This piece was originally posted over at RelevantMagazine.com
When [Europeans] first came to our country, a bounty was offered on Indians, and the dead were brought in by the wagonload. But that got to be a problem, so they started asking for just the scalps of Indians. Just like the hide of a deer is called a ‘deerskin,’ and the hide of a beaver is called a ‘beaverskin,’ the scalp of an Indian was called a ‘redskin.’
– Chief Billy Redwing Tayac of the Piscataway Indian Nation, 1998 for Sojourners Magazine
I was 9 years old when “The Skins,” with their trio of wide receivers known as “The Posse” won the 1992 Super Bowl. When you witness the local team win a championship at that age, a lifetime of devotion is inevitable. Since then, I’ve spent every football Sunday sitting in front of the TV, scaring children with ecstatic yelps for every good play. Over the past 25 years of fandom, the Washington Redskins have been a part of my own identity.
Photo: “Our Lady Mother of Ferguson and All Those Killed by Gun Violence.” written by Mark Dukes. Commissioned by @trinitycwe
This was written in response to the death’s of Alton Sterling and Philando Castille on July 5th and 6th, 2016.
Two nights in a row I witnessed executions being streamed into my being through an iphone held 8 inches from my face. Mornings were spent crying into cereal bowls, re-listening to cries of help, desperate cries of help from brothers and sisters that I’ve refused to acknowledge as extended family. Continue reading
In one of the least religious cities in the country, a handful of new churches are setting the stage for spiritual revival.
This article originally appeared in the magazine RELEVANT Magazine > Issue 79: January/February 2016
Seemingly ripped from one of Los Angeles’ fashion billboards, hundreds of twentysomethings create a line down Sunset Boulevard outside of an LA nightclub.
When the red rope gets pulled back, the crowd is treated to a sensory experience of bright rhythmic lights, impressionistic videos and an auditory explosion with decibels that shake your chest cavity.
Then, the crowd begins to sing praise and worship songs. An offering is taken, a sermon is preached, the altar call is given.
This is the scene at the first service of Zoe Church, a new LA church plant whose christening took place at the infamous 1OAK nightclub on the Sunset Strip.
“They’re having church at 1OAK?” remarks a seasoned bouncer at a rival nightclub after hearing about Zoe’s location. “That’s where Suge Knight got shot.”
This article originally appeared in RELEVANT Magazine > Issue 75: May/June 2015.
Why does the comedian and podcaster always lean toward spiritual conversations?
There’s a book on the prophets in here somewhere,” Marc Maron says, perusing one of the several bookshelves in “the garage,” which is actually more of a glorified shed in the backyard of the two-bedroom house on the hills of Highland Park that he refers to as “The Cat Ranch.”
The garage serves as a home studio, where multiple times a week for the past six years, Maron has produced the innovative and beloved podcast, WTF with Marc Maron. Guitar cases, several bookshelves and rock posters cover all available wall space. They surround a modest desk in the center of the room that is overrun with wires, microphones, books, gifts from fans and various kitsch. It’s hard to tell if everything has its place or nothing does. Either way, Maron sits comfortably in the midst of it.
We are in the year 2014 AD, and in the year 2014 AD one’s allegiance to a sports team is as strong as one’s allegiance to country or crest. I can’t trace my own nationality three generations deep, yet I can recite each of the sports loyalties of all far reaching cousins and in-laws for every professional sport. Of course family, friends, health, yada yada… but judged by actions and bank accounts, it would appear for many Americans the ultimate value is one’s allegiance to a sports franchise and virility therein.
My name is Eric VanValin, and I am a Washington Redskins fan. Continue reading
Today I met “Gloria”. She illegally crossed the border from Mexico into the United States of America when she was thirteen years old. She has spent the past twenty years living in a makeshift neighborhood called a colonia, located ten minutes inland from the Starbucks, Chuck E. Cheese’s, and shopping malls that populate McAllen, TX. Continue reading