Thursday, February 28, 2013

Black History Month . . . Don't Stop

I have mixed reactions to Black History Month. One is celebration at the accomplishments of people of African descent. The other is mixed with a prayer that these stories and these achievements would be such a part of the mainstream narrative that we do not need a special month. Alas, we are not there yet. There are still negative stereotypes that keep people from seeing what has been achieved and the immense contribution made to our history. Moreover, the names of composers, inventors, you name it, are not yet a part of the standard curriculum. One day . . .

In the meantime as Black History Month comes to an end, let us celebrate with a reading from Ecclesiasticus 44:
Let us now sing the praises of famous [people],
   our ancestors in their generations.
The Lord apportioned to them great glory,
   his majesty from the beginning.
There were those who ruled in their kingdoms,
   and made a name for themselves by their valour;
those who gave counsel because they were intelligent;
   those who spoke in prophetic oracles;
those who led the people by their counsels
   and by their knowledge of the people’s lore;
   they were wise in their words of instruction;
those who composed musical tunes,
   or put verses in writing;
rich men endowed with resources,
   living peacefully in their homes—
all these were honoured in their generations,
   and were the pride of their times.
Some of them have left behind a name,
   so that others declare their praise.
But of others there is no memory;
   they have perished as though they had never existed;
Click here for more of this reading.

Image courtesy of africa /
Loving God, Loving Neighbor
Developing Faithful Leaders for a Diverse Church and World Now and in the Future

Friday, February 15, 2013

Just for Once, Let it Be About Jesus Christ

Thou wast fasting in the wild;
Forty days and forty nights
Tempted, and yet undefiled.

by certifiable
So we have entered Lent in the Christian calendar, a season of reflection and for some self-denial; the forty-day period preceding the Resurrection. Different Christian traditions follow different practices. There are some that do not observe it in any way. To those who observe it, I suggest that it be about Jesus Christ and not about us.

The thing with Lent is that it can become another occasion to put ourselves at the center as we think and/or talk about giving up things for Lent, fasting, and other observances. It can become an opportunity to show off our spirituality and/or our concern for the less fortunate.

None of these practices is wrong - fasting, denial, concern and action on behalf of those in various types of need. The danger is that in doing these things, Lent becomes about us and we lose the opportunity to reflect on our life in the light of the life of Jesus Christ.

This Lent, let us keep our gaze on Jesus Christ, see how we stack up against him, hear his words of grace and mercy and be led by Jesus Christ into deeper ways of seeking and living with and for God. This Lent, let us encourage the youths with whom God has entrusted us to do likewise and may we all "receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need (Hebrews 4:16)."
Loving God, Loving Neighbor
Developing Faithful Leaders for a Diverse Church and World Now and in the Future

Thursday, February 7, 2013

youTheology: A Different Perspective
Loving God, Loving Neighbor
Developing Faithful Leaders for a Diverse Church and World Now and in the Future

Friday, February 1, 2013

Super Grace

Sunday is "Super Bowl Sunday." The Super Bowl has record TV viewership. A lot that happens around it is high and high priced or we might say super - TV ads, food consumption, airfares, admission price, etc. Come this Sunday, the best of the best will compete in a football game. It's not just any game.

What some people forget, even in the midst of the discussion as to whether or not it's a dangerous sport, is that excellence comes with a price. It takes time, hard work, repetitive exercises, some failure and . . . you get the picture.

Sometimes in our instant world, we forget.that excellence and perfection take time. They take learning, trial and error, repetition. We forget and our teens pay the price when we ask for more than they are able to give because they are still learning. No. They haven't mastered scheduling yet. No. They do not have the same maturity of judgement as we expect of adults. We can go on. And, yes. They will make mistakes.

At other times, it's the teens who set the bar too high for themselves. They become frustrated when they do not gain competence in a skill or sport easily. They give up too quickly. They are unnecessarily hard on themselves when they make a mistake. They feel immense pressure when they do not meet someone else's unrealistic expectations.

How can we help? How can we set a standard while at the same time remembering where they are developmentally, correcting when they go wrong and helping them up when they fall, applauding their efforts and celebrating their successes with compassion? How can we mediate grace, God's grace which is abundant, and dare we say, super?
Loving God, Loving Neighbor
Developing Faithful Leaders for a Diverse Church and World Now and in the Future