Emerging Voices Blog

Emerging Voices Blog

Engaging Ferguson's Youth with Humility and Repentance

Since the tragic death of Michael Brown on Aug. 9 in Ferguson, the authentic leadership of the moment has emerged from young people of color. The question is, will we adopt a spirit of arrogance by crowding out their voices? Or will we embrace humility and repentance, and make room to hear their cries and make room for their direction.

11 Miles Backward?

Today the grand jury in Ohio announced there will be no indictment of the officers. The Wal-Mart surveillance video is now public, and it reveals how quickly Crawford’s life was taken. ... So another black life is lost under absurd circumstances, and the system communicates yet again that black lives don’t matter.

The Image of God vs. The School-to-Prison Pipeline

Implicit bias does not ask why. It only takes surface observation and draws lines of quick logic: These circumstances are reserved for criminals. Therefore, these people are criminals.

The Problem With Systemic Racism...

They say a watched pot never boils. But that's not entirely true. Of course a watched pot boils—it's just that intently watching a pot of water reach 212 degrees Fahrenheit is not an incredibly exciting way to spend your time. And so most people get bored or distracted and end up leaving before it ever reaches the boiling point.

Ten Practical Ways White Christians Can Respond to Ferguson

Please try a few or all of these pathways, and add some of your own, and let’s stand up and be counted in this moment of great pain and anxiety for our nation. It is time, as Bill Hybels continually admonishes, for “the church to be the hope of the world.”

The Church Has Left the Building

Last year I spoke at a missional church conference in Southern California. The guy who spoke before me asked every one of these missional pastors do a simple exercise.

“Turn to the person sitting next to you,” he said, “and tell them the names of your neighbors on every side of your house (or apartment) and share one story about their lives.”

The room went abuzz.

Where is the Joy?

How do you talk about joy in times like these and not sound like a traveling salesman with a bottle of snake oil up his sleeve?

Recently, I received word that Robert Gittelson, the cofounder of Conservatives for Comprehensive Immigration Reform, had died suddenly from a massive heart attack. Over the next seven days, the prolific 63-year-old comedian and actor, Robin Williams, committed suicide, and revered screen legend, Lauren Bacall, passed away at the age of 89.

Three Ways to Maintain Yourself While Maintaining a Movement

Doing justice is hard and exhausting work. We are compelled to action by the urgency of the suffering and pain and evil that mark life for so many in God’s world. And the work is never done.

Silence for Peace

Cory Booker, Rand Paul Shine Light on Shadow Side of U.S. Justice System

Booker: "The REDEEM Act will ensure that our tax dollars are being used in smarter, more productive ways. It will also establish much-needed sensible reforms that keep kids out of the adult correctional system, protect their privacy so a youthful mistake can remain a youthful mistake, and help make it less likely that low-level adult offenders reoffend."

Silence: A Path to Action

What does one take to a three-day silent retreat? Apparently a lot of noise.

'...That All Men Are Created Equal'

People know. Not just Americans, but the entire globe. People know that the founders didn't mean it then, nor does this nation mean it now.

Deep In My Heart

Saturday marked the 50th anniversary of the senseless slaughter and lynching of civil rights workers James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner during Freedom Summer in Mississippi. They gave their lives to insure that every person in Mississippi would have the right to vote and be a full citizen of this nation.

Founding Mothers: Remember the Women

I love the 4th of July! It’s coming around again quickly, and I’m seriously deciding where I’m going to be based on which city has the best fireworks. I know. It’s a little crazy for someone who preaches about peace to yearn for a celebration attached to a war.

In Remembrance: Maya Angelou

Angelou did not claim to be a theologian, but her words spun theology for a nation. She was speaking of shalom — that biblical concept that envisions the day with the lion and the lamb shall lie together, the day when war shall be no more, the day when mammon will bow to Jesus. And she called forth the yearning of a nation for that day.

Introducing 5 Small Loaves

This past decade of living on the Navajo reservation has taught us that our community, the church, our country, even the world is in critical need. But God had also been pounding into our heads, that we, people (both individually and collectively), are simply unable to meet the overwhelming needs. But God can.

Donald Sterling: Façade, Fiction, and Forgiveness

Sterling does not “support them.” He pays them for work. He does not “give them food.” He gives them a wage for employment. He does not give his players “clothes, and cars, and houses.” The Clippers Corporation signs a paycheck, made possible by advertising dollars and ticket sales attracted by the highly skilled labor of the mostly black and brown Clippers players themselves.

Immigration and Resurrection

I looked these immigrant workers in the eyes and said through tears: “God sees you. You are not alone. Across the nation people from the north and south — people who are black, white, Latino, Asian American, and Native American are rising up to stand with you."

Why Have You Forsaken Me?

As I reflect on the plight of the undocumented immigrant in the United States today, I wonder if the words of the Psalmist, echoed by Jesus on the cross, don’t hit a little too close to home.

Listen for the Groaning; Then Worship!

Our addiction to consumption, our oil drills and oil spills, and our depleted uranium bullets whizzing through theaters of war in countries ravaged, torn apart — both the people and the land. Creation is groaning, even as the trees lift their branches heavenward in worship.

The Black Presence in the Bible: Uncovering the Hidden Ones

The Bible is a multicultural book. This statement may sound controversial but archeology, history, and the text prove it to be true.

Faithful Sacrifice

My life is not my own. I am the product of sacrifice. I am here because of those who saw beyond themselves and thought personal sacrifice was worth giving up to allow justice to take hold. I am here because Jesus modeled something completely illogical on the cross and then some of my ancestors took that example seriously and repeated it. I have no real right to the life I live.

Without Exception

After many years of living in solidarity with my people, studying the scriptures, and looking closely at the model of Jesus, I can wholeheartedly agree that, as a rule, "God does not reveal himself in strength or power, but in the weakness and fragility of a newborn babe."

Unemployment, the Vote, and Hope

Today’s Senate vote on unemployment benefits brings hope to 1.3 million people who dare to hope every day. It is right and good that we stand with the least — ones who have fallen on hard times — in their time of need.

The Power of Fasting

Over the past month, I have witnessed the spiritual power of the disciplines of prayer and fasting to redeem our nation’s institutional powers in ways I never imagined.

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