Rethinking what it means to gather for worship—One Baptist church considers not returning to the building

At the South Yarra Community Baptist Church (SYCBC) in Melbourne, Australia, moving worship and congregational life online during our city’s four-month hard lockdown proved so successful that there is now a serious conversation about the possibility of continuing it and not returning to physically gathered worship.

Holy Communion: From naivety to righteous indignation

“As we gather at God’s holy table, the table is not our table, not the church’s table, not the denomination’s table, but it is God’s table, and God’s inclusive hands extend a welcome to all.”

Asian Lives Matter

The dominant powers in this country have set the gameboard where different communities are pitted against one another with myths that we tell of “the other.” Contrary to the model minority myth, many Asian Americans suffer from the same racist system that hurts all communities of color. Following the Atlanta massacre, I saw a God-given opportunity to build solidarity as so many allies, especially from the Black community, raised their voices in support.

Imagining the kingdom of God—A report from the American Baptist Biennial Mission Summit

This beautiful tension of unity and diversity was on full display during the 2021 Biennial Mission Summit. Women and men representing a variety of ethnic, social, and theological perspectives provided inspiration and encouragement for participants to imagine the kingdom of God in their contexts.

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.

If it’s easy, is it cheating?

If it’s easy, is it cheating?

Remember: if it’s fun, that doesn’t mean it’s not work. It could be that’s exactly the place you are called to contribute right now. Could you do more of what is fun and easy and less of what is hard and a struggle? It’s not cheating to exercise your greatest gifts.

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The color of flesh

The color of flesh

I return again and again to the power of ever-so-brief children’s sermons. They cannot eradicate generations of racism, hatred, and narrow-mindedness, but inch by inch they can influence attitudes and values for good.

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“Thank you for your patience”

“Thank you for your patience”

The Church has been waiting for nearly two thousand years for God’s Kingdom to be fully realized. Where are we now? God never promises when we will see the kingdom, only that it will come soon and very soon and that we have work to do in the time between now and then.

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School’s out for summer—Counting the cost

School’s out for summer—Counting the cost

School may be out for summer and given vaccinations and increased immunity, the pervasive need for virtual learning may decrease. However, the persistent gaps and inequities uncovered must be addressed. We have a collective responsibility which rests with all who care for and want to see the success of our children. May we be moved to get involved and advocate, lest we find that the cost of school being out is too great to bear.

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Responding to COVID-19

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

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.

One year and counting—Christian Citizen reflections on the coronavirus pandemic

One year and counting—Christian Citizen reflections on the coronavirus pandemic

On March 4, 2020 we published the first of many articles in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Today, we mark the occasion with this series of excerpts from articles published over the past year. They are a reminder of trials and tribulations experienced and challenges that remain. As with all that we publish, we hope these excerpts will inspire, encourage, and challenge our readers to bring a greater measure of justice, mercy, and faith into our communities and world.

Lamentations for our time

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.

Coronavirus and Christian courage

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.

Making history in an age of pandemic

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.

Saving the here and now: Archiving today’s challenges for future insight

Getting churches to capture this moment in time will be helpful not only for future generations. It will be also a chance for congregants to recall the immediate past and start working out what these challenging times have shown them about their own lives, as well as the inevitable travails and the graceful moments where the resilience of a local church was revealed.

Everything beautiful in its time: COVID-19, mental health, and resilience in the Karen Baptist Churches in the United States

Members of the Karen ethnic group in Myanmar (formerly Burma) are no strangers to conditions that threaten their physical existence or inhibit their ability to think or reason freely. Thousands of Karen people were forced to flee their homes to escape violence, persecution, and war in the 20th century. The freedom they sought in Thai refugee camps left much to be desired, as they experienced degradation, restrictions on working and moving about, and food rations that often left them hungry and malnourished. The opportunity for some to immigrate to America, earlier this century, rekindled hope and dreams of better days. I interviewed 25 pastors in the Karen Baptist Churches in the United States (KBCUSA) to gain a glimpse of the challenges they are facing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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.