We live in difficult and challenging times. Everyday we are bombarded with images and news stories that remind us that the world that we live in has become unfamiliar to so many of us. We live in a time that is filled with disagreement, frustrations, violence, and pain. Much of these things we have experienced, not only on a personal level, but also on a societal and cultural level.
Part of the reason for this is that what we so often focus on are our differences. We live in a time of political polarization that, for more than 25 years, has created deep divisions within our culture based upon the ideas we hold dear. We live in a time in which racial, cultural, economic, and geographical differences continue to be boundaries that prevent true relationships. Even within our churches, our theological perspectives, worship traditions, and other practices sometimes prevent us from working together as one body in Christ’s love. We live in challenging times that are unlike any that we have known in our lifetimes. Continue reading “Fan or Follower: Followers Love All People”
Today is President’s Day. It is the day we honor the 43 men who have served as the head of state and chief executive for our nation.
Throughout our history, we have seen a wide variety of individuals occupy the office. We’ve had military leaders, former athletes, some who struggled with family and personal issues, leaders of high ethics, leaders of limited morality, and an actor to name a few. Each president has added something to the office and to our understanding of leadership.
As a pastor, I also believe we can learn something about effective and vital leadership through expressions of leadership given by the presidents. A president leads in a vacuum and must serve, through many challenges and obstacles, with the hope of bringing the nation closer to an intended good. As pastors, we too seek to lead our people, though many challenges and obstacles, to what it means to be holy as God calls us to be and to serve the world in response to God’s love. The ways we see the presidents lead can help us, as leaders in the church, serve God and our communities. Continue reading “What Pastors Can Learn from The Presidents”
One of the most fascinating subgroups in American culture might be the Amish communities that can be found in parts of the Mid-Atlantic and Midwest. The Amish are a group of Christians that come out of the Mennonite and Anabaptist traditions. Led by Jakob Ammann, the Amish formed in the late 17th Century with the belief that their fellow Mennonites and Annbaptists had fallen short of the teachings of Menno Simmons, who founded the Mennonite tradition.
The Amish eventually immigrated to America in the 18th Century and settled in Pennsylvania. They soon moved to other parts of the young nation and established communities that have a unique ethos and practices. Some we are familiar with. For instance, we might know that the Amish are known for their literal interpretation of Scripture, their resistance to technology, their agricultural lifestyle, or even that each community establishes their own practices.
There is one other aspect of Amish communities that, I believe, is characteristic of their tradition. That is that the Amish, as a people, are known for the grace they extend to others, whether they are people within their communities or not. The Amish are forgiving people. Continue reading “Fan or Follower: Followers Forgive Others”
In our modern world, we are accustomed to the availability of light. A simple flip of a light switch can overcome any amount of darkness and will instantly bring light into our lives.
Of course, it hasn’t always been this way. For the longest time, darkness was an overwhelming part of life. Once the sun went down darkness would consume our lives. As a result, families, businesses, and others would use any means they could to provide a bit of light into a dark world. We have used fire pits, candlelight, and kerosene lamps with the attempt of providing some amount light. None of these options, unfortunately, provided any amount of long-lasting light.
By the late 1800s, several inventors sought to find a way out of darkness. They wanted to find a permanent solution that would offer a permanent light source. Projects would come and fail until Thomas Edison arrived in the late 1870s with his attempt at creating a light bulb.
Edison’s attempt at the light bulb project would be the one that would stand the test of time. In 1879, Edison successfully tested a carbon filament bulb that glowed for 13 hours when used. The test inaugurated a new era and led to a revolutionary change in the world. Darkness would no longer be an obstacle. A simple flip of the switch would provide a light in every room. Light now drowns out the darkness. Continue reading “Fan or Follower: Followers Share Light and Hear God’s Word”
When I was learning to become a journalist, I was often told that a good story would answer all of the most important questions. Every story and interview, then, would attempt to uncover the who, what, when, where, why, and how of a certain event or topic. As a reporter, I took seriously this role provide all the answers to all of our questions.
Part of the reason reporters are fascinated with getting the answers to our questions is that we wanted to uncover as much truth as possible. There was also another reason for this. We recognized that people have a thirst for knowledge and want answers to their questions. People want to know why things are the way they are or what caused certain things to happen.
This is true for many aspects of our lives, whether it is a proposed piece of legislation or trying to determine if a certain athlete will win an Olympic medal. It is also true when trying to figure out how this universe came to exist and how we got here. We want all of our questions answered about creation and the universe. Continue reading “What Does Genesis Really Tell Us?”