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Author: John Pavlovitz

Our legacy is defined by others because nobody gets to speak at their own funeral

As I watched the funeral and memorials for President George H.W. Bush, I couldn’t help but think about how powerless he was during it all. Conversations were taking place, tributes and critiques being offered, events of his life being dissected in great detail — and he couldn’t do a thing about any of it. He was being defined and summarized, all without his consent. You’re probably not a former President, but you will surely find yourself in a similar situation, albeit on a smaller scale. There will come a day, when you will cease to be. One day there...

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Evangelicals make people of faith choose sides in their clandestine War on Christmas

Yes, there is a war on Christmas in America. The Evangelicals were right. The pulpit-pounding preachers were right. Franklin Graham was right. The Republicans were right. Donald Trump was right. Fox News was right. The Religious Right was right. Every single one of them was speaking gospel truth. They have all been warning me for years, and I did not want to believe them, lest hopelessness set in—but the proof is unavoidable now, and I need to confess they were right and I was wrong. I once was blind and now I see it clearly. They told me Christianity...

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Vote or Shut Up: Tuesday will decide the direction of our future

We’re all worried about Tuesday, America. It is the place our minds and hearts are solely fixed on. Right now our energies are understandably marshaled and our hopes pinned to this singular day ahead, as if at the end of it we will have some resolution, some sense of closure — as if healing and rest will finally come. But what if things don’t go that way? What if the news is bad? At a recent tour stop, a visibly exasperated woman asked me, through a breaking voice, “What if everything goes wrong on Tuesday? What do we do...

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It does not take science to understand that monstrous words make monsters

Words are stunningly versatile things. They have the ability either to create or to destroy, to lift us or to level us, to give us wings to crush us beneath their weight, to inspire us to reach the loftiness parts of our nature or to drive us to the depths of our blackest darkness. We know this from the way other voices have shaped us in both redemptive and debilitating ways. The words of others can become for us the language for all we harbor unspoken in our hearts; every unfulfilled longing, each unhealed wound, every beautiful aspiration, all...

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Providence and the misguided political belief of being chosen by God

After a conversation about the recent Supreme Court hearings, a friend and Trump supporter who claims to be Christian, reiterated a recurring theme: Providence. “This is God’s doing.” she said very matter-of-factly. “Trump has been chosen by God.” Well, she was half right anyway. He has been chosen by someone — and it’s a national tragedy. As I think about the people I know who have tethered themselves to this President, many professing a faith in Jesus, I can see that they have made a decisive, precise, and unmistakable choice; one that has terribly altered two histories; both the...

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Thoughts on giving up: In an era of darkness we must keep shining our light

Yesterday I decided I was through fighting. I was finished pushing back and speaking up and showing up and going on. I concluded that it was all too exhausting and too painful to daily engage such hatred and to attend to so many wounds and to witness so much inhumanity — and I was done. I was officially retiring from giving a damn. You might be there, too. Maybe today you’ve been pushed to the precipice of your what you believe you can withstand, and walking any further feels like an act of self-violence. I’m not going to tell...

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