Friday, July 20, 2012

As I awoke this morning, I heard the news of the shooting in Colorado, and could not discern if I was dreaming or if this was reality. I thought I must have been dreaming. An early morning nightmare – this could not be real. Who would be that cruel to open fire in a movie theater? But sadly the news was real – a nightmare none-the-less, but real. This level of violence shocks us and my heart goes out to the families and friends of those killed or injured. May love hold this community and our nation as we grieve those intimately impacted by this horrific act of violence and may grace guide us as we grieve death’s grip on our world. John

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The marriage debate

It seemed paradoxical that as Barry and I were issued a marriage license in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, at the same time the United Methodist General Conference in Tampa and the state of North Carolina (where my daughter lives) were debating the status of gay couples from their perspective. As you may have read, ultimately the Methodist debate ended, leaving in tact within the Book of Discipline language that states “homosexual practice is incompatible with Christian teaching” and banning ordination of gay clergy and the blessing of same-sex unions, including the use of church property for those blessings. While this intense debate was going on and people were being wounded, Barry and I were greeted with upmost professionalism from the Town Clerk who issued our license. Everyone in the Clerk’s office offered congratulatory comments and wished us well in our marriage. Their comments and actions demonstrated that gay marriage had been normalized there. Amazingly, when they issued the license, the sky did not crash in nor was the marriage of any other couple threatened by ours. Then we made our way to the First Congregational Church of West Tisbury, a United Church of Christ, founded in 1673, one hundred and three years prior to the adoption of the Declaration of Independence that included these words: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all people are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” In West Tisbury, the staff’s welcome seemed rooted in a deep sense of hospitality and justice for all. On Saturday at our wedding, there could not have been any more joy and love surrounding us. Our families were there to celebrate with us our sixteen years of life together and to wish us well on our continued marriage journey. Their warmth, love, grace and joy lifted our souls and again, the sky did not crash in nor was the marriage of any couple threatened by the joy and love of ours.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Lenten Journey

I so appreciate Walter's reflections on the church's season on Lent, I wanted to share them.

“Lent is when we in the church do our heavy lifting and our hard work. It is when we replicate the disciples in their decision to follow Jesus into Jerusalem, there to face the power of Rome and the colluding local authorities. It is when we echo the daring of the early church to be witness to the good news of the gospel in the face of the empire that evokes intimidating interrogation of the disciples. The church is forever re-deciding about following…or not. We know the outcome of the story, but knowing that outcome of the narrative does not lessen the risk or the threat of the decision. If Lent is the hard work of that decision about following and replicating and echoing, then Lent is intense. It is intense because of the grip of the empire is so strong….”
Walter Brueggemann - Journal for Preachers Vol XXXV Number 2 - Lent 2012