Pithy Post: The Death Penalty Re-imagined

Seven year-old Bran looked on as his father, Lord Ned Stark of Winterfell, executed  a condemned criminal. On the ride back to the castle, Ned tried to explain to his young boy:

“Do you understand why I did it [instead of a paid executioner]?…we hold to the belief that the man who passes the sentence should swing the sword. If you would take a man’s life, you owe it to him to look into his eyes and hear his final words. And if you cannot bear to do that, then perhaps the man does not deserve to die….A ruler who hides behind paid executioners soon forgets what death is.” ¬†A Game of Thrones, 16.¬† Read more of this post

Private or Public Christianity: Does Your Faith Affect Your Politics?

I sat down next to a tall, bright, 17-year-old guy named Max on an airplane in December. When he asked what I do, I said, “I’m training to be a pastor.” Now, Max described himself as “secular, or atheist…agnostic…whatever.” He didn’t know quite what to call himself, but he grew up in the Catholic church and knew that religion wasn’t for him. Nevertheless, he was thoroughly interested to meet a real live Protestant Christian. Once he had sorted out just what religion I was seeking to work in, he started peppering me with questions.

Among those questions was this pointed (and no doubt loaded) query: “Does your religion affect your politics?” Read more of this post

Pithy Post: Truth in an Age of Politics

During this election season, going to factcheck.org is a necessary but altogether distressing practice. Too often, truth is not nearly as important as repetition and rhetoric is substituted for reason. As discouraging as this is to so many of us nowadays, the reality is that throughout history people in power have used language as a tool to gain and maintain that power. It is in this type of world that Jesus sent his disciples and sends us to speak and live authentically. Read more of this post