You Oughta Know - Lent


If you are a Christian, I would hope that you know about the season of Lent, though there is no guarantee. Lent, which begins tomorrow, is the season starting on Ash Wednesday and ending on Easter. During the season, many people fast” from things or practices in their daily lives to both refocus their spiritual life and sacrifice something in homage to Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. Though the current president must not observe the season, as 45 gears up to sign a new travel order on Ash Wednesday, my home church in Chicago is gearing up to spend Lent fighting for immigrant and refugee justice.

From the church’s Lenten blog:

On March 1, 2017, we will begin the season of Lent and start our 2017 Fast for Immigrant and Refugee Justice.  We invite you to join us on a journey from xenophobia to xenophilia, learning God’s heart for the alien and stranger” along the way.  From the Hebrew Scriptures to Jesus, we are commanded to love our neighbor as ourselves.”  Jesus expanded the definition of neighbor to include those of different faiths and different ethnicities and even ones enemies.

We are currently living in a time of rising mistrust and suspicion and a resurgence of nationalism and ethnic/racial supremacy.  In the midst of this climate, the church faces a choice.  Will people of faith add their voices to the calls for bans and walls, or will they–in Jesus’ words–see him a stranger, and welcome him?”

In a time when there are too many issues to rise up against, choosing one on which to focus, in which to make a difference, is more important than ever. Below are a few recent resources and news stories that include religious and cultural xenophobia and hate to get you in the mood to fight such injustice.

One Video


On Jan. 14, 2005, ESAs Huygens probe made its descent to the surface of Saturn’s hazy moon, Titan. Carried to Saturn by NASAs Cassini spacecraft, Huygens made the most distant landing ever on another world, and the only landing on a body in the outer solar system. This video uses actual images taken by the probe during its two-and-a-half hour fall under its parachutes.

Huygens was a signature achievement of the international Cassini-Huygens mission, which will conclude on Sept. 15, 2017, when Cassini plunges into Saturn’s atmosphere.

Read, Think, Share, Repeat

The Challenges of 2020

TL;DR: Follow this link.

One of the craziest things about Christianity during the protests of the last few weeks is the fact that there are churches out there not discussing the issues honestly, not taking the time to have the hard conversations, not devoting their Sunday services to betterment of the world and people around them. If you’re church isn’t talking about racism right now, if they don’t mention that black lives matter, instead focusing on platitudes that equate to the all lives matter” sentiment, it is time to start looking for a new church.

My wife and I meet with my home” church virtually via Zoom since the pandemic is still a thing. Kimball Avenue United Church of Christ & La Iglesia Episcopal de Nuestra Señora de las Américas (KANSA, together) combined in a collaborative way to create a single denomination focused on the needs of their community. They follow Christ together toward the vision of love, reconciliation, peace and justice. The justice looks like the demolition and rehabilitation of an old church building and its grounds into a community garden and labyrinth open to all who seek peace through contemplation.

I give this elevator speech to mention that COVID has not been kind to faith communities in general. Budgets have been slashed, funding and grants have been cut, and congregations in need are also working to serve those in need, who are less likely to be able to financially support their church in these times. KANSA in one of the good ones. They speak truth, they have the difficult conversations, they preach in a loud voice every Sunday that black lives matter, that racism has no place in the church, that the LGBTQ community deserves respect and support, and that Jesus was a social justice warrior, who fought for the least of these no matter who they were, where they were from, what they looked like.

In fact, Jesus was most harsh to those who had the means to help and decided not to answer the call.

These systems of oppression we are protesting have been around a long time; they have screwed up a lot of lives, they have been the reason for revolution and the downfall of entire civilizations, they don’t work. We need to find a better way to live by supporting each other. And support has to come in systemic, social, financial, and political ways, both national and local.

I am not local to KANSA anymore, but I support their mission, the way that mission manifests in the world, and the simple fact that they follow Jesus no matter how ostracizing that position can be at times. Which brings me to the point:

Thanks to a $10,000 matching gift’ from an anonymous donor, the challenge has become an opportunity. Over the next two months, we plan to raise at least $10,000 to meet the challenge. Through August 31, 2020, every donation we receive toward our 2020 Challenge” no matter how small or how large will be doubled by the matching gift.

KANSA is hurting financially and needs support, they do good work and are unabashedly progressive in their approach to our world. Donate now and see your contribution matched to keep one of the good ones fighting the good fight.

Thank you for your consideration.