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Showing posts from August, 2010

Love Until the Fear is Gone

I've been thinking about some of my own fears and the fears that drive our hate and fears that create barriers between people. I have been thinking about the fear in our political climate... fear of immigrants, fear of Muslims, fear of socialists or fear of whatever. And I wonder what would happen if we decided to love and respect others.

The Bible teaches that perfect love casts out fear. (1John 4:17.) I have always thought about that verse from a self centered point of view in that if I am afraid, then what I need is more love. But today it dawned on me that perhaps there is more to this verse or at least another side to it. When we make the choice to love then the barrier of fear comes down and we see one another differently from God's point of view.

1John tells about a community that is struggling with how to discern who are the people of God? And John simply tells them that love comes from God and all who say they know God live as God does and love others the way God lov…

Luke and Kingdom

We have been dwelling in Luke and examining what Luke might have to say to the community who is reading his gospel. Luke tells about the call of Jesus in chapter 4:18:

"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free, and that the time of the Lord's favor has come. "

Then later in chapter 7, Luke writes about the disciples of John who are sent by John to question Jesus about his calling. They ask: "Are you the one we've been expecting, or should we keep looking for someone else?"

Jesus answers: "Go back to John and tell him what you have seen and heard--the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised to life, and the Good News is being preached to the poor."

I am attracted to the idea that we are invited to tell what of the kingdom we have seen and heard. Where are we seeing th…

Press Conference Hate Speech toward Muslims in Bridgeport

Friday I attended a press conference held at the Capital in Hartford concerning the hate speech that occured in Bridgeport, CT. I was particularly disturbed that the name of Jesus was used in conjunction with the word "hates" toward Muslim worshippers. I know that those protesting the Islamic Center in New York wish to further deeper relationships with Jesus Christ but I do not believe this was effective.

The name of Jesus is sacred and carries the reputation of goodness and sacrifice and healing. And to see it used to hurt was grating on my heart. More painful was hearing that this was said in the presence of small children, families and persons who were sincerely at worship in a country that offers freedom of religion to everyone.

This nation is not a theocracy it is a democratic republic. And while we may hold fast to the Christian faith we can live in generosity toward those who believe differently. We actually become more attractive if we show that generosity and respect.…

vision so far

I envision:

1. a faith community rooted and united in Christ as imaged by the Eurcharist and Baptism but lived out in our daily lives.
2. a discerning community able to seek the Spirit's wisdom, notice God and follow as best we can, the Spirit's lead.
3. a faith community engaged thoughtfully and humbly with scripture.
4. a faith community that is safe for explorers of faith, respecting questions and giving explorers space to examine what is means to know and follow Jesus.
5. a faith community committed to doing the good in the home, neighborhood and world.
6. a relational faith community engaged in regular, on-going hospitality
7. a worshipping community expressing thanks to God though the arts--dance, canvass, drama; the spoken, written and sung word; and through daily living in devotion to God and his heart for humanity.
8. a community being transformed into the image of Christ through a new relation with Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Article from Gary Walters President of the Covenant Church

http://www.covchurch.org/companion/cbarticles/may-2010#xcBSR_NofmGowp_ukzZeg

Above is a link to an article written by our President Gary Walters on Evangelism. In this article he says this:

"Our challenge for now is this: help those who are far from God hear from God, "I know you, I love you, you were meant for this relationship.""

This is our focus as we reform into the kind of community that helps people make vital and life-giving connections with God. We will do that primarily through building relationships, acts of hospitality, communicating creatively in a variety of forms in a worship gathering, serving others in ways that bring the goodness of God into their world, inviting others into communities safe for exploring faith and through serious prayer.

Notice that a worship gathering is only one form of creating avenues for connection.

What will it take to create an ethos in our community that is connectional and invitational.

vision for faith exploration

This morning I have been praying and thinking a lot about vision and something that has surfaced is a longing for spiritual seekers to have a safe place to explore their faith. I think we live in a time when there is significant anxiety that Christians will shove faith choices in the faces of those curious about faith. Earned or not, the fear is really there. It is there for me come to think of it.

Sometimes what I hear in my faith world are words that suggest the Bible is absolute truth and we must absolutely believe it. That language feels sort of like a hammer or a coercion mechanism--such words feel almost violent, militant. I love the Bible but God never meant it to be a controlling forceful book. I believe God meant the Bible to engage us and invite us into a story about God and his engagement with humanity. In it we find God's desires for humanity to live in relation with himself and how much God has done to draw us to himself. It is a book filled with wisdom for living. It …

Dwelling in Luke; Luke 1:1-7

In Luke 1:1-7 our story begins with the writer Luke, letting the reader know that he has carefully examined the story of Jesus and the new community gathered around Jesus and is now passing that story on to the community of readers gathered to hear the story.

Accounts were sometimes written to one person or to a community. But often they were passed around or read in a gathered community of curious Christ followers or investigators of the Jesus way.

How might the story Luke is telling shape the community of followers and Jesus investigators?

Luke wrote both Luke and Acts and in Luke the author gives the background of how the church was being formed around the life of Jesus. He tells who Jesus is, where he came from and the people through whom he came. the story of Zacharias and Elizabeth and John tell of a barren people awaiting the Messiah. Suddenly this barren couple, righteous people of God find themselves pregnant by a miracle of the Holy Spirit. The child they bear will prepare the …