The stone that the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone. This is the Lord's doing; it is marvelous in our eyes. Psalm 118:22-23 NRSV

Sunday, December 20, 2009

In Praise of Oral Roberts

Anybody who knows anything about my theology or my politics will be a bit surprised to see me offering my own words of praise for Oral Roberts who died this past week at age 91. On the other hand, anyone who knows about my heritage and scholarship as a pentecostal will think it perfectly appropriate for me to write in celebration of one of the most remarkable and accomplished religious leaders of the previous century.

I remember Oral Roberts's television show from my early childhood and such guests on the show as Mahalia Jackson. I remember the theme music "Something Good is Going to Happen to You" as the soundtrack to my getting dressed for church on Sundays when I was still in patent leather shoes. And yes I remember when Oral Roberts's fundraising tactics drew the scorn of the media and caused the disappointment of many others when he said that God has threatened to "call me home" if his supporters did not show up with the money.

None of those memories, though, prompts my writing about Roberts. In 2001, I traveled to Tulsa for the first time, to attend a meeting of the Society for Pentecostal Studies, which was being hosted at Oral Roberts University. I knew, of course, that Roberts had founded an accredited institution of higher learning and that at one time that institution even housed a medical school. My college roommate's father was a professor at ORU. And I had seen their sports teams play on ESPN. But when I actually saw the buildings (corny and reminiscent of the 1970s as they were) and actually entered the prayer tower, I gained new respect for a man who was both a visionary and a person who accomplished what he set out to do.

Having begun his ministry as person with a gift for healing and having decided that the spiritual arts and medical science were not incompatible, Roberts did something that few religious or secular people have done - created an institution. His legacy as the founder and chancellor of ORU outdistances almost any of his critics'. I know that ORU has had its issues, particularly when Richard Roberts was at the helm, but none of that diminishes the accomplishments of Oral Roberts. He was a preacher, evangelist, pentecostal, and visionary. May he rest in peace from his labors and his works follow him.

39 was a mighty good year

Just as the clock struck midnight last night, in the midst of a record-breaking, historic snowstorm that threatened and eventually did cancel my plans to celebrate my birthday with my church family, I had to pause and give thanks. I need to say again that I was feeling a little disappointed that I was not going to be having my first day at 40 exactly as I wanted it. But even so, I had to admit that I had a blast at 39.

Last year, I turned 39 with a whimper. I spent the first week of my 40th year lamenting all that I had not yet accomplished. I remembered so well when I turned 30 and rejoiced that my adulthood was really secure. I couldn't believe how quickly the decade had passed. Yes, there were accomplishments, including the completion of my Ph.D. and the securing of gainful employment, but none of the milestones of my 30s up to that time included the things I had most hoped for, a husband and children. When I turned 39, I didn't even have a church. I was feeling a little blessed but a little cursed too.

I don't have the time or the energy for all of the details, but let me say this: Even though I still don't have a husband or a child, 39 was the year when I could no longer sustain the fiction that I am cursed. It no longer is logically sustainable. I have felt more loved, supported, and chosen in this past year than ever before in my life. The process that brought me to St. Paul's, including the respect that the search committee accorded me, blessed me more than I can say. The commitment and investment of friends who rejoiced on my first Sunday and at my installation as if it were their own new life, so many events this year have pointed to the love of God and the love of many friends. I have been celebrated and feted. I have been taken care of and comforted. Friends, old and new, have shown me how loved I am. Family have shown up and beamed with pride.

Women over 40 tell me that I am going to love this new season I am in. I hope so. I also hope to have a family of my own. But if none of that is true, if that doesn't happen, then I have had at least one marvelous year. Thank God for 39.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Michael Vick

Anyone who knows me knows that I am an increasingly avid sports fan. I have changed my cable provider so that I can watch the Phillies almost daily. I frequently wear team gear for the Phillies and Yankees. And although I am more of a baseball fan than football these days, in the winter you can observe me in my Eagles gear. But even if I weren't following sports so closely, I would have been hard-pressed to miss all of the hullabaloo engendered by the recent signing of Michael Vick to the Philadelphia Eagles football team.

For those of you who have been in a cave, Michael Vick, formerly a ProBowl caliber quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons, just completed an 18-month sentence for charges related to a dog-fighting operation he ran out of his home in Virginia. A couple weeks ago he was reinstated to the NFL, although he remains suspended for an as yet undetermined number of games. He was available. The Eagles signed him. Animal rights activists and dog-loving fans, especially in Philadelphia, had a fit.

This brings me to the question that prompts this blog: What do they want? Michael Vick served time for heinous cruelty and has seen his life and fortune dismantled. Is he never supposed to work again? Is he forever to be shunned from all polite company? Was he simply supposed to die in prison? Or is it okay from him to be released and to work, but just not to make a lot of money or to be truly successful and potentially celebrated as a great quarterback? I want to say to the detractors, I know you don't want him to do this, but what's the alternative? I know, I know: Throw him to the dogs.

Now hear me, I'm not one of those sanctimonious types who judgmentally declares that we should not judge others. Clearly, Michael Vick has some restitution to make, but he can never make such restitution if we don't acknowledge that redemption and righting wrongs are possible.

To make a larger and perhaps more important point, as individuals and as a society we have to figure out how to reintegrate people who have messed up in a way that both acknowledges their wrongs and their potential. We can neither fail to punish wrongs, nor continue to punish forever.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Family Table

The Family Table
John 6

In the hustle and bustle of contemporary life, many of us hurry through
everything, including our meals.  We “grab” something and “wolf” it down in the
midst of or while in transit to something else.  More and more, this unhealthy
behavior characterizes the eating habits of children as well as those of busy
adults.  Yet within the past several years, research has emerged that links
positive outcomes socially, emotionally, and physically with the experience of
regularly dining at the family table. Not only do children eat a more balanced
diet, with more fruit and vegetables, but there is evidence that they are also
less likely to engage in delinquent social behaviors when they sit down with
their parents for bonding time at meals.
 The article continues, "Just the act of eating together is on some level beneficial." (Click here for complete NY Times Article.)

The scenes of this entire chapter take place was by the Sea of Galilee, the site where Jesus had originally called some of his disciples and where he had attracted great crowds because of the miraculous signs that he performed on behalf of the sick.  
The time was near the Passover feast, itself the family meal that commemorated God’s rescue of the Israelites from slavery. Spending time with his disciples, Jesus notices the crowds coming from the distance. The ever observant Jesus perceived the condition of the approaching masses and in it a teachable moment for his disciples. “Where shall we buy bread for the crowd that's on its way?” he asked his crew.  

What followed was yet another demonstration of human limitation overcome by divine providence. Philip the questioning disciple focused on their limitations. Andrew looked at the situation with a different eye. He had taken account of the boy with a lunch. "I don't know what we can do with it, but there is a boy who has a lunch," Andrew said.  By the end of the story, there was enough
 and more than enough to feed all who took a portion until they had all that they
wanted and were satisfied.

What is striking about Jesus’ distribution of the resources is that he gave away
nothing before the people sat down.  Before he gave thanks, broke the bread, or
distributed the fish, Jesus commanded that the great crowds come to rest.  The
lesson, of course, is one of obedience. The disciples cannot be used if they will not obey. In fact, they are not even disciples at all if they won’t FOLLOW. The crowds cannot be fed unless they accede to the command to sit down. We have but little distance to walk to discover that the satisfaction of the Christian life is elusive if we do not take heed to Christ’s voice.
But there is significance in the content of the command to be seated.   In bringing order and quiet to those who would dine through his miraculous provision, Jesus instituted and presided over the family table, prefiguring the table he prepared at the Passover with his own broken body and shed blood.

Not long ago, President Obama invited two men who were having a very public, acrimonious dispute,Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Sergeant James Crowley, over to the White House for a beer. Let’s come together on common ground the president said. Let’s sit down at the table. Let’s look at one another and have conversation. Coming from different backgrounds and experiences, encountering on another first in the contentious context of mistaken identity - now let’s come together in table fellowship. The beer? Just a little something for attitude adjustment, a drink in common to bring us to a compatible level. Now you have to know that Gates and Crowley would likely never have come together for a beer or anything else on their own. But because the President called and invited them to the White House, they responded to the specialness of the President's invitation.

I hear the Savior say “I am the bread of life.” And while I wouldn’t mind an invitation to the White House to sit down to the table either inside the house or on the White House lawn. While I wouldn’t mind having a tomato plucked from the white house vegetable garden. While I would mind dining off the fine china from which presidents and heads of state have eaten, I recognize the greater privilege and the more nourishing meal is the one I share with my brothers and sisters every 2nd Sunday morning at St. Paul’s Baptist Church.

I hear the Savior say, Anyone who comes to me will never be hungry. Anyone who believes in me will never be thirsty. I am the living bread who comes down from heaven. My flesh is real food. My blood is real drink.
Jesus knows even better than we do how different we are: ages, status, gender, nature, tastes, desires : This is my body which is for YOU (pl.) Do this and think about me. This is my blood shed for YOU for the forgiveness of sins. Do this and think about me. Just as the passover was celebrated with a family meal, so also our deliverance is celebrated with a meal. And if a beer between enemies can lead to common ground, how much more can the bread of life shared among sisters and brothers?

Friday, June 12, 2009

Young Enough to Do Something Different

Today marked another first for me in my new ministry as pastor of the St. Paul's Baptist Church. Although I was the officiating minister for a funeral last Saturday, today I gave my first eulogy as pastor. Mrs. Clara Gilliam Lightfoot was born in 1912 and had been a member of St. Paul's for 70 years. She had not been able to come to church for some time, but she did have the opportunity to vote in the pastoral election a few weeks ago. The deacon who provided her with the absentee ballot remarked that although she knew that her vote was by secret ballot and therefore confidential, after seh placed her marked ballot in the envelope she volunteered, "Clara Lightfoot has done something different. I just voted for the woman."

Of course I smiled to know that Mrs. Lightfoot would have been pleased with the pastor at her funeral, but more than that I was struck by what extraordinary liveliness she had even in her last weeks. If anyone has an excuse for holding on to the familiar and maintaining the status quo it is the person who has lived for 97 years. But I am thinking that the willingness to embrace new things, a delight in doing "something different" (especially when that something is a good and right thing) may very well be the reason why Mrs. Lightfoot lived as long as she did.

This week I heard several moving and challenging sermons and lectures at the Hampton Ministers' Conference. I felt convicted and encouraged by the sermons of Dr. Claudette Copeland. I reflected and repented because of the word placed in Dr. Renita Weems's mouth. And I recommitted to preaching with boldness because of what Dr. William Curtis preached. But as Dr. Copeland herself made clear in her sermon on Wednesday, sometimes the prophetic is mediated through a life. In Mrs. Lightfoot's final act as a member of St. Paul's Baptist Church, God spoke to me: No matter how old we get, we're always young enough to do something different. Message taken.

Monday, June 1, 2009

It's Time

Pentecost Sunday at 10th and Wallace was a special occasion because it marked my first Sunday there as pastor. Here's the basic sermon I preached.

It’s Time
Acts 2:1-21

In one of the most famous passages in all of Holy Scripture, the Preacher says, To everything there is a season and a time for every purpose under heaven. Text from Ecclesiastes so much lives up to the wisdom tradition that its sentiment is borrowed, its phrases cribbed and cited in everything from wedding and funeral rites to Pete Seeger lyrics. You don’t have to be spiritually astute to observe its truth. We all know that life is seasonal.

Generally, when all our seasons seem to flow predictably, the seasonal nature of life feels easy, commonplace. Peaks and troughs, ups and downs – after winter comes the spring, after spring comes summer, after summer comes fall, after fall comes winter, and then we do it all again.
But at are other times where there is breakdown, disruption, death, and destruction, then the words of the Preacher, either the biblical one or even the local ones in our pulpits seem empty.

Easy to rejoice in the cycle of seasons when the season you’re in is fruitful. But when you’re in a drought, in a desert, in the midst of the famine –
When the grass is withered and the flowers have fallen
When the leaves are brown and the trees are bare
When the ground is hard and the springs are dry
When the harvest is past and the summer has ended and we are not saved
Sometimes the winter lasts longer than three months
In those times, to hear that life is seasonal is cold comfort indeed.

Remember last year at the first signs of financial trouble? Analysts and pundits observed the declining market and described it as “correcting”. Don’t worry, they said, the economy has natural peaks and troughs. John McCain, the Republican nominee, could without shame declare himself basically ignorant about the economy and still hope to be elected president by reason of his expertise in the truly important matters, such as national security. But by the fall, when the downturn and potential recession threatened to devolve into an out and out depression, suddenly the cycle of economic seasons didn’t seem so natural, and John McCain the presidential candidate had to “suspend” his campaign to attend to economic matters. When blue-chip stock sells for a penny we realize that there are seasons and then there are CATASTROPHES.

In catastrophic times, when someone declares “Your season is coming” – nothing drowns out the demand of the question “But when?”

Nothing prompts ask the question “when” as much as our acknowledgment of a promise from God. In fact, one way to know that we really believe that God has made us a promise is that we become anxious and impatient for the promise to be fulfilled. More than the question of what, where, who, or even why or how, whenever the promise of God comes to us, it the question of when that dominates

When will I (fill in the blank)
When will we (fill in the blank)
When will the church ever (fill in the blank)

This question of when in the minds of Jesus’ disciples forms the backdrop to this morning’s text. Having seen God do the extraordinary in Jesus’ resurrection, the disciples actually grasp that God had been making them a promise that God intended to fulfill, and so they ask, “When will the restoration be?” Jesus’ instruction to them is embodied in the command for them to stay in Jerusalem and WAIT. But I can hear them traveling back to Jerusalem and spending all their time between the ascension and Pentecost asking the question, “Is it time yet?”

Time is by definition: A nonspatial continuum in which events occur in apparently irreversible succession from the past through the present to the future.
In God’s timing there is a the story of previous deliverance and salvation interwoven into the promise. There’s always a past. After all, God has been working in us for so long. And even the present glory is linked to past deliverance.
Pentecost was an ancient feast celebrating harvest, the feast of weeks measured from the barley harvest (at Passover) to the harvest of wheat (at Pentecost) also commemorating the giving of Torah (divine law)

After the disciples had gathered in obedience and handled the business of replacing Judas in their number, then the Spirit declared, “It’s time.” And I came to announce to St. Paul’s on this Pentecost Sunday that “It’s time!”

I want to make clear that there are some signs that the announcement of God’s working in our time is true. For the announcement that God is at work to be the truth then there are three things that must accompany the announcement.

First, there is divine visitation – I am so grateful that all of us have gathered this morning in the house of worship. I’m thankful for the deacons in their place, the ushers in theirs, the choir in theirs, the musicians in theirs. I’m thankful for my friends who have traveled and for this congregation who have come together in this one place and with one accord, but if GOD doesn’t show up in the building, our gathering is in vain. What we have come to do is to prepare the altar and to bring the living sacrifices of our whole selves. But we need is for God to send the fire.

When I was growing up, we sang a chorus that declared, “O Lord I come, withholding nothing. And I have but one desire. All I have is on the altar. And I pray, Lord, send the fire.”

People manufacture fire but it’s not God’s fire. People blow hot air but it’s not God wind. God’s wind blows where it wills and we hear its sound, but we cannot control it and we cannot even predict it. In fact, no matter how long we have been waiting for it, whenever it comes it still feels “sudden.”

Second, there is supernatural communication. The tongues divide and the disciples are given supernatural utterance, both the ability to speak and the words to say. Then the multicultural crowds of those who hear them are able to hear in their own languages God’s marvelous deeds of power. Some people say that the miracle was a miracle of speech, in that the disciples were ecstatically enabled to communicate in a language they had not studied. Others say the miracle was in the hearing of the listeners, that the Spirit translated for them. I am clear that real communication requires both speech and hearing, both articulation and understanding. And when God’s Spirit decides that “It’s time” God fills the spaces and makes communication across cultures and other divides possible.

This does not mean that the scene was without confusion and disbelief. God’s timing, vision, and presence activated among us will sometimes cause people to think we’ve lost our minds. But there will be others – sometimes a few, sometimes the many – who will hear for themselves and take hold of God’s promise.

Finally, the third sign of God’s timing is Christ-centered proclamation. God pours God’s Spirit out on all flesh to enable us to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ. There is a divine vision for humanity, embodied and enfleshed in the life of Jesus Christ. We tell that story about his birth in Bethlehem, his openness to the outcast, his care for those who were left out. We tell the story of how much he loved us. We tell that he gave his life on Calvary, but that his story does not end on Golgatha nor in Joseph’s new tomb, but on that first Easter he arose with power. And his story still has not ended.

It’s time.
It’s God’s time.
It’s our time.
When is the time of restoration? Now is the acceptable time. When is the day of salvation? Today, is the day of salvation. And everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

PENTECOST WAS A COMMENCEMENT – the first Sunday in a great new era.
Not only is there a past (history), a present (opportunity), in God alone it can be said that there is always a future (hope). Spirit that brooded over creation now dwelling in the disciples prompts us to ask “What plan is God hatching?”

The reality is that there is a cry louder and more significant even than our own cries for a change of seasons. There is a community that has looked upon the buildings called churches and community centers and perceived in them a promise from God.

Hungry ask when will be fed
Naked ask when will we be clothed
Homeless ask when will we have homes
Broken ask when will we be mended
The poor ask when will we have provisions
The oppressed ask when will we be freed
The imprisoned ask when will we be visited
The children ask when will we be educated
And our answer in the name of the Lord is “It’s time”

Yes, St. Paul’s it’s time
It’s praying time
It’s preaching time
Praising time
Planting time
Healing time
Building time
Laughing time
Gathering time
Searching time
Keeping time
Mending time
Singing time
Dancing time
Working time
Serving time
It’s time for justice, mercy, walking humbly
It’s my time, it’s your time, it’s our time, and it’s the time.
It’s time for the wind and for the fire
It’s God’s time
It’s just time.

Monday, May 18, 2009

How Crazy is This...?

This is the day that the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it.

I finally get what I've been praying for and I am almost too busy to enjoy it. What's up with this? In a word, on yesterday May 17th, I received a call to become the 5th pastor of the 119-year-old St. Paul's Baptist Church in Philadelphia. The church may be found at 1000 Wallace St., just 3 short blocks from the Spaghetti Warehouse (everyone needs landmarks). In fact, I understand that there are quite a few great restaurants in the neighborhood.

I have to give a shout out to the Pastoral Search Committee, who conducted a fair and clean process. Even before the vote was conducted, I already found the process to be a healing one. Since having been elected? Well, let me say "This is the Lord's doing and it is marvelous in our eyes."

It is my plan to begin my service to the congregation on May 31st. Anyone in Philly please come and see what the Lord is doing at St. Paul's Baptist Church.

Monday, March 2, 2009


I never got on the bandwagon of praise for the Republican National Committee's choice of Michael Steele as its new chair. In a time when the Republican party is itself increasingly out of touch, I read his choice as a cynical attempt to portray themselves as forward-thinking. It was as pathetic as the choice of Sarah Palin as VP nominee. But even though I was never a big fan of Steele, now I am through entirely with him.

The cause of my complete dismissal of Steele has to do with an exchange between Steele and the real Republican power, Rush Limbaugh. According to an article on Steele has apologized for calling Limbaugh an entertainer, after Limbaugh put Steele in his place by telling him that the RNC is not synonymous the GOP and in fact it fails to represent a significant consituency of Republicans. All of that internecine Republican bickering would bring a smile to my face, if it weren't for one particular excuse Steele used for his apology: "I was maybe a bit inarticulate."

Everyone knew that Limbaugh was calling the Republican shots. After all, nature abhors a vacuum. And in the absence of any real leadership, what with Palin's problems and Jindal's less than stellar performance last week, Limbaugh is all that the GOP has left, that is, unless you count Steele. And apparently Limbaugh doesn't. Nevertheless, Michael Steele should really try not to sound so pathetic and whimpering. And more than that, despite being the RNC chairman, Steele should try to remember he's a BLACK MAN!

How in the world can black people continue to be mad at white people for acting surprised when we're "articulate" if other black people go out in public claiming to to be "inarticulate" whenever they say something they wish they hadn't said? Now I'm not trying to revoke Steele's black card, because I don't want him to join the millions of unemployed people, but he needs to watch it. Goodness!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Mr. President

How we rejoice to see this day!

For my thoughts on the relationship between Rev.Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and President Barack Obama see "History in Motion."

Monday, January 12, 2009

Can We Talk about Gaza?

There is an energy percolating, nearly coming to a pleasant boil as the nation anticipates the changing of presidential administrations that will occur in 7 days. To be honest, a lot of America is experiencing nervous energy related to anxiety about our prospects, especially economically. That concern can only be exacerbated by President-elect Barack Obama's acknowledgement Thursday, in his comments promoting his proposed $800 billion stimulus package, that without intervention the current recession could last for years. Meanwhile, the news that December jobless rates topped 7% for the first time in 16 years only exacerbated the concern.

Now you notice that I defined the simmering tension and energy in our nation as a "pleasant" boil. I did so because our anxiety is mixed with a healthy helping of hopefulness, thanks to the feel good aura of the Obama election and the beauty and winsomeness of our in-coming first family. Change is coming to Washington and his name is Obama.

Less notable in the news, given our national and local anxieties and hopes, was the senate's passage of a resolution supporting our special ally Israel in the midst of its offensive in Gaza. And this is the issue I feel I need to say a word about today.

Those of you who read the blog known that I visited Israel last August. Although our group of African American clergy spent a fair amount of time touring holy sites, the purpose of our visit was not just tourism. We were also there to learn more about the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians from insiders on various sides of the conflict. I haven't written much about this aspect of the trip because frankly I came home with more questions than answers. There are so many sides to the story, so many stakeholders in the disputed territories. There are so many painful stories of personal and national tragedy, so many testimonies of hopes for peace dashed by encroaching violence.

One of the most memorable stops during our tour was in Sderot, a town in southern Israel that borders on the Gaza territory. Sderot has appeared in many of the media stories concerning this month's offensive in Gaza because it is a town that is constantly threatened by Qassam rockets fired randomly from Gaza. That was also what made Sderot so memorable for our group. We saw the bomb shelters that looked like reinforced concrete bus stops all along the streets of the town. We visited the police station and saw the remnants of the rockets, each tagged with the date it dropped. We observed the ongoing construction of a new school with more extensive structural reinforcement to withstand potential rocket fire. And when we came home, we learned that a Qassam rocket had landed just 15 minutes after we left the town to head back to Jerusalem.

I could not then nor do I pretend now to imagine what it is like to live in Sderot. I cannot imagine what public officials sworn to protect Sderot's citizens and all the others endangered by random rocket fire feel when they look into the anxious faces of their fellow Israelis. And because I do not live with their constant anxiety, I will not attempt to talk about Gaza either from the perspective of a Gazan or an Israeli. I will talk as an American.

In an earlier post, I expressed my hopes that the US, especially the African American Christian community, would seek a position of fairness that acknowledges the humanity of the Palestinians as well as Israelis. What is disturbing to me is that both Houses of Congress, the President, and our chief diplomats seemsunwilling to take seriously the human toll the Israeli offensive is taking on Palestinian civilians. Last week, the International Red Cross described the Israeli bombing and response to casualities as outside of international humanitarian law and the rules of war. In the midst of this carnage, which includes the wildly disproportionate injury to and death of Palestinian soldiers and civilians, what has the U.S. to say? We support Israel and it's all Hamas's fault.

Frankly, this response does damage to our credibility and potentially to our own national security. It will be impossible to play any significant role in the unfolding of a narrative of peace and the two-state solution if we are perpetually unable to differentiate between support for the continued existence and safety of Israel and lockstep approval for every decision Israel's political and military leaders make. Moreover, potential allies and friends in the Arab world will have difficulty explaining their continued friendship with the US so long as our government discounts the importance of Arab and Muslim lives by giving tacit and sometimes explicit approval to their virtual slaughter. (This is especially true if Prime Minister Olmert continues to suggest that the US President takes orders from him.)

Our internal struggles and hopes are understandably on our minds. But our world is too small for those of us who value justice to remain oblivious to the violence boiling over outside our borders, especially when our leaders lack balance when they speak on our behalf. I, for one, can't wait to hear what 44 will have to say about this when he finally breaks silence.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Change Comes to Washington

And, no, I don't mean the Obama family's move into a hotel so that Malia and Sacha could start school on time.

Apparently, the House has adopted gender-neutral language in the Rules for the 111th Congress. Although Speaker Pelosi ascended two years ago, it apparently has dawned on her colleagues that "his" and "the Speaker" are not synonymous. "Chairman" has been replaced by "Chair" throughout, demonstrating that we now recognize that some of our Representatives are actually women.

I am working on a longer post about our response to the Israeli military action in Gaza in which I plan to be critical of some of the 111th Congress's initial actions. But on the House Rules found in H. Res. 5, I say, "Hurray!"

Thanks to Dahlia Lithwick's article on about the nominee for Solicitor General for alerting me to the change.