Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year!

But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. "The Lord is my portion," says my soul, "therefore I will hope in him."  The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul that seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord" (Lamentations 3:21-26). 

Have a Blessed 2013!

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Loving God, Loving Neighbor
Developing Faithful Leaders for a Diverse Church and World Now and in the Future

Monday, December 24, 2012

We are There: Happy Christmas!

And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. Luke 2:7

God bless you at this Christmas time. May Christ be born anew in our hearts.

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Loving God, Loving Neighbor
Developing Faithful Leaders for a Diverse Church and World Now and in the Future

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Are we There Yet?

 Sometimes we're like children on a long journey: Are we there yet? No. It's almost Christmas but we are not there yet.

Advent comes before Christmas, though many would like to skip it and get right down to the business of Christmas. That's right: The business of Christmas. But Advent bids us pause, take time and prepare; prepare for the coming of our Lord, past and future. It is a great time to remember God's promises as we are filled with hope and expectancy. It is also a great time to reflect on the difference Christ's coming has made in our lives and how we live in the face of rampant greed and consumerism. It is a God time.

So we're at the threshold of Christmas, a promise fulfilled. And thank God for Advent, we are not quite there. It's still time to have Christ at the center.

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Loving God, Loving Neighbor
Developing Faithful Leaders for a Diverse Church and World Now and in the Future

Friday, December 14, 2012

A Collective Loss

We extend sympathy to the parents of the victims in our most recent outbreak of gun related violence. Our prayers are with those parents and the children who experienced such a traumatic incident. The concept of innocent children is becoming a thing of the past as the weak and the greedy prey upon the young ones. And still we recall Jesus' words:
If any of you put a stumbling block before one of these little ones who believe in me, it would be better for you if a great millstone were fastened around your neck and you were drowned in the depth of the sea. . . . Take care that you do not despise one of these little ones; for, I tell you, in heaven their angels continually see the face of my Father in heaven.’ Matthew 18:6, 10
This type of violence does not solve problems. It creates greater problems and leaves behind shattered lives.We all suffer. We all lose.

It is our prayer that those who have suffered loss may find strength and comfort in the death and suffering of Jesus Christ and hope in his resurrection. God will make all things new.



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Loving God, Loving Neighbor
Developing Faithful Leaders for a Diverse Church and World Now and in the Future

Friday, December 7, 2012

Questions Without Answers

Violence leaves us shocked; at least I hope so. These days there seems to be a lot of violence. Further afield there are wars and unimaginable horrors committed by human beings against human beings, especially against women and children.  And here. Murder-suicide is becoming too familiar in our news stories.

Why do arguments lead to death? Murder and suicide seem to be huge and final "solutions" to seemingly small or at least solvable issues. What intervention could have prevented this? More support? Perhaps, counseling or the help of a mediator? What? Always questions. We do not see in the minds of the perpetrators.

But then there are the bigger questions. Is there no value for human life? Why does violence seem like a solution? What is going on in society that causes people to explode in such devastating ways?

There are theories about the cause of this type of violence which, coldly it seems, inflicts tremendous loss and suffering. Theses theories are related to morality, the pressures in society, diet, technology's role, etc. Most likely, all of these have a place somewhere in the equation. One thing comes out though, is the loss of a moral compasss.

Some people may disagree with this assessment. However, a moral compass helps us to discern right from wrong and to have a sense of proportions and perspective. Moreover, we learn to respect  and value others.

As Christians, we believe God has given us such a compass and that Jesus embodied the way God intended us to live. Here is an important question as we continue to ponder and seek answers in the face of violence that leaves us with more questions than answers: How do we live out and enable others to live out what Jesus identified as the greatest commandments:
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.'  This is the greatest and first commandment.  And a second is like it: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' (Matthew 22:37-39)
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Loving God, Loving Neighbor
Developing Faithful Leaders for a Diverse Church and World Now and in the Future