Union MLP
  • John Noble is a junior at Drake University studying Religion and Rhetoric, Media, & Social Change. He is a white Catholic active in the church reform movement. John is interested in how the Catholic Church, especially predominantly white progressive reform groups, can work for racial reparations. He worships at the Des Moines Intentional Eucharistic Community and Downtown Disciples. John has theological crushes on Thomas Merton, M. Shawn Copeland, Bryan Massingale, Bruce Springsteen, and Rosemary Ruether.
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A Letter to My (White) Son

Dear Beloved Son, Remember a year ago when I told you the tragic story of a teenager named Michael Brown shot to death by a police officer? Remember how we gathered flowers from our yard—billowing white hydrangeas and pink Echinacea cones, arranged them in a vase, then cut through the neighbor’s yard to place them … Continue reading

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The Hair: Reflections by a White Parent

In infancy, it was the eyes. But ever since toddler-hood, it has been the hair. My son is eight years old. He was born with deep blue eyes and fairly bald—just a smattering of sand-colored hair. As he learned to walk, his hair began morphing into its current “tow-head” state. (That term comes from old … Continue reading

Failing White Kids

There’s long been a prevailing sentiment among white people of my generation, expressed in some version of the following: “Our race problem is mostly a matter of time. Racism will whither as the older white U.S.-Americans die off.” Other versions of a similar sentiment show up when folks tout the demographic changes poised to dramatically … Continue reading


Reparations? Or Charity?

This is a reparations moment. That’s not to say it’s newly or uniquely such a moment (as if we haven’t long been in a reparations moment). It’s not. But it’s worth asking this right now: If something as entrenched in U.S.-American culture as the acceptability of flying the Confederate flag could finally be upended and … Continue reading


White Anti-Racist Parenting

Last night at a vigil I heard a black elder in my community trace herstory through the bombing of a church that claimed the lives of 4 young black girls, the murder of Emmet Till, through the civil rights movement and the murder of King and connected it all to Charleston. She then wondered aloud … Continue reading


A Liturgical Die-In

From Jen: In days such as these words can seem so inadequate for naming what it is we are experiencing and the visions of life, justice and truth for which we long. Moving through ritual, liturgy, and the body is another powerful way we can and must move. This blog post describes such a liturgy–a liturgical … Continue reading

Building (Racial) Houses

A house can be many things. It can be a place where a family grows; where people gather to nourish each other with food and stories; where they go to rest and rejuvenate after a long day. A house can be a location that someone names as the place where they live; points to as … Continue reading


Rachel Dolezal: One thing we must definitely not do . . .

I’m clearly not alone in my utter inability to quite wrap my head around this story. At the most mundane level (i.e., setting aside for a moment the many contentious racial implications) so many details here are beyond bizarre. I can’t seem to let go of the most surface kinds of questions. If Dolezal’s family … Continue reading


At the Hands of Persons Unknown: The Verdict in the Michael Brelo Case

I cannot turn away or close my eyes to what I beheld on Saturday as I watched the verdict in the Michael Brelo case being rendered by Judge P. O’Donnell in Cleveland. The nearly hour-long justification for exonerating Officer Brelo on all counts was bone chilling to behold. In every respect, it amounted to a … Continue reading


Protests Don’ts and Do’s

“How does standing on a bridge yelling about police violence in Des Moines help Black folks in Baltimore?” “Okay, this is all well and good, but what are the next steps? When are we going to take action?” “It’s hypocritical for folks who’ve never said or done anything about police brutality before to suddenly show … Continue reading

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