Social Justice
restores
Fallen Pastors Can Be Restored: A Personal Tale, Part 2
While I was writing my book about fallen pastors, I ran into a few pastors who had found a way to restore their ministry. I was dumbfounded. They had, amazingly enough, found a way back into the pastorate. I’m about to share some feelings I’ve never shared before. Thanks to a counselor I’ve been seeing, I don’t think I would have been able to articulate what I felt or am feeling now. Please, fasten your seat belt. My first thought was jealousy. I thought, “How come those guys get to go back to the pastorate? What makes them so special?...
restores
Fallen Pastors Can Be Restored: A Personal Tale, Part 1
It was just four months after I had committed adultery and fallen from my pastorate. I was showing signs of “true repentance,” some thought. I was reaching out for help. What I was really doing was trying not to lose my mind. I didn’t have a friend in the world. Almost everyone had abandoned me, I was living in a tiny house miles away from my children and I hated myself. But part of me wanted to justify my actions. I wanted to defend myself. I wanted someone just to listen to me. I deserved to be listened to. I...
child labor
Abolishing Child Labor Leads to Slavery
Every time I see the words “CNN is Against Child Labour” or watch some celebrity on TV waving the physical or vocal “Abolish Child Labour” flag, I want to get up and smash something—probably the screen. And sometimes aloud I will ask the empty room, “And then what?” Has anybody thought further than that? What happens to the children then? What happens to the families then? Before we speak or take any action, we should consider the severe ramifications of abolishing a source of both income and labour that is not only prevalent, but has been part of the third...
Child-abuse
Child Abuse is an Epidemic: The Church Must Do More
Child abuse is a social problem of epidemic proportions. Even though it is difficult to understand the true scope of child abuse—studies have found that only one third of child abuse is reported, for example[1]—the reports that are available, however conservative in nature, paint a horrific picture.  In one 2008 study, researchers found that one in five children will experience child abuse—or 15 million in total.[2]  Another study found that 1 in every 3 girls and 1 in every 8 boys will experience sexual abuse; roughly half of which being incestuous.[3].  In 2009, 6 million children were reported to Child...
frustrated
Silencing the Voices of the Wounded in the Church
Victim. Consider that word for a moment. Victim. What does it bring to mind? Do you picture someone who has been attacked or abused or otherwise harmed– someone who compels you to compassion and concern? Or does the word “victim” bring to mind a weak, whiny, and wretched example of a human being– someone who blames everyone else for their misery? If you found yourself in the latter camp, you are not alone. Victim blaming seems to be the prevailing mind-set in many circles. It happens every day in business and politics: those with power fear losing it, and some strive...
colorado shooter
Into the Cross Hairs
High profile shootings occur every year or so; Gabby Giffords, Treyvon Martin, Virginia Tech, and Columbine come to mind.  The latest chapter was played out in Aurora, Colorado where a disturbed young man took his automatic rifle with a 100 round drum of bullets out on as many people as he could put in his cross hairs.   Of course, other countries have mass shootings too (Norway and Finland), but they typically enact tough gun laws in the wake of their tragedies.   Not in the US. The NRA and their supporters have been very effective in shouting down any movement toward...
wine and friends
Following Jesus Everywhere
In practical and academic theological circles it’s popular to ponder, write, consider, and act upon the meaning of following Jesus, especially following Jesus to the cross. You read scripture and start to realize going to the cross of Calvary means resisting death-dealing secular and religious bureaucratic and “other” assorted authorities, rejecting anything but love and justice as the measuring line, disallowing all that’s other than righteousness as the plumbline; after a few years of living out our baptism, we start discovering Resurrection Sunday morning is every bit as demanding as Good Friday afternoon. It’s easy to take pride in demonstrating...
thevan
Why The Van
I’m a big guy.  I’m loud. I like to think I’m a likable guy.  This picture of me is very indicative of my personality.  I love everyone I meet.  I like to keep my arms open.  Sometimes I say I’ve been hurt. But I’ve got clothes on my back, I don’t go hungry and I have a warm bed and a beautiful wife. This is Bear.   He’s homeless.  He lives in the woods.  He’s a Vietnam Veteran who was honorably discharged after the war.  He’s a good guy.  Sometimes, he’d help me when I was trying to help others.  He is...
devilmaking
Homelessness, Prison, and the Devil of our Making
I recently wrote a recommendation for one of my best friends. Not for a job, not for LinkedIn, not for a sweet spot at some Ivy League college nor for an elite daycare. But to finally have all of his criminal records expunged. People will argue that he should not have them removed, that he must pay his debt to society, that he is a bad man and deserves no shot at a normal life. These people have the Devil in them. I don’t just say this as one who is hurt by their demonization of my good friend. I...
Adoption
Preventing Adoption
We sat on damp sofa cushions in the mud and straw shack, a one-room dwelling that Teddy was clearly proud of. I’m not sure how many children and babies she’s helped since becoming local chairperson of her district, which is a slum in Kampala, Uganda — but our son was one of them. I removed my shoes before entering. We had just visited another shack after navigating the twisting maze of the slum — the place where our son had spent the first six months of his life. Teddy began telling Benjamin’s mother’s story in her soft-spoken, lilting Luganda. Our...
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