An image of an old-fashioned TV with the words “THEY ARE LOOTING*” displayed in front of a spiraled American Flag. (Mitchell Atencio)

Special thanks to Kaitlin and Caleb for serving as editors for this piece.

I am far from the first person to say this, and I’m sure I’ll be far from the last. Still, it’s important that those with voices (or pen and paper) say (write) the truth, so that more may hear it. This is what I need fellow White American Christians to hear: Black people cannot loot, and embracing the narrative of looting is anti-Black.

The first person to reveal this to me was James Baldwin. I, a white man raised with wealth and privilege, am not supposed to…


Churches should not operate out of reliance upon any structural authority, even when they accept the benefits of those authorities

Mission Dolores Basilica in San Francisco, May 2019. (Mitchell Atencio)

Last week during the CNN and Human Rights Campaign’s LGBTQ town hall, former Rep. Beto O’Rourke answered affirmatively when asked if churches and other religious institutions that oppose same-sex marriage should lose their status as non-profits.

The response from conservative religious leaders was some mix of surprise and “I told you so.” Some saw this as the natural progression of LGBTQ advocacy, while others thought it was an example of the left desiring to place religious liberty on the back-burner.


“discalced” by Mitchell Atencio

It’s been over three years since I went barefoot and almost three years since I wrote about it for the first time.

Cliches are cliche for a reason and, like anyone writing a reflection, I’ve found that much has changed and much has stayed the same. Many of my habits have continued or shifted to serve my needs, my most radical changes have been in motivation and language around my lifestyle. I found “barefoot shoes” and have been surprised at how great they are, and how little I wear them.

In essence, I wear the shoes when not doing so…


Screenshot from Disney Film WALL·E (2008)

I woke up on Sep. 17 to find my twitter feed in an uproar, unified in their bewilderment at a tweet and photo from Union Theological Seminary that read,

“Today in chapel, we confessed to plants. Together, we held our grief, joy, regret, hope, guilt and sorrow in prayer; offering them to the beings who sustain us but whose gift we too often fail to honor. What do you confess to the plants in your life?”

The accompanying photo was from that chapel service, a student sitting with a microphone in front of a collection of potted shrubbery and a…


A blurry image of a body in black and white
A blurry image of a body in black and white

Editor’s note: I purposely mix pronouns when referencing Jesus/God in this article. I believe the article does decent work explaining why, although it is not the express purpose.

Growing up Christian, I heard a lot about two teachings of God made human.

First, the incarnation of Jesus as a fully God and also fully human.

Second, God made humanity in the image of God, expressing that there is something special about all of humanity, an inherent goodness and image of the divine that can never be impugned, built upon, or changed.

These two concepts were the driving force behind nearly…


I’m writing this from my iPhone 8. Not intentionally, I just happen to not have my computer with me.

It’s easy to contrast technology and society. With iPhones, generations come nearly every year and often with upgrades. With society, and therefore with theology, our generations are slower – and the difference between models is hard to see immediately. Our theological decisions and following practices tend to have results unseen by us.

I recently heard someone, for the life of me I cannot remember who, say that “theology takes two generations to show its fruits” (good or bad). …


A Church Building In New York City (Mitchell Atencio)

Editor’s note: I have since come to a fully affirming position of LGBTQ relationships and identities. This post doesn’t address that, and I’ve left it as originally written to honor my journey and tell the truth about who I am and was.

I believe that a pragmatic, service based faith is the path forward from disunity in the church over LGBTQ issues. I believe that we have gotten overly inoculated with dogmas, creeds and (frankly) belief; losing sight of what Christ is calling us to — loving our community with no barriers to that love.

My focus for this post…


by Ken Ham

I do not believe, as some have accused, that I alone am the greatest science-person ever to live.

There are many good scientists. Sure, all of them are very wrong and very dumb compared to me.

Sure, I do believe that you can not divorce me from the title of very great science-person who is basically the foundation of all science wisdom.

And yes, I do believe that if you don’t agree with me you are a neanderthal — (no wait, I don’t believe in those) — I believe that you are an ignorant science hater who…


(Note: For the last half of 2017, I seriously considered moving to Los Angeles for the Spring 2018 semester and nearly did. This is a fictional profile of the version of Mitchell that moves to L.A. It exists as a creative writing exercise and an attempt to finally slay the “what ifs” that haunt me from last year. If you like comic books, think of this as an alternate universe version of me. Enjoy.)

Mitchell Atencio leans forward slightly and adjusts his focus. The subject, a burning cigarette on the beach, continues to smolder, unmoved by the photographer who aims…

Mitchell Atencio

This is where I write how humanity is divine. In other places I do journalistic work. In other other places, I take photos. In some places I do all three.

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