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During our CDC Pastor Peer meeting last week our Conference Minister Doug Luginbill led a meditation on Exodus 34 which includes the words “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious…keeping steadfast love for the thousandth generation…but visiting the iniquity of the parents upon the children and the children’s children to the third and fourth generation.”  There are all kinds of theological quagmires with this statement, some of which are addressed later in the Bible, but the question Doug posed was what it might look like to be the fifth generation.  In other words, if harm and...

The Anabaptist World magazine runs a regular comic called Loaves and Fishsticks, by Steve Edwards.  In the most recent issue, the comic strip featured a person leading a children’s Sunday School class with a guitar in hand.  The leader invites the class to join in singing “Peace Like a River.”  Before they can begin, one of the children interjects to point out that they had just sung a song that claimed “God’s gonna trouble the water,” and she worries the mixed messages will result in a lifetime of theological doubt.  The final panel of the strip has the child angrily...

A modest proposal for reparative action: That predominantly white congregations across the US would unexempt themselves from property taxes, setting aside what they would owe annually, dispersing the funds to Black and Indigenous led organizations.

Why reparative action?  In her book Dear White Christians, Jennifer Harvey illustrates how the reconciliation model of confronting racism has failed to address power inequities and repair harms.  She proposes a reparative model, challenging white people to investigate our history and...

Relief

I was driving to Eve’s softball game yesterday when the verdict was pronounced for former officer Derek Chauvin.  While I never rejoice at anyone going to prison, it was a relief that he, and perhaps the system he served, was held accountable for the murder of George Floyd.  But I don’t think it would have happened without the people, or that bystander video.

Grief

When I arrived at the game I had a series of texts from a group of clergy and organizers noting that, right around the time of the verdict, a Black girl had been shot...

During our trip last week to be with family in South Carolina I got to spend a day in Beaufort/Port Royal, about an hour and a half down the coast from Charleston.  It is home to one of the deepest  natural harbors on the East Coast and was a strategic base for the Union army which captured the port in 1861 and held it throughout the Civil War.  The wealthy confederate planters fled the area, leaving behind their homes, their cotton fields, and the 10-12,000 persons they had enslaved.  The Union needed money and men.  The formerly enslaved needed a sustainable freedom.  Thus began the Port...

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