My colleague, Rev. Mitch Todd has a great devotion/essay entitled about that often abused and maligned term, “Thoughts and Prayers.” I encourage you to take a look.
I’ve long known that the people called Methodists were behind Mother’s Day, but it turns out we’re behind Father’s Day as well.
“Jesus Christ was recklessly charitable,” so begins a fascinating article on what happened when some Dominican Friars opened up their priory restrooms to protestors in need during the recent Women’s March on Washington. This small act of charity pushed both sides outside their comfort zones but ultimately allowed the friars to share their faith. Their example is one all churches should take to heart.
The article is well worth your time: https://goo.gl/P0FzMi
A short, thoughtful, well-written article that goes deeper into the issue of social media and the Christian obligation to tell the truth:
The United Methodist Committee on Relieve (UMCOR) responds not only to the disasters that make national news but also to ones that don’t. It’s a concrete, but little-known way that the church follows Jesus’ injunction to care for those in need.
The Washington Post has an article titled “A compassionate judge sentences a veteran to 24 hours in jail, then joins him behind bars.” I encourage you to follow this link and read it. After reading it, I began reflecting on it in terms of God as our divine judge. In Jesus Christ, we have a judge who not only suffered with us but suffered in our place.
Dan Dick’s most recent post is titled “Baptism is Thicker Than Water.” It begins thus:
At what point should The United Methodist Church admit its failures and simply split over the issues of human sexuality raised by LGBTQI people and those in the church unwilling or unable to accept them? For me, the answer is simple — at the point that we admit that we do not believe God has the power to unite, reconcile and heal. To stay together is an act of faith. To separate is to reject God, renounce Jesus, and revoke our baptism.
I would encourage you to head over to his blog, United Methodeviations, and read the whole thing.
There’s an article by Ron Edmondson at Ministry Matters titled “Five Suggestions to Help You Worry Less.” Your mileage may vary, but I found them helpful. The first suggestion was “Pray more” and included the observation that:
“You can pray or you can worry, but you can never do both at the same time. Which would you rather do?”
What would you rather do, indeed?
Bishop Scott Jones has written a thoughtful, carefully considered article on the Syrian Refuge Crisis titled “We Must Recognize We Are Engaged in Cultural War.” I encourage you to read it all. He makes the scriptural argument for welcoming Syrian refugees, and then he says the following:
“When Western countries mistreat and reject Muslims, it becomes a recruiting tool and propaganda weapon for our enemies. I am deeply disappointed that so many governors (including those of Kansas and Nebraska where I serve) have rejected the idea of receiving refugees. They are pandering to our worst fears and failing to lead us to be our best selves as a nation. They are making a strategic mistake and giving aid to our enemies. This culture war will be won by the Christian values of love, tolerance, mutual respect and hospitality. As a nation and as states, we need to welcome the stranger among us.” — Bishop Scott Jones.
Syrian refugees fleeing their homeland are the strongest possible rebuke to ISIS propaganda. I understand the (not unreasonable) fear that many have about welcoming refugees into our communities, but to turn them away is turn our backs on the clear witness of scripture and to do exactly what ISIS would like us to do.
I read the Bishop’s article yesterday and resolved to write the above blog post linking to it today. Then I was confronted with the opportunity to put my money where my mouth was. The District Superintendent called and said they were looking for United Methodist Churches willing to support and sponsor Syrian refugees. She wondered if Abilene First might be one of those churches. After consulting with the lay leader, the chair of the church council, and both lay delegates to Annual Conference, Jenny and I have decided to call a congregational meeting after worship this coming Sunday. Recently we, as a congregation, have practiced holy conferencing around the issues of homosexuality and the separation of church and state. My hope is that we can do the same around this issue.