January 23, 2018

Missional Communities in Texas

Over at his website, Amplified Church, Bishop Andy Doyle just published my post on missional communities here in Texas:
In the 2013 film Gravity, we watch as Sandra Bullock’s character cries, “Will you mourn for me? Will you say a prayer for me before its too late? I mean, I’d say one for myself but I’ve never prayed in my life. Nobody ever taught me how.” 
Nobody ever taught me how. 
Studies such as those conducted by the Pew Research Center have brought attention the ongoing decline of religious affiliation in the west.  Like the fictional example above, one of the outcomes of this trend will be that fewer people will be familiar with the practices that have provided generations with the tools to engage the Divine. It is important to acknowledge that, even in Texas, fewer Americans are finding their way to our sacred spaces to be shaped into people prepared to encounter God in the triumphs and tragedies of life, and everything in between.
Read the rest here.

January 22, 2018

The Stories That People Bring

Back in 2006 I was attacked by a large pit bull. It hurt, I healed and have not thought much about it since then. I love dogs and have not found myself afraid of them since then in response to this incident.

That was until a couple months ago.

Early one morning I was out for a run. It was still dark out. I passed by someone walking a large dog. I didn't think much of it.

That was until about a block away.

I could not hear much because I had headphones in but the street light cast a shadow that told me a dog was running up from behind me.

And then I felt its muzzle touch my leg.

And then a paw.

I froze. In a moment an incident that happened 11 years ago rushed into my body more than my mind. My stomach ached where I had been bit so many years ago.

Within milliseconds I then realized that this dog was not attacking me. It wanted to play.  I could do nothing but stand there. I heard muffled yelling under the music in my ears and pulled out an earbud. A woman was running up to me saying, "I'm so sorry." I couldn't respond. She grabbed her dog by the leash and started coaxing it the other direction. I stared blankly at her as she apologized. Eventually I said no more than, "Okay." I wanted to scream at her, "Are you out of your mind?! Put that thing on a leash!" I didn't. I turned and started to jog away, trying to stop my hands from shaking.

She was just walking her dog. Her dog just wanted to play. I thought I was being attacked.

If I had screamed at that nice woman she would have had no idea where it came from. She would not have known what happened in my life to make me so angry at her playful dog. If I had screamed at her, it would have been in the absence of reflection on my own story. The dog that attacked me 11 years ago was on a leash. The leash made no difference. So, making it about the leash would have been illogical.

We don't always know the stories that people bring into the circumstances in which we encounter them. Before we judge, or react to, people's actions it's helpful to know their story. And its always wise to reflect on our own before we choose to act.

January 15, 2018

"Like his messiah Jesus Christ, he was a revolutionary."

On this day, I'm reminded of something rapper Killer Mike, of Run the Jewels fame, wrote about Martin Luther King, Jr. a few years back:
"Martin was a young father who at the threat of death dared to push forward on behalf of all humanity against the global reign of America and her allies' evil, perpetrated through war. He was a man of conscience who valued the life of all humans. He believed the philosophy of Jesus in a deeper way than just anti-homosexual rhetoric and conservative right-wing dogma. He was disgusted with the government and its use of power to oppress in the same way Christ had been. He defended the principle of all humanity having value and being equal-like his savior. He was not a flower-giving, other-cheek-turning sucker. He was a fiery preacher, returning from the mountaintop with a message that would turn the world as people knew it on its ear. Like his messiah Jesus Christ, he was a revolutionary."
Read the rest here.

Related posts:
MLK Jr. Thoughts | No Better Time Than Now | The Beloved CommunityBeing White During Black History Month | Universal but PersonalThe Good Citizen? | The Good Samaritan, Trayvon Martin & George Zimmerman | Do I Look Suspicious? | Re-Writing the StoryHe Died Unable To BreatheFerguson... Goddamn!Continuing the Conversation | A Call for Humanism

January 10, 2018

My Latest Newsletter Went Out

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