Taking Sides

An excerpt from Jonny Rashid’s new book JESUS TAKES A SIDE (2022). See below for details of an online event Jonny is hosting with The Alternative Seminary this Saturday!

Our church’s first love feast after Donald Trump was inaugurated as president of the United States changed me.

Our church celebrates something called the love feast, also known as an agape feast in some traditions. It is a worship meeting where we fellowship and reconcile among one another, letting our love and unity prevail. You can find references to love feasts in Jude and 1 Corinthians 1. At them, we eat together, welcome new members, and take communion. At our love feast in January 2017, our team had assigned me to offer the words of institution and the elements of communion to the assembly.

Admittedly, my mind was elsewhere. Donald Trump’s first executive action as the new president was in effect. We know it colloquially as the Muslim ban, but formally it is Executive Order 13769: Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States. It was a travel ban against people from a list of Middle Eastern countries and it had gone into effect that Saturday. It barred entry for anyone (with some exceptions) from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. I got a notice on my phone that there were Arab immigrants in airports and they could not enter into the country because the ban was in effect.

Continue reading “Taking Sides”

Living The Gospel Revolution

Another compelling offering from The Alternative Seminary

The Sermon on the Mount: Living the Gospel Revolution in Our World Today


Thursdays, September 15 – November 10

7:00 – 9:00 pm EST

(NOTE: No class on October 20)

The times we live in seem apocalyptic – war and violence, political extremism and rising authoritarianism, staggering disparities of wealth, ecocide.  Meanwhile, much of the church in the United States (and around the world) is increasingly succumbing to a militant and dangerous Christian nationalism.

Continue reading “Living The Gospel Revolution”

Peace On Earth and the Politics of Christmas

CrossThe Alternative Seminary will be un-domesticating biblical tales of liberation for all radical disciples in the Philly area next weekend:

Saturday morning, December 9
9:30 – 11:30 a.m.
Project HOME, 1515 Fairmount Avenue


Part of President Trump’s vision of “making American great again” is that – to hell with political correctness – we will all be able to say “Merry Christmas!” again.

This is deeply ironic but sadly telling:  Much of the Christian church in the United States has been co-opted by an American gospel of prosperity, racism, violence, and militant nationalism.  The celebration of Christmas is often wrapped in innocent, feel-good, Hallmark-card imagery. But in fact the biblical texts describing the coming of Jesus are making powerful assertions about the politics of the Bible that speak very much to our contemporary global crises.  We will reflect on the “nativity narratives” in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke to see how they express core biblical themes of justice and liberation.  We will try to “un-domesticate” these tales of liberation and reflect on how they are truly challenging us in terms of our allegiance and our discipleship.  A perfect event for Advent.  A light breakfast will be served.  A $5 donation is requested to cover costs.

If you are interested in participating, please contact Will O’Brien at (215) 842-1790 or wobrien@alternativeseminary.net by December 3.

The Alternative Seminary is a program of biblical and theological study and reflection designed to foster an authentic biblical witness in the modern world.  For more information, see www.alternativeseminary.net.