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Author: John Pavlovitz

We Will Never Forget: Remembering the day but not the lessons learned

Horrible days don’t usually start out as horrible days. As we woke up and went to work and got the kids off to school or got in our cars here in America, September 11th, 2001 was just another ordinary day to us — until it wasn’t. Soon, all hell would break loose, and we would face the one of the most catastrophic days in our history. For those who didn’t live through it, there’s no way to accurately describe the immediate existential free fall; the urgency and the chaos and the terror of those first moments and the hours...

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All good people should grieve when decency dies

Every day I meet professed Christians treating LGBT people like garbage and trying to convince me that God is making them do it. Whenever someone of character leaves this planet, the rest of us should mourn that loss, because the attrition leaves us all worse in its wake. As a tribe of connected people, we realize we are a bit lesser now, because those who have died have taken something precious with them to whatever lies beyond the last breath we take here: they have taken their specific humanity. Though there’s a great deal I vehemently disagreed with John...

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Taking a kneel fully exposed White America

Colin Kaepernick was right about us, white America. He was right to kneel because when he did, he fully exposed us. He exposed us as we became viscerally disgusted, not by the reckless disregard of black lives, but by the earnest and open declaration of black grief at their premature passing. He exposed us when we felt it was our right to tell another human being how to express their personal freedoms, during an anthem supposedly devoted to celebrating those personal freedoms. He exposed us when we treasured flags and songs over flesh and blood; when we repeatedly ignored...

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White people cannot be woke yet still remain silent

In my travels around this country lately, I meet lots of white progressives who fancy themselves woke. They feel this way, because they are now aware, perhaps for the first time, of the brutality of our Government, and just how infected with bigotry and supremacy it is. They are starting to become aware of the unearned privilege of their pigmentation; the countless advantages they’ve had, simply by showing up and being white. They are beginning to really listen to the stories of oppressed and vulnerable people, and facing the systemic illnesses that they benefit from and are unknowingly participants...

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Putting God in a Box: How Christians use faith to fuel their LGBT hate

Every day I meet professed Christians treating LGBT people like garbage and trying to convince me that God is making them do it. You can always tell when people of faith want to blame God for their homophobia and transphobia, because they suddenly become super-interested in literally applying the Bible to other people’s lives. When you confront them on their unbridled hatred and the viciousness with which they crusade — they claim that as “Bible-believers,” they have no choice in the matter. “Well,” they say with shrugged shoulders and feigned helplessness, “in God’s Word, it does say, ‘a man...

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What it means to be called a Christian and who doesn’t qualify

“You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.” — Inigo Montoya, The Princess Bride. The first Christians didn’t call themselves “Christians.” It wasn’t some congratulatory self-identifier as it is today; a way of loudly trumpeting one’s own supposed goodness, quickly slapped on Twitter bios and bumper stickers and t-shirts without forethought or personal cost or empirical evidence. It wasn’t about a place you visited for an hour on Sunday before Cracker Barrel, either. The term Christian was originally a designation of the community of people following Jesus, by those outside of...

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