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Author: John Pavlovitz

What Might Have Been: The inexplicable path that kept me from ending up as another angry White man

I am a person of profound privilege. As a white, cisgender-heterosexual Christian man raised in America, I have had nearly every benefit and buffer afforded human beings, and this has made my path exponentially easier than those not carrying these qualifiers. Simply because of my pigmentation, gender, orientation, profession of faith, and physical appearance, I have been insulated from countless traumas and shielded from a multitude of threats that so many people experience as their default setting. I have benefited from and participated in a system that has been set up for me and for people like me to...

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Political Tribalism: Why people who were willing to inject bleach are refusing the COVID-19 vaccination

I recently received a text from our local pharmacy, asking us to contact two friends or family members and tell them to get vaccinated. That this is even necessary, illustrates this nation’s worst present affliction: political tribalism. In the wake of the single most devastating public health crisis in our lifetimes, one that has killed well over a half a million people here in the United States and forced all of us into more than a year in lockdown — this simply shouldn’t be. No one should be begging adult human beings who’ve been the loudest for months in...

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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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