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Showing posts from January, 2019

Look Away from the Brights -- it's human nature to move toward that which we are looking at or concentrating on

A few weeks ago, when we had a small, combined worship service due to major snowfall, Rev. Kelly preached a homily about how the church community can be a bit like driver’s ed: at its best, a faith community acts as a experienced teacher, giving us, disciples or learners, real-time guidance in navigating life in a relatively safe setting. And that’s this: if you’re driving at night, and someone is coming the opposite direction with their brights or high beams on, you must resist the temptation to stare at those lights. To build on Kelly’s analogy, I’m want to repeat something I shared a few years ago, a lesson we learn in driver’s ed that is applicable to churches today.   As every driver knows, someone coming toward you with their brights on is annoying and distracting. It’s terribly rude of them. Worse, if we allow ourselves to be distracted, it can be dangerous. That’s because it is human nature to move toward that which we are looking at or concentrating on . If

Opening Up our "Shutting Down," Part Two -- A Crisis of Leadership, and God's Judgment on Nations

I'm continuing here thoughts I started last week on the now-record-longest government shutdown. Let me begin by stating the obvious: unfortunately, because the problems underneath the current government shutdown have long and deep roots, those problems are not going away any time soon. Like you, I hope and pray the government fully re-opens tomorrow. But even if it does, and even if --  as I wish could be the case -- everyone who, through no fault of their own, is being harmed financially by the shutdown were somehow made whole, we would still have a major problem on our hands. That's because the government shutdown, bad as it is, is only one symptom of a larger crisis. I believe the word "crisis" is correct. We are facing a crisis. But the crisis we're facing is not the huddled masses yearning to breathe free who are making their ways to our borders and shores. It is a crisis of leadership on Capitol Hill and in the White House. As I argued las

Opening Up our Shutting Down -- Part One

A large and growing number of people are concerned about the government shutdown, which tomorrow (January 12, 2019) looks like it'll break the record for longest-ever in contemporary times.  Just in the last two days, I've heard from several different people, sharing thoughts such as these:  “I’m upset, and even starting to feel hopeless about our government. People are suffering needlessly, and I started to pray about the whole situation, but I have no idea where to look in scripture, or what to say.” “I’m out of a job at the moment and it had been slow over the holidays. I find I’m withdrawing a bit.” “I can’t do anything about this crazy government. Just need to tune out and withdraw.” Those are important thoughts and feelings, and ones which need addressing from a theological/spiritual context. And they are thoughts and feelings that need addressing in substance. So I thought I'd write a longer article on it over several weeks, breaking it up into sho