Truth Be Told

Signed copies of the book I co-authored with Soong-Chan Rah, "Unsettling Truths - The Ongoing Dehumanizing Legacy of the Doctrine of Discovery" are available from my website:

Friday, April 24, 2015

Creating a Common Memory with the Doctrine of Discovery

"Everybody get your cell phones out!"

"Make sure you get this on video!"

Early last March, due to an unusually heavy snowstorm in Albuquerque, NM, my flight was cancelled, my travel diverted, and I found myself unexpectedly stuck in downtown Los Angeles for 24 hours while I waited to catch a train back to the Navajo reservation. I was spending the day visiting the LA Union Rescue Mission, utilizing their Chaplains Study to get some work done. It was a beautiful Southern California morning. The sun was shining and my window was open as I worked 2 stories above skid row. I could hear the voices on the streets and knew the police were out, asking people to take down their tents. But it was above the normal noise and commotion that I heard something like the quotes above. So I walked over to the open window to see what was going on.

Pow! Pow!

Pow! Pow! Pow!

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Easter Morning: An Empty Tomb (apparently is not enough)

We tend to think of Easter morning as a joyful, blessed morning as Mary and the other women visit the tomb, discover it is empty and run to tell the disciples the "Good News." We imagine scenes of celebration, and shouts of joy as his followers proclaim that "He is risen!!!" We have been lured into thinking that it was only Thomas who was the classic example of doubt and unbelief regarding the news of the resurrection when he said:
"Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it."
But, if we read the resurrection story in each of the Gospels we are find that fear, doubt and unbelief was pretty much the typical response of EVERYONE, including those who saw the empty tomb and spoke to the angles!

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Holy Saturday: What do you do on the day that the cross is empty and the tomb is sealed?

Two thousand years later, we comfort ourselves on Holy Saturday with the reminder that "Sunday is Coming". But we forget, the disciples did not have that hope. Jesus tried to tell them, but they did not believe. They could not comprehend it. So imagine...

You just watched your master, the person you were convinced was the Messiah, die a horrific death on a Roman Cross. You saw the religious leaders and all of the people publicly reject him. You observed his beating. You followed his trail of blood out of the city. You heard his gasps for breath. You read his lips as he questioned why even his own Father forsook him.

And then you watched the unthinkable. His body went limp as he cried out, gave up his spirit, and died.

The soldiers pierced his side, his blood drained out and all hope was lost.

Still numb, you helped remove his body from the cross. You laid it in a tomb and you watched the stone being rolled in front of it.

And then you saw it sealed.

It was over.

The next morning must have been a daze. For the past 3 years you followed this man around. You walked with him, laughed with him, fed thousands of hungry people with him. You survived storms together. You even saw him heal the sick and raise people from the dead.

But now the cross was empty and the tomb occupied. And all you can think about is the way you ran away when the soldiers came. Even after you looked him in the eye and swore you would never do such a thing!!!

What a horrible day Saturday must have been.

Not only did Jesus, the Messiah, the son of God, die. But he died alone.

Because you abandoned him.

On a day like that, there is only one spiritual discipline that you can cling to. Only one holy practice that you could possibly engage in.

What do you do on the day that the cross is empty and the tomb still sealed?

You weep. You mourn.

You lament.

Friday has happened. And Sunday may be coming. But if we skip over the horrific pain, the absolute confusion and the utter despair that the first Holy Saturday must have been, we devalue them both.

Mark Charles

(Updated 3/31/2018)