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From the Archives | Easter Messages, 2014


  • Jesus was killed because he was a speaker of God’s truth. He was an unrelenting advocate of justice. The resurrection stories make a profound declaration: Truth can never be killed and the truth-teller can never be defeated. 
  • Part 1:Telling the Truth about Easter
  • Part 2: Misunderstanding Jesus’s Execution

Compiled by David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest

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Part 1:Telling the Truth about Easter

Jesus, a radical preacher who advocated for the poor, was crucified for turning over money tables at the Temple and other insurrectionary acts. His body was likely left to wild animals, but his chroniclers sought to glorify his ending with myths about a resurrection.

Howard Bess, Consortium News

Depiction of Jesus’s Crucifixion by 16th Century artist Mathis Gothart-Nithart.jesus-crucifixion-Mathis-Gothart-Nithart-222x300.jpg

April 19, 2014 | On Easter morning, at 6:30 a.m. when sunlight is just beginning to glow over the mountains to the east of Palmer, Alaska, I will, as is my custom, arrive at a sunrise Easter service to celebrate the resurrection of my Lord. I have already checked the lectionary and reread the resurrection story as recorded in Matthew 28:1-10. Millions of my Christian brothers and sisters will be reading the same ten verses.

Millions of sermons will be preached based on the Matthew account of the resurrection, but very few preachers will make mention of the history and background of the passage. A typical minister will not share what he/she learned in theological seminary about the resurrection passages.

Rev. Howard Bess is a retired American Baptist minister, who lives in Palmer, Alaska.

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Part 2: Misunderstanding Jesus’s Execution

jesusmoneychangers-300x244.jpgFrom the Archives (Originally published April 23, 2011): Over the centuries as Christianity bent to the interests of the rich and powerful, the story of Jesus’s fateful week in Jerusalem was reshaped to minimize its pivotal event, overturning the Temple’s money tables, a challenge to religious and political power.

Howard Bess, Consortium News

April 13, 2014 Christians have special celebrations for the key events of Holy Week, but they often overlook one of the most important.

Palm Sunday celebrates the entry of Jesus into the city of Jerusalem. Maunday Thursday is a solemn replay of his last meal with his disciples. Good Friday takes us through his mock trial and his death of horror on a Roman Cross. Easter is the Christians’ triumphant celebration of Jesus’s resurrection from the dead.

Rev. Howard Bess is a retired American Baptist minister, who lives in Palmer, Alaska.

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California Attorney-General Fights To Void Deadly Anti-Gay Ballot Initiative


  • There is nothing religious about hate or about mandating the mass killing of people belong to an identifiable group.  To suggest otherwise is sophistry at its worst.
  • Flipping the Script on Religious Freedom

Adalia Woodbury, PoliticusUSA

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Saturday, March, 28th, 2015 | The far right’s war on the LGBT community took a variety of turns this week. Indiana’s Governor signed a law that confuses bigotry with religion.  Arkansas’ legislature passed a similar law on Friday.  A similar bill was tabled in Georgia. California’s Attorney-General is trying to void a ballot measure that seeks to kill all Gay people.

RFRA and “Super RFRA” laws are under consideration by state legislatures in Colorado, Michigan, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Utah, Texas West Virginia and Wyoming.

As disturbing as these laws are, a ballot measure that California’s Attorney-General, Kamala Harris, asked a court to void is even more disturbing.

The so called Sodomite Suppression Act seeks to kill Gays and Lesbians “by bullets to the head or by any other convenient method.”

Adalia Woodbury is the Senior legal analyst for PoliticusUSA. Adalia comes to Politicus with a background in politics and law. Adalia’s primary interests are advocating for civil rights and combating hate speech.

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Flipping the Script on Religious Freedom, Compiled by David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest 


  • “It is absolutely hypocritical for Pence to claim that Indiana’s Christians need legal protections, while its LGBT citizens are left to depend on ‘Hoosier hospitality.’
  • Part 1: Indiana Gov. Mike Pence Fails Miserably On ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos
  • Part 2: The Awesome Response to Indiana's Religious Freedom Restoration Act

Why We Must Change How We Change the World

“We are caught in a vicious cycle, a dangerous dynamic that shapes our views about the people who experience suffering. As a result, those trapped in poverty are dehumanized and poverty is dumbed down while good, well-intended people really believe they are caring, world-conscious, and ethical. But change is coming.”  

Stephan Bauman, Sojourners / God's Politics

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Photo courtesy World ReliefI%20CAN%20CHANGE%20THE%20WORLD.jpeg

02-25-2015 | It’s hard to be optimistic about changing the world when our news cycle is dominated by terrorism, violence, and disease. When world events shock us, sometimes our best hopes cave in to our worst fears. Even the most radical activist may be tempted to give up.


But there is a different narrative that summons those of us who dare to care. It begins when we confront the things that have kept millions from breaking free from poverty and injustice. It ends when we find the courage to change how we change the world.

In the Democratic Republic of Congo, which consistently ranks among the
poorest countries in the world and the most dangerous for women, a group of peacemakers are changing the narrative. Last year I met a Congolese woman who told me how her husband was killed in crossfire between warring militias, how she was violently assaulted by the soldiers who were supposed to protect her, and how she fled her village with her eight children under the cover of night. In the wake of her suffering, she joined a group of women to save small amounts of their own money each week. From her savings, she launched a soap-making business. Over time, she employed others and taught her sisters how to do the same. She helps others to forgive their perpetrators and, together, they are determined to stop the violence against women in a land known as the rape capital of the world.

Stephan Bauman is President and CEO of World Relief, which empowers the worldwide church to overcome global poverty and injustice, chair of The Justice Conference, and author of Possible: A Blueprint For Changing How We Change the World.

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Pope Francis Declares Oscar Romero a Martyr for the Faith—but Whose Faith?


  • Oscar Romero being cleared for beatification (by a pope from Latin America who has his own complicated relationship to liberation theology is important, which progressives should see as a rearguard battle in the culture wars, which are the political wars, which are the economic wars, which in Central America were real, life-and-death wars.
  • By pushing for the beatification of Romero, Francis is sending his own powerful signal—not about the past but the present.

Greg Grandin, the Nation

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oscar_romer_el_salvador_cc_img.jpgMural of Oscar Romero (Juana Alicia, CC BY-NC 2.0) 

February 4, 2015 | This week, Pope Francis declared Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero a “martyr” for the Catholic faith, the last major step on the road to becoming a saint. Romero was assassinated on the order of a US-trained and -backed death-squader, Roberto D’Aubuisson, almost thirty-five years ago, on March 24, 1980.

According to the National Catholic Reporter, there is unease with Romero’s case for sainthood among high-ranking prelates, including Benedict XVI, “because of Romero’s embrace of liberation theology, a type of Christian theology that posits that Christ did not just seek liberation from sin but every type of oppression.” In fact, there was an actual Vatican ban on Romero’s beatification, which the pope lifted with his declaration.

Greg Grandin is the author of Empire's Workshop, Fordlandia, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in history and the National Book Award, and, most recently, The Empire of Necessity: Slavery, Freedom, and Deception in the New World.   He teaches at New York University.

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Empathy Heroes: 5 People Who Changed the World By Taking Compassion to the Extreme

  • Want to learn to change the world with empathy? Get ready to learn from the masters.
  • Cultivating Gratitude For Everything in Life

Roman Krznaric, YES! Magazine

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Empathy-USA-cover-low-res-198x300.jpgNov 06, 2014 | Ever heard of “empathy marketing”? It’s the latest business buzzword. The idea is that if companies can look through their clients’ eyes and understand their desires, they will be better able to tailor their offerings and gain a competitive advantage.

To me, this is stepping into someone else’s shoes just to sell them another pair.

I believe that the best use of empathy is not in the commercial world but in the social one, where it allows us to challenge prejudices and create political change.

Roman Krznaric wrote this article for YES! Magazine, a national, nonprofit media organization that fuses powerful ideas with practical actions. Roman’s new book, Empathy: Why It Matters, and How to Get It, is published by Perigee/Penguin.

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Cultivating Gratitude For Everything in Life, Michelle MarosPeaceful Mind Peaceful Life

“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson