Saturday, January 26, 2013

Faithful Sojourners

Faithful Sojourners – Text by A Williams ©2013

Commanded by our creator
to do justice with our lives
Go deliver oppressed peoples
with God's righteousness our guide

We Rejoice with those rejoicing
Weep along with those who weep
Live in harmony with each other
Thus all God's commandments keep

Stand with those who have been victims
of much theft and violence too
tossed aside by all around them
they call out to me and you

Care for those the world abandons
Left alone in a strange place
lost and looking unto others
just to find a friendly face

Faithful sojourners together
we seek to do the right thing
show all honor, peace, and mercy
and in part God's justice bring

Shed not blood nor carry anger
all are full of God's great love
Made whole in the divine image
serve on earth for God above

A Hymn for Community

A Hymn for Community – Text by A Williams ©2013
Here we stand confessing all
All we are and all we lack
We confess the love of God
but when called we still hold back

Struggling to hear God's word
hard for us to understand
we try but so often fail
to do as our God commands

Sent into the world to serve
Seeing all as a neighbor.
Earthly symbols of great love
Fully found in our savior

We're the body, hands and feet
Called to show another way
for all people in all lands
to live life from day to day

We the Church will stand as one
when we go our saviors way
we cannot but change the world
when we seek God's will today.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Theological Rant - Guns

I'm not one to say much about political stuff, but with all the gun related news, brings me back to an issue that I don't find political as much as it is theological.  What are guns used for has become a forefront discussion piece among many I hear talking about this issue and it seems to fall into 3 main categories.
1. Hunting
2. Sport
3. Self-Defense 

Guns used for hunting, especially hunting for food, are mostly weapons that are large, limited shot, and mostly owed by those who do actually hunt for food in my experience.  These don't tend to be the weapons used in the majority "gun violence" as far as I can tell.  Yes, they can injure and kill, but I am not discussing these within the remainder of this post.  

Guns used for sport I don't fully get, some of these are hunting weapons not used for food acquisition, and that is a minor issue for me, but most of these weapons are handguns or high powered, multi-round weapons which make NO logical sense to me, and will be covered in the Self-Defense category. But I feel like this gun use in general doesn't need to exist, the guns risk is higher to the community than the value of an individual's enjoyment.  

So now the big piece, I hear lots of arguments right now that we need guns for self defense.   The issue I have here is solely theological.  I can't understand how a faith where we're commanded not to kill can so easily defend the existence of something created to harm another and put their life in danger.  Now I know many will say that "we wouldn't shoot to kill, just to protect" but what are we protecting?  Something more valuable than the life and health of one created equal to us in God's image?

Taking this to the next level, many now point towards the argument that we need guns in case we ever "lose our freedom" and end up with a government/world that does atrocities that would harm even more people.  The problem with this argument is that it says that we must keep whatever power and control we can over the unknown.  We fear others and fear and hate are as close to one another as hate and killing are in Jesus's teachings.  So if we're not supposed to hate or kill, why are we okay with having things that are mostly created to inflict harm, and honestly to kill.  Maybe not as many die today because of medical advancements, but it doesn't take a perfect shot to kill someone, and any shot could.  And why would we want to kill anyone?  Why would we want to harm anyone? How is harming another showing any form of love to them?  We go out of our way to put up fences around things like Lust, but when it comes to this thing that we supposedly hold so highly, human life, we're okay with potentially taking it from one another just because ours is worth more than theirs.  THERE IS A PROBLEM WITH THAT.  Either we're all equal, all created in God's image, all making mistakes, and all in this together, or there is no God.  Christians, pay attention, Guns do nothing to help us live in the way God commands.  They do nothing to make this life any better, nothing to improve the world and bring the kingdom of God closer.  I wish they were all gone, but since that won't happen, please at least let's dialogue about this from a place that does not make any individual more important than another, and let's see not the possibility of a future as something to fear, but as something that can be more like the Kingdom of God if we first love more like God ourselves.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Minister Survey

If you have read my early blogs or know me from other media or in person you may be aware that I am an odd bird in the ministerial world.  I am a Director of Educational Ministries in the PC(USA), but I also have my Master of Divinity.  This is not a "typical" combination in the PC(USA) and leaves me in an odd place as far as respect, power, and place within the denomination.  I came out of a evangelical tradition mainly because it's where I went to seminary, never having been well taught that my beliefs did not line up with the Baptist beliefs or many other evangelical traditions.  So in my Intro to New Testament class when I mentioned that I thought the idea that believers baptism and profession of faith were far less than essential.

Thus it is through the study of my theology I came to the PC(USA) where I theologically fit nearly perfectly, but am an outsider in most other forms.  As I continue to listen to others discuss and make decisions about the future of the church, it seems that many seem to think both denominations and the position of educator has no place in the future.  With that in mind I wonder if I made the right decision coming where I am, but I wonder more about how others deal with the diverse factors we have to balance in the changing context of Church.

So how would you rank the following in order of their importance to where you feel you are able to serve (and/or are serving currently):

Major Theological Issues (i.e. Sacraments, Meaning of Life, Understanding of Redemption)
Social Issues (i.e. Equality, Issues of Life and Death, Politics)
Denominational Respect (i.e. Ordination Policies, Openness to New Forms of Ministry)
Position Issues (i.e. Location, Specializations)
History (i.e. What You Grew Up As, Where You Know Others)
Other Issues (Specify)

For me obviously the major one was Theological, but Denominational Respect and Social Issues also play into things.  But I would like to know more about how others think, so please comment here, or send me a tweet at @KeepSetting or as KeepSetting on Facebook.  How we see and work through the differences we may have in many of these areas is something we need to consider as we look at the potential of a post-denominational church, and I would like to see what others are thinking today about where they are and could maybe go.

Thank You!