News

Politics as an Approximation of the Kingdom of God and Politics as Baal

Posted on Oct 31, 2019

As a Christian pastor I am as dismayed and grieved as anyone about the political divisions of our present day in America which are rending churches, families, relationships and communities. In face of this concern I offer a distinction between politics as an approximation of the kingdom of God and "Politics as Baal," to use the phrase of Will Campbell and James Holloway in their 1970 book, Up to Our Steeples in Politics

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I, too, Sing America

Posted on Oct 31, 2019

After 28 years of living in this country, I recently became a United States citizen. For most people born into privilege, it is difficult to fathom what this means and how difficult this journey often is. While every immigration story is different and everyone's process may not take as long as mine, each immigrant I know - documented or undocumented - has tread some path "through the blood of the slaughtered" to be here. My story is no different.

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Two Baptist Women, Two Baptist Churches: Baptist Freedom at Work

Posted on Oct 31, 2019

The churches are far apart geographically, and the stories are separated by 20 years. Yet they share much in common--the ordination of Silvia Nogueira and the call of Erica Grace Saunders to serve as pastor.

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In Solidarity with Refugees

Posted on Oct 11, 2019

While the Alliance of Baptists' board of directors was meeting Sept. 26-28, our nation's Administration continued on its trajectory of turning its back on refugees seeking safety, shelter and hope with the announcement of the lowest cap on refugee resettlement in recent history. Heartbroken and devastated by the announcement, the board released a statement condemning "..in the strongest terms the Administration's recent decision on moral and biblical grounds." 

Simultaneous to the announcement, the church universal was preparing for the celebration of the World Day of Migrants and Refugees. Observed annually on Sept. 29 since 2014, the emphasis is an occasion for the church to express concern for many different vulnerable people on the move, to pray for the challenges, and to increase awareness about the opportunities that migration offers.

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Journey to Tbilisi

Posted on Oct 11, 2019

This past June I had the opportunity to travel to Tbilisi, Georgia, with a delegation from the Alliance of Baptists to meet with Bishop Malkhaz Songulashvili. The bishop had recently spoken at my home church, Broadway Baptist in Fort Worth, TX, and after describing the ways in which the Yazidi people are continuously targeted for genocide by the Islamic State, he threw down a challenge which rocked me to my heels by saying, "You need to come and meet these brave people and hear their stories for yourself."

I was thrilled at this opportunity to meet with the bishop again. What I wasn't thrilled about was coming face to face with these brave people whose stories I knew would be difficult to listen to and absorb. But I did go, I did listen, and everything I learned was riveting.

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Surprised by Joy

Posted on Oct 11, 2019

The word "joy" is not often found in a report of three long days of board meetings. As you can see, however, it's in the title of this summary of the fall meeting of the Alliance Board of Directors. 

The board met at Baptist Church of the Covenant in Birmingham, Ala., September 26-28 to further the work of the Alliance, focusing primarily on our shared goal of becoming an anti-racist organization. "It was a critical moment for the Board of Directors," said president Michael-Ray Mathews. "We deepened our commitment to pointing the Alliance in the direction of becoming an anti-racist organization devoted to racial equity and healing in every aspect of our shared life and
ministry."

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ICE Raids and Mustard Seed Kin-dom

Posted on Sep 22, 2019

He said therefore, "What is the kingdom of God like? And to what should I compare it? It is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in the garden; it grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air made nests in its branches."

There are some folks who say "kin-dom of God" rather than "Kingdom of God." This type of change in nomenclature challenges us to imagine that God's dream for this world is something other than an idealistic Camelot characterized by top-down power. Instead, kin-dom encourages us to think about what it means to be family here on earth. 

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Have You Helped Welcome a Refugee? Sign On Now to Protect Refugee Resettlement

Posted on Sep 22, 2019

The refugee resettlement program is in grave threat of being dismantled through a very low refugee admissions goal to be set before September 30th. Decision makers urgently need to hear the moral voice of faith communities and stakeholders who have participated in the refugee program and helped resettle refugees. 

Read the letter to go to Members of Congress, State Elected Officials and Secretary Pompeo and sign on here.

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Sister Trip: A New Kind of Mission

Posted on Sep 22, 2019

In early June, I traveled to Cuba to learn alongside the Women's Leadership Initiative cohort of Central Seminary and Cuban pastoras from the Fraternity of Baptist Churches in Cuba (FIBAC, or as seminary president, Molly T. Marshall affectionately called them the Sorority of Baptist Leaders in Cuba). 

While preparing for my trip, the most common response I encountered when people heard that I was going to Cuba with my seminary was, "Oooooh, YOU'RE GOING ON A MISSION TRIP?!" 

And that's where I cringed.

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You are light. Period.

Posted on Sep 09, 2019

This summer, I've celebrated, laughed, had water balloon fights,argued, talked, sung, cried, and run into the ocean alongside youth who are both wonderful and exasperating. And I am convinced, time and time again, that they are the light of the world. They are the playful and musical and thoughtful and messy and radiant image of God. They are "rascally inventions of holiness abounding," in the words of Gregory Boyle, and they remember that they belong to each other, on several occasions being quick to remind me of this.  "Aww, what cute friends," I said to JJ and J and a few other youths as they walked in a stumbly line together ahead of me, arms thrown over each other's shoulders, tripping and giggling and running into things. "We're not friends," J said matter-of-factly in the way she says most things, turning around sharply. "We're family." Then she turned back around and kept prancing forward with her family, some literal and some chosen.

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