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Author: John Pavlovitz

It is hard for people who do not suffer from mental illness to understand people who do

If you don’t suffer from mental illness, there’s something you need to know about those of us who do, because it may be impossible for us to tell you — and we really want to tell you. There is a disheartening pattern that begins on many of our days. We wake up fully intending to take part in life around us: to return calls or send emails or show up for coffee or meet you for a run. We want to do these things. We’re excited by the possibilities. We’re looking forward to them as much as you are....

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True faith does not bully: An open letter to church leaders regarding LGBTQ Youth

Dear Church Leaders, Over the past two decades I’ve been a pastor to students. It has been the greatest joy of my life to be allowed into the trenches of young people’s lives: to have access to their stories and share proximity to their pain. I’ve sat with and listened to thousands of LGBTQ young people, and I’ve had a front row seat to the violence the Church has manufactured and to the depression, self-harm, and isolation it breeds. It’s the thing that grieves me, perhaps more than anything else I encounter in this work: that vast resources and...

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A reckoning with hate: How White silence continues to enable America’s racism

Racism is a prolific and creative killer. 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 with cell phones. It will enact its violence with knees into men’s necks until they cannot breathe, and with calls to the police feigning their own breathless terror. It will...

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The White Reality: Being tired of talking about privilege is a good indicator of being afflicted with it

A friend recently said to me, “John, I’m so tired of hearing about white privilege. I get, enough already.” Not surprisingly, she was not a person of color. Being tired is an option for her. I know it is for me. Many people don’t get to make that choice. Our level of fatigue with social issues is usually a good barometer of our buffers from them: how capable we are of sustaining attention or staying engaged. If you’re tired of talking about privilege right now, that’s a fairly good indicator that you’re terribly afflicted with it — that opting...

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Action Follows Faith: What Christians should do when their Church remains silent about Racism

Sunday is coming. Soon, millions of Americans will find themselves in the houses of worship that dot nearly every corner of this country; disparate buildings where they’ll gather under the banner of religion, of faith, of goodness. Whether set in trappings that are ancient or modern, filled with polished pews, reclaimed restaurant booths, or plush concert seating—a vast multitude will leave their homes this weekend and purposefully head to those places to be part of redemptive community that seeks to perpetuate the heart of God in the world — or so the story goes. You may be among the...

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Cruelty Sickness: Our shared fatigue after four ferocious years of the ongoing Culture War

I am a collector of stories. I watch people, I listen closely to them, I eavesdrop on their conversations in person and on social media, and I look for the patterns to try and understand what’s happening to us as a nation. I’ve tried to put my finger on how I’m feeling lately, how I think so many of us are feeling out there. It isn’t outrage. We’ve been there for a while now if we’ve been paying attention at all. It isn’t anger. That’s familiar territory for people whose eyes have been open to the ugliness. It’s isn’t...

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