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Author: John Pavlovitz

Breaking the “Privileged Wall of Silence” for Justice: An Apology to Dr. King from a White Moderate

Dear Dr. King, I wish I’d have written this sooner. Indeed I should have, but doing so was simply not possible, as it’s taken me this long to realize that these were words that needed to be said — and that they needed to be said by me. For much of my life I’ve imagined I was fighting the good fight of equality because I believed in it philosophically, because intellectually I agreed it. I’d frequently recited your words and loudly amen-ed your sermons and easily claimed affinity in your declarations of the worth of every human being. I’d...

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Seeing scarcity in a world of abundance: When American Christians stopped caring about others

I used to think I was a Christian. I was raised in a Christian home and went to a Christian school. After a few meandering spiritual wilderness years I attended a Christian seminary, became a Christian pastor, and have served in Christian churches for most of the past twenty-five years of my life. I’ve read and studied and preached the Scriptures extensively, led community Bible studies and student retreats and overseas mission trips, ministered in tiny rural chapels and massive gleaming megachurches. As a result of these decades immersed in the Christian tradition both personally and vocationally, I thought...

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A Maneuver to Legislate Hatred: Judaism is Not a Nationality and America is Not a Religion

“If fighting anti-Semitism was really a priority, you’d address how rampant it is in the rank-and-file of your following, the white supremacy embedded in the MAGA movement, the anti-Jewish conspiracies and slurs of your supporters, the hate crimes so prevalent during your tenure — but protecting people has never really been your calling card: profiting off of them has been. That’s all this is. Mr. President, We shouldn’t be here. It is both laughable and sickening that we find ourselves at this place, having this conversation, about something like this — but then again, such has been the nauseating...

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Being opposed to hatred is not hateful behavior because love is still the greatest weapon

“You’re being hateful.” I hear that a lot. The accusation is lobbed violently from behind anonymous Twitter handles or lazily tossed into neighborhood social media sites or spoken in quiet, condescending holiday dinner conversations. I’m chastised for apparently causing dissension, erecting barriers, inciting conflict. And every time without fail, these sentiments are delivered by someone who claims that they’re bothered by me being “hateful.” They’re either lying or they’re in terrible error—because that’s not what’s happening here. My supposed malice isn’t what’s triggered them. My suspected viciousness isn’t why they’re outraged. My alleged ugliness isn’t the real culprit here....

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Making a “statement” by not voting only silences your own voice and abdicates that power to others

If there’s any statement choosing not to vote makes, it’s “I don’t care if I count.” I usually avoid small talk, as it is an introvert’s kryptonite. But recently at the pharmacy I made eye contact with the woman in line behind me and started up a conversation, which quickly morphed into much bigger talk. She began complaining about the stratospheric cost of her medications, to which I interjected with a smile and great optimism, “We’ll, hopefully be able to change that in the 2020 election!” “Oh, I’m not voting.” she replied matter-of-factly. She must have seen the color...

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Social Media Bumper Stickers: Hashtags warriors are not the activists needed to save us

I woke up this morning and there they were waiting for me, the latest round of digital saviors from the social media realm: the hashtag warriors. Some of them still remain from the previous day or two, but most have simply replaced those that resided in that same space twenty-four hours ago — yesterday’s supposed world-changing words, now forgotten. Tomorrow they too will be gone, having done nothing but hold space and give a little false hope to people who are slowly drowning. Hashtags are essentially bumper stickers. Bumper stickers identify you in a crowd and get you a...

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