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The Church’s Complicity in Mass Incarceration

Christianity has played a paramount role in mass incarceration. Mass incarceration’s origins, sustainment, and astronomic growth are inherently linked to Christian theology. Our embrace of penal substitution has engendered a retributive culture within our criminal justice system. The church has adopted and supported a meritocratic ethic that declares people get what they deserve. This worldview has subconsciously fostered an unquestioning allegiance to the state, and it has led the church to unwittingly consent to and affirm that crime is primarily a legal offense committed against the state rather than a sin that relationally harms individuals and communities, infringing on the shalom that God intends for us all. The Impact of Meritocracy Our understanding of God’s wrath colors our response to…

A Pastoral Response to the Hug Seen Around the World

Few things are more controversial, scandalous, and beautiful than an act of forgiving love, especially one of a public nature. When Brandt Jean, a black man, hugged Amber Guyger—the white police officer who had murdered his brother Botham Jean inside…

When Ministry Isn’t What You Expect

When I was 16, I said a series of yeses to Jesus that has forever set the trajectory for my life. Meeting, knowing, and surrendering to Jesus has been the most transformative experience of my entire life. Ever since my…

Seeing Jesus with Clarity

Though it is quite clear that the gospel authors did not compose their works with a strict chronology in mind, this does not mean that they were arranged haphazardly. The gospels were assembled with careful forethought, often in order to…
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