Be at Peace

Be at Peace

From Amy Jacks Dean, Co-Pastor Park Road Baptist Church:

This Sunday, as we do every Sunday, I will share with the Park Road congregation our Assurance of Pardon:

"You are loved. You are forgiven. BE AT PEACE."

But how in the world can we be at Peace after watching the videos of the shooting of black members of our human family, followed by anger boiling into a rage that lets loose a random retaliation killing of innocent police officers?

God, forgive us. And God help us.

As a preparation for worship this Sunday, perhaps we can all start ahead of time praying our Prayer of Confession for Sunday:

"We live in the shadow of peace, O God, but too often we face the shadow and not the light. We pray for peace today because we know we are not a whole people without it. Forgive us our warring madness, our abuse of power, and our disregard of the rights of others. Lift from us the burden of the need always to be in control. Teach us the ways of mutual love for all people. Help us to give peace a chance. Amen."

— Paul B. Robinson

Orlando

Orlando

Once again we have suffered a national tragedy that is as foolish as it is horrendous. Compounding the heartbreak is the fact that it may have been as preventable as it was predictable.
 
There’s a lot that could be learned from Orlando, however, we’ve shown we’re not interested in learning from these tragedies, though they are an embarrassment to any people who claim to be free. 

Where is our honor?

Where is our honor?

Again.

That's all that needs to be said, isn't it?

There is no other nation on the face of the earth, across all human history, that has had to report to its people with such frightening regularity that another of its sad, sick, twisted citizens, has decided to solve his problems, or speak for his “God,” and has found an omnipotent voice through the barrel of a gun.

Call of the Harley

Call of the Harley

And this time of the year, with birdsongs reminding us of the rebirth of spring, as the buzz of pent-up winter energy begins bursting at the seams, the Baptist minister evolved into my bones begins to hear another sacred sound.

It’s the call of the Harley – a rumbling reverence that is born of the need to ride like the wind, to free our spirits to the call of the open road, to embark on a journey to anywhere or nowhere, a journey which is its own destination. So I polish a little chrome and don black leather and let it roar – well, usually just to church and back, but it still speaks to my soul!

Have a Blessed Doubt

Have a Blessed Doubt

I went to our Deacons’ meeting and some Sunday School classes one Sunday morning and said, “Tell me what you doubt about God.” This is what they told me.

Dear Governor McCrory

Dear Governor McCrory

I want to thank you for your call last Friday. I so appreciate the tone of our dialogue and the very personable encounter. I believe that across the nation we are woefully lacking in the kind of dialogue you and I shared on Friday. We disagreed, and still do, yet the conversation was respectful and meaningful. Thank you for setting the tone for that dialogue.

You Need to see their Eyes

You Need to see their Eyes

Every Sunday, Hope Chapel provide coffee, warmth and shelter, a song and a preached word. The congregants don’t dress like we do at Park Road, and their eyes tell a completely different story.
I see despair and desperation in some of those eyes, abuse and neglect in others. Those eyes have seen things I’d rather not think about, and there is a haze of bone-weariness in many: weary of working and not making it, weary of not making it work. Weary of being looked down on, given up on, cast aside, left behind.

Finding My Way Home

Finding My Way Home

John Mellencamp was talking about me when he sang, “Educated in a small town. Taught to fear Jesus in a small town. Used to daydream in that small town – another boring romantic that's me…” I got what every child should get from the small town experience.

A Letter to Governor McCrory

A Letter to Governor McCrory

Given our state and national history with legalized discrimination, I simply cannot comprehend that any “representative of the people” would work to actively deny legal protections to all citizens. Legally denying services or failing to extend the benefits of our society to any group of people puts them at risk by implicitly denying their status as full citizens. Failing to protect any people from legalized discrimination will inevitably marginalize them further within our communities, and increase the likelihood they will become victims of emotional harm, if not physical violence. As our Governor, you have a responsibility to ensure the safety of all of us, as well as the right of equal access to all the benefits that are due to North Carolinians. Signing House Bill 2 fails that responsibility for a segment of our state’s population – and, therefore, it fails us all.

Common Ground

Common Ground

As I try to weigh my own emotions, I find that I am awash, swinging from bewilderment to anger to anxiety… but the strongest sentiment I feel is just a soul-deep sadness. There is a mean spirit in the air. Social media allows us to be meaner. The Church and nation are suffering from our meanness.

Remembering Albert

Remembering Albert

Our world seems aimed at perfection, beautiful people, beautiful things, more, bigger, better. A lot of what we strive for in life, hope for in our children, had eluded Albert. The intellect and the opportunity just weren’t in the hand he was dealt, but the unique presence Albert brought to our campus, the life he gave to this world would be misunderstood if we demeaned it as only “special.”

God is a Big Brown Bear

God is a Big Brown Bear

On the way to church one Sunday morning, my daughter said from the backseat:

“Daddy, can we see God?”

I had to consciously remind myself that she is five and that she did not want or need a theology lecture.  Since I never know how to answer questions like this, I use a little trick cribbed from Socratic learning techniques:

“What do you think, sweetie?” I asked her back.  “Do you think we can see God?”

Franklin Graham is Wrong Again

Franklin Graham is Wrong Again

We could hope that if a Christian minister with a world-wide voice (often mistaken for “the” Christian voice), was going to err, he would at least stand with Jesus and err on the side of protecting the outcast and the innocent, the last and “least of these” in our society.

Paradox of Lent

Paradox of Lent

The most common error in reading the Bible, and the cause of most of the world’s problems with religion, is getting stuck on the words – when something much more important is being spoken.

State of the Church - 2015

State of the Church - 2015

 

Recently, as a matter of fact it was just yesterday morning at Caribou Coffee, when Russ and I were meeting with some recent visitors - a young couple with a young child – and they said, “We have a few questions for you.” I just love that. They had done their homework about us: visited, gone to the website, read a few blogs, and now they came with questions. Their leading question was so good: “Where do you see your church in the next 5-10 years?” What a great question. In the next 5-10 years, their son will be in middle school and then high school. We sat back in our chairs a bit to answer carefully.