When hope looks like the night sky

God has a way of breaking through walls and into the spaces of darkness and grief. It is in those spaces where God meets us most fully, where we wrestle with God in the darkness of night like Jacob did. The spaces where God punctures the darkness that surrounds us and allows the light to shine through, like the stars in the night. These puncture wounds are my source of hope.

An Advent calendar of ideas for adults

Here’s an Advent calendar of daily ideas for adults, beginning December 1. If you think chocolate would help, buy a bag of Hershey’s Kisses (or your favorite candy), and have one a day, after you do the suggested activity.

The Beatles: Get Back— Returning to the root of something can be a productive, if elusive, exercise

Not to put too fine a theological point on it, but perhaps getting back to where you once belonged is as much about where you are going as it is about where you have been.

This Thanksgiving, I’m thankful for the priesthood of all believers

So often, ministry is treated as something that ordained people do, but the priesthood of all believers tells us that everyone is called to ministry, and that churches ought to spend considerable time developing everyone’s gifts in ministry and helping them articulate their various vocations. That commitment is centuries old, but it is only in this present pandemic that I am seeing its promise truly come to life. It continues to enrich my own ministry to see it as a shared endeavor with congregants, and I am finding new contours of my own call in the wake of the pandemic. For that, I’m thankful.

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.

This Thanksgiving, I’m thankful for the priesthood of all believers

This Thanksgiving, I’m thankful for the priesthood of all believers

So often, ministry is treated as something that ordained people do, but the priesthood of all believers tells us that everyone is called to ministry, and that churches ought to spend considerable time developing everyone’s gifts in ministry and helping them articulate their various vocations. That commitment is centuries old, but it is only in this present pandemic that I am seeing its promise truly come to life. It continues to enrich my own ministry to see it as a shared endeavor with congregants, and I am finding new contours of my own call in the wake of the pandemic. For that, I’m thankful.

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Thankful? Even now?

Thankful? Even now?

The Thanksgiving holiday gives us the opportunity to pay attention collectively to what we are thankful for. Thanksgiving automatically puts your attention on what is right, rather than what is wrong.

Once a year is not enough, however, for communities or individuals to practice shifting attention to the many things that are right. Even in this challenging time, every day can give the opportunity to gratefully notice what is working—in the world, in your communities, in your own life. This doesn’t mean ignoring challenges or the suffering of others. Our brains automatically register the negative, however, so it takes extra effort to notice the positive.

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The extraordinary gift of gratitude

The extraordinary gift of gratitude

Practicing gratitude is linked to physical health benefits, including improved sleep, lower blood pressure, motivation to exercise more, better control of glucose levels and improved immunity, to name a few. Studies have also found mental, psychological, and spiritual health benefits of gratitude, including increased self-confidence, resilience, optimism, and patience.

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Featured Series

Responding to COVID-19

COVID-19 era leadership

COVID-19 era leadership

The church has been significantly affected by the lingering impacts of COVID-19. The COVID era and its related impacts are here to stay. We would do well as pastors to understand how we can be most effective as we lead.

Rights, public safety and common sense

Rights, public safety and common sense

While we live in a democracy where we are entitled to exercise our “unalienable rights,” public safety has not registered on the hearts, minds, and souls of some Americans. While our rights are indeed important, we need to be alive and healthy to fight for these rights. May we find it in our collective hearts to truly be our brother’s keeper in our efforts to keep one another safe. May we look beyond the narrow view of “rights” to see the broad perspective of public safety.

Table fellowship and pandemic realities

Table fellowship and pandemic realities

The most natural way to make restoration possible is to carry the sacred discoveries found within the Eucharist to one’s neighbor as a matter of course. The forgiveness that can come so easily at the table is transferable to each person within one’s purview during the course of the week. It might take special effort to follow through, especially during our current pandemic times, but it could be the only way to fully realize this ordinance of the church. Jesus certainly managed to do it, and humankind has been charged to imitate him.

Books to survive a pandemic (and after)

Books have been wonderful companions through these isolating months. Here are some books I have found to be particularly helpful in the last uncertain year.

Children, the silent victims of the COVID-19 pandemic

The church may become informed on resources for poor families, such as federal aids, and become a part of collaborations to create resources for immigrant families since they do not have access to federal aid. The church may also create informal networks among congregations and social agencies, and work with social services to stay in touch with children who have had to go into foster care.

La niñez, víctima silente de la pandemia del COVID-19

Informándose sobre recursos para familias pobres: ayudas federales, etc. Siendo parte de colaboraciones para crear recursos para familias inmigrantes ya que estos no tienen acceso a ayudas federales. La iglesia puede crear redes informales entre congregaciones y agencias sociales. También podemos trabajar con servicios sociales para mantener contacto con niños que han tenido que ir a cuido de crianza.

CDC resources for community & faith leaders

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has resources to help you plan, prepare and respond to community transmission of coronavirus disease including interim guidance for faith and community leaders.

American Baptist Home Mission Societies resources for congregational response to COVID-19

Information for American Baptists and American Baptist congregations about best practices to help reduce the spread of the virus in general as well as in congregational settings.  

ministrElife community for faith leaders

Find resources, share best practices, and stay connected to other ministry professionals during the COVID-19 pandemic.

ROOTED IN HEAVEN WITH IMPLICATIONS FOR HOW WE LIVE OUR LIVES HERE AND NOW

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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 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 and citizenship, while examining a variety of public concerns ranging from gun violence, racism, trauma and sexual violence to poverty, food insecurity, disabilities and immigration.