Good Afternoon Beloved,
On Tuesday night we got a preview of what the next four years of our American life will look like. Donald Trump has won what has been a very divided election, one filled with controversy after controversy, one in which hateful speech has been front and center in the campaign.
If that were not challenge enough, just yesterday the delivery of justice was delayed by the gridlock of the jury deliberations, and a mistrial was called. Now the whole community must wait to see if the prosecutor is going to retry the case, or if Ray Tensing will be set free.
Among the reactions to these events by those who believe in God’s work for liberation of oppressed people in the world, I have heard two reactions that trouble me. One reaction is the statement that these outcomes were pre-ordained. They say that God chose Donald Trump to be president, and we are simply actors in play that has ready been written, playing our part until the final scene. Or that God decided to let Ray Tensing walk, in order to prove to us a lesson. The other reaction is the statement that these events in life are inevitable, “To everything in life there is a season” they say, “and this is our season under the leadership of Donald Trump.”
Over the last several months I have tried to emphasize that the purpose of our faith and the power of our beliefs are what we are compelled to do because of them, belief for belief’s sake is ultimately meaningless. My concern with the two reactions named is that both of them can lead to a disengaged fatalism. “We have no power, we have no control, only God has control, therefore all we can do is pray.” While such a position sounds pious and holy, and may give us something tangible to do other than being overwhelmed and feeling helpless, I believe that our faith must call us to reject these crippling and ultimately dangerous beliefs.Read more
Have you ever heard someone say "that's not my cup of tea"? In this sermon Pastor Rick Sherrer uses this common phrase to examine what is, or ought to be in the Christian Cup.Read more
Happy Mother's Day to every mother, and anyone who has taken on the role of mother. In our Mother's Day service, Pastor Nelson continues his look at #RevolutionaryRelationships by looking at the role that mother's play, not just to their biological children, but how mothering can occur across multiple generations.Read more
The #RevolutionaryRelationship series continues with an answer to the question "why do we need #RevolutionaryRelationships?" "Into what are we inviting people?" Elijah had one of the biggest personal victories of anyone in the Bible at Mount Carmel, but he still was not able to change the unjust and oppressive government on his own. After a brief conversation, God tells Elijah to extend three invitations.Read more
Pastor Nelson continues his series on #RevolutionaryRelationships by focusing on the importance of being intentional about extending an invitation. #RevolutionaryRelationships do not happen automatically, they happen when someone is intentional about extending an invitation for a new or an improved relationship.Read more
Everybody experiences failure in life, the question is how do you respond after you fail. Pastor Rick preached an insightful message on God's redemptive power that helps us bounce back from failure.Read more
As we started April, Pastor Nelson started a sermon series entitled Revolutionary Relationships. This series is designed to help us think about how we improve our existing relationships and/or build new relationships around us to help us become the people God is calling us to be.Read more
Re-Imagining the Rosary for Black Liberation
I am a Christian minister who believes in the revolutionary call of God and of the gospels both to resist the oppressive and isolating power of Empire as it appears in our time and place, and to work to bring about God’s realm of love and justice. To that end I often look for ways to connect my spiritual practices with my revolutionary beliefs. I attended a Catholic school for K-12 and spent many Religion courses during that time praying through parts of the Rosary. I appreciated the contemplative nature of the practice, even if most of the prayers did not connect with me. This year, during Lent I have decided to try using the rosary for contemplation on the struggle for Black Liberation. I am at the beginning of this process, so I welcome input.
I have to admit I thought we were sunk this week.
You know that feeling you get when you're event starts at 12 and its 12:30 and there is only one person there. Yeah. That's the feeling I had. Only one person showed up for the training, but I did the training anyway. As I was walking through the training points I was trying to repress the mental images of the project falling flat on its face, or of my hopes of finishing my project flying away. I was wrapping up the training, and getting my stuff together to go out, (because no one canvasses alone)...
Today was the first day of our Roselawn United Canvass. After weeks of build-up, explanation and encouragement we were finally ready to go! We had a handfull of church members show up for the training. During the training we emphasized the importance of listening while out in the neighborhood. I reminded our canvass team, "We are not going out to bring any message, we are going out to be a message..."Read more