The Pastoral Is Political: Remembering Dr. Vincent Harding

This week I am remembering the home-going of Dr. Vincent Harding, who died on May 19th, 2014 at the age of 82.  Historian, Freedom Movement activist and visionary, teacher, husband, father – Dr. Harding was a beloved mentor to many. And to me. I met him at Iliff School of Theology in 2006, where by… Read More

The Pastoral is Political: The Ministry of Never Forgetting

Today, April 24, 2017, marks both Holocaust Remembrance Day and the 102nd anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. For me, remembering the Armenian Genocide is personal.  My grandfather survived this genocide as a six-year-old.  His harrowing description of the events go beyond what any person should have to observe in their lives – let alone a… Read More

The Pastoral Is Political: Putting Earth Day on Our Plate

Sometime after the beginning of Lent 2016 — it was precisely February 21, 2016 — a banner ad caught my attention with this invitation: Go Vegan For Lent That word “vegan” scared me. “Vegan” sounded extreme — strict — restrictive. I clicked through anyway. The pastor in me wondered what vegan had to do with… Read More

Pastoral is Political: Who Will Pay?

Without subsidies, they will not be able to afford to keep him at home. His daughter shrugged and said that it will end up costing the government more to put him in a nursing home, because he has no financial resources. “What’s the sense in that?” she asks me. “If we keep him at home, it will cost one-third to a half of the monthly cost of a facility.”

I have no answers. Read More

Not an “Issue”

One of the hardest parts about being a person of faith committed to justice is when basic human dignity is made a political issue. Transgender people are not an “issue,” and their humanity is not up for debate. Transgender people, like all other people, are human beings, created in the image of God, deserving of… Read More

The Pastoral is Political: Christ is Lord

In recent months, the doctrine of Christ’s Lordship has frequently come to mind… especially as it was emphasized in a time when dictatorships were on the rise in Europe. An example of this is seen in the Barmen Declaration, a document written in Germany in 1934 by Karl Barth, Hans Asmussen, and Thomas Breit. The Barmen… Read More

The Pastoral is Political: Please, Call Me Out

He doesn’t come to worship every week. He shows up randomly. He sits in the back. But we’re a small church, and from up front, four steps up on that chancel no less, I can see everything. Sometimes I remind the congregation, especially on mornings when they’re all studying their feet or sharing snacks in… Read More

The Pastoral Is Political: We Shine Brighter Together

I serve a tiny church. It was once a center of activity for a German immigrant community. Later, it was a neighborhood center. Now it is a small band of committed people. There is diversity in these people. We have people whose ancestors come from Africa, Europe, East Asia, and also the Caribbean and Central… Read More