Our Story, and Song!

As we approach an historic gathering of our church from across the nation, I’ve been reminded of Fannie Crosby’s classic gospel song, “Blessed Assurance,” especially its chorus, which I would adjust slightly, as follows: This is our story, this is our song, praising our savior all the day long! I suggest that this chorus is so apt, as we recall and live into who we are, what our story is and the song we’ve always sung at our best. Ours is the story of a great God who is supremely good, creating in love a world very-good, and placing it in the care of beloved image-bearers.  And though the story got hijacked and diverted, our great God did not give …

Retaliators or Reconcilers?

We were all shocked to learn of the massacre of 49 persons in New Zealand, in two Mosques, during Friday prayers.  Thirty-nine others are in the hospital, eleven in critical condition. Then, again, such massacres have become common; so common that over time they shock us less and less.  In fact, we live in a world regularly rocked, savaged, by absolutely horrible and violent things that people do to others.  Sadly, often the violence runs rampant in the name of religion; and always because the perpetrators assume a superiority over others. Whether based on religious, political, racial, or cultural grounds, the perpetrators assume they are above others, justified in hating others, and willing to strike against and kill the others.   …

A PEOPLE POISED TO CHANGE THE WORLD

The 21st century world—what challenges and opportunities there are for a people of good news! I am convinced of three things I want to share with you:                                                                              First, our 21st century world desperately needs the good news of Jesus Christ; Second, the Methodist/Wesleyan movement is ideally suited to respond to the world’s need in a way that can transform persons, families, nations and world. Third, as at the beginning of Methodism, Spirit led and anointed use of AVAILABLE “means” or “strategies” will …

How We Must Refuse to be Angry

We live in an angry world.  Many within and outside the church are angry.  If we were to ask them why they could often offer reasonable answers.  Much that is should never be; and much that ought to be never is.  Both are angering.  But to live in anger, to embrace our anger, to become angry persons can never be an option for followers of Jesus.  If for no other reason because Jesus was not an angry person.  His way is not the way of anger. Instead, Jesus teaches them and us another way to respond to the people and the circumstances that can make them/us angry people.  Consider the clear teaching that Jesus gave throughout his ministry.  Clearly and …

SUBMITTING TO THE AUTHORITIES

Over the weekend, the United States Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, cited the Apostle Paul as a form of support for our government’s draconian “no tolerance” policy that separates children from their parents should the parents illegally enter the U.S.  Aside from the unjust practice of punishing innocent children for alleged crimes of their parents, Romans 13 has been woefully misappropriated to justify what is arguably the opposite of Paul’s intent in this celebrated chapter.  That is my focus in what follows. [Since this will be longer than a more typical post here are the conclusions which I draw.  First, Romans 13 cannot be used legitimately to support any particular governmental policy or program, at any time.  Second, nor should it …