Showing posts from July, 2020

Sins of the (Founding) Fathers

These guys. It's all their fault. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.  Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them:  for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments. Exodus 20:4-6 Yes, I used the non-inclusive archaic King James Version on purpose, because this essay is literally about men ruining the world for their descendants. First, let's talk American exceptionalism. Some things about being an American are indisputably wonderful. The cultural heterogeneity that birthed jazz, R&B, soul, rock 'n' roll, country, rockabilly, bluegrass, Cajun, hiphop, folk, and all their permutations, then freely shared them wi

The Unfairness of It All

God makes the sun rise on the evil and on the good,  and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. Matthew 5:45 Thirty-four years later, it still traumatizes me to think about it. It was January, 1986, and I was halfway through my first year of seminary at Southern Methodist University. I'd been encouraged by a professor to attend an event up on "the hill," part of the greater SMU campus we denizens of the "God Quad" rarely visited. Charles King, an African-American activist, was presenting what I thought would be a seminar on civil rights. I learned a lot that night, but not in the rarified academic way I preferred. King was a righteously angry man, and his approach channeled that anger into furious tirades against the injustice that was and is integral to Black life in America. It's hard for me to remember exactly what he said, how he structured his argument, and how I wound up turning it inward upon myself. My memory is that he detailed t