In 2015, the members of Greensboro United Church of Christ entered an Open and Affirming Covenant. They did so two years before I came to serve as their pastor. That they had done it was one of the reasons that made me want to be their pastor. After much prayer, discussion, and believing that the […]
But the church of this country is not only indifferent to the wrongs of the slave, it actually takes sides with the oppressors. It has made itself the bulwark of American slavery, and the shield of American slave-hunters. Many of its most eloquent Divines. who stand as the very lights of the church, have shamelessly given the sanction of religion and the Bible to the whole slave system. They have taught that man may, properly, be a slave; that the relation of master and slave is ordained of God; that to send back an escaped bondman to his master is clearly the duty of all the followers of the Lord Jesus Christ; and this horrible blasphemy is palmed off upon the world for Christianity.
For my part, I would say, welcome infidelity! welcome atheism! welcome anything! in preference to the gospel, as preached by those Divines! They convert the very name of religion into an engine of tyranny, and barbarous cruelty, and serve to confirm more infidels, in this age, than all the infidel writings of Thomas Paine, Voltaire, and Bolingbroke, put together, have done! These ministers make religion a cold and flinty-hearted thing, having neither principles of right action, nor bowels of compassion. They strip the love of God of its beauty, and leave the throng of religion a huge, horrible, repulsive form. It is a religion for oppressors, tyrants, man-stealers, and thugs. It is not that “pure and undefiled religion” which is from above, and which is “first pure, then peaceable, easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.” But a religion which favors the rich against the poor; which exalts the proud above the humble; which divides mankind into two classes, tyrants and slaves; which says to the man in chains, stay there; and to the oppressor, oppress on; it is a religion which may be professed and enjoyed by all the robbers and enslavers of mankind; it makes God a respecter of persons, denies his fatherhood of the race, and tramples in the dust the great truth of the brotherhood of man. All this we affirm to be true of the popular church, and the popular worship of our land and nation — a religion, a church, and a worship which, on the authority of inspired wisdom, we pronounce to be an abomination in the sight of God. In the language of Isaiah, the American church might be well addressed, “Bring no more vain ablations; incense is an abomination unto me: the new moons and Sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity even the solemn meeting. Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth. They are a trouble to me; I am weary to bear them; and when ye spread forth your hands I will hide mine eyes from you. Yea! when ye make many prayers, I will not hear. YOUR HANDS ARE FULL OF BLOOD; cease to do evil, learn to do well; seek judgment; relieve the oppressed; judge for the fatherless; plead for the widow.”
The American church is guilty, when viewed in connection with what it is doing to uphold slavery; but it is superlatively guilty when viewed in connection with its ability to abolish slavery. The sin of which it is guilty is one of omission as well as of commission. Albert Barnes but uttered what the common sense of every man at all observant of the actual state of the case will receive as truth, when he declared that “There is no power out of the church that could sustain slavery an hour, if it were not sustained in it.”
This request comes from Jenna O’Donnell at Hunger Free Vermont: As many of you know, the Farmers to Families food distributions are shifting to a new format, starting next Monday (July 6th). And they need our help! There will be distributions happening in 20-25 different locations across the state for the months of July and […]
“Here is the church and here is the steeple. Open the doors and see all the people.” Many of you know this finger rhyme. When I was little, this lighthearted pastime was typically enjoyed upon my father’s lap, probably to get me to giggle until he ended the rhyme with “Close the doors until they […]
There are many good deeds a church community can do throughout the year. In a normal year, church events and community deeds are the subject for discussion and deliberation by various church committees. There are details. These things take time… Things are different now. Unemployment, fear, and hunger are stark realities in our community. What […]
The first time I ever saw a Little Library was on a foot path that traversed an oceanside community in Maine. Since then I’ve noticed them right here in Greensboro, alongside the Memorial Garden and on a path to Willey’s Beach. There may be many more. There is novelty associated with these little libraries, and […]
Please join us for the opening of our Little Food Shelf on Wednesday, April 15th at 10 am.
A little over a month ago I thought about creating a local map and directory that would help stores and services in the village deal with the flow of folks seeking beer, cheese, lodging, performances and other delights and necessities. The idea was nothing original, just a way to guide visitors and create a sense […]
There are many artistic masterpieces depicting Jesus’s arrival into Jerusalem on what we now call Palm Sunday. Pietro Lorenzetti’s Entry of Christ into Jerusalem illustrates the biblical story from Matthew 21:1–11 in which Jesus asks two of his disciples to go into a nearby village and retrieve an ass and her colt. Jesus then rode […]
Recently I asked my nephew, an inner-city cop responsible for policing some of the toughest neighborhoods in Boston, what human characteristic he felt could tie us all together. He said, “empathy.” Empathy is the ability to recognize what another person is experiencing. It allows us to align our emotions and concerns around other people – […]