Weekly Ponderings

Here are some blogs and articles this week that made me think. Inclusion does not necessarily mean full endorsement.

“They think justice means that a person gets what he or she deserves or they interpret it as satisfying some demand of the law. They have never been taught the concept of restorative justice that pervades the prophetic tradition and the Gospels…

Many Christians get the part about mercy, but not about justice. Justice and mercy go hand-in-hand, but it’s important to understand the difference, because mercy is not enough.

Whereas mercy responds to the immediate needs of the homeless and the poor by offering shelter and food, justice confronts the systems we live in that create homelessness and poverty in the first place.

While mercy is about giving a hungry person some bread, justice is about trying to change the system so that no one has excess bread while some have none.

Mercy is about helping the victims of war; justice is about peacemaking and eliminating the conditions that lead to war…

I refuse to believe that so many Christians in our country are so tribal and selfish and protectionistic that they do not care about the plight of refugees and undocumented persons. I put the blame on Christian leaders who have failed to teach their members and parishioners about the kind of justice God requires.”

Mercy is Not Enough by Chuck Queen

“…So don’t lie to me and pretend you’re suddenly concerned about the common good right here at home and that that’s why you oppose doing even something as depressingly minimal as sheltering 10,000 refugees. Don’t lie to me and don’t lie to yourself by suddenly pretending that you’re concerned about homeless veterans here in America…

So if any tiny part of you actually, genuinely cares even the tiniest bit for actual homeless veterans — not the abstract, imaginary ones that live in memes and in your head, but real people on real streets — then you need to cut the act…

Helping homeless veterans — really helping real people — is good. Stop talking about refugees or anything else as some imaginary competition to that and just jump in with both feet and really do it…”

Still This: Please don’t suddenly pretend you care about homeless veterans for just as long as it allows you to oppose helping refugees, because that’s hurting both veterans and refugees and it’s making you miserable by Fred Clark

“We understand these conversations are unknown territory for you, and that sometimes you are scared and confused by them. If you are wondering how you can interact with us around these topics, please keep the following in mind.

We have spent our entire lives learning the intricate nuances of your views, not just the broad strokes. Please take the time to approach our views with genuine curiosity and learn about them too. For a while, this will require you to do much more listening than talking.

Please understand we live in a different world than you do. The gay community, the immigrant community, the minority communities, are tangible to us. They are represented by faces and stories of people in our actual lives. They are not a concept we debate; they are people we love. When you are talking about “them,” please talk as respectfully about these communities as you would about your own friends…”

An Open Letter to Conservative Christian Parents from Your Liberal Children by Deb Link

“The problem the privileged have with ideas of trigger warnings and safe spaces is the same they have with most pushes for inclusivity and education: being asked to consider someone else’s feelings…

If you are going to call for the end of trigger warnings and safe spaces, then you have to call for an end to all of them, including the ones society bends over backwards to provide you. Be ready to throw away all the little ways the world coddles and protects you from reality. But of course, the people mocking the ideas of safe spaces and trigger warnings are the first to demand calm tones or immediately shut down dissent when they are called out or attacked for their lack of compassion.”

Easily-Triggered Privileged People Have Turned Society Into Their Own Giant Safe Space by  Na’amen Gobert Tilahun

“There is no punchline in racial discrimination.

You cannot joke in that area of life and it not have some root in your heart or mind…

I’m banning hate speech, racially charged jokes, and insensitive jabs at others’ identity in my classroom.

I can’t change Trump’s decision, but I have influence in my sector of life and I plan to use to promote good.

You do the same.”


“However, here is where the problem arises. Somewhere between walking out of the church building and walking into the restaurant, we lose the intentionality of being witnesses for our great God…

The following comments make me believe that the Sunday lunch hour is the most hypocritical hour of the week:

“No one ever wanted to work Sundays because of church crews. I never understood how they could go to church but less than 20 minutes after leaving be the worst example of what it means to be a disciple of Jesus.” – Katie

“I absolutely hated working on Sundays having to deal with the church crowd. They were always the loudest, most demanding and rudest people, especially when they came in as a group. They would run you like crazy and then leave the most pitiful tip and a Gospel tract.” – Richard

Brothers and sisters, we have to do better and correct this perception that many of our server friends have of Christians. The above comments should be enough to cause us to re-evaluate our actions and prayerfully challenge us to be more self-aware…

Engage with them, love them, pray for them, share Jesus with them if the opportunity arises, and for the love of God … tip them well!”

When Christians Mistreat Restaurant Servers Right After Worshiping God by Shane Pruitt

“You know, I am really tired of hearing that it’s not about Muslims, it’s just about national security…

Do you know what is easy? Pointing the finger at radical Islamic terror. Painting “the other” as the threat has always been easier than dealing with threats in our own groups. Given the conservative outcry at the Department of Homeland Security’s report on right-wing extremism several years back, this move today isn’t surprising—it’s a way Trump can please his base on all fronts, feeding their hatred of Islam and fear of Muslims while assuring them that people who look like them and talk like them are always the good guys.”

It’s Not About National Security, It’s About Scapegoating by Libby Anne

“Donald Trump is delivering for the religious right — more than they could have hoped for. In other words, when everyone questioned their judgment, they knew just what they were doing. And they turned out to be right…

So what did the religious right understand about Trump that many others missed? They weren’t fooled into thinking his faith was sincere. But I suspect they caught something else in his rhetoric: The willingness to state clearly that he was on the side not just of some abstract “religious freedom,” but for Christians specifically. For Trump, it’s all about Us and Them. Christians are Us, and everybody else (particularly Muslims) is Them. He has already made clear that when it comes to refugees he intends to give special preference to Christians…

In his usual unadorned way, Trump was proclaiming his willingness to pander as shamelessly as necessary, and give the religious right whatever they wanted. They got the message. And now they’re getting their reward.”

The religious right understood Trump perfectly. Now he’s delivering for them. by Paul Waldman

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