Monday, April 29, 2019

"Treacherous & Unintended Consequences"

The following are brief remarks given at Christian Community Church on April 28, reflecting on the recent violent acts that filled the news, including the Easter bombings in Sri Lanka. They have been lightly edited.

CW: Mass and state-sanctioned violence, anti-semitism

Last Sunday, April 21, coordinated attacks at Christian churches and luxury hotels in Sri Lanka killed approximately 253 people and injured more than 500 more. ( ) The investigation is ongoing, but Sri Lankan officials announced that the attacks were carried out by a “local Islamist militant group, with suspected international assistance.” The Sri Lankan State Minister of Defense further speculated that the bombings were in retaliation for the mosque attacks in Christchurch, New Zealand, last March. And, whether it is true or not, the “Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack, which it said … targeted Christians and ‘citizens of Crusader coalition states.’” ( )

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Climate Change and Economic Inequality

I recently participated in a local event honoring Earth Day, featuring presentations on climate change, the IPCC report, and the Green New Deal. I delivered a brief presentation that highlighted the connections between climate change and economic justice. My remarks are lightly edited. 
If you have a pragmatist in your life, you have no doubt heard the saying, “Hope for the best; prepare for the worst.” It’s good sense, although it breaks down when it comes to the topic of catastrophic climate change. There’s no real way we can adequately comprehend, let alone prepare for, the worst case scenario here. In fact, this is the most risky and horrifying case of brinkmanship we have ever engaged in as a species.

What’s frustratingly difficult for most of us is our relative powerlessness when it comes to actually doing something meaningful to address climate change. It is true that all of us, especially all of us in the United States, are complicit. But we have also known for years that climate change is most driven by the choices of the very rich, and it is much easier to change light bulbs and grocery bags than the decisions of the rich and powerful. Addressing climate change will necessarily require addressing economic justice; they cannot be separated.  

Monday, April 8, 2019

Social Rejection & Social Change

I delivered this reflection on April 7, 2019, at Community Christian Church. After introducing some of the growing body of research that documents the impacts of social rejection on human health, I raise some questions about how we might more strategically build community and work for social change. It is lightly edited.

CW: Sl-t shaming, bullying, social rejection

I was finishing high school when Bill Clinton was elected president of the United States. By his impeachment trial, I was in graduate school. And by the time he left office, I was married and working at a university. So it was that Clinton’s administration provided the context for me as a person growing into an understanding of myself, the world, and humanity’s place in it. The policies and debates of that time, both good and bad, invited me to think critically about all sorts of things that remain important in my life.