To My Gay Friend

My Dear Friend, Recently you wrote several leaders in the FMC one of the most moving letters I have ever received.  It chronicled the pain with which you live as a person struggling with same sex attraction/ identity, committed to Christ within the fellowship of our church.  I am writing in response, in hopes that the grace of Jesus will someone extend to you and others in ways you have seldom or never experienced before. After a period of reflection and prayer, you wrote in the wake of our 2015 General Conference’s deliberation and response to the Supreme Court’s ruling on same-sex marriage.  I want you to know that I have heard you.  But to be sure, let me repeat …

When Exiles Sing Zion’s Song

The ancient people of God experienced Exile as world-crushing and hope-ending.  All God’s promises seemed dashed by their own persistent rebellion and disobedience.  They had been warned and now they tasted the bitter fruit of their own undoing.  We understand why they wouldn’t be in the mood to sing the songs made famous in their glorious Temple.  We understand how galling it was to have their enemies demand mirthful celebration.  We understand why they would cry out to the God who seemed to have rejected them.   But in their anguish they lust for vengeance, crying out for blood.  We can even understand that.  But when vengeance leads them to long for babies to be smashed into the rocks and cites …

This is our Story, our Song

I’ve been thinking about that classic gospel song, Fannie Crosby, Blessed Assurance, especially its chorus, which I would adjust slightly, as follows: this is our story, this is our song, praising our savior all the day long! I’d would suggest that in ways far beyond what Crosby could have foreseen, this chorus is so apt, as we recall and live into who we are, what our story is and the song we’ve always sung at our best. Ours is the story of a great God who is supremely good, creating in love a world very-good, and placing it in the care of beloved image-bearers. And though the story got hijacked and diverted, our great God did not give up, but …

A RESURRECTION—SO WHAT?

The Jesus story declares that the human story does not end with a death!  To be sure, death looms largely within the story.  Along the way we read of people dying, and as the story moves forward Jesus begins to make ominous predictions of his own death.  The simple, sad, and undeniable fact of life appears to be that death trumps all. Our world today apparently offers substantial confirmation.  Terror groups kidnap, kill, and conquer!    In the week before Easter at a Kenyan University 147 students lost their lives in the murderous intrusion of terrorists.  The week before Holy Week that same terror group abducted 500 women and children.   Not even children merit exemption! This is the way the story …

JESUS CAME TO LIVE, BUT …

    Some would say that Jesus “came to die.”  Yes, it is quite common to assert that he was born actually to die.  Most of us who say this know what we mean, at least in general.  But I suspect others might be confused.  Maybe even some of us are confused about this. The story of Jesus asserts unapologetically that Jesus came to live, and to call others to live.  In him was life, John’s gospel assures.  His birth celebrated at Christmas time, occasioned much joy–not because finally the one who would die had come, but because finally the one who was life and who could give life had come.  Jesus’ primary message, “The time has come.  God’s kingdom is open and available.  Turn, now, …