Incivility in the Public Square and in the American Church

A virulent debate came to a head over this past Fourth of July (2018) weekend, in Washington, D.C., and throughout the United States, over the lack of—and the utter need for—“civility” in the public square. As CNN producer Harmeet Kaur noted, with the “growth [of] outrage” over our country’s “immigration policies and [its] separation and detention…

Something is Profoundly Wrong at the Heart of the White Church

“Charmaine Pruitt wrote the names of 12 churches on strips [of paper], and dropped them into a bag. It was Sunday morning and time to pick which church to attend.” That’s how journalist Campbell Robertson began his investigative account of how Christians of color are abandoning white Evangelicalism (“A Quiet Exodus: Why Blacks Are Leaving…

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…