How we Keep Going When “Not Inhumane” feels like the Only Thing we Can Accomplish

Is this what we’ve come to? Defending the moral claim that families should be together and children should not be in cages? After days of denying the family separation policy and pleading helplessness to change the law, early this afternoon Donald Trump said he would suspend the Homeland Security policy of family separation at the border.

Trump offered no details on the new policy and maintained his tough-on-crime rhetoric. (BTW, almost half of all undocumented immigrants have not broken a criminal law; many immigration violations fall under civil law, which means there’s no crime against the public and should be no prison sentence attached to these violations). As with so many political moves, we’re left with the promise of justice but no evidence of it. Through popular pressure, the Trump Administration made a public promise to not be deliberately inhumane–but that’s far from a promise to treat migrants humanely. Continue reading


Pastoral work is not glamorous. All told, there’s very little baby-kissing and baptizing. But I did once spend six hours creating a giant twister board for a lock in. Last spring, I spent an afternoon chopping fir branches into eco-friendly “palms.” On occasion, I even get to fold bulletins. All things that need to be done. It’s just, there’s nothing glamorous about doing what needs to be done.

Palms 2014

Can’t you tell they’re palms?

This week, petitions were flying all over my email. On Monday, four days ago, Kelly Gissendaner was set to be executed in Georgia, for a crime she committed and admits to. The execution is bullshit, for a number of reasons that are evident here and here, but foremost because execution is antithetical to God’s work and to the work of keeping ourselves human. In the days her execution was delayed due to weather, a swarm of voices rose on social media to advocate for Kelly. On Sunday night, at 11pm, I was tagged in a Facebook comment pleading clergy members to sign a petition for Kelly. The deadline was midnight. I signed as quickly as I could type. The next day, I called Gov. Nathan Deal to ask for clemency.

The next day, I got word of a Mennonite pastor in Iowa who was picked up by Immigrations and Customs Enforcement and set for deportation. A request to call the ICE office; a petition.

I believe in a miracle working God, whose goodness flows regardless of human activity. I also believe in signing petitions. Continue reading