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.
Pastors are called to be visionary; they are asked to keep order and use tried and true formats and materials. They are called to innovate, and they are required to keep the cherished traditions of any individual church alive. They are called to take the long view; and they need to meet the day to day needs of congregants. Can one person do it all? Can that one person do it all well?
When liturgy and worship become the work of the people, space for the sacred stories of those living with mental health conditions begin to have space in the collective experience. Isolation can break down and connection can be formed as people begin to understand the deep humanity of their neighbor in the pew. Remember that worship is a collective act, and the collective is only truly inclusive when all can participate in a meaningful way in the act of worship.
Holocaust Remembrance Day—A reminder of what was lost, and that contemporary attempts at renewing anti-Semitic ideology cannot be tolerated
Genocide is the biomarker that humankind has a long, long way to go on the evolutionary spectrum. Holocaust Remembrance Day should always serve as a reminder of what was lost, and that sadistic, contemporary attempts at renewing anti-Semitic ideology cannot and will not be tolerated.
Moving from self-judgment to self-compassion is a long, slow process. It’s a deeply spiritual process. It begins with simply noticing the judgmental thoughts. Frequently they are so automatic you don’t even know you are having them. A lifetime of self-judgment doesn’t disappear in an instant. In times of high anxiety (like now) it’s easy to go backward.
Both medical science and ancient traditions point to the power of focused breathing to heal both physical and emotional wounds. Perhaps healing the wounds of our world begins with the intentional practice of honoring the life-giving breath shared by all living things.
The way of peace is controversial. To favor peace in practice goes against the culture, and the consequences are negative. It was for Jesus. He mentioned the good news of the gospel in his hometown community of faith, and they were filled with rage and ran him out of town (Luke 4:28-29). Likewise, those who stand against war might find themselves run out by their communities of faith.
Responding to COVID-19
What our society looks like on the other side of the pandemic depends on what we do to address inequity it has revealed. We have agency. We can choose which direction we want to push ourselves and our society, and maybe even our world.
Just as an Easter faith celebrates the resurrection each Sunday, a Holy Saturday faith—suspended between the bad news of the crucifixion and the good news of the resurrection—might have significance beyond Holy Week in a world similarly suspended between death and life.
Celebrating may seem an odd practice in times where there is much to lament and navigate. I am hopeful congregants will consider offering a word of thanks to their pastors this month. Gratitude and acknowledgment for ministry may be infrequently expressed, but certainly, for your pastor, it will be gratefully received—especially right now.
Every name lost to police brutality or COVID-19 was a baby at some point. Each one held and loved. Each had dreams and expectations and hopes attached to him or her. Let us not forget their names. Let us weep.
We are in an unexpected place, amidst the pandemic, protests over racial injustice, economic downturn, and social isolation. Despite this, hope—which has enabled Christians and others to endure for centuries—can help us persevere.
Lamentations, arguably, offers an “explanation” which fits one of the dominant frames of the Bible—the Deuteronomic system of blessings and curses—and yet also offers a poetic counter to this theology.
Courage has a context. Bravery flows not from mindless risk-taking, but from compelling reasons to act on behalf of one another. We do not dare God to keep us safe no matter what foolish actions we may take.
When this present moment becomes history, how will people know how your faith community responded? Will they know that many congrega¬tions quickly developed the capacity for online worship services—or even be able to watch our worship from their future position? Will they know which communities continued to supply food banks and provide housing for the home-less? Will you leave records reflecting the shift from pastoral visits to pastoral telephone calls and emails? It all comes down to how well you document these days.
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 NOWChristian Citizen Ambassadors
Write for us.
We feature thought-provoking articles and action-inspiring essays that intersect faith, politics, discipleship