The Common Good
adapted from a Creative Commons licensed photo from Occupy Bellingham's Flickr p

The culmination of these knee-jerk responses to societal ills – economic-driven crime rates, drug use, terrorism-induced hysteria, etc. – has created police forces that increasing look at our citizens as the enemy, especially in black and brown communities. And, of course, our communities increasingly see the police the same way – as an occupying force.

Protests Aug.17. Photo courtesy Heather Wilson / PICO

To say nothing, to pray nothing … is to communicate that it’s not a big deal. To say nothing, to pray nothing … is to tell your congregants – especially your black congregants and others of color, “C’mon. You’re taking this too seriously. Suck it up."

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Rather than rally together as a family navigating a season of trauma, we have used this moment to divide, stir hatred and misunderstanding, point fingers, and more than anything, view those on the opposite side of an issue as less than human.

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Like many people with mood disorders, I fear people will think I’m crazy if I talk about it. ... But in a society that often stigmatizes mental illness and even therapy, talking about our struggles openly, and about how God continues to remain with us in them, may help others take steps toward getting the help they need.

Protestors march in Ferguson, MO. Image courtesy Heather Wilson/PICO.

Violence, anger, and confusion continues in Ferguson, Mo. Former Sojourners intern and current Digital and Creative Director for PICO Heather Wilson is reporting from the scene. We share it here as an important perspective in the ongoing unrest and confusion.

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When we find tragedy in the suffering of some and gloss over the suffering of another, we have strayed far from The Way of Jesus. Why is the Church standing with the Christians, who have largely made it out alive, and not the more numerous Turkmen who have been massacred or left in desert camps to die?

On The Blog

  • Over the past three weeks there have been four separate incidents that have led to the deaths of four unarmed black men at the hands of police. ... Each incident serves as a reminder that as a black man in America, my life holds little to no value in the eyes of the general public.
  • If military action needs to be taken to protect civilians from further ISIS aggression, it should be multilateral not unilateral. American leadership no doubt will remain important, but the authorization for any forceful measures must come from the Security Council.
  • As a Christian I march because of verses like Isaiah 1:17, which instructs us to, "learn to do good; seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow." and Proverbs 31:8-9, which states, "Speak out for those who cannot speak, for the rights of all the destitute. Speak out, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy."
  • We need to (re)learn to be more human. And most importantly, remind yourself that YOU are loved. Not just merely by your loved ones but also by the ONE who created all that is good and beautiful.
  • What I came to discover is how much the world craves a listening ear. The biggest problem I have with evangelizing is that you enter into a relationship with a prescribed intention, and that stands in the way of listening well.
  • The fact is, violence has not only failed to create stability, in many ways it has acted to exacerbate the situation of instability and injustice which fuels terrorism. Violence does not stop violence, instead it causes it to escalate like a wildfire burning out of control.
  • Unfortunately, American values are often completely in conflict with the Gospel of Jesus. We point to the Bible and use verses like Romans 13:1-7 to show that it’s actually God-ordained to submit to our governmental authorities and pay taxes, support our military, and proudly back our country’s actions. We obviously don’t think these same verses apply to other governments, other authorities, and especially not to our enemies’ empires. Surely Romans 13 wasn’t meant for dictatorships, communist regimes, and states that are unfriendly and uncooperative with the U.S. Citizens of those nations should revolt, rebel, and join our cause—that Biblical text is only applicable to an American government, in an American society, benefitting American citizens. Imagine how we would react if our faith in God superseded our national identity?
  • According to a recent LifeWay Research poll of 1,000 Protestant pastors, 74 percent misjudge how prevalent sexual and domestic violence is within their congregations.

In The Magazine

Featured Blog Series

Our newest blog series takes a deeper look at the hymns we sing on Sunday mornings. Do we realize how much worship imagery comes from God's creation? Take a look at our writers' expositions of popular worship songs. Read the series here