What makes Christians saints is not that they are above it all, but that they in the middle of it all—working, serving, and ministering. Saints, just like the Lord they serve, are not afraid to get their hands dirty for the cause of the gospel, are not discouraged by the almost unmanageable need they see each day, and will not be influenced by those who find scandalous their willingness to associate with the kinds of people Jesus spent time with in his ministry.
Selected posts from around our network of affiliated bloggers
Gretta Vosper has been making headlines for a while now. She’s the pastor of West Hill United Church in Toronto. She also claims to be an atheist. According to a recent article at Vice News, Vosper decided back in 2001 that the idea of a supernatural being who intervened in the affairs of the world was a very silly thing to believe. She has, nevertheless, been soldiering on in her church for the last decade and a half in the service of the more worthy and “progressive” concerns that she feels the church ought to be about.
I’m reading Ta-Nehisi Coates’s Between the World and Me right now. It’s a dissonant experience because the language in the book is exquisite, and the truth of it is tough and hard. I’m also reading Isabel Wilkerson’s The Warmth of Other Suns, about the Great Migration of African Americans from the South to northern cities such as Chicago, Cleveland, and Washington, D.C., in the early 20th century.
At my last congregation, I often preached at a small Saturday evening service in our chapel. I came to call it, affectionately, the "early edition." One of the occasional attendees was a nice older woman who I came to know pretty well. Sometimes she came early and we had an opportunity to visit. Did I mention she is very nice?
Every week or so, I google and #hashtag-search my way through the collective consciousness of our species, looking for new writings/ findings/research into multiverse cosmology. Ever since writing my little tome on how this new theory of everything plays with my faith, I've kept up with where things are going on that front and where things are trending. It's good to keep track of all the pertinent datapoints, which I file away neatly on Facebook for future reference. There's a peculiar thread that runs through the more recent writing on the subject. It feels like, for lack of a better word, despair.
Nothing has generated conversation on my Facebook page lately like posts about Donald Trump. Yesterday I posted a story about Catholic bishops taking on Trump. Noting that he claims to be a Presbyterian, I wondered if Presbyterian leaders should be addressing his rhetoric as well. A variety of people weighed in, and given the predominance of liberals among my FB friends most of the comments were in favor of critiquing the Donald. It was also pointed out that the PCUSA’s Advocacy Committee for Racial Ethnic Concerns has in fact responded to Trump.
Whether we are facing personal conflict in our relationships, or leaning into the harder conversations of our society—like those around racial injustice and sexual identity—many of us struggle to listen to what needs hearing and speaking what needs saying. Listening is a core competency for me as a pastor and chaplain, but I am finding listening also can be a revolutionary and democratic act.