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Charles Redfern
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Charles Redfern is a "New Evangelical" writer (God cares for the poor and the environment and transcends political labels) who has ministered in conflict transformation and organizational healing for over two decades. He now lives in Connecticut with his wife and son. He is ordained by the American Baptist Churches and the CCCC. He was a journalist in the early 1980′s, then studied at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and graduated magna-cum-laude in 1989. He has since pastored five New England churches and has written for several publications, including, truthout, and The Alternative Mainstream.

He is available for speaking engagements and can be reached at

Entries by Charles Redfern

How to Snap Pastors Like Breadsticks

(5) Comments | Posted August 4, 2014 | 5:24 PM

Crunching the numbers speaks for itself: A 2007 Duke University study found that 85 percent of seminary graduates leave the ministry within five years and 90 percent flee before retirement. The attrition rate in North Georgia, the Bible Belt's leather buckle, "ran as high as 90% for those...

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What Should Ordinary Leadership Look Like?

(0) Comments | Posted July 30, 2014 | 3:16 PM

The 2014 election-year posturing forces me back to November, 2010, when a living parable walked into freedom after 15 years of house arrest. Aung San Suu Kyi, Burma/Myanmar's opposition leader, waved to her supporters and awakened our stagnant conscience.

Suu Kyi ranks among the elite of real-life parables. "I should...

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Will the Democrats Ever Wake Up?

(132) Comments | Posted June 5, 2014 | 12:15 PM

Let's ask the real election-year question: Why isn't the Democratic Party poised with forks and knives, ready for November's sizzling elephant steak? Republican popularity spirals while Florida Senator Mark Rubio denies verified science, yet there's genuine fear of a GOP Senate takeover. We should be dreaming of 1964, when Democrats...

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Why Some Evangelicals Are Praying President Obama Will Reject the Keystone XL Pipeline

(0) Comments | Posted April 28, 2014 | 10:25 AM

Cross-published at the Sojourners "God's Politics" blog

Maybe I'm a near-sighted Bible-thumping holy roller, but I can't see angel wings flapping on oil executives. No doubt some are community pillars. They're Little League umpires, tithers and PTA volunteers. They've got lovely houses and manicured lawns.

But they're also flawed...

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Why Pacifism Was Modified: Vladimir Putin

(0) Comments | Posted March 25, 2014 | 12:29 PM

It's suddenly clear. We now see why Eastern European countries hustled in their NATO applications after the Berlin Wall tumbled: Mother Russia is a brooding matriarch coveting the children she once kidnapped, and Vladimir Putin stands in the tsarist lineage of thuggish, self-appointed successors of the Byzantine Caesars. Bare your...

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Will The National Association of Evangelicals Sink Into Irrelevance by Dodging Climate Change?

(1) Comments | Posted February 18, 2014 | 2:44 PM

A black hole dangled from the ceiling, sucking away my words.

I was smashing fables before a packed room of scientists and wonks in a break-out session at the 14th annual National Conference on Science, Policy and the Environment, held on January 28-30 near the Reagan National Airport. Terri Eickel,...

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Something New: The Delightful Conservationist

(1) Comments | Posted November 18, 2013 | 6:29 PM

Leah Kostamo has liberated me. I can now face my dark side: I love everything from sloths to moss and serve on three eco-friendly boards, but most environmental literature reminds me of toothpaste-flavored herbal tea - with no sweeteners allowed (carcinogens, you know). Guilt is slung like linguini. Humor and...

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Becoming Mushy as Your Team Wins the World Series

(0) Comments | Posted November 4, 2013 | 11:05 AM

From the you-don't-know-what-you've-got-until-it's-gone file: A vague mood crept over me as I watched this year's fall classic, the one in which David Ortiz flew in the sky like a bird or a plane with a cape on his back. I slowly sank into schmaltz and became the world's corniest sap....

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Treasuring the Non-Famous in an Era of Infamous Fame

(0) Comments | Posted October 29, 2013 | 1:15 PM

How do we coax the cameras of the celebrity-addicted faithful off the mega-church parking lot and into the homes of genuine saints? Maybe we can video a documentary about the life of Remington Lewis, an 82-year-old community bulwark who epitomized kindness and hospitality -- or of 85-year-old Lucy Bunnell, a...

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What to Do With Pesky Scriptures When You Play the 'God Card'?

(2) Comments | Posted October 2, 2013 | 3:39 PM

Thanks. I'm grateful -- obliged, even. Representatives of the supposedly more religion-friendly political party have deepened our understanding of the Bible and clarified the need for its amendment, contextualization and application. We can be relevant now.

For starters, they've finally tidied up chaotic Ephesians 4:31-32: "Let all bitterness, wrath,...

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It's Time for the National Association of Evangelicals to Step Up

(18) Comments | Posted September 18, 2013 | 3:47 PM

Think of it as the gentleman in the tweed cap or the lady in horse riding apparel. The National Association of Evangelicals has emblematized dignity and poise since its 1942 inception. Perhaps its first president, the late Harold Ockenga, branded it with his personality when he -- along with Edward...

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The Story Behind the Story: What Happens When Iconoclasm Becomes a Creed

(54) Comments | Posted September 3, 2013 | 12:14 PM

I frowned twice at Lauren Green's infamous Fox News interview with Reza Aslan, author of Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth. Green played the clumsy district attorney in a bad court-room melodrama, accusing him of concealing his religious identity and hinting at sinister intrigue. Aslan deftly parried...

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Immanence and Transcendence

(2) Comments | Posted July 24, 2013 | 2:00 PM

Click here to read an original op-ed from the TED speaker who inspired this post and watch the TEDTalk below.

Camille Seaman sees interconnection while chasing storms. I value that, but I felt something different in the summer of 1980 -- perhaps because the storms hounded me. I...

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Is It Ever Time to Pound Our Fists on Tables?

(5) Comments | Posted July 12, 2013 | 1:47 PM

There it was, in my inbox, the cautionary and age-old question from a fellow veteran in the war against climate-change denial: Should evangelicals promoting the scientific consensus favor diplomatic gentility or prophetic indignation? Do we follow John the Baptist ("You brood of vipers!") or Titus 3:2 ("be peaceable and considerate,...

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Hear No Evil, See No Evil While the Prankster Plays

(2) Comments | Posted June 12, 2013 | 10:34 AM

Someone picked up scissors and snipped our mentalities. Our thoughts lay like scraps on the floor: thinking is severed from doing; spirituality is cut from its heritage and theological reflection mutates into one-liners from an adolescent-like preacher in an empty comedy club.

Such imagery comes in the wake of...

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Scrutinizing the Clamor: Are We Screaming Muffled Screams?

(0) Comments | Posted May 6, 2013 | 12:39 PM

Call this a commentary on the commentary. Time has lapsed since that surreal week of weeks -- the week of explosions and a locked-down city and a Senate minority trampling the vast majority's common-sense dreams. We can now sift through the post-trauma media noise and ask: Are we really communicating?...

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Introducing Holy Week's Dangerous Jesus

(5) Comments | Posted March 22, 2013 | 1:31 PM

Imagine my shock when I saw how my childhood's domesticated Palm Sunday steered me into a domesticated Holy Week with a domesticated Jesus and a domesticated faith. It was a coloring-book Palm Sunday, a Palm Sunday of the early '60s suburban, mainline church -- before the assassinations and Vietnam and...

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What Happens When an Evangelical Protestant Falls in Love With the Catholic Church?

(180) Comments | Posted February 26, 2013 | 11:46 AM

It's time I come clean. I'm an evangelical with a secret. A covert "real me" peaks from the shadows and longs to leap into the sunlight. World events compel me to throw caution to the wind and blare my confession: I'm a wanna-be Catholic.

There. I feel better.


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Perish the Thought: The Constitution Could Be Wrong

(142) Comments | Posted February 15, 2013 | 10:42 AM

Gaze through civil religion's in-creeping fog: Haloes blink on over sweltering men with wigs. They're now immaculate secular apostles; they kneel on a mountain top beside their polished spittoons while awaiting their Constitution's arrival. They never haggled, never referred to their honored but maddening mother country, and never debated behind...

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Struggling With Newtown and Our Culture of Antagonism

(0) Comments | Posted December 19, 2012 | 10:00 AM

Comes the moment when reason gels with emotion and the granite-faced Stoic marches into the backyard woods and shrieks like a wounded bobcat: "Twenty kids! And teachers! And school staff! And the beloved principle! And the assailant and his mother! Twenty-eight victims of a grisly binge even maniacal for lunatics!...

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