Midweek Update 6/20/18

Is it just me, or do things seem to be happening way too fast these days? I mean, I did just become a grandfather at age not-quite-forty-nine. But still. It feels like e’ve hardly had time to process the latest scandal or atrocity, and it’s already time to move on to the next one. And don’t get me started on the latest music. I tend to think that if it hasn’t cured for at least forty years, it’s not ready for listening.

I suppose that sense of headlong hurtling is really what this newsletter is intended to address. We can’t do much about the pace of the you-know-who administration, but here, we can stop and take a minute to make sure we haven’t missed what happened the week before, while inevitably looking forward to what comes next.

That’s what I’m telling myself, anyway.

Coming up on Sunday, June 24th: a conversation with my family about what it’s like living with a pastor. (Hopefully, if I can get them to cooperate.) There’ll also be a very special scripture reader, and plenty of good music, as always.

Here’s what you might have missed this week:

  • Episode 3 ("This Is The One. This Is The One?") went up on Monday. I wanted to do an interview with Princeton historian Kevin Kruse to help us make sense of this moment in religion and politics. He added a lot of valuable insight, and you should read his book One Nation Under God: How Corporate America Invented Christian America for even more. The title is a fair summary, but I will add that it's amazing and not a little disturbing to recognize the parallels between today's situation and that under previous administrations, on both the right and the left.
  • I have two pieces up this week at Rewire.News, the new home of Religion Dispatches, and itself a pretty kickass source of information. The first piece asks Is it ‘Biblical to enforce the law,’ as Trump Admin Claims? and concludes that Jeff Sessions is a gutless coward. If that take isn't contrarian enough for your tastes, in the other piece I advise that Methodist efforts to discipline Sessions are bad idea.

    I'm on the lookout for places to publish, by the way, so if you know of an outlet I can pitch to, please let me know.
  • Here's a little taste of this week's sermon:
We worry about whether our leaders understand the moral imperative of scripture, whether they are godly or ungodly persons. Truth to tell, all leaders are imperfect in the end. One has to be just this side of a sociopath to want to be president. Inevitably, our national leaders fail God’s standards for tender and compassionate shepherding. They bemoan the ways the office prevents them from taking their preferred moral options. Just as often, they ignore the many other ways they could have chosen differently and elected not to.

And the intercessions:
  • God, answer us in our day of trouble. In your mercy, hear our prayer.
  • Remember your people and their offerings to you. Let your face shine on the children needlessly incarcerated in this nation, and give them comfort. Restore their families. In your mercy, hear our prayer.
  • Grant, O God, our hearts’ desires and fulfill our plans, for we look to the justice you intend to bring to us with hope. In your mercy, hear our prayer.
  • Scripture tells us that you help your anointed. Help us as well. Send us victories in our lives, and tend to our wounds, our needs, our failings. In your mercy, hear our prayer.
  • May those who take pride in their own strength collapse and fall. May those who seek only their own good come up short. Let the people of mercy, compassion, and justice rise and stand upright. In your mercy, hear our prayer.

Do you know we’re three episodes and a prequel into this podcast, and nobody’s taken me up on the offer to pray for them? Send your requests to: dan@strangerjesus.com, or leave them for me on Twitter or Facebook. You can find those links on the Stranger Jesus website.

If you’re looking to do some good, contribute to the ACLU, to church-based organizations, or the many immigrant civil rights groups working to protect those children and their families. Here's a list of places you can contribute.

If you can do nothing else, pray to the God of David for these children and their families, and for our nation, that we recover our souls.

And with that, Amen. </div> </div>

Pastor Dan