By Andrew Kukla, MDiv ’03
Today a friend made an off-hand comment that went something like, “Andrew is one of the most political pastors I know.” He didn’t mean it negatively. It was just an off-hand comment in a conversation about non-profit work. But the comment stuck with me. Am I really that political? I don’t self-identify as such, and yet I don’t have a problem with that identity. Because you know what? I think faith is political. In fact it kind of drives me crazy that people think they are two things that should remain separated.
Clarifying terms for a minute: I am not talking about the separation of Church and State. Keeping those two institutional structures separated is a value I highly prize. But faith and politics? Those aren’t institutions or structures. They are, in a nutshell, worldviews, and they cannot possibly remain separated if you are at all serious or committed to either one of them. Continue reading Faith and Politics: When Preaching Gets to Meddling
In response to the dangerous political rhetoric circulating from various campaigns, the media, and other sources, Dr. T. Erskine Clarke, professor emeritus at Columbia Theological Seminary as well as editor and publisher at the “Journal for Preachers” issued a letter to all Christians to “seek to be agents of God’s justice and reconciliation in the world.” Columbia Theological Seminary President Leanne Van Dyk was among the initial signers joining other PC(USA) seminaries in firm support, as well as many faculty and others from the Columbia Seminary community.
At this time, over 1000 people have signed their names to a growing chorus of pastors, elders and others affirming the letter’s call to “Christian commitments” to oppose a climate of fear, the stereotyping of racial ethnic persons, the proliferation of guns and gun violence, the demonization of refugees, and dangerous isolationism.
The full text of the appeal and PC(USA) seminary president signatories, as of press time, are contained below: Continue reading Columbia Joins “Appeal” for Change in Tone of U.S. Politics
By Jan Edmiston, DMin ‘01
Picture a Bernie Sanders Democrat happily vacationing with a Donald Trump Republican. Can you see it?
There were four kids in my family of origin and we have turned out pretty well, if you ask me. But we have very different ideas about how the world should be run. Although raised by the same parents, two of us – and our spouses – self-identify as “liberals” and two of us – and our spouses – self-identity as “conservatives.”
Among the topics of conversation last week:
- “Illegal aliens”
- The heritage of Confederate flag-waving
- The notion that “pro-life” must include taking care of babies after they’re born
- The incidence of violence against women on college campuses
- “Black Lives Matter” versus “All Lives Matter”
Oh, and we watched the Republican debate together last Thursday night. Sounds like fun, doesn’t it? Continue reading A Model for Loving our Political Enemy
By Drew Stockstill (MDiv ’12)
If we are Facebook friends or if you follow me on Twitter, you have probably noticed an onslaught of stories on gun violence ricocheting through your newsfeed on a daily basis. Earlier this year, my senior pastor Baron Mullis and I along with hundreds of other Georgia clergy stood against legislation that would have required us to allow guns in our places of worship. In the process, I realized there is much I have to learn about the actual nature of gun violence in our state.
I grew up in south Georgia where hunting is popular and even though I did not hunt, I did enjoy shooting (clay) skeet. Many of my friends and family own guns. And perhaps like many of you, I have personal connections to victims of gun violence. Still, I felt I needed to become more mindful of how guns are truly experienced in our communities, so I made a personal commitment: to read every story of gun violence in Georgia for a month, to post the story on Facebook with the #gunseverywhere hashtag, and to tweet the story on Twitter to both Governor Deal and candidate Jason Carter. Continue reading Responding to Guns Everywhere
By Michael Thompson, Director of Communications
We are definitively in a season of disagreement. On any given day, I could drop just a few otherwise neutral words onto social media about the latest Supreme Court rulings, or decisions made at the General Assembly of the PC(USA), or even the World Cup. (We can’t even agree whether to call it soccer or football!) Rather immediately, I can expect to see my newsfeed light up with reactions from many sides–some facetious, but many filled with bitterness.
I am aware that people will likely disagree with me, and I can accept that. My biggest fear is that my friends, who often don’t know each other, may be hurtful as they engage the issue rather than the person. I generally have a policy for my little space on social media that we welcome intelligent disagreement, but will not tolerate rudeness, disrespect, or otherwise hurtful comments.
But we are passionate people, myself included. I want to be right. I strive to be thoughtful. And yet, I wonder sometimes, “What if Jesus disagrees with me?” Continue reading What If Jesus Disagrees?