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Author: John Pavlovitz

Powerless to heal: When prayers don’t work as people of faith think they should

I’ve been a pastor for twenty-five years and a Christian for most of my life, and I don’t think prayer works anymore — at least not in the way we people of faith often like to believe it does or claim that it does or how I used to teach that it does. When someone we know or love or read about is gravely ill, we default to asking people to pray for their healing; more specifically, we ask others to ask God to heal them. We enlist people to take our cause (this sick person) to the Almighty....

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If “All Lives Matter” then why can’t Americans love migrants as much as they do handguns

It’s a real shame that migrants aren’t handguns. If migrants were handguns, this President would treat them with kid gloves. He’d be ever so careful with his words so as not to cause offense. He’d exercise the rarest of restraint to avoid angering those who love them; couching his words in every moment, being the closest thing to decent that he ever is. He would suddenly find compassion for them. If migrants were handguns, Republican politicians would passionately protect them. They’d go to bat for them and plead for them and legislate every possible way to make their existence...

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Save those “thoughts and prayers” because your political fear is killing us

Once again we find ourselves here in this terribly familiar place. We are grieving again. We are watching in disbelief again. Dozens of families are planning funerals again. On Saturday, August 3, as the death toll climbed we heard the graphic details, watched the unfathomable video, saw the media frenzy, and the deja vu of it all was stomach-turning. The questions come once more: “Why the hell are we doing this again? Are we ever going to fix this? How much death do people need to care?” It is as if we are watching the replay of a horror...

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The dangerous white lie about migrants of color that is hindering America’s greatness

If the migrants were white, things would be very different right now in America. We would never have heard anything about building a wall during the 2016 Presidential campaign. It would not have become a Republican rally chant, a Conservative hashtag staple, a MAGA t-shirt favorite, a Donald Trump fixation. Republicans would not be forever declaring a “national emergency” at our southern border. There would be no talk of the lawless streams of bad people currently “overrunning” us. Republican politicians would not be continually working to create connections between exhausted, desperate families — and drug dealers, rapists, and gun...

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Allow the Outraged: Exposure to repeated trauma should never be accepted as commonplace

Something often happens to people exposed to repeated trauma. Gradually, they become conditioned to accept the horrors as commonplace. Time and brutality starts to wear down their defenses and sap their emotional resources and they begin learn to live alongside the most malignant sickness as if it were ordinary. Slowly but quite decidedly they grow numb to the unthinkable cruelty and the sustained violence until it all begins to seem normal. Eventually they lose the ability to be outraged or to push back or to even care. Self-preservation begins to craft a story in their heads where the most...

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