Now is the Time for the Powerful To Repent

A soapy heart on my car window, on the corner of North Ave and St. Paul Street in Baltimore.

There’s a kid on the corner I’ve seen before, offering to wash windshields for a buck or two. I realize I might expose him if I reach through the window to share a dollar. I hold up my hands in apology to the “squeegee boy,” as they’re called in Baltimore, wondering how he’s supposed to earn any cash during COVID-19. Everyone’s keeping their windows rolled up now. He lifts his chin in acknowledgement, half smiles, and draws a soapy heart on my window.

I’m on my way to visit Sharon and Harold, members of my church who are formerly homeless…

Photo by Tedward Quinn on Unsplash

For the last few weeks, spiritual leaders have been hustling to meet the challenges right in front of us. We made the hard decision to cancel in-person worship. We scrambled to find ways to gather online. Many of us have leapt into action, working to meet emotional and physical needs of congregants and neighbors, even in the midst of our own trauma.

Every increase in the stay-at-home order has created a new wave of change. I know that Baltimore, where I live and serve, is about two weeks behind New York City, though I pray our crisis will be less…

An empty house of worhsip. Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

I served as a clergy person through Hurricane Sandy in New York City. It was scary and hard, and while a hurricane is very different from what we’re facing now, working in the time of #COVID19 has felt really familiar.

My brain is running too fast, I can’t catch my breath, and every so often I’m overwhelmed, thinking about those who are the most vulnerable. Right now, it’s like a big wave is crashing over us, or about to. But this is a big wave we can’t see.

What’s worse, our best tool for caring for people — gathering together…

Will there be a Progressive Christian Revival?

Clergy and religious leaders link arms and face armed white supremecists in Charlottesville, VA. August, 2017. (image: Christopher Mathias)

The Spring before the election I drove south from New York, winding through four states on my way to North Carolina. The trip covers more than 600 miles and I was driving a friend’s eighteen-year-old Honda Civic, equipped only with a five-disc CD player. After exhausting the few albums I still owned and some mix CDs from the early two thousands, I finally turned on the car radio, scratchily tuning in and out through local stations.

Station after station was conservative Christian talk radio. I listened with curiosity, wondering about the theological messages…

Pastor Emily Scott

Emily is the pastor of Dreams and Visions in Baltimore. Her book, “For All Who Hunger: Searching for Communion in a Shattered World,” will be out in May.

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