It’s easy, and it appears sadly enjoyable for some people of faith to read the Bible in a way that gives “legitimacy” to pointing the finger at other people. If that is the result of your reading, please, read again.
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Before we parted I had taken the opportunity to ask a daring question. “No preacherly pressure or guilt intended,” I said, “But I need to ask about the English Church. Many people feel the US is going the way of European secularism, and the US Church may also become a casualty. So, I need to know what is missing from England without the influence of the Church. Is anything missing?”
I am weary of Evangelicals belittling my faith. As a pastor who still believes in the power and importance of Church, I am saddened and frustrated by the hoards leaving the American church – because of the American church.
So … maybe there really is an “us” and a “them.” Maybe there really are two different churches, two different religions. Maybe this is the 500-year moment.
Hi there. This is weird, I know, but this is a letter from your 38-year-old self, written twenty years in the future.
I have timed this letter to arrive to you on August 14, 1996, which is a Wednesday during your first full week of classes at the University of Tennessee. You have a roommate you’re still not sure you can trust, and suite mates you knew from high school that you’re glad to have. Flip your expectations, buddy. Let this be the first of many lessons not to judge before you have experience.
Why should we ever need to raise charitable funds to educate our children? To buy supplies and provide technology? Even to provide weekend snacks, if lack of nutrition is keeping a child from learning? We ought to want to educate our children, all of them.
It is the common good – even if we have to pay more in taxes to do it.
As 2016 begins I am praying – for a spirit of civility and common sense, for a vision of a future, together, for a sense of peace that must begin within the hearts of the American people. I’m praying because that 2015 year-in-review indicates that our brokenness is so deep and so complete, any real movement to peace will have to come from outside of us.
In a world of such maddening events, I am proud, honored and humbled that seven Buddhists from the other side of the world, and at least 150 neighbors, from across my own community, were comfortable to come to a Baptist church, sit for an hour, search the silence of their own souls and the strains of ancient, chanting rhythms, in search of peace.