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 February 12, 2021 
 By CURTIS RAMSEY-LUCAS in Hyattsville, MD &
JOSHUA KAGI in Pottstown, PA
 
FIRST LOOK.
THIS WEEK IN THE CHRISTIAN CITIZEN:

The bridge to love and healing: “Bridgerton and our current national moment.” Like the Duke and Duchess of Hastings in the Netflix series “Bridgerton,” we have forgotten how to love. We have forgotten the joy of being together and hearing one another’s thoughts and perspectives. However, we cannot blame the pandemic on our separation. We have allowed social media to be the divider, allowing it to separate us into polarized camps. But if we could remember, we could heal. It is a choice, but it is one we need to make. Read more.
 
The everyday and the wondrous—A prayer on the occasion of receiving the coronavirus vaccine. In a time where some religious communities are skeptical of the coronavirus vaccine, this prayer is an attempt to sacralize the experience, and to say emphatically that I will be receiving the vaccine when my number is called, and I encourage you to do so as well. When you do receive the vaccine, you will not do it alone; you will be held in the love of God. Read more.
 
Lent 2021 is the perfect time to relearn confession, penance, and ‘costly grace.’ Lent has traditionally been a time of some kind of fasting or abstaining from certain things. “If there’s ever a year to rediscover Isaiah’s words about ‘the fast God has chosen,’ it’s this year: “…to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?” (Isa. 58:6 NIV). In particular, maybe this Lenten season is the time to get serious about loosening our chains of racism.” Read more.
 
Better than “they” think we are. I am cautiously hopeful that representative, principled, leadership will rise up in this nation – that we will indeed build back better for everyone through a more equitable and unifying agenda more than we ever have before. Those of us who are Jesus followers have a role to play in leading in a more excellent way of love, and nurturing others to do the same. Read more.
 
Hang in there, don’t walk away. We are called to build a more just, fair, equitable, inclusive, and hopeful society. In these troubled times, we cannot—must not—seek to go back to “normal.” Our fundamental task is to re-imagine and recreate our lives, communities, and this nation. Read more.
THIS WEEK IN JUSTICE... Dear Jeep, Christian nationalism cannot unite us. What Jeep’s Super Bowl ad misses is that both nostalgic Christian nationalism and violent Christian nationalism are harmful and divisive. (Religion News Service)
LISTEN IN.
NEXT WEEK ON THE PODCAST:

Next week the Justice. Mercy. Faith. podcast returns from our winter hiatus with the Rev. Steven D. Martin, founder of the Lakelands Institute, who returns for a conversation with Christian Citizen editor Curtis Ramsey-Lucas on trends to watch in 2021. Subscribe to Justice. Mercy. Faith. today on Apple PodcastsSpotify, or wherever you listen.
THIS WEEK IN MERCY... America’s mothers are in crisis. The pandemic exposed "balance" for the lie that it is. Now, a generation is teetering on the edge. It's not just the working from home, the record unemployment or the remote schooling. This is a mental health crisis, too. (The New York Times)
TAKE A SECOND LOOK.
LAST WEEK IN THE CHRISTIAN CITIZEN:

Faith-based investors urge companies to rethink political spending after attack on Capitol, caution against return to “business as usual.” The January 6 attack on the Capitol revealed the fragility of our democracy. When it comes to corporate political spending, ICCR investors believe a return to “business as usual” is something we can longer afford. Read more.
THIS WEEK IN FAITH... Peloton makes toning your glutes feel spiritual. But should Jesus be part of the experience? With hundreds of thousands of new riders streaming into Peloton’s virtual community during the pandemic, it has become a prime testing ground for certain questions: How does a modern-day meaning-making community work? And is there room for old-school religion? (The Washington Post)
FRIDAY'S NEWS ROUND-UP.
WHAT WE’RE READING:

 
Election turmoil splits West Virginia city’s evangelicals. What is the role of evangelical Christianity in America’s divisive politics? (Religion News Service)
 
Black church important antidote to social despair caused by white supremacy. The Black church in America plays a crucial role in empowering its congregants amid the reality of white supremacy that causes a growing number of Black Americans to feel insecure, new research finds. (Baptist News Global)
 
Henry Louis Gates’ new book and TV series distills centuries of Black church history. The history of Black Christianity in America will come to television screens this month in a documentary series based on a new book by Henry Louis “Skip” Gates Jr., a Harvard University historian who is simultaneously an admirer and a critic of its influential role in American society. (Religion News Service)
 
This Lent, give up mixing faith with political terrorism. We must be exceptionally clear that terrorism is an affront to Christian faith. That will be my Lenten practice. (Religion News Service)
 
Rebuilding refugee resettlement to make it better than it was under Trump—or Obama. “The last four years were incredibly hard. But we also know that the system was not perfect four years ago.” (Christian Century)
 
As bullets and threats fly, Myanmar protesters proudly hold the line. In a matter of days, protests against the military coup in Myanmar had swelled to hundreds of thousands of people, from a few dozen. Students, laborers, doctors and professionals had gathered in droves to proudly defend democratic ideals in their country, even as the police fired into crowds, sometimes using live ammunition and sometimes rubber bullets, and deployed water cannons and tear gas. (The New York Times)
 
What we’re learning about ministry in times of crisis. What is this pandemic revealing about inequities and injustices in U.S. society? What is it unveiling about the church? What good and evil is it unfolding? What hope is to be found in these times? (Baptist News Global)

It's not just you. A lot of us are hitting a pandemic wall right now. Within the past couple of weeks, many of us have been slammed with major pandemic fatigue. We’re burnt out. We’re expected to be productive at work or to parent (or often both) as though we haven’t been living in hell for the last year. The winter has been bleak and could potentially get bleaker. And even though the vaccines are bringing us some much-needed hope, our feelings of exhaustion and hopelessness are swallowing any positive emotions whole. (The Huffington Post)

What If We Never Reach Herd Immunity? We likely won’t cross the threshold of herd immunity. We won’t have zero COVID-19 in the U.S. And global eradication is basically a pipe dream. But life with the coronavirus will look a lot more normal. (The Atlantic)

The pandemic is heading toward a strange in-between time. The promise of summer vaccinations means that Americans can confidently plan for the end of the pandemic. The crisis is softening now, and America could crush it by autumn. What happens in between? The pandemic’s medium-term future remains the biggest outstanding question: March to May is the mystery. (The Atlantic)

The (im)morality of line-jumping to get COVID-19 vaccines. Driven by “selfishness and fear,” many Americans are jumping the vaccination line with an elbows-out, I-deserve-it-more attitude. (The Philadelphia Inquirer)
 
 *Some links we share may require a subscription after the number of free articles provided by the publisher have been utilized. 
The Christian Citizen stories included in this email will publish online throughout the week. For the latest, follow us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram

The Christian Citizen is a publication of the American Baptist Home Mission Societies, publishing online ten months a year with two annual print editions. Click here to subscribe to the print edition and/or other ABHMS printed resources. 
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