Sunday, September 28, 2008

It’s Sunday morning and the faithful have gathered. The service is now almost over and we have the option of singing one of two songs. Along the theme of encountering God, people who today feel separated from God just sang “Sometimes I feel like I’m almost gone”—changed words for “Sometimes I feel like a motherless child.” And now those who feel connected with God today are singing “’tis so sweet to trust in Jesus.” More sang the second song, but the room was not quiet when the first was sung.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

I’m wondering if the current economic crisis is also a moral crisis. The explanations I’m hearing are all in economic and political terms. But I’m thinking we don’t have to drill very far into this situation before we hit greed.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

It’s Sunday morning and the faithful have gathered. Instead of being with the group at Hometown Friends Church, I’m with a crowd of 40,000 believers in Stumptown. The common belief at this gathering is that something needs to be done about breast cancer. The Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure is an annual event. It was six years ago that I walked the 5K with family for the first time. The event followed right on the heals of Cindy’s breast cancer diagnosis and surgery. I’m grateful for all the private dollars that are going into cancer research and treatment.

“Where’s the outrage?” was a sign a participant carried. I'm curious how we as a country justify spending more tax money in Iraq than we do on fighting cancer.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

It’s Sunday morning and the faithful have gathered. This morning at Hometown Friends Church we are talking about evangelism in the context of “show and tell.” The word evangelism brings up some uncomfortable images for me. One example is the question “If you were to die tonight, do you know where you would spend eternity?” I don’t see this as a productive question to ask a stranger.

Today I’m hearing the “show and tell” aspects of sharing Jesus not as things to keep on opposite sides of a balance scale, but as a blend that holds the showing and the telling close enough that actions and words are seamless.

This talk about evangelism has triggered an old memory from more than 25 years ago. Television evangelist James Robison was holding a crusade in Jackson, Mississippi, and I had interviewed him. The questions included some inquiry about where care for the poor was on his agenda. Within a day or two after the interview, in our home I was talking with a friend about James Robison. My critical, cynical attitude came into a new light when the friend told me it was at a James Robison meeting that she and her mother became Christians.

I try to remember that God uses people and methods that don’t fit inside my paradigms.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

It’s Sunday morning and the faithful have gathered. At the moment I’m a little sidetracked. The scripture for the message (Luke 7:36-50) starts with, “Now one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him.” This has my thoughts going a different direction than the focus or purpose of this reading. The Pharisees and Jesus weren’t exactly on the same page—socially or in their perspective about what religion really means. So I’m curious about this Pharisee. I wonder if he was a sincere seeker of truth or was this dinner a setup. I like to think that Jesus accepted the invitation and went to dinner not knowing what the motivation was behind the event. That kind of risk taking seems to me like the way of Jesus.