The Common Good
Nelson Mandela's cell on Robben Island, Photo by Konrad Glogowski / Flickr.

I found a quote by Mandela when I visited the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg about how “the cell” drove him much deeper into his interior life. I think his words are a good reflection for us as we choose our elected leaders next week and reflect on the leadership, or lack thereof, in our present society.

I was browsing an elaborate Halloween store and came across an aisle of religious-oriented costumes. There were the usual ones: nun, rabbi, priest. And one I’d never seen before. Yes, you can go Trick-or-Treating as Jesus this year. There is a Jesus costume.

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To question well requires doubt. If we do not experience a deep sense of uncertainty as to how the question we are asking may or may not be answered, then we are not, I would argue, in full exploration of the question.

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We still must answer the question “Why?” but now we can begin to recognize that the answer is bigger than any individual. Until we understand how big the problem is we will never have the resources to solve the problem.

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At this moment in our nation’s story when the twisted soul of America is being revealed through the daily deaths of black men at the hands of officers carrying guns and unconscious bias, Black-ish should not be consumed: It should be administered by intravenous intervention.

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If the church in the U.S. were a communion (a united community) in lived reality, then whole white churches would weep with us and march with us and push the powers toward justice with us. Or at least they would enter into conversation with us in order to understand. Then we would have a hope of the whole body rising together to stand against the powers and say, “No!”

On The Blog

  • The more I studied the “perfect” word of God, the more I expected that doctrine would become clear and consistent, the authors exemplary, and the stories contain distinct and readily discernible meanings.
  • I’ve found D.C. to be far beyond the House of Cards-meets-Cherry Blossom Festival sketch beloved by press and many residents alike. In my daily experience, D.C. is collaborative, generous, and deserving of accolades in ways that continually surprise.
  • Given these interpretations of the theology found in the Left Behind series I would like to take the conversation to the next level. What has not yet been said in any blog that I have read is that premillennial dispensationalism is an elitist theology.
  • Dr. Kim makes the crucial point here — the current Ebola outbreak is much more than a public health crisis — it is an inequality crisis.
  • When we talk to each other, we grow more room for more solutions and more justice. This is the opposite of the scarcity mindset; it is the resolute belief that collaboration multiplies resources available to meet the challenges of our modern days.
  • I agree with Bill Maher and Sam Harris that we have to criticize bad ideas. But the “mother lode of bad ideas” doesn’t come from Islam. That’s an arrogant claim that will only kindle the spirit of violence and scapegoating in us. The “mother lode of bad ideas” is scapegoating violence.
  • The headlines and talk shows are dominated by the response ISIS. To be clear, this group readily uses fanatical and brutal actions to achieve its radically exclusive vision. The images they skillfully project are like violent, X-rated video games made real. No wonder that many react to this horror with chills going down their spines. But there is something that worries me more: the ongoing Ebola crisis.
  • Hearing U2's album October for the first time set my life on a trajectory that continues to this day: finding God in the places some people say God isn't supposed to be; looking for the truly sacred in the supposedly profane; discovering the kind of unmatched inspiration and spiritual elation elsewhere in culture that I had found that day in Rob's living room.

In The Magazine

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