Justice. Mercy. Faith.
Through The Christian Citizen, we seek to shape a mind among American Baptists and others on matters of public concern by providing a forum for diverse voices living and working at the intersection of faith and politics, discipleship and citizenship.
As I walked around a Confederate cemetery, I wondered what other choice the young soldiers buried there could have made. The values they were raised to believe to be true were affirmed by their schools, their textbooks, their newspapers, their families, friends, their whole culture, and worst of all, their churches.
Amid today’s political polarities and culture wars, American Baptists have significant contributions to make to American society, particularly in the recognition of women in ordained ministry and the rightful place for all religions to provide spiritual life and practice to all Americans and residents from all corners of the world.
The things that cause kids to die in this country – hate crimes, suicide, racism, neglect, abuse, hunger, war, gun violence – were no different in Langston Hughes’ day than they are now, and they ought to spur us not just to act but to move. What movements ought we to be crafting to love and protect children?
Being a disciple of Jesus is like rafting. As with life itself, there are long stretches of calm though constant movement punctuated by moments of turbulence requiring intense action and effort.
Faith and Mental Health
Many negative references remain in our common discourse about race, gender identity, sexual orientation, ethnicity, nationality, religious practice, and a host of other categories of human experience. The difference is, when used in public forums, the transgressor will be fired or politically maligned or cancelled or publicly shamed for using them. In contrast, commentators, politicians, preachers, and celebrities of all kinds can pepper their conversation with pejorative references to those who live with mental illness without consequence.
With more resources than ever for communication and connection, we have an epidemic of loneliness. Why?
Perhaps part of the reason for the phenomenon of loneliness in our culture is that we do not entirely understand one another in our differences, and so what can be lonely for one may feel completely replete with connection for another.
Falling—experiencing failure, grief, loss, and despair—is a fact of life for us, as it was for Jesus’ early followers. However, hope inculcates the ability to get back up, again and again. And where there is hope there is resilience. In this way faith, resilience, mental health, and the post-resurrection experience are inextricably connected.
Connected people live longer, happier, healthier lives. Connected societies do too.
One in five Americans live with some form of mental illness. Additionally, 5.5% of Americans suffer with a serious mental health disorder. There is an epidemic in our midst without an easy cure (if one exists).
In the debate about gun violence, let’s stop scapegoating mental illness and do the hard work of coming together to improve gun safety and public health.
Many of us who have survived the past couple of years have come away with significant pandemic-related “brain fog.” Forgetfulness, confusion, agitation, fear, anxiety. You might have encountered a spike in any or all of these and more. The question marks continue to appear as COVID-19 cases come and go in different parts of the world. If you do not seem to be your old, pre-pandemic self, you’re not alone.
Understanding family systems theory helps us to self-differentiate and remember that we are important and valued for who we are as people, as children of God. While we have different skills and gifts for ministry, the burden should not be solely on our clergy or on one group of leaders.
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At The Christian Citizen, we’re passionate about justice, mercy, and faith. We produce award-winning content that is provocative, timely, and relevant. What started more than 25 years ago as a print publication is now a digital-first publication that maintains a commitment to print. More recently, we’ve added a weekly e-newsletter, podcast, and a growing presence on social media. Now, for the first time, we’re adding a member support program—Christian Citizen Ambassadors!
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We feature thought-provoking articles and action-inspiring essays that intersect faith, politics, discipleship