Important Disclaimer

Since I currently have several employers/supervisors/churches/etc., please know that none of the words on my blog represent them or their beliefs. This blog is my own creation.

It also does not represent my children's perspective, nor my mother's; they think I am funny, but misguided.
(Quick update: only my mother thinks I'm funny now.)

Friday, December 23, 2011

Leaning Into Discomfort

Yesterday on Facebook, Son of Baldwin posted a link to an essay by Ewuare X. Osayande: "Word to the Wise: Unpacking the White Privilege of Tim Wise."

If you are not familiar with Tim wise, he is a white man well known for his anti-racist speaking and writing. His book most people know best is White Like Me: Reflections on Race from a Privileged Son

Osayande offers a sophisticated critique of Wise's anti-racist work suggesting (among several critiques) that Wise's work displaces people of color, providing a more palatable stage presence (because he is white). The insistence that white people need a kinder, gentler explanation reinforces the stereotype that people of color are non-stop angry (dangerous), and enables white folk in their continued efforts (both individual and systemic) to maintain a racist structure that upholds the very white privilege Tim Wise speaks against.

No need to paraphrase more; go read Osayande's excellent essay.

Immediately after I posted the essay, a few folks got back to me through email and messages, objecting that there IS a need for a kinder, gentler explanation of white privilege and racism, and that we will not reach people with an anti-racist message if we make them uncomfortable.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Intimate Violence Collection of Posts

In October I blogged regularly about intimate violence, and a couple of people asked me for an easy way to access them. So here is a list of the posts, links to sermons I have preached in the past, and a guest post I wrote recently for @goannatree. Thank you for reading and interacting with me on this difficult subject.


"Light" (10/2/11)

"Four of Us" (10/4/11)

"Grandpa Jim" (10/6/11)

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


Twenty-five years ago, or so, I sat in my youth pastor's office eavesdropping on a conversation he was having with another student. They were discussing a book by Richard Foster called Celebration of Discipline: The Path To Spiritual Growth. I remember being fascinated by the discussion--they were talking about giving up material possessions as a spiritual practice--they were talking about guitars. I was so interested in the discussion that I asked to borrow the book. I doubt seriously I made it past the opening line: "Superficiality is the curse of our age."

I know I didn't get far, and I never finished it. Years later I bought my own copy in seminary, intending to finally get through it. It has remained on my shelf, unread. I confess that my nose wrinkles every time I pick it up and read a line. The word "discipline" has an unpleasant ring to my ears--I have worked hard to understand God apart from power and dominance. I suspect God has worked hard to manifest gently in my life.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Hospicing Churches: A Rant


Over the last few years I've heard a lot about dying churches. I've been pastoring a very small church with an aging congregation, so my vocational life has revolved around the question, "Can these bones live?"

At every gathering of pastors and church folk I've been to, there has been a discussion of whether small churches are dying. More than that, there has been an insistence that small churches should die--that at a certain point small churches suck the life out of the broader church, using up resources that could be "better" used to start new church developments and outreach programs. This conversation appears on twitter with startling regularity.