Sunday, October 14, 2007

What I did in traffic

Discussion 2: What I did with the Egyptians

Today we discussed the question, what wears you out and leads you to doubt God's presence in the world? We are, of course, talking about sin--sin, not so much as the moral failings of individuals, but shared sin that entangles all of us in bondage.

In our present context of fast-paced living in the consumer class, we often find ourselves desensitized to cries for help. We are too weary. We are stuck in traffic, as Laura Crowley suggested in our discussion.

We distance ourselves. We are culture of commuters. We drive in and we drive out. We lock the doors, roll up the windows, and consciousness goes somewhere else. We are enclose in our own vehicle and count others as in our way. Or at least we feel that others regard us only as obstacles in their way. We must all, however, move along with the traffic. We are driven to make it to work or to wherever it is we must go. But we get nowhere. Hours on the road, and we have little left for others, our families, communities, or strangers. We see the good there is to do, but we do not do it. We stifle our humanity every time we drive past the wounded in the street. We train our eyes on the green light. We are told by so many advertisements that we are in the driver's seat, but we are not. Our souls cry out. We ask where is God in all this.

Please share your thoughts by posting a comment. Blessings all, James.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

You have seen

Discussion 1: A Time for Reflection

“You have seen…” ~ Exodus 19:4a

We got off to a good start this morning. I was amazed to learn so much about St. John's.

I was particularly struck by the memory that in the 1960's, St. John's was one of the first churches in the Atlanta area to become a racially integrated congregation. While many of our members today may be unaware of this history, the actions of 40 years ago continue to shape who we are.

We have long embraced a vision of an inclusive Gospel, that Christ's table is wide and welcomes all. Though we may have national visibility as a congregations that welcomes the LGBT community, we are about much more than that. Even this year, we are returning to the task of breaking down racial boundaries. We still have a dream of being a racially integrated congregation.

Inclusiveness and welcoming runs much deeper than concern for social justice. It is expressed in all the ways we open ourselves to each other and to the community. We are willing to be vulnerable and to take risks as we reach out. The gospel is proclaimed in simple gestures such as knitting a prayer shall for a family in grief or just being friendly to visitors after church.

A gospel of vulnerability walks the way of healing. Accepting each other in our own weakness opens to wholeness. Ultimately wholeness is wrapped up in finding ourselves restored to loving community, knowing that we lovable as we are. In welcoming each other, we welcome the presence of Christ among us, and we make ourselves vulnerable to hearing the Gospel anew and willing to follow the Holy Spirit.

These are some of the themes that stand out for me. What comes to mind for you. Please leave a comment to post your stories and thoughts.

Blessings in Christ, James