A Higher Law

The higher law tradition will always be something beyond the grasp of political fad and seasonal abusers of human rights. Thank God for that. I mean it. Thank God for that. This thread of political thinking is not held hostage to either reactionary right or trendy left.

Faith Lived Out: 2+2=4

During the Cold War, there was a joke that circulated among Polish lovers of freedom: Party Boss: “How much is 2 + 2?” Worker: “How much would you like it to be?” This grim humor reminded all that oppressive state power often claimed to define truth itself. When the Solidarity Movement began to resist communist […]

Faith Lived Out: What will Jesus say?

My family never came to the United States. That’s right. The United States came to my family, and I am not of Native American descent. My people were French immigrants, living in North America well before the Revolution. They were kicked up the St. Lawrence Valley by the British when that empire took control of […]

Faith Lived Out: Inherent Dignity

Last week marked the twenty-fifth anniversary of the massacre at Beijing’s Tiananmen Square. Nobody really knows how many were killed in June of 1989 – several hundred, perhaps a thousand. The run-up to this solemn anniversary was full of heightened security by Chinese authorities, tighter control of information, efforts to downplay the tragedy, and increased […]

Faith Lived Out: Every One

Humanity’s greatest sin may just be the serial obsession with defining one another out of the human race. There. I said it. This observation comes from years of watching God’s people find rationale for placing one or another person or group outside the realm of love. And this is no proclivity peculiar to “liberals” or […]

Faith Lived Out: Let’s start with “Intrinsic Worth”

About a year ago, I received a Facebook invitation from a friend. It was for a church event focused on the inclusion of all people. Knowing that I am committed to issues of justice and dignity, my friend thought that I might come. Yet the engaging, hip invitation included the following statement: “No haters allowed.” […]

Faith Lived Out: A theocentric ecology

I helped lead my very first nonviolent direct action in the spring of 1972 – at least that’s how I remember the experience. There were nine or ten of us from the fourth grade at Sterne Brunson School, Benton Harbor, Michigan. We were a multiracial, multiethnic crew, blissfully unaware of the uniqueness our diversity represented. […]

Faith Lived Out: The value of knowing value

The Social Principles of The United Methodist Church did not appear as some spontaneous phenomenon. They have a history. In fact, their history is so storied that one might find it difficult to peel all of the layers away. The Social Principles themselves refer to the early Methodist opposition to slavery, smuggling, and the abuse […]

Faith Lived Out: What does it mean for the Social Principles to be “Social”?

The Wesleyan tradition is awash with misunderstanding. This is, in large part, because people of faith are just as skilled at talking past one another as anyone else. Take the “Social Principles” of The United Methodist Church. They are invoked, quoted, yanked out of context, and referenced in passing to argue this or that theological […]