America is a great country. But the US Capitol Insurrection is part of a long, dark, racial history in the United States.

“This isn’t who we are.”

President-elect Joe Biden said these words in the aftermath of Wednesday’s assault on the US Capitol. Politicians like to say this during events like this. I believe that President-elect Biden and others who use that phrase mean nothing but good. They want to say that as Americans we aspire to higher goals and that what happened is something that is uncharacteristic of who we are as Americans.

This phrase comes from a good place. It’s also incredibly wrong. This is who we are. This is who we are as a nation.

African Americans, Native Americans…


When it comes to race, the Southern Baptist Convention continues to wrestle with its past.

In the spring and summer of 1994, I had the chance to do some freelancing for Baptist Press, the news agency for the Southern Baptist Convention.

It was an odd match.

Here I was, someone who was to the left of most people in the SBC and was coming to terms with being gay, was writing stories for a denomination that was the opposite of me. That said, the SBC wasn’t a mystery to me. I had been a member of a Baptist congregation in Michigan that was part of the predominantly African American Nation Baptist Convention and the Southern…


Mainline Protestantism needs to make church matter again.

Sunday is always hard for me as a pastor.

Maybe that’s unbelievable to some of you. Shouldn’t a pastor love going to church? Isn’t that your job?

It’s hard because I’ve had to learn how to manage my expectations which is incredibly hard, especially as we start to open things back up after a year of not meeting in person.

I’ve been pastor at my congregation now for about 8 years and it feels at times that we have not grown. People come to visit but never stay. It could be the building which is in bad shape. It could…


Changing in a world that dislikes change.

Several years ago, someone I followed on the internet did something to bother me. They had expressed a very strong opinion on a political issue and then out of nowhere, they changed their position. That in itself is nothing new. What was bothersome to me is that the person never admitted they changed their mind. In fact, they went as far as saying they never had the prior opinion. It drove me crazy because they never wanted to say that he was wrong or that he changed his mind. …


What if the Soviets got to the moon first?

My first memory of the US Space program took place in August of 1977. On that late summer morning, seven-year-old me stood in front of the television watching history being made. On TV, a Boeing 747 flew over the California desert with a special passenger: the Space Shuttle Enterprise. In a few minutes’ time, the test shuttle was going to separate from the jumbo jet for its first flight test.

Enterprise sat on top of the 747 waiting for the moment when it would be released and glide through the air. Enterprise didn’t have any engines, so when it separated…


Can someone be on the straight and narrow and become tempted to take a darker path?

For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life?

-Mark 8:36

“Moral cowardice that keeps us from speaking our minds is as dangerous to this country as irresponsible talk. The right way is not always the popular and easy way. Standing for right when it is unpopular is a true test of moral character.”

-Margaret Chase Smith (former Republican Senator from Maine)

Is character something that can be corrupted? Can someone be on the straight and narrow and become tempted to take a darker path? Or is character revealed by situations? …


Why are so many pastors leaving the ministry?

The following tweet hit me this morning:

As a fellow pastor, I was shocked and nodding in agreement at the same time. I can understand why so many pastors are throwing in the towel. COVID really placed some stress on pastors, so on one level, it’s not a surprise.

That said, I think COVID was more of an accelerant than a cause. A lot of the causes were taking place long before the lockdown. There are a lot of things happening in our culture that leave clergy feeling depressed, ignored and unappreciated. …


Why You Should Listen to Spheres of Influence.

There are a lot of podcasters clamoring for attention on the internet. A fair number of them are probably better at this than I am. I’m not special and I haven’t reported from exotic locales around the world. I am just a mild-mannered middle-aged pastor that has a background in communications and likes to write and podcast.

So, why bother listening (or reading, since I write as well) what I have to say? Simple. Because I’m a misfit. What you will find here is a viewpoint that you aren’t going to hear in many other places. …


The importance of the witnesses challenged the official verdict.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us…

Hebrews 12:1

The press release told the story: There was a suspect “under the influence.” Two officers arrive and order the suspect in his 40s to get out of his car. The suspect was handcuffed and appeared to be suffering medical distress. An ambulance was called. He was taken to a local hospital where he died a short time later.

This…


One Pastor’s Experience of the Coronavirus Pandemic.

It’s been two weeks since I received my second shot of the Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine which means I am fully vaccinated. I still wear masks because it is still the state mandate, but it feels like the pandemic is nearing an end. It is not over and things could change that makes things worse. We don’t know if a variant could arise that the vaccines would do very little. That said, it feels like we are moving away from a year of staying away from public spaces. People are starting to peer outside for the first time in a year…

Dennis Sanders

A middle-aged pastor living in Minneapolis. I write about politics, religion, sexuality, and autism. https://www.dennislsanders.net/

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