Friday, June 19, 2015

Response to "Mother" Emanuel Shooting in Charlotte

Let's do be clear...America suffered another terrorist attack on *Wednesday from an illegitimate, rogue nation: the Confederate States of America in exile...and that illegal, terrorist organization has terrorized this country since 1861. Those of us who live in the Southern UNITED STATES must finally, passionately, nonviolently stand up to the sickness of white supremacy (first of all by not denying its troubling existence), including its white privileging laws and racist code language and venerated symbols of oppression. Yes Right Wingers, religious people are in danger in this country...not for hating gays, but for praying while Black. Surely all decent people are heartsick this week and are ready to tackle our country's racist toxins once and for all. 

*Referring to a white gunman opening fire and killing 9 worshipers at a midweek bible study gathering at Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

The Cross Didn't Work

"The cross didn’t work. The cross wasn’t the result of God requiring human torture; the cross is a reminder that God is greater than human injustice. The cross doesn’t represent God’s plan; it represents Oppression’s failure. It didn’t silence Jesus' message nor did it destroy the movement he inspired. The vision and the hope of God’s kin-dom survived.
Sadly, the vision hasn’t been fully realized yet, but the vision still lives...Jesus’ dream of a world that looks like God would have it is still in us. And we can continue to work together to give greater expression to that dream. We can be the dreamers that dream the dream into reality, or at least, usher the reality closer than it’s ever been.
Jesus lived for that dream. He died for that dream. And the stories of resurrection tell us that the dream could not be killed. We are now Christ in the world, the resurrected and returned body of Christ, and our job is to keep dreaming of and hoping for and working toward God’s kin-dom: a world of peace and plenty, joy and justice, hope and healing.
Will you dream Jesus’ dream with me?
Durrell Watkins, from June 14, 2015 sermon, 
"Jesus' Dream" at Sunshine Cathedral 

Friday, June 05, 2015

Being Christian Without Obsessing on Sin or Salvation

I have a high anthropology (you are God's miracle and not God's mistake; or, if you are in the undecided column about a universal Power/Presence, then I would say you are a person of innate dignity and unlimited potential) and a low Christology (you can dig Jesus without seeing him as being uniquely can see him as a good and noble person inspiring others to live into their potential, or you can see him as letting the divine spark that is in all life shine through him - an Example rather than Exception).

Why should you care about my liberal brand of Christianity that abhors atonement theologies? Well, maybe you don't; but, if you also have difficulties with the idea that people are innately bad and can only be "fixed" (or "saved") by believing that Jesus being tortured to death was part of a divine plan to satisfy a deity who could think of no better way to be in relationship with his (sic) creation, then I do want you to know there are other faithful ways of exploring the Christian faith (without condemning any other spiritual tradition).

I honestly do not believe that Anselm (middle ages aristocrat who gave us the "Satisfaction" theory, i.e., Jesus was tortured to death to satisfy God's warped sense of righteousness) and liberation can be presented at the same time. Jesus died by crucifixion at the hands of a cruel empire; his death was brutal, unjust, unnecessary, and, as Theologian Delores Williams so wisely said, "There was nothing of God in the blood of the cross." YMMV, but that is 100% my view. Jesus died because mean people killed him, not because a "loving" deity demanded it. But, his death didn't end his purpose, his mission, his message, or his community (Resurrection!).

The miracle of Christianity isn't that Jesus (like so many other dissidents) was executed; the miracle is that his execution was meant to silence his message and end his movement and it failed. The miracle of the cross is that it didn't work. That is a message I can embrace and share. Any notion that Jesus died for me (or needed to) is not one that I could ever embrace or share. There is more than one way to be Christian. This is the good news.