I have found myself, recently, reflecting on the notion of heritage. Perhaps it has to do with that birthday a few weeks ago—about the fact that it was my first one ever without my mother, or about the fact that it was a birthday neither my father, nor his father, nor his father, nor (I think) even his father ever reached. Perhaps it was that birthday. Or perhaps it was not. You know the news has been filled with stuff about heritage—every candidate for office claiming to best represent “our constitutional heritage;” controversy about the Confederate battle flag, whether it speaks of racism or some grander heritage, whether somebody can or should choose to disallow it, and on and on. Or there’s the news of those fundamentalists over in the Middle East demolishing relics, art and architecture hundreds and even thousands of years old. Doing it in the name of God. Even as I walk around our downtown neighborhood I almost always notice something being torn down and something else being built, or a building being remodeled for a new tenant merchant. The storied past gives way to a sometimes unbridled future.Read More
Being a Disciple - Blog
Fears have a crazy way of taking over our rational minds. Too easily we can slip into “what if” situations that eventually have us curled up in a ball on the floor. At least some of us have let that happen a time or two. Maybe you aren’t one of those people that let the “what ifs” in life cripple you. I would bet that you probably still find yourself tempted to go down that road. What happens, then, when you find yourself in that old familiar spot? What do you turn toward to ease your mind? A familiar scripture? A quote from someone wiser than yourself? A friend that allows you to work through the “what ifs” until they are no longer a fear?Read More
When I was an associate minister type at a new church long ago, my senior colleague wanted to get to know me better than we had been able to get acquainted during the interview process. So as we were going someplace together in his car he asked, “What’s your favorite scripture?” I have lots of favorites. But the first to come to mind was, I figured, my really-really favorite. That text was last Sunday’s gospel lesson, Luke 4.14-30. It’s that story of Jesus reading in the synagogue in his hometown. That text and Matthew 25.31-46 are like bookends the gospel-writers place on Jesus’s ministry. The Matthew text is the parable of the sheep and the goats, the “I was hungry and you fed me, thirsty and you gave me drink” passage, the last parable before the story of crucifixion and resurrection. The Luke 4 text is the beginning of his ministry, the time when Jesus pretty clearly claims what the purpose of his life will be, the reason he felt God had anointed him. You remember the words: God anointed me to bring good news to poor folks, sight to blind folks, liberty to captive folks, and to proclaim the Jubilee (the time of returning the world to justice and ordered equality).Read More
“As it is, there are many members, yet one body.” (1 Cor 12:20) That’s the powerful thing about Jesus. He makes one out of many. Or said differently, our belief in him calls us to blend into the collective that calls themselves the Body of Christ. As believers, our focus should not be on the differences – the “I’s” – between each other, but on the similarities – the “us”. God knows what can be accomplished through the Body of Christ if we shifted our focus.Read More
Last week and this week are good ones for remembering the vocation of the Church. Last Tuesday, the 12th, marked the sixty-eighth anniversary of the day Mohandas Gandhi began his last fast which convinced Hindus and Muslims in New Delhi, India, to stop their fighting and work for peace. Thankfully the fast only lasted six days, which meant that by the 18th the sheer moral stature of one single man and his willingness to sacrifice his own comfort and health ended a bloody civil war, a religious war. Now, Gandhi was not a Christian (largely because he saw too many Christians unwilling to follow the teachings and lifestyle of the one they proclaimed Lord and Savior). But did you know that Gandhi, for most of his adult life, began each day by reading Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount? Every morning his breakfast was the words of our Lord. Every morning he meditated on words that, he was convinced, contained truth more powerful than the empires against which he worked, a truth more powerful than one of the greatest “Christian” governments in history—Great Britain, a truth more powerful than the enmity that divided Hindus and Muslims. He never took the name of Christ, never was baptized, never was a member of the church. Yet the teachings of Jesus were front and center in his mind as he sought to practice and to teach justice and peace.Read More
As I see it, this cartoon has two levels to its message. The first, the message of enjoying the moment. Many of us are far too busy to stop and enjoy each and every moment of the day. Even when we sit and take a break, most of the time we are thinking about our next item on the list. Or at least we are feeling guilty for taking a break in the first place and doing nothing.Read More
My good friend Melinda Veatch is the Executive Director of Tarrant Churches Together, the current manifestation of ecumenical work in Fort Worth and suburban communities. In preparation for the Martin Luther King Day of Service next week, Melinda wrote a beautiful article on the nature of and necessity for community. It is such a wonderful statement of what the church, local and ecumenical, needs to be, I thought I would share it with you.Read More
The Fort Worth Municipal Court warns of a scam involving phone calls to residents asking for money for unsettled warrants…. The calls are not from Municipal Court officers, who do not call residents to collect payments. Anyone receiving such a bogus call should contact the Fort Worth Police Department at 817-335-4222.Read More
As a parent raising a toddler, I see similarities between my child and the child Jesus. I can only imagine what kind of toddler the Son of God would have been. Some might think that he would be the best behaved, but I tend to think he was more of the stereotypical “preacher’s kid”. You know the one that deep down is good at heart, but is going to try and push every
button you have. (At least, that’s my personal experience with a certain preacher’s kid.) This personality is on display with the wide smile across Jesus’ face in this cartoon.
Jesus’ “rocking the boat” days did not stop with his toddler years. We have many examples of Jesus’ actions in the Bible. A few examples are – Jesus turning over the tables in the Temple (Matt 21:12), Jesus hanging out with Zacchaeus the tax collector (Lk 19:1-10), and Jesus healing the menstruating woman (Mk 5:25-34) – just to name a quick few. We all know that Jesus kept company with those whom most would not be seen with. He was a social prophet. These days we might just call him a “boat rocking, trouble making, man on a mission.” There is a lesson in there for us who call ourselves Jesus followers.
You’ve heard, I’m sure, that the holidays tend to see an uptick in suicides and loneliness. When society expects us to be jolly that’s precisely when depression gets the worst. When everyone else seems to be busy with parties and family, and I am not, that’s when I wonder about my own worth. Then, too, holiday time tends to remind us of years gone by and, thus, of loved ones now gone, and what may have been a tender sadness in the backs of our minds becomes a full-blown period of grieving.Read More