In the movie District 9, an alien spaceship stalls in the skies above Johannesburg. After three months with no communication, South Africans decide to board the ship, only to find a million aliens who need rescuing. They move them to District 9, an area that’s a cross between a township and a refugee camp.
When I arrived as pastor at Beech Grove United Methodist Church, the community was bitterly divided because one member was running against another to be county commissioner. The primary issue in the campaign was whether to zone Beech Grove Road, on which sat Beech Grove Church. Issues of class weren’t far behind.
Unlike the synoptics, the evangelist John reports a three-year ministry
for Jesus, marking his time through the passage of three Passovers. But
Jesus also observes three other Jewish feasts in the course of John’s
I live and work with a lot of folks who believe that God has given up on
them. They are convinced that their failures are so great that there is
no way that God can use them to bring hope or healing to others. Many
have lives that are controlled by the memory of some past failure. Many
of them throw in the towel and decide that the way life has been is the
way it always will be.
Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry, a French Catholic, says that if you don’t show up early for mass at his parish in Paris, you might have to sit on folding chairs in a spillover space or even sit on the floor. There’s nothing unusual about his parish priest, although he does have Pope Francis’s spirit of generosity. Gobry’s parish is like other urban