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blue bits. red rocks.
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…no human reader of scripture utterly escapes the influence of history and culture; perhaps denying their impact serves only to strengthen their grip. History and culture matter, not only in the ancient production of the scriptures but also in the modern appropriation of scripture. Monte Harrell Hampton

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If same-sex relationships are really sinful, then why do they so often produce good fruit—loving families, open homes, self-sacrifice, commitment, faithfulness, joy? And if conservative Christians are really right in their response to same-sex relationships, then why does that response often produce bad fruit—secrets, shame, depression, loneliness, broken families, and fear? “God and the Gay Christian” Discussion, Week 1

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…the prison system is fundamentally designed to help us avoid confronting this reality. We much prefer to think of the prison system as protecting us from evil, rather than as protecting us from facing the disavowed evil (racism, economic injustice, lack of education, unemployment, underemployment etc.) that we dance with daily. This same logic can be perceived in the way that religious organizations often view the homeless. Congregants are invited to get involved with homeless ministry to give something back, to offer people a hand up or to bring some good news. What we see then is nothing but an abstraction that makes us feel good, while protecting ourselves from the danger that we might be provoked to fundamentally change how we live by seeing ourselves as part of the reason why there are homeless people in the first place. Getting Thrown Out of Prison: Judge Dredd, the Oppressed, and Salvation

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Just as God’s love entered the world, thereby submitting to the misunderstanding and ambiguity that characterize everything worldly, so also Christian love does not exist anywhere but in the worldly, in an infinite variety of concrete worldly action, and subject to misunderstanding and condemnation. Every attempt to portray a Christianity of “pure” love purged of worldly “impurities” is a false purism and perfectionism that scorns God’s becoming human and falls prey to the fate of all ideologies. God was not too pure to enter the world. Dietrich Bonhoeffer

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The paradox that we all wrestle with is how love has to get “dirty” to be love, how Jesus’s vision of holiness involves embracing tax-collectors, sinners and prostitutes. And yet, there’s this impulse in some sectors of Christianity to keep our love “pure.” We see this impulse at work in the mantra “hate the sin but love the sinner.” The idea here is that we can, with surgical precision, make a cut between our affections toward human persons and how we feel about their behaviors. But as I argue in Unclean, such surgical precision is psychologically untenable. And we know this. It is incredibility hard to not let a person’s behaviors affect how we feel about him or her. The Impurity of Love

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We still have not come to full recognition of blacks and other people as full citizens, as full people. And one way we can demonstrate that is that when we see another human being, our brain is actually wired so that part of the brain lights up, just from recognition of another human being. John Powell

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