Our Call

These are not my words but seem to fit with my recent posts.  God is doing a work.  Our you ready to answer your (our) call?

{American preachers have a task more difficult, perhaps, than those faced by us under South Africa’s apartheid, or Christians under Communism. We had obvious evils to engage; you have to unwrap your culture from years of red, white, and blue myth. You have to expose, and confront, the great disconnection between the kindness, compassion, and caring of most American people, and the ruthless way American power is experienced, directly and indirectly, by the poor of the earth. You have to help good people see how they have let their institutions do their sinning for them. This is not easy among people who really believe that their country does nothing but good, but it is necessary, not only for their future, but for us all.

September 1, 2005 – When I stand before my Maker, I would rather be judged for having my arms too wide open and welcoming as a person of faith or citizen of a nation than to have them crossed over my chest to keep people out.  Peter Storey

Rev. Dr. Peter Storey is a South African Methodist minister, former president of the Methodist Church of South Africa and bishop of Johannesburg, and former president of the South African Council of Churches. Born in 1938, Storey was raised under apartheid and became a leading voice against it as the leader of the ecumenical South African Council of Churches. He also served as the prison chaplain to jailed African National Congress leader and future South African president Nelson Mandela. He played a major role in constructing the Truth and Reconciliation Commission after the fall of apartheid, and he founded the Gun Free South Africa movement. He recently served as a distinguished professor at Duke University Divinity School. An outspoken peace activist, he was selected in 2009 by the TED organization to be a member of the Council of Conscience, a group of spiritual leaders selected to draft the Charter for Compassion.

Sojourner’s Email 1/31/14:

For God is not unjust; [God] will not overlook your work and the love that you showed for [God’s] sake in serving the saints, as you still do. And we want each one of you to show the same diligence, so as to realize the full assurance of hope to the very end, so that you may not become sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.  Hebrews 6:10-12

“Wage peace. Never has the word seemed so fresh and precious: Have a cup of tea and rejoice. Act as if armistice has already arrived. Celebrate today.”  Judyth Hill}

Collective Change

In the State of the Union address, President Obama said, “We must put our collective shoulder to the wheel of progress.”  To build off of this, I say to believers and churches, we must put our collective love of Christ to the wheel of healing, reconciliation and unity because all of the issues that are dividing our nation are also dividing our churches.

These words are a good follow up from my previous post, The Will to Embrace.  It challenges me and I hope you as well.  Let’s start the conversations that need to be started and do the things that need to be done TODAY.  In my peacemaking class tonight they talked about the way to bring about deep societal change is to:

  1. Change the Stories
  2. Create the New Realities (outside of the systems of the present realities)
  3. Change the Rules

Today is the day.  Let’s search ourselves to see what our strengths and gifts are that we have been blessed with.  Then let’s seek God’s guidance on where, what and with whom we are to labor together.  Finally, let’s continually seek Christ and be Christ at all times.  Collectively following Christ and being His beloved community.

The Will to Embrace

Miroslav Volf talks about the ‘will to embrace,’ where we give ourselves to others and welcome them; where we readjust our identities to make space for them.  Having just celebrated the life of Martin Luther King Jr. and his giving of himself for others, I am reminded of this call to us all and especially believers.  We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny…”  It’s a time in my life where some points are all converging to this one common theme.  I am working on a Doctorate that is looking at diverse congregations and how they can be unified through the practices of spiritual formation and reconciliation.  I am doing a program to become a Peace Ambassador to help bring peace within myself first and then throughout the world.  Through classes, reading, experiencing and sharing, I have been impressed with two action items.

1.  Become involved in healing/peacemaking discussions between Blacks and Hispanics or start one if I can’t find one.

2.  Research more the workings of reconcilers and peacemakers and see if they are having discussions with one another and start a discussion if they are not doing so.

Oftentimes, we can’t appreciate one another’s struggles because we don’t know their histories and our collective histories.  We also have a lot of media information that is incorrect, based on stereotypes; which leads us to incorrect assumptions.  Because of this, we miss out on our similarities and our collective and connective humanness.  Malachi 2:10 says, ‘Do we not all have one Father? Did not one God create us? Why do we profane the covenant of our ancestors by being unfaithful to one another?’  My prayer, as I look at all the conflict and oppression throughout the world, is that we humans can begin to act humane and begin to take on the challenge of the “Will to Embrace.”