Candy Is Dandy, But Caring for People Won’t Rot Your Teeth: Why America Needs Big Denominational and Governmental Social Justice Programs

In a recent Washington Post column, conservative commentator and pundit George F. Will argued that big government, and big government programs, can’t solve America’s problems or help those who are struggling. As conservative orthodoxy from the Reagan-era, Will’s argument was old stuff—but it caught my attention because of its unwelcome implications for America and the…

Why Is It So Difficult to Engage in a Sacred (or Even a Civil) Conversation on Race? Racism, Class, and the Psychological Wage of Whiteness

In 1935, W. E. B. Du Bois coined the expression, “the psychological wage of whiteness” to refer to “the sense of entitlement” felt by rural and working-class Whites in nineteenth- and twentieth-century America. As University of Utah political scientist Ella Myers characterized Du Bois’s argument, “whiteness serve[d] as a ‘public and psychological wage,’ delivering to…

Five Things I Think I Think about Committees on Ministry (COMs)

After serving for nine non-consecutive years and counting on the Susquehanna Associations (New York Conference’s) Committee on Authorized Ministry, I have arrived at some speculative conclusions and definitive conjectures about the work that we and other Committees on Ministry (CoMs) do, on behalf of the United Church of Christ (UCC). You know about CoMs. They…

Fake News, The Church, and the Complicated Usefulness of Facebook

So, I’m not on Facebook, but several of my congregants are—and over the years some of them would e-mail me these little stories, jokes, and “factoids.”  Many of these e-mails were neither funny nor factual. Some were patriotic or religious in a schmaltzy-superstitious way. Many were racist, homophobic, misogynistic, and/or Islamophobic. Many were conspiratorial. Many…

The United Church of Christ in an Undemocratic America

The violence in Charlottesville, and President Trump’s subsequent statements attributing blame “on both sides,” left Americans reeling and asking difficult questions: Where did these Neo-Nazi hoodlums come from, and how can we get rid of them? What will it take for racism and racial violence to end in America? What will it take to bridge…