I have seen many examples of people — especially Christians, and especially pastors — sneering over the trend toward political correctness with more than a hint of condescension. They do this as they go on with their careers in telling everyone else what’s important in life. And this is a problem.
Opposition to political correctness is basically stating: “I’m right, and I don’t want you to tell me that I’m wrong.” It’s saying “I have the full understanding of what’s good and what’s bad, and I don’t have anything to learn from you.” And it’s saying “I fully understand what other people’s situations have been and what should or shouldn’t offend them.” Ultimately, opposition to political correctness is opposition to being corrected.
The people who take this stance are generally not at all offended by systems that neglect and disenfranchise people, or by the words of others which actively undermine the respect and humanity of certain people. These same people are often TERRIBLY offended by anything they perceive to be mocking God or mocking anything that aligns with their interpretations of scripture. This is interesting, because being God, he does not actually need to be defended. Conversely, people frequently need very much to be defended. People are the ones at risk of (and routinely subject to) being harmed, killed, abused, oppressed and silenced. God doesn’t need our defense. People do.
I wonder if people like this are not actually defending “God” as much as they are defending their own worldviews, and their right to do as they see fit —as gatekeepers of truth. But do we not think that the God who “so loved the world” is terribly offended when people are demeaned, disrespected, injured and subject to injustice? It’s as if the same people who hold up signs reading “God Died for Mankind” also think that being super spiritual means no longer being concerned about mankind.
The second half of John 10:10 states “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” The phrase “to the full” implies that Jesus is not simply talking about life after death. Scripture doesn’t make mention of some people have “super full life” versus “less full life” in heaven. Jesus wants us to have life, and have it to the full. So what is the opposite of that? The first half of the verse states “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.” These are the very things humans do to each other. On earth. In human situations and human systems and human relationships and human interactions. The poor are stolen from by autocracies and injustices, people are killed by angry humans and by words (Matthew 15:22), and people are destroyed both internally and externally by the refusal of others to stand against the aims of the enemy.
And make no mistake, the fact that someone is a Christian in no way limits their ability to act in line with the enemy’s intentions. Every time we disregard someone’s health, someone’s welfare, someone’s quality of life, we are acting in line with the enemy. We are partnering with him in stealing, killing and destroying. “Anyone who isn’t working with me is actually working against me.” Matthew 12:30 NLT. And “working” is just that: work. When people are fighting battles for their own freedom and humanity and we choose to uninvolve ourselves with those battles, we are choosing not to work with the love of God. We are “actually working against” him.
So perhaps instead of working so hard at telling other people to believe the same things we do, we should work with God against the schemes of the destroyer, who seeks not only to keep us from God, but also to take as much as he can from our lives on earth. We should be working to bring the opposite of stealing: generosity to all, and the opposite of killing: flourishing life for our fellow creations (Isaiah 55:10-11), and the opposite of destroying: creation, provision and opportunity.
If we are disinterested in the level of respect and equality given to those Jesus died for, I question whether our priorities might be further from God’s than we realize. And seeking opportunities to provide basic human respect and consideration through the option of political correctness is one of the easiest ways to show that we are not scornful of the wellbeing of God’s creation.
Megan Mercier is an author and homeopath living in Madison, Wisconsin. She writes the fantasy series The Innerland Chronicles and other fictions under the name Windy Phillips, and also passionately writes, speaks and advocates on the topics of abuse, feminism, and the Church's responsibility. Follow her on Twitter @nutmegisme and her blog at sherlocktam.blogspot.com. She owns and runs Freedom Homeopathy during her spare time as a single mom.“
Transitions are hard—especially transitions that involve leaving and saying goodbye.
I hate saying goodbye. I’m not sure I know anyone who likes saying goodbye. My grandfather used to cry at every goodbye and it was heartbreaking to witness. I started to loathe goodbyes and tried to avoid the pain that came with them. I would “Irish goodbye” and just sort of disappear when the party was still going. This was so much easier. I didn’t have to worry about making anyone sad or wonder if people would miss me as much as I missed them. When it’s over it’s over; just slip away. No muss, no fuss.
Except while this avoids pain in the moment, it really isn’t fair to anyone. It doesn’t give people the chance to honor the relationship or experience that has been. Sometimes saying hard things and feeling difficult emotions are important. They provide a sense of closure so you can move on and fully step into the next new thing.
I have known I would be leaving the Slate Project and stepping down as co-pastor for some time now. Until now, June 2017 felt sooo far away. Now it is almost here. June 3rd will be my last day. #SlateSpeakITF will be my last event. And the preceding week will be my last time participating in #SlateReads and #SlateSpeak, at least for a time.
There needs to be a season when my absence is felt, so I can move on and so the community can move on. There may be a new co-pastor at some point and room needs to be made for that person. I will have a new community to serve and I need time to get to know them and they to know me as we start to build our new life together.
It is a very strange thing to feel joy and grief at the same time; to be both happy and sad. I feel like Dolly Parton in Steel Magnolias, “Laughter through tears is my favorite emotion.” The both/and-ness of this time is overwhelming, but much as I/we may want to, we can’t ignore it.
It has been an honor to be a part of this community and serving as one of its pastors has been one of the most fulfilling experiences of my life. The relationships I have formed in the Slate Project have been so dear to me and the thought of us not being in each other’s lives is heartbreaking. But, that is where the notion that our relationships will be changed, not ended, is a huge comfort. The ministry we have engaged in is God’s ministry, and even as we part, we remain members of the Body of Christ.
Monday May 29th will be my last BreakingBread. During that service and during that week’s #SlateReads and #SlateSpeak there will be a time for saying goodbye and releasing each other from the pastor/community of faith relationship. We will send each other forth into our new ministries, offering gratitude and thanksgiving for what has been and praying encouragement and blessings on what will be. I will be absent from the online community for at least a year, after which my hope is to rejoin you as a member of the community in the summer of 2018.
I will forever be grateful for the time when the Slate Project was my home. I pray God will continue to use it to share God’s radical love with the world.
May God guide us all as we continue to discern what it means to follow Jesus together and love one another as God loves us.
The Rev. Dr. Sara Shisler Goff is priest, writer, artist, activist, human being, and co-founder of @theslateproject. Starting in August Sara will be the chaplain at Seabury Hall, a independent Episcopal college preparatory school on Maui, Hawaii.
Originally published on sojo.net.
I was serving as associate pastor to a small church in southern Wisconsin, just a year out of seminary, and I couldn't get out of bed. I slept all the time. I couldn't eat. I couldn't see any future ahead of me. I was filled with a despair I couldn’t put into words. My primary care doctor diagnosed me with anxiety-related depression. It was 2011.
There was no way I could tell anyone about this diagnosis. Forget talking about it in regular conversation — I'm a pastor, for God’s sakes, a leader in the Christian church. I couldn’t be dealing with this. I needed to man up, I told myself — I’d get tough, and pull myself out of this nightmare.
“Demons” have never been part of my religious vocabulary. Growing up in a fundamentalist Christian community, spending my teens as an agnostic, then becoming a Lutheran pastor, at every turn, my faith journey made me wary of terms like that. I mean, it wasn’t like I was living in a scene from The Exorcist, right?
But ever since I began walking with depression, that term has taken on new meaning. Depression lies to me. It is relentless. It tells me I will always feel this way, that I’m not deserving of help, that I am a burden, a waste — that my life is thoroughly hopeless. The demon of depression tells me that this is my fault. It tells me that I am utterly alone.
Mark’s gospel, in particular, depicts numerous instances in which a demon is present. The possessed person is often blamed for this, but Jesus never uses that logic himself. He doesn’t condemn a possessed person for their reality, and he doesn’t tell them to just get over it. Jesus does what Jesus does: He heals them.
To read the rest of the article click here.
Originally published on sojo.net.
They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. (Acts 2:42-47)
One of the first things that happened as the church was born that first Pentecost, 2000 years ago, is that Christians started sharing everything they had. They worshipped in their homes. The gospel was lived out of dinner tables and living rooms.
Scripture says, “No one claimed any of their possessions were their own, but they shared everything they had ... and there were no needy persons among them … They put their offerings at the feet of the apostles, and they were distributed as people had need [and] there were no needy persons among them.”
This witness has so much to teach our world.
In contrast, it was the ethic of the early Christians that no one had a right to more than they need while others have less. Basil the Great said, "When someone steals another's clothes, we call them a thief. Should we not give the same name to one who could clothe the naked and does not?"We are living in a time of unprecedented economic disparity between the rich and the poor, the haves and the have-nots. Masses live in poverty so that a handful of people can live as they wish. The world’s three richest people own more than the combined economies of 48 countries. The average CEO in the U.S. is making 335 times the average worker.
To read more click here.