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    Four Reminders for Christians re. the Would-Be Justice and Justice

    1.     Truth is relevant.  A prominent Christian said this week that whether or not a pro-life nominee for the highest court of justice in the USA attempted to rape someone is “not relevant.” But let us be clear: whether the nominee attempted rape is indeed relevant. And the question of relevancy is not just a political issue; it is a moral issue. Let me begin by saying we do not know if the candidate is being falsely accused for political purposes. If he is innocent, he must be vindicated, and those who accuse him must face grave consequences for bearing false witness, a great evil.   But if the nominee actually did what he is…

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    Somebody, Turn on the Lights

    “The people walking in darkness see a bright light; light shines on those who live in a land of deep darkness.” Isaiah 9:2 NET I rarely see bright-eyed children in Christmas dresses and or plaid vests singing, “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” in a Sunday school program. The somber tone hardly seems appropriate for the joy of a children's Christmas pageant. This advent hymn focuses on a somber, troubled world waiting for the Messiah. Advent used to have little meaning for me, as a child. Instead, I looked forward to spreading buttercream frosting on Christmas cookies, singing “Silver Bells,” decorating a fragrant Douglas fir and opening crimson foil-wrapped gifts. But red foil…

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    Where is our Hope?

    Injustice. Anger. Murder. Mourning. (Repeat.) It seems the newsfeeds do not change—same story, just different day and different city. Additional protests lead to counter protests: #BlackLivesMatter, #WhiteLivesMatter, #AllLivesMatter. Confusion and anger fuels more anger. I read and watch social media posts and videos from various viewpoints. It disappoints me that many posts are full of blame, anger, should-haves, and could-haves. And so the cycle continues… Injustice. Anger. Murder. Mourning. (Repeat) Blame and anger are normal stages in the grief process. But it seems many people stay in those stages and never move forward. Why? They want justice. They want vengeance. Many simply want change, change for the better. And so…

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    Human Trafficking: You Can Help

    Today I'm happy to introduce a terrific guest blogger—my friend Kim Jones, who has a passion for the issue of human trafficking. Human trafficking is one the biggest human rights issues of our day. More than 20 million people are currently enslaved. This is more than at the time of transatlantic slave trade. Women, men, girls, and boys are bought and sold throughout our world. Individuals are trafficked for forced labor, domestic work, and for sexual exploitation. Those who have been trafficked for labor or domestic work many times suffer sexual exploitation by their employers. Those at risk of trafficking are typically at the margins of society with little hope.…

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    Child Marriage and the Christian

    About one in every three girls worldwide becomes a bride before the end of her seventeenth year, and one girl in nine marries before age fifteen.[1] Many countries have passed laws outlawing child marriages, but often communities ignore the law. Child marriages disrupt education, limit girls’ economic potential, and correlate with high levels of sexual abuse and violence. Early marriage is also associated with increased rates of maternal and infant mortality. All of this perpetuates the cycle of poverty, reinforcing it, and making it hard to escape, and ultimately contributing to regional instability. And that’s where we come in. Christians can do much to change attitudes and practices at a…

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    An Open Letter to the New York Times Editorial Board: Maybe There Is a “Why” for ISIS and Evil?

    From “The Fundamental Horror of ISIS” 10-2-14:  "Comparisons are meaningless at this level of evil, as are attempts to explain the horror by delving into the psychology or rationale of the perpetrators…as Roger Cohen, the New York Times columnist, wrote in a recent piece about ISIS, there is no “why” in the heart of darkness." (“Yet, in the end, there is no why to the barbarism of ISIS. There is no why in Raqqa. Evil may adduce reasons; they fall short.”–Cohen)—New York Times Editorial Board    Dear Editorial Board,   I commend your tacit admission that none of the usual subjects can explain the YouTubed beheadings, the systematic rape of…

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    Stepping from the Shadows

    His dark shadow looms in the distance—heart pounding with trepidation and grief. He saw in the sacred pages that something like this would happen. So he made the proper plans. Now he must step from the shadows, stand, and speak. His simple but significant act is recorded in all four of the gospels. Yet somehow we often overlook him during Passion Week. Joseph of Arimathea spent much of his discipleship in secret. He enters the cross scene at the last second, securing the Savior’s body just as the Sabbath descends upon Jerusalem. His final act fulfills prophesy and finishes the sovereign plot. It’s easy to rush over this part of…

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    IF: the (mostly) under-40’s rock at their first un-conference

    The 1200-seat Austin Municipal Auditorium sold out in under an hour. So they offered live streaming to anyone with a computer. And from around the world 20,000 more registered, many of those inviting friends and even churches full of women. It was as IF the organizers had blown a giant whistle and thousands had come running…to what no one was exactly sure. Not even the organizers.   But here is my hunch: In Bird by Bird: instructions on writing and life Ann LaMott says that “Having a great narrator is like having a great friend whose company you love, whose mind you love to pick, whose running commentary totally holds…

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    Justice is Social

    My friend Célestin lost six family members, including his brother, in the Rwandan genocide. One day a man came to Célestin to be baptized wearing a shirt he recognized as having belonged to his deceased brother. When Célestin asked about it, the man said his relative killed the guy who wore it. Célestin wanted to drown this person instead of baptizing him. But he remembered that Jesus died for both of them. Today Célestin and that man he baptized—the brother of his own brother’s murderer—serve together as ministry partners. Célestin went on to write his doctoral dissertation on forgiveness, coauthoring the book Forgiving As We’ve Been Forgiven: Community Practices for Making…

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    “The New Mantra of Revenge: Unfriend”

    Also posted on the web: “Dealing with a Mean Mother: Is an Obituary the Best Revenge?” “Revenge of the Gossip Girls” “Oscar Wilde once said: The greatest cruelty we can do unto others is not to hate them but to ignore them. That’s my form of revenge.”  What's yours? For me…   …it's the silent treatment. I’m fairly sanguine, don't think of myself as a Make-em-Pay kind of person. But when I’ve been wounded, if I respond out of weakness, rather than God’s strength, that’s my temptation—retreat  and pull up the drawbridge.    On the one hand the desire to punish and take revenge “…far from being merely a fallen…