If we watch the news, it’s easy to conclude that we are on the brink of a biblical apocalypse. There is war and always rumors of more. Then there are fires, floods, earthquakes, famine, and more. Add in pandemic and those who look to the Bible to predict the way of things will tell us … Read More
Living Table UCC, the congregation I serve as pastor, is on the brink of doing a whole new thing. We spent years in conversation with other congregations to discern the shape of our future. This summer, we sold our building. Soon we will move into a newly remodeled church building with two other congregations. We … Read More
Job had a “bitter complaint.” He very keenly felt God’s absence. Job wanted to experience God’s presence in the midst of his trials and did not. He longed to be comforted knowing that God had heard his prayers and paid heed to his situation. Yet, Job did not experience God in front of him or … Read More
Gospel is all about getting the disciples to repent and get busy bringing the realm of God into the here and now. This confused the disciples repeatedly, just as much as it confuses modern disciples. We can grasp the idea of repentance, though we don’t like to do it or admit that we need to. So we can repent. But how do we bring the realm of God into existence? Well, that’s easy, too. Simplicity, openness, and equity.
“Whoever is not against us, is for us.” Jesus’ simple, countercultural statement is the key to liberation and unity. If we stop fighting with each other about who has the “right” way to be Christian and unite to demand equity and justice for all those whom the Empire devalues, we could truly change the world. Jesus didn’t care that people outside of his disciples were healing in his name. It was a good thing. Love was brought into the world. If people are bringing Divine Love into the world, bringing healing, hope, justice, why should we care what their religious affiliation is? If lives are saved, then it is good work.
Every single one of us has value as God’s beloved. It does not matter who we are, what we do, what we have, what we don’t do, the good we’ve done, the harm we’ve wrought. God loves and claims us all as beloved. We all have value right now, as we are – broken or whole or somewhere in between. Queer, straight, cis, Trans*, rich, poor, healthy, sick, black, white, brown, red, yellow, educated, uneducated, smart, intellectually impaired, wise, foolish, temporarily able-bodied, disabled, mentally healthy, mentally ill, and all the other unique and wonderful combination of things that make us human. We have a place in the Kingdom. We are called to be Kingdom-builders, all of us – each doing their individual part connected to the whole.
Suicide is one of the most important topics we should be discussing in faith communities and it is the one topic most readily avoided. We believe a lot of misinformation about suicide. We think adolescents have the highest risk, and as a whole they do. However, did you know that middle-aged white men now have the highest rates of suicide? Suicide remains the tenth leading cause of death in the U.S. with a growing number of older adults dying by suicide. Churches really need to have this difficult conversation because we have the capacity and the resources to save lives.