hidden Costs and Deferred Maintenance

In cities such as Tulsa and states such as Oklahoma, drivers are used to bouncing on the roads. Potholes, cracks, and crumbles are everywhere. When I drove Oklahoma’s roads often, every tie I owned was coffee-stained; taking a sip of hot coffee while encountering a pothole or heat-crack at 70 mph is not recommended. In […]

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What Good Does Punishment Do?

“I’m going to teach you a lesson!” exclaims an angry stranger who felt disrespected by another driver right before he pulls the trigger. Why do we punish? Even if we understand one person’s punishing behavior toward another person, why does a society punish? I am no expert on these questions. I invite you to ponder […]

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