Sunday, November 19, 2017


Friday, November 10, 2017

No one is safe when men think + behave this way

A 32-year-old officer of the court is said to have taken a 14-year-old to a cabin, removed his pants, groped her, pressed her hand to his erect penis. Elected official says, “There’s just nothing immoral or illegal here ... Maybe just a little bit unusual” That’s an argument from privilege. 

Transparently stupid but serious as a heart attack — and what right-thinking women and men must reject and correct in government, business, entertainment, sports, law enforcement, military, education, family, and religion.

No one is safe as long as men with power think, behave, and cover for each other this way.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Falling Down a Hole with Donald Trump

Bill Bennett, speaking of Donald Trump at the 2017 Values Voter Summit: "We are conscious of his history. We are conscious of his future. And as Oscar Wilde said, 'Just as every sinner has a future, every saint has a past.’ "

— quoted by Jessica Taylor, NPR, "After 'Choosing Donald Trump,' Is The Evangelical Church In Crisis?” [h/t Stephen Bowlby]

This is Bizzaro World. 

Bill Bennett quoting Oscar Wilde to justify the misbehavior of Donald Trump to a crowd of Evangelicals convened by Tony Perkins…. 

Can you imagine Mr. Bennett mounting a similar defense of Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama — or even semi-pro Sunday School teacher, Jimmy Carter? 

[Alice image courtesy of Teufelbeutel CC BY-SA 3.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons]

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

#Ovaries | Standing Up

As we give credit to Republican Senators Bob Corker, Jeff Flake, and John McCain — each of whom, I believe, deserves full credit — let’s first take a moment to credit Republican Senators Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski, who already showed they have the ovaries to stand against this president when that’s what it takes to stand up for people of this nation. Thank you all, Senators. May your tribe increase.

Friday, September 22, 2017

The 501(C)(3) of Christ | Hack the Ministry

A friend tells me he is intrigued by Hack the Ministry and the conversations around it. I reply: 
I’m intrigued too. 
With no disrespect to my friends with jobs provided by some instance of the church, I, and a growing number of friends and acquaintances scattered over the earth, are finding greater success connecting with “Nones” now that we think of ourselves as some version of “Dones”.  
It doesn’t take much sociological or spiritual imagination to see that — in many places — the way we’ve been doing church is ending (or at the very least trending) badly and has been for a long time. I saw it when I still took my paycheck from a church. I think most people do; and this is the drive behind some brilliant innovation and passionate outreach and service generated by church leaders. It’s also what drives programs that looked much better on paper than in practice. 
As outreaching and open as I was — you can ask anyone  = - )  — I had to give up my church business card before I began to grasp this. On reflection, this should be no surprise. As Sinclair Lewis used to say, "It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it”.  
Years later, when I became available to friends and neighbors on Sunday mornings, I found they became available to me pretty much any time. It’s as if my getting a car and “going to church” was a barrier to entry for engagement with some of the most spiritually open-and-interested people in my community — not to mention some of my most religiously suspicious, damaged, and abused friends and neighbors. The absence any power differential makes every conversation straight across. My surrender of religious authority made way for a sober assessment of spiritual authenticity. The stories I tell about my life, alongside my daily spiritual practices, stand or fall on their own… they ring true, or not… stories and practices reinforce each other, or they don’t. 
Clearly, I’m not alone in this. And without suggesting that anyone should stop going to church, or leave their job in the church, or disavow church; I do mean to be clear that there is a life of engaged Christian practice outside the norms and structures of the 501(C)(3) of Christ. 
All this is wrapped up, for me, in this conversation about hacking the ministry. And I find myself feeling real anticipation about what others bring to the table — to correct, affirm, recalibrate, or help me reimagine what I’ve been thinking and doing.

Wherever you are on the continuum, If you’re intrigued too, I hope you’ll take the day to be with us in Seattle for Hack the Ministry 

— it’s Thursday, October 12, 2017 

— we’ll gather from 10 am to 10 pm at Ballard Homestead 

tickets are $49 — or you can bring two friends, at a total cost of $99 for the three of you — lunch and dinner are included

— out-of-towners seem to be leaning toward Hampton Inn and Suites, Northgate

Selective Outrage | Selective Grace

I keep wondering what churches would be like if they were as gracious - and patient - with everyone as they are with the greedy.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Peers | Mentors | Sages | Hacking the Ministry

Peers, Mentors + Sages — both inside + outside the orbit of organized churchgoing — people who have decided not to fear each other + not to hold each other in contempt, are gathering for a deep conversation about pioneers + mapmakers who are showing us how to hack the ministry to serve the world as it is + as it is becoming. | October 12 | Seattle | 10am - 10pm

Monday, September 11, 2017

Hack the Ministry | 10.12.17 | Seattle

A one-day gathering for people who identify with Jesus + aren’t so sure about the future of churchgoing.

Monday, September 04, 2017

Dear Mr. President | The message Barack Obama left in the Oval Office for Donald Trump

There’s a tradition of outgoing US presidents leaving handwritten notes to their successors on Inauguration Day. CNN obtained a copy of the letter from Barack Obama to Donald Trump — one imagines a mobile phone pic — from someone to whom Mr. Trump showed it. It is, I think, quite remarkable, compared with notes left by George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush.

Dear Mr. President - 
Congratulations on a remarkable run. Millions have placed their hopes in you, and allof us, regardless of party, should hope for expanded prosperity and security during your tenure.
This is a unique office, without a clear blueprint for success, so I don't know that any advice from me will be particularly helpful. Still, let me offer a few reflections from the past 8 years.
First, we've both been blessed, in different ways, with great good fortune. Not everyone is so lucky. It's up to us to do everything we can (to) build more ladders of success for every child and family that's willing to work hard.
Second, American leadership in this world really is indispensable. It's up to us, through action and example, to sustain the international order that's expanded steadily since the end of the Cold War, and upon which our own wealth and safety depend.
Third, we are just temporary occupants of this office. That makes us guardians of those democratic institutions and traditions -- like rule of law, separation of powers, equal protection and civil liberties -- that our forebears fought and bled for. Regardless of the push and pull of daily politics, it's up to us to leave those instruments of our democracy at least as strong as we found them.
And finally, take time, in the rush of events and responsibilities, for friends and family. They'll get you through the inevitable rough patches.
Michelle and I wish you and Melania the very best as you embark on this great adventure, and know that we stand ready to help in any ways which we can.
Good luck and Godspeed,

Thursday, August 31, 2017

What he said — Jesus + The Nashville Statement

Father James Martin — Jesuit priest, editor at large for America Magazine, author of Jesus: A Pilgrimage and Building a Bridge,  consultor to the Vatican Secretariat for Communication​, and former chaplain to the Colbert Nation — responded to The Nashville Statement - so-called because it was ratified in the city

The Nashville Statement centers on 14 affirmations and denials; Martin repeated the pattern in a series of seven tweets, recreated here.

James Martin SJ @JamesMartinSJ  Aug 30 
Re #NashvilleStatement: 
I affirm: That God loves all LGBT people. 
I deny: That Jesus wants us to insult, judge or further marginalize them.
James Martin SJ @JamesMartinSJ  Aug 30 
I affirm: That all of us are in need of conversion. 
I deny: That LGBT people should be in any way singled out as the chief or only sinners
James Martin SJ @JamesMartinSJ  Aug 30 
I affirm: That when Jesus encountered people on the margins he led with welcome not condemnation. 
I deny: That Jesus wants any more judging.
James Martin SJ @JamesMartinSJ  Aug 30 
I affirm: That LGBT people are, by virtue of baptism, full members of the church. 
I deny: That God wants them to feel that they don't belong
James Martin SJ @JamesMartinSJ  Aug 30 
I affirm: That LGBT people have been made to feel like dirt by many churches. 
I deny: That Jesus wants us to add to their immense suffering.
James Martin SJ @JamesMartinSJ  Aug 30 
I affirm: That LGBT people are some of the holiest people I know. 
I deny: That Jesus wants us to judge others, when he clealrly forbade it.
James Martin SJ @JamesMartinSJ  Aug 30 
I affirm that the Father loves LGBT people, the Son calls them and the Holy Spirit guides them. 
I deny nothing about God's love for them.
What he said. 

Friday, August 25, 2017

I got your respect right here…. Raising Adults

[This week, Verlyn Giles, an extraordinary coach and human being, was inducted into the Leon High School Football Hall of Fame in Tallahassee Florida. Here’s what I wrote in Raising Adults about how Verlyn and a few other remarkable adults shaped my life back in the day.]
When I was a boy, my uncle, Bryant Kendall, my coach, Verlyn Giles, my high school principal, Robert Stevens, a youth worker named Shuford Davis, a campus worker named Bob Norwood, and more teachers than I can count. They listened to me and took my ideas seriously. They asked good questions. They talked straight. They gave me training and responsibility. My uncle helped me learn to mow lawns before my parents allowed me to touch anything with a motor at home. I had teachers who encouraged me to think outside the box and helped me learn to sort my thoughts and express them directly and economically. Verlyn Giles helped me learn to think and communicate under pressure and taught me to value ingenuity and skill over brute force. Bob Norwood asked questions that encouraged me choose between good and better. Shuford Davis engaged with me even though I was not part of his youth group, asking questions that caused me to address spirituality with my mind as well as my heart.
    Respect isn’t empty-headed acceptance of any and all behavior. Respect grows from the acknowledgment that all of us are in process. We’ve learnedeverything we know so far, and we have quite a bit more to learn before we’re done.
    Respect acknowledges that what’s obvious to one person may not be a bit obvious to someone else. And that’s a very good place to begin the conversation.

And isn’t that what life is all about, the ability to go around back and come up inside other people’s heads to look out at the damned fool miracle and say: oh so that’s how you see it!? Well, now, I must remember that.

—Ray Bradbury, Dandelion Wine, William Morrow, 2001, page xiii

    Shaming is a monologue. Respect is a dialogue. The surest way for me to show respect is to ask honest questions and listen carefully until, whether or not we agree, the other person is pretty sure I truly understand.

— from Raising Adults by Jim Hancock