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Author: John Pavlovitz

I am a black life: What a Jesus of Color would say to white police

And Jesus walked into the 3rd Precinct, sat down and began to teach them, saying: You have heard it said, “Whatever you do onto the least of these, you do onto me.” I’ve heard you repeat that in your churches and in your Bible studies. I’ve seen it on your social media profiles. I need you to understand what that means: It means that I am a black life. When you slowly suffocate a man to death in the street while he pleads for breath, you’re slowly suffocating me. When you drive your knee into his neck until it...

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How much is a Black Life worth to White America?

White friend, how much is your father worth to you? Your son? Your sister? Your spouse? Your mother? Would they be worth stopping traffic if they were suffocated in the street? Would they be worth a riot, if they were executed with their faces pressed into the pavement while pleading for breath that was denied until there was no breath left? Would they be worth a spontaneous street corner bonfire if every person in power turned their heads away from your mourning? Would they be worth a sustained, full-throated demand for justice if that justice was perpetually denied? Would...

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A Tale of Two Coopers: How White complicity fuels racism

Racism is a prolific killer. We’re seeing that right now. It is entrepreneurial in its malice and it will use whatever means necessary to eliminate those it is threatened by and fearful of. The breadth of its arsenal and the scope of its tactics are staggering. It will execute young black men in the street and it will assassinate their character on social media. It will shoot human beings with guns and it will shoot them with cell phones. It will enact its violence with knees into men’s necks until they cannot breathe, and with calls to the police...

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An unearned privilege: Americans today are wasting their inherited freedom

Freedom is an unearned privilege — and you have it. If you were born here in America you inherited it. It came with your breath and your birth certificate. That freedom actually wasn’t free though — it was quite costly and someone prepaid it on your behalf. You never met them and you’ll likely never know their names. They paid for your freedom in filthy, putrid trenches decades ago and half a world away. They paid it on blackened beachfronts littered with the blood and body parts of strangers. They paid it cold and alone on frozen countrysides, in...

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An Unfathomable Scale: How do we grieve the loss of 100,000 American lives?

Nearly 100,00 people, America. 100,000 lives in just over 100 days. 100,000 mothers, best friends, favorite uncles, beloved teachers, helpful neighbors, papas, grandmas, first loves, only children, soul mates. 100,000 givers and helpers and creators and lovers and thinkers and healers. 100,000 silenced laughs and interrupted plans and abandoned dreams and stilled bodies and quieted voices. 100,000 empty chairs and beds and house and embraces. In three months: 1 fully packed football stadium, 38 9/11s, 1.75 Vietnam Wars. How do you properly grieve this kind of subtraction of humanity? How do you adequately mourn the unfathomable scale and the...

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False comfort from misplaced faith: The COVID-19 pandemic is not part of God’s spiritual plan

I know many people fortunate enough to know god personally. They’re able to say with great confidence and precise specificity, what the Maker of All Things is doing at any given moment; his or her motives, methods, and intentions—especially in times of tragedy and consequence. I used to be one of those people. I used to toss words around lazily, ascribing purpose to the terrible seasons and painful circumstances people pass through. It wasn’t done with malice or with an intent to mislead people, I’d just convinced myself that I could make sense of senseless things—because, Jesus. Every national...

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