Powell: Surviving the flood

Jan 16, 2017 by

Several days after Donald Trump became president-elect of the United States, religious leaders in Buffalo, N.Y., invited me to a meeting that explored ways to address the fear gripping their city. Noting the...

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Powell: Drum majors for justice

Dec 5, 2016 by

During the height of the civil rights movement, Martin Luther King Jr. addressed an audience at the National Cathedral in Washington. He alluded to Washington Irving’s story of Rip Van Winkle. Rip went into...

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Powell: What kind of savior?

Oct 24, 2016 by

In a past column I asked, “Are you looking for Jesus?” I wrote that some people are looking for Jesus to provide material possessions. Their actions are geared to assure that people who are unlike them...

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Powell: A privileged position

Sep 12, 2016 by

The presidential election campaign is drawing attention to white privilege. Many whites deny they are privileged because of their skin tone. When their privilege is pointed out, some reply that affirmative...

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No more silence

Aug 1, 2016 by

My daughter is a social justice advocate in her city. We recently had a conversation about the realities of living as a person of color. At one point she said, “Dad, I’m scared!” She described an...

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Fierce urgency

Jun 20, 2016 by

As the presidential race becomes more intense, the rhetoric, division and hatred have intensified. There is a deep-seated hostility toward marginalized people. The idea of a postracial environment has taken a...

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Evangelicals for justice

May 9, 2016 by

We have heard a lot about evangelicals recently, particularly their engagement in political campaigns. Evangelical Christianity has been equated with Christian factions that support ultra-conservative...

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Prejudice finds a haven

Mar 28, 2016 by

I recently returned home from Florida by way of Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky and Ohio on Interstate 75. As I traveled, I noticed several large Confederate flags along the way, including in Ohio. A large...

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Accessible education is a faith and justice issue

Feb 15, 2016 by

I’ve had several conversations questioning the validity of the quote, “Now we are faced with an onslaught of potential annihilation,” in my March 16, 2015, column. People primarily focused on gun...

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Year of opportunity

Jan 4, 2016 by

A friend told me about an incident he experienced just before Christmas. He was awakened one morning at 3:30 a.m. in a cold sweat from a nightmare. It was Christmas morning, and his community was in flames....

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Giving thanks in an anxious world

Nov 23, 2015 by

I came across some Thanksgiving statistics: Eighty-eight percent of Americans eat turkey on Thanksgiving Day. An individual might consume an average of 4,500 calories at Thanks­­giving dinner....

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Hope is a decision

Oct 12, 2015 by

As the forces of discontent continue in our communities, recent headlines have indicated that the South is more racist than other areas. It is easy to regionalize the focus on racial tension while ignoring the...

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Death by favorite weapon

Aug 31, 2015 by

The issue of gun ownership has entered the national conversation again after mass shootings in Charleston, S.C., and Lafayette, La. While the murders in Charleston were clearly racial, mental health issues...

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Racist violence, domestic terrorism

Jul 20, 2015 by

Our communities are reeling from the brutal, racist assassination of African-American parishioners in Charleston, S.C. The arson of six black churches in Georgia, North and South Carolina, following the...

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Climate of discontent

Jun 8, 2015 by

A friend told me about a conversation with a colleague who said, “You seem to have a bee in your bonnet about racism and violence against blacks. We all have the same opportunity, so let’s just move on.”...

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White fragility

Apr 27, 2015 by

We have heard many apologies in recent months, particularly from white communities, regarding racial, ethnic and gender issues. There has been a lot to apologize for. Politicians, sportswriters, newscasters...

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Lives that matter

Mar 16, 2015 by

Reflecting on Black History Month in February caused me to ponder violent attacks — past and present — and the veiled assaults on black folks and communities. There are daily reports of violent incidents...

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Hopeful or hopeless?

Feb 2, 2015 by

As 2014 ended, “I can’t breathe” was the mantra for many who demonstrated across the United States in the wake of the death of Eric Garner. It feels like our nation, and our world, can’t breathe. The...

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Are you looking for Jesus?

Dec 22, 2014 by

As we celebrate Christmas, people who are marginalized are living in hope of the just society that Christ’s birth promised. They are seeking Jesus to find equality and justice. Looking for Jesus is not a new...

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Can we tear down the walls?

Nov 10, 2014 by

Walls hinder just relationships everywhere. Global, national and local communities have erected emotional, social and psychological walls that create uncertainty. Conflicts among religious, cultural and ethnic...

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Stop the domestic arms race

Sep 29, 2014 by

After the shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., people from every sector of society began, again, discussing the issue of race. Some vehemently denied race was the incident’s operative...

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Love connection

Aug 18, 2014 by

A colleague and friend delved with me into the land mines of the controversies erupting around us. We agreed that our communities, both civil and religious, are filled with distrust, hate and...

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Growing churches in diverse communities

Jul 7, 2014 by

The landscape for church membership is constantly changing. A 2007 Pew Research Study revealed significant changes in church participation. The United States is quickly becoming a marginally Protestant...

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Writing a better script

May 26, 2014 by

Becoming a racially inclusive community in Anabaptist structures is difficult. Advocates of undoing racism face challenges that seem overwhelming. White allies want to deal justly with people of...

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Got Jesus?

Apr 14, 2014 by

Passion Week, particularly Easter (or Resurrection Sunday), is the most sacred event for most Christians. We pause to reflect on the significance of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Jesus has fulfilled God’s...

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