As a predominately white descendent of 19th Century Irish and English immigrants to the United States, I am confused by the term “white heritage.” My mother tells me of an Native American grandmother somewhere down branch on the family tree. It wouldn't surprise me to find a smattering of other ethnicities in the bloodline, those with stories too shameful to get past the filter of our acceptable family narratives.
Each year I am reminder and encouraged by my time meeting at the Alliance of Baptists Annual Gathering. It is always a nice and peaceful week to be among other Baptists who think and act as we do at Central. This year the theme was Embracing God’s Call to Justice and Love. And much of what we heard was in our grand tradition of provocation and dissent. In order to live out our calling to be love and work toward justice, it is imperative for us to understand our heritage as Baptists and our history of dissent.
This year, we will focus our Lenten journey on the process of “unlearning.” Unlearning starts with the recognition that we have, over time, developed very specific biases in the course of our lives. These perspectives have served us well, but they are not universal. Everyone has their own set of discriminations. The Christian practice of Lent is a purposed and discipline plan of letting go, of changing our patterns, of seeking to approach our life from a fresh angle. It may require a different pattern of behavior or response. It may seek to undo old and more familiar ways before new connections and pathways can be made.
You are invited during this season of Lent 2017 to reflect on and ponder anew the teachings of our Lord in the beginning of chapter 5 of the Gospel of Matthew. These celebrated sayings often beginning what the English words, “Blessed are…” might be the most famous of all of Jesus’ words. Yet, instead of inviting us into a deeper insight, their familiarity can actually lead us into a nearly neglectful form of inattention. We can be so certain we already “know them.”
A christmas tree covered in white ornaments of strange symbols, the Advent practice of making Chrismons can be a means of meditation and sharing our faith story.
As we begin the new church year and celebrate the First Sunday of Advent, I invite you to be a part of an exciting and helpful resource to take a deeper journey with your knowledge and experience of the Bible.
The goal is to provide resources to make Bible reading more "insightful, practical and transformative." Each course features 3-6 video lectures from 5-7 minutes in length. The presenters are from a rich ecumenical community of modern and moderate scholarship mostly from Baptist, Episcopal, Methodist and Presbyterian traditions.
In response to many in our congregation who were seeking a "word" at the end of a long and tumultuous election season, our church staff planned a service of hope, songs and prayers on Wednesday evening, November 9th. The following is a pledge I presented at this service.
In the midst of this anxiety-inducing election season, we all could use some peace. In the flurry of hateful, divisive words that seem to have little regard for the common good, it’s nice to be reminded that folks can still get along—even people with diverse backgrounds and beliefs.
Monday morning, several of us joined with clergy and lay persons from different faith traditions in the region to ask for fair and just policies that benefit all, rather than a select few. Clergy, including our own Pastor Mark, asked for reforms that would provide better health care, living-wage jobs, quality education, and equal voting rights for all.
As we look toward Sunday worship, read these words from those who attended passport camp this summer.