When Christians talk of rules, lines, and statutes, they’re focused on arbitrary commands instead of the law of love, which Jesus brought forth.
We need a broader moral reckoning on capital punishment—in the Bible belt, in particular. In a recent forum, we zeroed in on the challenge of problematic theology, which in Shane’s words has turned the Bible Belt into a “Death Belt,” giving moral cover to a lethal human rights violation. Southern states where Christianity predominates are the ones holding fast to the death penalty and using it most often. Last month four executions were scheduled—two in Texas and one each in Tennessee in South Carolina—during a season where Christians everywhere celebrated resurrection.
The message was simple to understand: It’s just like when I used to pastor and I would tell the children’s sermon before the regular sermon. I would tell them, “If you understood the implications of what I just said in the children’s story, you don’t have to stay for the adult preaching—you can go on home.” If you understood the story I just told about the visit with this elder, you understand my message, because it holds the core of it.
An Interview with Tennessee Activist, Justin Jones, On the #March4Mercy: “God is calling Us to Be on The Margins”
On April 21—just days after Easter—Oscar Smith is set to be executed in Tennessee. The state has 32 people currently on death row and though they hav...
For those of us who are being transformed by new-to-us revelations of long-present realities, this awakening journey is surely God’s mercy to us. It isn’t good for us to be unaware of actual history, ignorant of present realities of oppression, oblivious to marginalized people’s experiences. Some of these things might make us uncomfortable when we are made aware of them. But we need to be made aware. It’s part of our healing, our transformation, our wholeness.
"...Perhaps, in this moment, God is calling us to think more critically about the role of the church and its relationship to the least of these."
Light seems so much brighter when we are emerging from the darkness. This is why I need that Tenebrae service, to sit and bear witness to the darkness, to recognize it, and then to surrender it. Not surrender to the darkness, but to surrender the darkness.