The Disinherited

It’s said that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. travelled with a copy of Howard Thurman’s seminal book, Jesus and the Disinherited. “Considering the generations-long relationships between the King and Thurman families, Martin likely had the message of these pages etched on his heart,” writes Vincent Harding in the book’s forward.

I’ve been marinating on this book since November’s book club, and keep coming back to its central question, a haunting one which hides itself in the book’s title.

I’ll get to that question in a minute.

Continue reading “The Disinherited”

Church & Frenemies

Mars Hill Reflection 4

WEEK 4

Maybe you are too – but I’m getting a little tired of Mark Driscoll. It has been a great prompt for conversation and writing about the church in context, culture, and gender, but unless the final two episodes bring something new to the table, this will be my last related post, and I promise to barely talk about him.

Continue reading “Church & Frenemies”

Church & Culture

Mars Hill Reflection 2

I’ve found myself in an ongoing podcast series called The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill, centered on pastor Mark Driscoll and the Seattle based, now defunct megachurch called Mars Hill.  This is the second post, but I recommend reading the first before you go on.

Should followers of Jesus be influenced by culture? What about the church as a whole?

What even is culture? There are a dozen definitions but as a lifelong church kid, the one I’m reflecting on today is one that was never spoken, but always implied: “Anything outside the church.” We were warned against culture and the insidious influence it could have on our morality and beliefs. We were to protect ourselves from cultural influences and stick to the Bible. We didn’t need to understand the intermediate 2000 years of church history or the world around us because we were (as non-denominational independents), uninfluenced by it.

Oh, and one more thing we didn’t speak about: the notion that we ourselves were a culture.

More on that from Mars Hill:

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Church & Context

Mars Hill Refection 1

I’ve been captivated by an ongoing podcast series called The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill, centered on pastor Mark Driscoll and the Seattle based, now defunct megachurch called Mars Hill.  The creator and host, Mike Cosper said that there would be 12 episodes in total; I’m writing this after the 6th.

I found myself in this story in unexpected ways – not as much in the wild ride that is Mark Driscoll – but more in the surrounding context that allow churches like Mars Hill to thrive and quietly ignore warning signs. If you haven’t heard the podcast, skip these posts because I won’t make much effort to summarize. Rather than simply “review” the podcast I decided to incorporate some of my personal church journey as well – and ask a few questions along the way.

What was your experience listening to this podcast series?

What parts of your story connected to this one?

Continue reading “Church & Context”

Homegoing: Out of the Center

“The white man’s god is just like the white man. He thinks he is the only god, just like the white man thinks he is the only man.” –Ma Aku, from Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

Homegoing’s beautiful journey widens the canvas of history and offers me another chance to consider a world that I am not the center of. Yaa Gyasi’s novel connects generational stories from the heart of West Africa to America and back — with a long view of history. I loved reading it, and was affected by it in ways that are worth reflecting on: taking a wider view of history allows us to decenter ourselves.

Continue reading “Homegoing: Out of the Center”

Whose Heritage?

[based on research by Southern Poverty Law Center]

This was originally published a few years ago but recent events – repeated events – are causing me to dig in again, and I know many of you are too. When I take the short-view of Race in America – this week, this year, this decade – I respond with words like, “Shocked”, “Surprised”, and “Where did this come from?”.  With those responses, I no longer need to tell you my skin is white. You already know. 

Because none of this is a surprise to People of Color, as I’m hearing time and again.  My surprise doesn’t mean it wasn’t happening, it means I wasn’t listening. The re-post below (with some editing) written after a 2017 Unite the Right rally at a confederate memorial in Charlottesville, shows but a few more strands that look different when seen as part of the whole.  At least, I went into it thinking it was only a few strands… Continue reading “Whose Heritage?”

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