Archive for December, 2015

How to polarize people

In the end, the United States will reject this fear-mongering and demagoguery, as it has in the past. But we are going through an important test of political and moral character. I hope decades from now, people will look back and ask, “What did you do when Donald Trump proposed religious tests in America?”

Fareed Zakaria

By Fareed Zakaria
Thursday, December 10, 2015

I think of myself first and foremost as an American. I’m proud of that identity because as an immigrant, it came to me through deep conviction and hard work, not the accident of birth. I also think of myself as a husband, father, guy from India, journalist, New Yorker and (on my good days) an intellectual. But in today’s political climate, I must embrace another identity. I am a Muslim.

I am not a practicing Muslim. The last time I was in a mosque, except as a tourist, was decades ago. My wife is Christian, and we have not raised our children as Muslims. My views on faith are complicated — somewhere between deism and agnosticism. I am completely secular in my outlook. But as I watch the way in which Republican candidates are dividing Americans, I realize that it’s important to acknowledge…

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I apologize for those who are misrepresenting our Christian faith tradition and the way they have caused you such pain. I am sorry that they are perpetuating violence with every sermon, every stump speech, every interview, and that they show little remorse and great arrogance as they do so

john pavlovitz

Dear Muslim Community,

I’m an American Christian and I’m sorry.

I’m sorry that the loudest voices representing my faith tradition right now seem to be the most hateful ones, the ones least like Jesus.

I’m sorry that these voices are making you feel unwelcome and unloved in my country, that they are magnifying fear, that they are causing you to experience terrible discrimination and undeserved animosity in the places you worship and raise your families and make your livings.

I’m sorry that you are being unfairly penalized for a handful of twisted, violent people who share little more than simply the name of your faith. (I understand well what that is like).

I need you to know that those angry bullies spreading ignorance and fear and bigotry and claiming to speak for Christians do not represent me, no matter how high a platform they have or how recognizable their names are or how much money they…

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john pavlovitz

santa-claus-hero-2-H“Dad, are you and mom Santa?”

The words surprised even myself when they came flying out of my fourth grade mouth there in the storeroom of my father’s small town shoe store in Central New York. (I had planned to build slowly into a carefully worded inquiry, and this was more like a gas line explosion).

“Yes,” he replied.

There it was. And just like that, a little Christmas magic evaporated, or so I thought.

It wasn’t long after, when I was yet again hanging out in the store with him on a frigid, snowy Saturday morning, when I heard a commotion outside  on the sidewalk, which soon grew louder and eventually spilled into the place.

There, in full regalia was The Man himself, smiling and shaking his belly and loudly ho-ho-ho’ing, surrounded by a small mob of adoring toddlers and beaming parents. Everyone in the room was all freakin’ holly jolly—everyone except for…

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Source: Fundamentalists Are People Too (Just Like Progressives and Atheists and Gays and…)

Source: Why The Church Should Save Time And Apologize To The LGBTQ Community Now

Source: The “War on Christmas” Cries Overshadow The Daily War On Christ—By Christians

Source: Leaving Behind Red Cup Christianity

Source: If You’re Gonna Condemn Terrorism—Please Condemn All Of It.

Source: Why Do I Still Have To Explain #BlackLivesMatter To Other White People?

john pavlovitz


Oh, we need a little Christmas, right this very minute….

Have you ever felt like something was off, something you couldn’t quite place but you were sure of just the same; a subtle but very profound not rightness?

Well, something is not right in me these days and I know it.

I’m not sure how to describe it, other than to say that lately there is something missing.

I think it might be Hope.

I think I’m becoming starved of Hope.

It hasn’t happened overnight, but over time my soul’s been so weighed down by suffering, so saturated by the sadness all around that the expectancy’s been completely squeezed out, the possibility all but drained away.

I know the things I’m supposed to believe, the response I’m supposed to have, the joy I’m supposed to overflow with, but these are getting more and more difficult to muster in the face of all the horrible that’s happening in…

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john pavlovitz

broken ornament‘Tis the season to claim persecution…

Our yearly Christian obsession with the supposed “War on Christmas” began early this season, with this week’s viral video of the Starbucks rant by self-proclaimed car seat prophet Joshua Feuerstein and the ensuing social media sideshow.

This certainly won’t be the last of such claims, and though a mystifying multitude of the faithful rushed to amen Feuerstein’s rather meritless accusations over the past few days, one of the most refreshing elements of this week has been the number of good-hearted people who refuse to be fooled and drafted into a phantom battle.

They know that there isn’t a war on Christmas waged by non-Christians, as much as there is a war on Christ by Christians—and it’s been that way for a long time now.

To those who’ve been paying attention for the past few decades, American Christianity has become more politicized and commercialized than Jesus would ever have desired. It’s been…

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john pavlovitz

Bleeding pen

There’s something all writers know, something that those who don’t write will never truly understand:

To write, is to bleed.

The act of regularly opening yourself up in full view of an army of strangers is choosing to be exposed; to consent to have one’s unprotected innards trespassed upon and rooted through. This vulnerability comes at a great personal price, one that is never really ever repaid. The writer is always in the red.

Though the discipline of writing is one that usually begins in solitude, its evolution is quite the opposite. In the quiet places one bravely breaks open the contents of his or her heart and chooses to share them publicly, not knowing the reception they will receive after they leave the safety of secret. Once outside of the protected confines of one’s head, their every syllable is scrutinized and dissected, parsed and poured over.

Most writers tend to be a confounding collection of paradoxes, having…

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