The Christian Century

Jesus and punishment

When Michelle Alexander quit teaching law in 2016, she made a memorable statement which included the following words: “This is not simply a legal problem, or a political problem, or a policy problem. At its core, America’s journey from slavery to Jim Crow to mass incarceration raises profound moral and spiritual questions about who we are, individually and collectively, who we aim to become, and what we are willing to do now.” Dominique DuBois Gilliard’s book Rethinking Incarceration is the perfect addition to a larger conversation sparked by Alexander’s The New Jim Crow.
America Magazine

Why “Black Panther” is the movie Hollywood—and America—needs

I grew up enthralled with the fantasy worlds depicted in the “Star Wars”and “Lord of the Rings”films. But there was always something missing. Virtually no one looked like me. The people of color that did exist in those films either stood as caricatures or floated in post-racial space. How can one imagine a future in which black people exist in various roles while simultaneously not erasing the legacy of racism? “Black Panther”powerfully fills this void.
The Christian Century

Joey Bada$$ among the theological rappers

Folks are sleeping on Joey Bada$$. In the midst of a spiritual renaissance within hip-hop, Kendrick Lamar’s radical Christianity and Chance the Rapper’s black Christian joy have typically received more attention. They’ve both rekindled debates about asceticism, joy, and wrath. Yet, Joey Bada$$’s commentary in All-Amerikkkan Bada$$ should not be overlooked. It’s nothing less than a theologically rich, frontal attack on our political order. I first found out about Joey through his song Paper Trai
The Christian Century

The deficit doesn't matter: thinking morally about the economy with Stephanie Kelton

Stephanie Kelton is a professor at Stony Brook University and a former chief economist for the Senate Budget Committee Democratic staff. If there is such a thing as a prophetic economist, she might just be it. Kelton is not afraid to rattle the status quo. A former adviser to Bernie Sanders (she recalled her trip to the Vatican with him), she is now also providing economic advising to Rev. Barber’s new Poor People’s Campaign. Kelton’s public intellectual work has drawn attention to how a bipartisan fear of the deficit has distracted politicians from fixing problems in the real economy. Below is an edited transcript of our conversation.
Religion News Service

2018 Prediction: Keep a close eye on the Poor People’s Campaign

RNS asked some of the country’s top faith leaders, scholars and activists to consider what changes the religion landscape will see in 2018. Find all their predictions here. (RNS) — The new Poor People’s Campaign will be one of the biggest religious stories of 2018. Spearheaded by Rev. Dr. William Barber and Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis, this campaign is consciously taking up the radical politics and unfinished work of Martin Luther King Jr.
The Guardian

The days of rightwing evangelicals swaying politics are numbered | Daniel Jose Camacho

A large majority of white evangelicals voted for Roy Moore – 80%, according to exit polls – in Alabama, in the deep south, in a solidly red state. And they lost. The results of Alabama’s Senate race are an omen for the future of white evangelical politics. White evangelicals, as a whole, are still flexing some political muscle. But their future outlook is of an embattled political bloc with extremist views and diminishing power to decide elections. Moore was a fundamentalist Christian hero. He
The Guardian

Trump's marriage to the religious right reeks of hypocrisy on both sides | Daniel José Camacho

Donald Trump should be the last person to speak on moral values. Yet, on Friday, he received standing ovations for his speech at the Values Voter Summit in which he claimed that his administration is “stopping, cold, attacks on Judeo-Christian values.” This accentuates the moral hypocrisy of the religious right which has wedded itself to arguably the most immoral president in the history of the United States.
Duke Divinity Magazine

Upstairs and Downstairs

When I signed up to do pulpit supply, I hadn’t realized I would be preaching the first Sunday after the election in November. It was my fault. Of the available slots, I chose November 13 without considering the possible weight of this date. The church lacked a pastor and was relying on a steady stream of guest preachers, including seminary students. It was located just south of Durham, and I didn’t know a single person there.
The Guardian

Finally, Barack Obama is speaking up about Trump's excesses | Daniel José Camacho

Barack Obama finally came for Donald Trump’s White House. In a statement released on Facebook, Obama called Trump’s move to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (Daca) program, which protects 800,000 young migrants from deportation, “cruel” and contrary to “basic decency”. This is the kind of political leadership that our country is sorely lacking right now.
The Guardian

Trump's apocalyptic threats demand a moral case for disarmament | Daniel José Camacho

Martin Luther King Jr once said: “When scientific power outruns moral power, we end up with guided missiles and misguided men.” Now, it appears Donald Trump might be the man who makes us pay for our country’s moral gap. Trump has rekindled fears of war and nuclear strikes by threatening North Korea, saying: “They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.” True to form, Trump’s words flew out of his mouth without much thought or preparation.

How the Changing Church Will Define the Future of U.S. Politics

Robert P. Jones’ latest book, The End of White Christian America, is perfectly positioned to explain this era of American Christianity. It presents research that has massive implications for how we think about the future of Christianity and the future of the entire country. Drawing from his work at PRRI, Jones examines the numerical decline and waning cultural influence of white Christians in the U.S. He explores the anxieties of white Christians and the ways in which they are responding to a shifting national landscape.
The Guardian

Hillary Clinton is more unpopular than Donald Trump. Let that sink in | Daniel José Camacho

Donald Trump is one of the least popular politicians in the history of the United States. Yet, Trump is still more popular than Hillary Clinton. Let that sink in. According to the latest Bloomberg National Poll, Trump has a net favorability of 41% whereas Clinton has a net favorability of 39%. If Democrats are to escape the political wilderness, they will have to leave Clinton and her brand of politics in the woods.
The Christian Century

John Calvin: Source for political resistance?

In this view, Calvin is not only associated with DeVos’ educational policies (which stress privatization) but also with Trump’s persona of being a successful businessman. Yet, notwithstanding the historical links between Calvinism and the rise of capitalism, what if there is actually more to Calvin’s thought than these one-dimensional associations? What if John Calvin’s thought is also a potential source for radical political resistance?
The Christian Century

The Reactionary Option: Musings on the decline of western civilization

I always find it amusing when white Christians debate—exclusively among themselves—the fate of civilization. The rest of us can only be outside observers, passengers in sweeping historical narratives in which we are an afterthought. Not only does this erasure obscure what has actually occurred, it falsifies what these storytellers say about themselves, their traditions, and the wider world.
The Guardian

Diversity doesn't make racism magically disappear | Daniel Jose Camacho

We can’t screw our way beyond racism. Many think mixed-race babies and browner demographics will automatically usher in a post-racial world. They interpret the projections of a “majority-minority” shift in our nation – now set to take place in 2044 – as a sign of guaranteed progress. Changing faces in the US are seen as anti-racist destiny. But don’t overestimate the power of this post-racial cocktail.
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