Kristallnacht 1938-2018

Angela Merkel Quote, July 2018

Angela Merkel recently said that, “When the generation that survived the war is no longer with us, we’ll find out whether we have learned from history” (Newsweek, July 20, 2018).

That time draws ever near, and what have we learned … about totalitarianism? About violence? About resistance?

November 9-10 marks the 80th anniversary of Kristallnacht – the “night of broken glass.” These orchestrated attacks against Jewish citizens, shops, and synagogues in Germany mark the onset of violence that led to thousands of concentration and labor camps, six death camps, and genocide with the ultimate loss of millions of lives.

This weekend I will invest time in reading, viewing, and reflecting on the meaning of those times and their significance for our own. For those interested, below are links to a few of the multiple media resources I plan to absorb. There are plenty more available through searches online, plus hashtag pages on Facebook (#Kristallnacht) and Twitter (#Kristallnacht).

May we not let the memories or the markers of this atrocity slip into the darkness, but continue the legacy of shining the spotlight of compassion and justice upon it.

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Halloween 2018: CamoClashMan Strikes Again!

My perpetual Halloween costume: CamoClashMan.

For those who appreciate details: Blue Tiger-Stripe jacket, Savage Orange shirt, Rastaflage cargos, and Coffeeflage shoelaces.

Oh, and a Woodlandflage-colored shoelace serving as a keychain.

And make that CamoClashMan disguised as Rodin’s *The Thinker*. With spectacles.

CamoClashMan, circa 2006.

Reflections on The Courage Conference 2018

I got back Monday morning at 12:15 am (yikes!) from being at The Courage Conference (yay!). Here are links, if you’re interested in video replay of the presentations ($20 at Eventbrite), and/or reading the series of live-tweets (mostly from Julie Anne Smith and Ryan Ashton – thanks, you two!).

I attended both the general event (Friday evening and Saturday), and the leaders’ training/brainstorming event (Sunday morning to early afternoon). It was intense, draining, but really really good! I’m still recuperating, but wanted to post some about it while it’s still fresh. It may seem like a random selection of unconnected jottings, but hey, you know me – Mister Randomocity. Continue reading

Trajectories, Transformations, and the Mighty Metaphor of the Humble Slingshot

Portrait of a handsome teenage bad boy with slingshot and stylish haircut, softbox lighting studio shot.

My Dad was pretty darn good at classic “weaponry” – implements that seem exotic in the modern era: sling, slingshot, and bullwhip. Except these items weren’t exactly exotic in the high-elevation plains of the western frontier states. There you constantly had to be on alert to all sorts of vermin and venomous snakes, and these were just tools of the trade to keep you safe. Plus, they provided great break times while fishing, hiking, or picnicking out in the wilds. Continue reading

Final Countdown to Launching Futuristguy’s Field Guide #1!

THE FINAL COUNTDOWN IS ON – and I’d greatly appreciate your prayers for stamina and wisdom, as my schedule is packed this month!

WEEK #1. I start off with a bunch of small catch-up projects. Then the book layout file is due from my graphic designer – that starts the actual book-launch countdown clock. Check to see that all content and all 200+ images are there and in their right places.

WEEK #2. Update the document file with any changes, run a test copy of the book, do a final format check, repeat that process if needed. Work on a one-page flyer that overviews the series and gives sales details on the first book.

WEEK #3. Finish flyer. Contact people I’ll be inviting to review the book. Also, I’m attending The Courage Conference, where I’ll be connecting with some of these reviewers, and just enjoying being with others involved in similar ministries.

WEEKS #4-5. Finalize sales webpages. Finish three articles for the companion website. And if all has gone well, order books for reviewers, start up sales, and get the word out that the book’s available!

As you can imagine, each of those tasks has mounds of details to do, so I will likely be off-line more than I am on, but will check messages regularly.

But the last steps are really really here. Finally – almost done! Thanks for your prayers and support along the way …

Coming to Terms with Culture, Context, and Civil Conversations

In 1979, I read the just-released *Contextualization: A Theology of Gospel and Culture* by Bruce J. Nicholls. I still recall his description of contextualization tasks when one African tribe wanted to share the gospel with another.

The way Nicholls saw it, they would need to think through at least four cultures: (1) Their own tribe’s culture and how it differed from (2) the other tribe’s culture. (3) How their culture had been affected by colonial culture syncretized into it by European missionaries.

(4) What the culture of biblical times was had to be explored and interpreted in order to exegete principles that could/should be applied to Christians in either tribe — i.e., which practices in the Bible were cultural options, not moral requirements.

In decades since, I’ve gradually understood better the complexity of these interconnected contextualization tasks. Four key things come to mind as essential: (1) personal presence with other people, (2) careful listening (basically two open ears, one closed mouth), and (3) time. (4) We need to view each person as living an individual culture within their larger social context. We aren’t amorphous parts of a categorical group or label. Useful as cultural categories are, the larger the group, the less likely its paradigm features apply to a person in it.

Contextualization to bridge cultural differences is a paradoxical practice. We can not discern general cultural trends if we do not truly hear lived experiences of specific individuals. And if we only pay attention to individuals, we fail to see how culture influences them.

Probably a fifth discipline is needed for cross-cultural communication to be more effective: humility. Namely, a willingness to share in the conversation – not be in control over it, plus speak honestly and keep asking clarification questions to work through to understanding.

It strikes me these five practices also form the core of civility in social discourse, regardless of the topics at hand. But humility is the center of civility; if we are unwilling to partner in conversations, surely we only get diatribes and debates, never true dialogue.

Here’s the link to the 2003 reprint of Bruce Nicholls’ book, one of the formative volumes in the 1970sand ’80s on understanding the context for effective cross-cultural communications.

Forty Years of Trends Leading to #MeToo, #ChurchToo, and #SBCToo


The following article is compiled from a series of comments I made on a post at The Wartburg Watch in June 2018 about the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) and the impact of abuse survivor movements. I have only edited it for link format, indenting quotations, and bold-facing major points. I have also added some links to related resource posts and pages, and any add-on notes are in square brackets.

Historical Source Notes:

The “Me Too” movement was begun in 2006 by Tarana Burke, as documented on its website, and in this New York Times article: The Woman Who Created #MeToo Long Before Hashtags, by Sandra E. Garcia (October 20, 2017). It was picked up in late 2017 as the #MeToo hashtag campaign on social media, in the wake of a series of reports and revelations by survivors of sexual and power abuse by Harvey Weinstein and others.

Likewise, the #ChurchToo hashtag and campaign have a history. It goes back to about November 2017, when first used by Hannah Paasch and Emily Joy, as documented in their podcast with Exvangelical podcast host Blake Chastain: Ep. 59: #ChurchToo with Hannah Paasch & Emily Joy (December 6, 2017).

The #SBCToo hashtag campaign on Twitter apparently started April 28, 2018, following the detailed reports of abuse of power by Paige Patterson. It picked up significant pace and intensity with the approach of the SBC annual meeting (June 12-13, 2018), their resolution on abuse, the publication of two survivors’ experiences of SBC clergy sexual misconduct: Jules Woodson and Anne Marie Miller, and the publicity of these SBC situations via such sites as For Such A Time As This SBC Rally 2018 and Justice For Anne.

Other denominations and organizations have also adapted this hashtag campaign to their institution.

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My Comments on The Wartburg Watch:

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