For day 2 of our Unsettling Advent devotionals, Rob Schenck reflects on reading New Testament Advent story against its historical backdrop: An aggressively militant imperial occupier had invaded the ancient Levant, annexing it and subjugating various nations, bringing sorrow and suffering to countless peoples. Sound all too familiar?
Contributing writer Sarah Blackwell writes that in our country, we often think about pilgrims in the way that our Thanksgiving traditions teach us — that it is all about the destination. She has always relished pilgrimage stories and dreamed of lacing up her own shoes and traveling by foot to the sacred spaces of her faith. But recently she realized there was nothing stopping her from being a pilgrim within her own hometown.
Contributing writer Rodney Kennedy offers lessons we can glean from the upcoming Georgia runoff election. He argues that the Social Gospel, “the politics of Jesus,” needs rediscovering. In this recovery, it will not be about whether Warnock or Walker wins the Senate seat. The Social Gospel will not center on how people vote but rather on how the church takes the opportunity to be an alternative to the politics of the world.
Pastor Dawn Darwin Weaks explores what it was like for a once large and vibrant church community to decide to make a major change. With only a few dozen active people left, they made the choice to relocate, rename, and relaunch together. Before the 116-year-old congregation gathered for worship in a new space, they performed one last ritual in order to truly let go.
Andrea Marta of Faith in Action argues that this year we are increasingly seeing how white Christian Nationalism is dominating midterm election campaigns and contributing to voter suppression tactics. While advocacy efforts cannot be limited to the ballot box, voters of faith, especially Black and Brown voters, will ensure elected officials are held accountable and everyone’s sacred right to vote is protected.
Pastor Darron LaMonte Edwards argues that Missourians should help to repair the breach and vote "no" on Amendment 4. This measure would only further erode local control over crucial resources and punish certain communities in Kansas City for seeing the solution to their problems as utilizing a path other than increased policing.
Nathan Empsall, executive director of Faithful America, makes the case that with hundreds of right-wing political candidates using Christ’s name to deny election results, demonize their opponents, and spread discrimination – all with the blessing of far too many evangelical pastors and activists – Christian Nationalism is the single biggest threat to both democracy and the church today.
Contributing writer Rodney Kennedy offers his take on Robert Jeffress' recent about-face when it comes to embracing the term "Christian Nationalist." Jeffress and those like him reveal a disturbing trend based in the active despising of truth. Democracy can be, in this case, a sacrificial lamb if this is what it takes to impose conservative Christianity on the nation.
Historian Thomas Lecaque argues that how the various scandals surrounding Georgia GOP Senate candidate Herschel Walker are understood by many evangelicals is based on a bad reading of Biblical narrative. The sins of Walker’s past are forgiven, regardless of the hypocrisy – and, in fact, they are an important component of what makes him important. Because beyond his utility, he gets to play the David card.
Rev. Erin Dickey has penned an open letter to Ralph Reed, founder and chairman of the Faith & Freedom Coalition. Reed's group sent out “2022 non-partisan voter guides” to congregations around the United States that ask and answer a specific set of questions – but Dickey has come up with a different set that more accurately represents the values of inclusion, radical love, and justice that echo through the gospel.