I wrote another piece for the United Church of Christ’s Center for Analytics, Research & Development, and Data (CARDD) Blog. The simple, well-intended question “How are you doing, pastor?” needs a lot of parsing. Hopefully, this more detailed look at what clergy persons are dealing with can be helpful for congregations, pastor relations committees, church councils, committees on ministry, and ultimately pastors themselves.
Drinking is up 60% during the pandemic. How do we promote systemic change on all levels of the church that reduces our contribution to alcohol abuse? Shaming is not the answer, neither is permissiveness. Read more in my latest piece for the UCC Center for Analytics, Research & Development, and Data. If you are experiencing a lack of control around drinking, it might be beneficial to check your spiritual needs:
We received some extra cash from the IRS this month. I had to move it into savings right away, because in our situation the new advances are not really advantageous. Getting cash in parents’s hands is a good idea for the country and for people who we actually need that extra cash for necessities now. I fully support the program. But for my family it comes out the same as the Trump administration’s payroll tax holiday: we get an advance now but have to pay it back next year. Here is why: we prepay our estimated taxes and the old child tax credit was calculated into those quarterly payments. Now we get more per kid which is a direct cash benefit. But we will not be able to use the deduction in our 2021 tax return because we are already receiving the cash now. The only way to protect from that liability is to move the child tax credit payments to savings right away so they are available on April 15, 2022 when the IRS wants the money back.
This year, I’m going back to the origins of the Declaration of Independence and the Second Continental Congress, by taking a look at the Continental Association which was ratified by the First Continental Congress in 1774. The first two provisions are remarkable:
1. That from and after the first day of December next, we will not import into British America, from Great Britain or Ireland, any Goods, Wares, or Merchandises whatsoever, or from any other place, any such Goods, Wares, or Merchandises as shall have been exported from Great Britain or Ireland; nor will we, after that day, import any East India Tea from any part of the World; nor any Molasses, Syrups, Paneles, Coffee, or Pimento, from the British Plantations or from Dominica; nor Wines from Madeira, or the Western Islands; nor Foreign Indigo.
2. That we will neither import nor purchase any Slave imported after the first day of December next; after which time we will wholly discontinue the Slave Trade, and will neither be concerned in it ourselves, nor will we hire our vessels, nor sell our Commodities or Manufactures to those who are concerned in it.
From these two initial paragraphs, I draw two observations:
- American Independence started as a Boycott movement. This tool of political action is popular to this day.
- American Independence could have ended slavery much earlier. Unfortunately they changed their minds between 1774 and 1776.