Twenty-five years after Rodney King and that other guy

On April 29, 1992, Los Angeles exploded with violence, and the police department all but abandoned the riotous city. I was in inner-city LA just two weeks before the riots. I was leading a group of teens from my church on an urban immersion. This wasn’t a “mission trip.” We were there to learn about the city and to talk …

U2 and Social Justice: a non-traditional witness

On June 5, 2015, I delivered the closing address for a gathering of the North American Association of Christians in Social Work (California chapter) at Fresno Pacific University. In my talk, “Social Justice and Pop Culture: U2 as a non-traditional Christian voice,” I suggest the thesis that “U2 models a non-traditional Christian witness by engaging the world — especially in …

A Contradiction: “Bible-minded” cities and states of “well-being”

About this time every year, a seemly contradictory set of statistics collides: the Barna Group publishes a list of the most “Bible-minded” cities and Gallup releases results of their ongoing study regarding the “well-being” of states. The findings are somewhat similar each spring. On the one hand, according to Gallup, Alaska, Hawaii, Colorado and the upper-northwest mountain states tend to …