Links on Charlottesville

Yes I know its a bit late but I decided to just share some thoughts by others regarding this sad event in US history. After weeks of being unable to come up with a way to adequately  describe my anger and frustration about it all I figure I may as well highlight those who managed to be more articulate in the moment. Click on the titles of the articles below each quote to read the posts in their entirety. (Some of the parts I (as well as the original authors) put in bold because they deserve emphasis).

“A group of about 5 anti-fascists tried to persuade some of us clergy to join them in taking on the White Supremacists by fighting with them, not simply standing our ground in peace. We explained our role and belief in non-violence and ensured they also stayed off premises if they intended to participate in violence. They explained their desire to fight on behalf of all those who cannot, to draw the fight and violence to themselves and take on the White Supremacists and Nazis head on if they had to.

These individuals and groups were far outnumbered and brave in their own way; while I do not advocate violence, and condemn it in all ways, I must acknowledge that these individuals were willing to put themselves in harm’s way, not in protest or for their own interests, but on behalf of all threatened by those yelling their desire to harm or kill Jews, Blacks, Muslims, GBLTQ, liberals, police, anyone in their way, anyone trying to change the order of the world as it is.”

Charlottesville: a first-hand account of racist violence by Deborah Porras

“I can’t fathom the fact that still so many are silent. Still, on this Sunday we see many Christian pastors refusing to take an active stance against the clear violent racism in this nation. I’m sure some won’t speak out because they probably also hold some racist ideology but others, other pastors won’t speak out because they have a fear of losing some of the support of their congregation which has overpowered their desire to follow the ways of Jesus…

You see, there is a right and wrong side when it comes to hate, bigotry, and oppression. There is a right and wrong side when it comes to the deeply ingrained racism that floods our nation. There are not “many sides” there are two, the side of basic humanity and the side against it.”

If We Don’t Want to See another Charlottesville – Silence is Not an Option by Sheri Faye Rosendahl

“Most people know racism when they see it (when people on the passive level see people on the soft level or higher), but just don’t say or do anything about it. But, what if this majority became active? What if we all agreed to, kindly, inform others that we’re not going to let people around us say or do racist things? What if, instead of blaming the president, or Nazis, or the alt-right, we took responsibility for our actions and the people in our own lives?

We must begin to speak up because by being passive and letting racist jokes and statements slide, we are literally building the foundation on which the KKK, Neo Nazi, and White Supremacist’s groups are built at the top of the pyramid. It doesn’t matter if it makes you uncomfortable or if it hurts your relationships, people are literally dying because the masses aren’t speaking up for those without a voice.

It is also easy to just cut off our friends and family who are soft and quiet racists. But, it is our job to stand up when racist ideas are brought up. As white people, we have an audience with our families and white circles that the black community will never have. If we do not start to have these conversations at the lower levels of the pyramid, who will?

So yes, Charlottesville was my fault, and your fault, and the fault of anyone who is not standing up to racism in our daily lives. Please, please, don’t be defensive, but take a moment to attempt to see that silence really is compliance.

I’m making a stand today to no longer sit by and let these things happen. I hope you’ll consider standing with me.”

Charlottesville was my Fault by Josh Bryan

“And here’s where this all applies to the nonsense of there is “fault on both sides” between the nazis and the protestors recently:

It forces those on the Religious Right to do a full reversal from what they say to me every day.

You see, every time they push back on the doctrine of nonviolent enemy love, they quickly go to the same arguments. As they escalate the scenarios they believe proves my position of nonviolence wrong or foolish, they always (and I mean always) end up pulling out the same trump-card, as if it were the Mother of All Rebuttals as to why the way of nonviolence is wrong:

“Oh yeah!? Well what about the Nazis in World War II? Thank God the last generation knew that evil like this can only be stopped with violence.”

I’ve heard the argument a thousand times from a thousand people on the right, right up until recent events where Nazis marched through American streets, injuring and killing people. But then? Well, apparently they now think that opposing Nazis with violence makes one equally wrong.

So here’s my sincere question for my Christian friends on the right trying to call me out for not saying both sides were equally wrong: didn’t you just tell me that you believe in using violence against nazis? 

Don’t lie– we both know you did, and that you did it nearly every time I posted an article on nonviolence.

So why the change?

Why do you believe that violent opposition to Nazis in WWII was not just necessary, but good, but that somehow in today’s world the willingness to use violence to oppose this same evil is now morally equivalent to the evil itself?

Dear Religious Right: Didin’t You Just Finish Telling Me You Believe in Violence against Nazis? by Benjamin L. Corey

America has yet to deal with the lessons of our own history. We have never been utterly conquered so that we had to. The lessons of slavery and Jim Crow segregation–all predicated on claims of white supremacy–have yet to be fully learned or even fully acknowledged. Our walls are not made of concrete and barbed wire, but they remain walls. Our churches have sometimes defended those walls, to our everlasting shame.

Letter from Berlin: The Lessons of History and the Heresy of Racial Superiority by R. Albert Mohler, Jr.

There is this tendency to want blame the acts of the white supremacists and neo-nazis on Donald Trump, to make him the scapegoat. But that is looking at it completely in reverse. Donald Trump is a product of the same racist system that caused the rally and the subsequent domestic terrorism. He isn’t the first Trump to be associated with racist white supremacist groups. His father was arrested at a KKK rally. David Duke, former Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, thanked Donald Trump for ‘condemning leftist terrorists’. Donald and his father was sued in 1973 for systematically discriminating against black people when it came to housing. Racism and the Trumps go way back. It makes absolute sense that he took two days to condemn the white nationalists. It makes even more sense that he went on TV, Tuesday, August 15, and essentially took it all back. He has a base to keep happy. As a lead white supremacist, Matthew Heimbach, said “Our values, and the ones that helped get Trump elected, can’t be compromised on”

Racism in America has been around as long as America has been around. America was founded on the systematic genocide of indigenous people and then built on the backs and births of kidnapped black folks. There is no period in our history that isn’t tainted with the racism and intolerance that caused the death of Heather Heyer on this past Saturday, August 12.”

Unpacking: Charlottesville by Joshua Bull

“You cannot be both a patriotic American and a Confederate. It does not work like that. It has long struck me as odd that the American South, which claims to be more patriotic and genuinely American than the “liberal elites” on the coasts, is dotted with statues of Confederate generals. These generals were traitors.”

You Cannot Be a Patriotic American and a Confederate by Libby Anne

“White people especially need to name racism in this hour, because somewhere in that crowd of sweaty, dead-eyed, raw throated white men—are our brothers and cousins and husbands and fathers and children; those we go to church with and see at Little League and in our neighborhoods. They need to be made accountable by those they deem their “own kind.” They need to know that this is not who we are, that we don’t bless or support or respect this. They need white faces speaking directly into their white faces, loudly on behalf of love.”
Yes This is Racism by John Pavlovitz


Examine your hearts and do the work of uprooting the racism in yourself (in church we call this “repentance”). Be aware of your privilege and find ways to use it for good. Read books by women and people of color and seek out their wisdom. Ask questions and educate yourself. Be sincere in your desire to eradicate racism, don’t just do it to make yourself look good or earn points with your black friends…”


“Writing this piece was like falling down a rabbit hole of all that I didn’t know. I am not an expert in this field and I don’t pretend to be. What I am is a writer, someone who is interested in things, and I became very, very interested in why so many of us grew up without hearing or understanding the history of lynchings in America. (And lynchings is only a small part of it–there were massacres and lack of civil rights such as voting and education . . . the history of racial injustice seemingly has no end). A few years ago, when it really started to sink in about both the realities of lynchings and the response of white Christian communities to them, it was like a veil had been lifted. But I wasn’t just horrified. I was implicated. Lynchings were not just public executions–they were strategies for terrorizing black people and for uniting white people under a banner of supremacy and “order”. One of the most chilling photographs is one from Marion, Indiana in 1930. How can I not see my own face reflected here?”

My problems with hell (ECT)

Here are some of my various random thoughts and objections to the doctrine of eternal conscious torment (as I was taught growing up). This is not an exhaustive list but highlights of some of my thoughts over the past few years regarding this subject.

Why couldn’t God be bothered to warn Adam and Eve about this terrible place when He warned them not to eat of that one tree?

God is no different than a roman emperor if He crushes his enemies in the end. A roman emperor crushing his enemies under his feet is exactly what (I thought) Jesus came to contradict not eventually become.

Anyone who things God is violent and vengeful and enjoys inflicting pain and suffering on others seriously needs to reconsider whether they’ve made a god in the image of evil men.

Why would I follow a god who is too incompetent or straight up refuses to redeem most of his world?

If God was a sadist how would the world look any different? Actually “evidence” would seem to support this is more likely the case than not if you insist on believing in hell.

Seems strange that God gets to torture people and be worshiped for it (which is what I thought Satan wants for us but won’t get) yet the difference is simply that God has the right to do whatever he wants so that makes it all ok.

So basically even though I’ve heard that Satan is the ‘enemy of our souls’ God is really the one who will hurt more people/souls for far longer than Satan ever could when all is said and done.

And while I might be willing to concede the point that God has the right to do whatever He wants I don’t agree that He can demand I call him good and worship him as such when clearly hatred and wrath supersede all other aspects of his character.

Ultimately if hell is true than eternity will display God’s hatred towards people more than his love.

God doesn’t seem to give us any good choices. Either join Him and be indifferent (even celebrate) his sadism or become a victim of that sadism. Join or be tortured.

Any pain someone suffers in this life pales in comparison to hell. So the pain of things like rape, abuse, and murder isn’t really so bad all things considering. And most likely anyone who has suffered in this way will end up alongside their abuser in hell. In the end more people than not will suffer grave injustice and never see it made right in this life or the next.

What kind of a god creates a world/makes a plan where he is most glorified by eternally tormenting the majority of the people he made?

If the price tag for God’s great plan is pain and suffering in this world and hell in the next for most people then God clearly enjoys hurting people more than loving, redeeming and restoring them and I refuse to believe that anymore.

And just a caveat: I have read my Bible (many times over) as well as various books on this subject over the years. As I’m discovering with many things in life this isn’t as straight forward as many in the Christian community would have you believe.

Some books I’ve read that cover this subject in varying degrees:

Razing Hell by Sharon L. Baker

Raising Hell by Julie Ferwerda

Hell a Final Word by Edward William Fudge

Her Gates Will Never Be Shut by Bradley Jersak

Sinners in the Hands of a Loving God by Brian Zahn