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Already and Not Yet

Reflect on our role in God's restorative work, and recognize both renewal and continued brokenness. Be encouraged by stories of challenges and successes in the pursuit of shalom.

Believing the ‘Unbelievable’

This blog has references to sexual assault and trauma. 


Have you ever heard a story or seen something that seemed impossible, unimaginable, or incomprehensible to fathom even though you are told it is true? Perhaps you watched the video of the child who made their violin debut performance at the age of 3 or you heard the news story of the baby who was swept up in a tornado and survived. Perhaps over the Easter season, you are overcome again with wonder and puzzlement over the miracle of the birth, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ! 

The Person in Front of Me

Mother Teresa once said this: “I do not believe in the big way of doing things. I only believe in the person in front of me.”

Those words shape the life my wife Diane and I live. Eight years ago, we left a large church in a wealthy part of Aurora (part of the Denver metroplex) to go to the poorest part of Aurora and serve among the broken. No plan. We just went.

A Paradigm for Peace: Peacemaking in Disability Theology, Scripture, and Culture

In this digital space, I’ve written a good deal about how people with and without disabilities can embody equity in the church, in terms of inclusive and accessible activities and facilities, inclusive language, employment, housing, and still other topics. I felt as though it was necessary, recently, to write about war and peace.

They Don't Understand

“They don’t understand what it’s like, they’ve never been there.” 

Last week I attended a small town’s community dinner to talk to the regulars there, and this is what one lady said in response to a decision that the City Council had made not to support a specific service for the homeless.

I admitted to myself and to her that, in fact, I’ve never been in that place either – of needing to access a weekly free dinner, the food bank, or in serious danger of losing my home.

Lamenting the Plague of Whiteness

Editor's Note: The following post reflects on the concept of 'whiteness' - not a skin colour or race, but as an ideology that equates lighter skinned people with spiritual maturity and civilization, and then uses this ideology to harm both creation and other humans. We invite you to read it and reflect on how this kind of ideology may be present in your own life and community.

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A Ministry of Presence

Throughout history people have gathered together to create. From Moses recruiting Bezalel, Oholiab and other gifted craftspeople to furnish the Tabernacle in Exodus 36, to Paul and the other tent-makers forming communities to practice their trade in the New Testament times, to barn-raising and quilting groups, to Indigenous peoples creating body adornments and dance regalia together, to knitting clubs and paint nights: people in every culture and throughout time have come together to express themselves and their culture through creative arts.

Violence Against Christians: Degradation of the Sacred and the Holy in Jerusalem

Just this past week, I heard a colleague of mine - a missionary for an international Christian agency based in Jerusalem - tell how he was spat upon when coming out of a worship service in the Old City of Jerusalem. The story of priests and Christian leaders experiencing harassment, jeering, and even the throwing of stones is not new in the sacred Holy City. Unfortunately, the number of incidents has risen dramatically this past year, and the safety and security of local Christians living in the region has become increasingly at risk. 

Eternal Word and Changing Worlds

Since 2002, I have been intimately involved with Spirit and Truth Fellowship, a CRCNA church in the North Philadelphia neighborhood of Hunting Park.  Our late Pastor, Dr Manuel Ortiz, was a professor of Urban Mission at my alma mater, Westminster Seminary, and he often spoke to me and the other pastors in our community about his dear friend and mentor, Harvey Conn, who was also a professor of missions at Westminster.  In 1992, Dr Conn published a book called “Eternal Word and Changing Worlds,” and in this book he argued for the need to reevaluate our Western-centric approaches to

Mercy & Mishpat: A different approach to preventing human trafficking

Content warning: this post reflects on how society - mostly personal attitudes, but to an extent legal approaches - responds to and treats perpetrators of human trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation. I am not a survivor of trafficking or exploitation, so my reflections about these matters are from a distance. As someone who works closely with individuals who have been personally affected by these crimes, I make every effort to be sensitive to their victimization and experiences.

When I was 11 years old…

I prayed & I prayed 
Oh what I would trade
For blonde hair & blue eyes.
My innocent self thought maybe just maybe I wouldn’t have to carry this burden inside
The pain of dark skin and Distinct features
Made me think I was the sin
On my hands and my knees
My ignorant faith
Begged my Maker-pleeeeeaaasee
take away my own hate
 
When I was 11 years old
 
I could not understand
This Shame was given to me by the colonial

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