It's been rather quiet
on the Presbyterian battlefront since May 10, when the Twin Cities presbytery
in Minnesota became the 87th to vote to lift the ban on LGBT
ministers, elders and deacons. That was the decisive vote, and by July 10 the
historic change was official.
When the prayers of the people begin, the Stephens' pew in the back starts to thump. Ten-year-old Mallory is working her way toward the door. As I hand the offering baskets to the ushers, she returns with a large cooler.
I’m always intrigued when I’m reminded of some of the background stories (context) behind the actual words of the Bible. John’s famous line “God is love” was born of out of a messy leadership conflict (1 John 4:8). Paul’s unifying dictum “you are all one in Christ” addressed social and racial tensions (Gal. 3:28).
It’s become a historical cliché that without the printing press, the Protestant Reformation would likely not have gotten off the ground. It’s not that the printing press caused the Reformation. Rather, the printing press not only allowed for the spread of Protestant ideas, but also allowed for a shift in power, from entrenched Church leadership to the layperson.
Matthew invites us into a whole variety of experiences this Sunday. Verses 10 through 20, considered optional, center around a conflict about tradition and authority followed by a parable about the truth of the actions of the heart. This is followed by healings and feedings. The next chapter begins with more conflict.
Unlike my Century
colleagues, I am not an avid book reader; I have no new history, novel or
memoir to commend for our summer reading list. My spare-time reading consists
mostly of seeking research gems or insights in critical biblical journals. Yes,
sounds like work.