Featured Articles


The Future of Liberal Christianity

“The liberal church committed suicide when it severed itself from radicalism”says Christopher Hedges in his recent post on the “Suicide of the Liberal Church.” Now he admits “These radicals generally were not embraced by the church hierarchy but they kept the church vital and prophetic.” Indeed as much as I admire the history of radical […]


My Sloppy Manners Explained! Support Approaching Justice!

  A October 2012 Associated Press profile of me described me as “a large man with perpetually rumpled clothes.” Well, if sloppy dress leads to sloppy manners, I am pretty sure this explains why I have rumpled manners. Here at Approaching Justice, we don’t fit a typical mold. We annoy some. We offend others. And we also […]

Democratic presidential candidates  Sen. Bernie Sanders, of Vermont, left, and Hillary Rodham Clinton talk before the CNN Democratic presidential debate Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2015, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/David Becker)

A Case for Bernie, Suggestions for Hillary

  Though I support Bernie Sanders for president, I thought it would be worthwhile to offer instructions to both camps. Not that the Hillary and Bernie campaign reads this blog. But some of my friends supporting both candidates do. So I can treat this as a letter to them in sorting out the issues between these […]


Thoughts on Bundy Extremism and Responses To It

I have re-posted my 2014 post on the connection between Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy and extreme conservative elements within Mormonism. I also want to summarize a bit the other posts I have written about Cliven Bundy in the past. I am mostly responding to those who seem to think that I do not understand who […]

Previous Featured Articles



Bernie Bro Hymn

Matt Bruenig addressed the myth of the Bernie Bro here in Jacobin. But whether there is a phenomenon called the Bernie Bro or not, Bro Hymn by Pennywise would be a great anthem for the Bernie Bro movement. Just saying.


Confessions: I Don’t Belong

  I have felt this way for a long time about many things. I don’t belong. I am a Mormon liberal who more and more finds myself still unorthodox…but very much at odds with most other Mormon liberals. I don’t belong. I am a white teacher at an urban school. I don’t belong. I am […]

Range Showdown

The Mormon Roots of Cliven Bundy’s New Political Party

Editor’s Note: This post originally ran here at Approaching Justice on May 27, 2014. Re-posting in light of recent events, though I would emphasize that Bundy’s view and those of his family are very extreme and fringe even within Mormon community, which is in mans ways ultra-conservative. -CH Cliven Bundy has left the Republican Party and […]


Why Mormons Identify with Syrian Refugees

from Vox

Chris’s Corner

2015-04-13 21.57.14

Confessions: I Want to Conquer the World…and Other Resolutions

2016 is going to be a good year. I turn 40 this year and I will not put out with another off year. It time to conquer the world. Well…my little part of it at least.


Confessions: Religious But Not Spiritual. #planted

This is the first of my “Confessions” columns, a new feature in 2016 at Approaching Justice. Today, I wrote a bit about being religious but not spiritual.


The First Thanksgiving

The First Thanksgiving: What the Real Story Tells Us About Loving God and Learning from History is an attempt to tell the real story of Thanksgiving in a way that draws on the methods of academic history, rather than the methods of The History Channel. After Christmas, we will see non-stop airings of documentaries about the historical […]

Empty Chairs

Empty Chairs at Empty Tables

Where my friends will meet no more.


A Response to Spong’s Reformation Proposal

John Shelby Spong, the retired Episcopal bishop of Newark, has figured prominently in my own religious history. I was a freshman in college when the book Rescuing the Bible From Fundamentalism came out. As I was wrestling with my own doubts, it was important that a bishop in the church could articulate those doubts. And […]


Christmas and the Confederate Flag

Regardless of how any of us feel about the confederate flag, no one can deny its well-deserved controversy. We cannot escape history, as much as we try to ignore it, forget it, or simply pretend it did not happen. Simply put, the confederate flag symbolizes one thing: absolute, untamed, unadulterated hatred.


11 “good news” stories you may have missed in 2015

  Bad news usually tops the headlines, while good news gets overlooked. This holiday season, share some good news and give the gift of hope. Here are eleven positive stories from 2015 you may not have heard about. 1. Scientists are on the verge of curing cancer. This past summer, former president Jimmy Carter announced that he had been diagnosed […]

Photo credit: Fibonacci Blue

What Minimum Wage Opponents Get Wrong about Economics

Opponents of the minimum wage frame their argument in terms of oversimplified economic theory that is not borne out by empirical research.


The Future Anticipated by Advent

During this week 5 Black Lives Matter protesters were shot by white supremacists in Minneapolis. 3 were killed at a Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs. With congress threatening a government shutdown if we allow any Syrian refugees in our country, we discover all along that threat we face are not refugees fleeing terror groups, are […]


Christians: All One, Like It or Not

One of my favorite scriptural phrases comes from Philippians 2:12, where Paul counsels the saints to “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” For me, Paul’s counsel provides one of the most fundamental reasons not to judge others: we have our own problems to worry about. In my previous post, I referenced a […]


Fear Not

Over 80 times the phrase “Fear Not” is used in the Bible. And it would not take a big stretch of the imagination to wonder why it figures so prominently. As a rule we humans are afraid.We’re afraid of sickness and death, we’re afraid of how we’re viewed from others, we’re afraid of what our finances […]


“Dear Mister Grinch, You’re a Mean one!”

Dear Mister Cruz, Mister Trump, Mister All Republican Governors (except Governor Herbert of Utah, he’s trying to do the right thing) who don’t want Syrian Refugees in their states, Mister One (so far) Democratic Governor who doesn’t want Syrian Refugees in his state, Mister All (but 2) Republican and 47 Democratic Congressional Representatives who voted […]


Terror in Paris and Beirut: An ISIS Reading Guide

Who is ISIS and how has the militant group grown to wield so much influence? We’ve rounded up some of the best reporting on the origins of ISIS, their role in the Syrian civil war and ties to terrorist attacks across the world.


Science and God: They are the Same (sort of)

A recent post on the NPR subsidiary blog 13.7 Cosmos & Culture asks a complicated question about how or why one chooses religion over science or views the two as not mutually exclusive. Marcelo Gleiser’s “The Need To Believe: Where Does It Come From?” never really provides an answer, though it offers considerations from both […]


The Collision of Charity and Chastity

The LDS Church is taking more criticism than usual this week, over the decision of its leaders to enact a policy prohibiting membership records, baby blessings, baptism, and ordination to the minor children of couples involved in a same-sex household relationship. They have included both married and “cohabitating” arrangements. The dissonance people have expressed, both […]


Some Brief Thoughts on Bacon

As a low-carb dieter, I appreciate bacon. But I do not think it is that great. It is great with other things, whether it is with a BLT or part of a Cobb salad. However, while I like bacon, I have never viewed it in the glorified way that Jim Gaffigan portrays it in this […]


Halloween Essentialism

Halloween is upon us. It is time for ghosts, candy, pumpkin and silly posts like this one.


A Progressive Defense of Tax Exempt Status for Churches

I’m a person on the left and I’m gay and thanks to marriage equality, I’m married too. I’m also clergy. And so my defense should make various sides of these issues unhappy. But since I see so many articles on the left that call for taxing the churches I thought it would be worth clearing […]

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Mormon Tabernacle Choir Sings The University of Utah Fight Song #GoUtes

Thursday night, at the request of ESPN’s College GameDay, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir performed the University of Utah fight song, Utah Man. On Saturday, #5 Utah plays against #23 California. A Utah man am I. Go Utes!


Guitars. Not Guns. #GuitarsNotGuns

This video is filmed in the West Bank. I found it via Tom Morello’s Twitter feed. It features Tom on guitar. The imagery in the video is powerful. I think this is a theme that we should also adopt in the United States. Check it out:


October Madness: Who Will Be the Next Apostles? #ldsconf

March Madness. The only time of year I really care about college basketball. It’s fun to bandwagon, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!  For you basketball fans, march madness means that ever illusive mistress otherwise known as the bracket challenge.  An interesting phenomenon of bracketology is the influence of the bracket owner’s bias for their favorite teams, […]


A Progressive Defense of Pope Francis

Given the love most progressives have for Pope Francis, it’s odd for me to write a defense of his papacy. Especially as a gay man and as a mainline protestant minister. But there are progressive critics who raise important questions, which are worth addressing. And I’d like to explain, that despite those questions, I remain […]


“I don’t feel like Satan, but I am to them.” #Colbert and #PearlJam Edition


Photo: Gage Skidmore. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Saving Us from Trump: Scott Walker’s Exit

Today, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker exited the Republican presidential nomination contest after failing to get much traction. I have been waiting to see the field of establishment Republicans thin out. In this case, by establishment I mean candidates who have held elected office. Right now, GOP polls show Donald Trump in the lead with Carly […]


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