Tuesday, January 31, 2017


In the 1990's the WWJD term became highly popular among Christians, What would Jesus Do? There was never a solid answer but it was a reminder to Christians to love as Jesus loved.

The other day a friend posted the following picture:

He would love first.

This is the answer to the WWJD question by a young man.

I don't know about you but when I look at our country right now I see a lot of people living in fear, including our President and administration. 2 Timothy 1:7 says, For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. It is very tempting to fear strangers due to the violent world we live in but God has called us to love not fear. Even in Psalm 27 we read, 

The Lord is my light and my salvation—
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life—
of whom shall I be afraid?

Now more than ever, we need Christian ready to love all whom we encounter. It is the only answer to our problems. I close with the words of my friend Kheresa Harmon.

I am thankful for the ones who see through the eyes of love. Through the eyes of love, they see beauty and potential in lives around them. Those who see through the eyes of love tend quietly and lovingly to the needs of those around them. They are the unnoticed ones who bear life.
Those who see through the eyes of love are not bound by fear, suspicion, prejudice, and hate. Those who see through the eyes of love see the face of God in the hopeful and fearful faces of immigrants, refugees, and the marginalized.

Those who see through the eyes of love have hearts that are open wide to the possibility that maybe, just maybe, the other (either by virtue of religion, nationality, gender, sexuality, education, or socio-economic status) is not unlike them at all. Those who see through the eyes of love open their hearts and open doors of hospitality. The do not shut the other into a box of misunderstanding.
Those who see through the eyes of love are the hands and feet of Jesus. They get their hands and feet dirty serving God's people. We may have much to learn from them. We have much to learn from God, who welcomed us, when we were yet strangers, to God's own self.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

The challenge of deeply engaging with others....having REAL relationships

Before the inauguration of the 45th President, Donald J. Trump, my friend made the following post on facebook on January 16, 2017.

"Forgiveness is a costly matter because it aims at reconciliation, or the restoring of relationships, and this requires an acceptance of the experience of another into oneself that is nothing less than a journey of painful discovery." (Paul Fiddes) 

Then Yesterday I came across a podcast interview of another friend.

In the podcast Amy Butler, Senior Pastor at Riverside Baptist Church in New York City, shared the questions she has been asking about the role of Christians and the church since November 8. At the heart of it she says it is about relationships. That for the Kingdom of God to be made known on earth we have to work on our relationships. It runs for 48 minutes but it us worth your time to listen. You can click on podcast above or here to listen.

I will be the first to tell you that relationships are hard. Let's face it, we all want to put ourselves first and get what we want to some degree or another. We have a hard time being the servants Christ has called us to be. This has never been more real for me than in the past 4 days. The quote above prompted me to call a friend about getting together for a meal. We had breakfast Saturday morning and knowing she was a Trump supporter I wanted to understand why she voted that way. I must be honest and say that I am not happy. Truthfully and I am one of those #notmypresident people. But I wanted to find common ground because she is a great friend, a wonderful sister in Christ and I wasn't about to let my confusion and anger about our countries politics ruin this friendship. She answered my questions from her biblical world view as I did mine and we are still friends. I like to believe that we know what is most important and that is our desire to see those we love in a relationship with Jesus and us working together to bring his kingdom here on earth. We have agreed to have breakfast regularly.

That same day I met a co-worker at the Women's March in Roanoke to march in solidarity with so many others I knew marching in DC that day. I, of course, took to facebook to post my pics, state why I marched and enjoy the camaraderie of my fellow brothers and sisters around the world who marched with me, That's when things got real. A friend and I had disagreements over some issues and if I am honest I was surprised and hurt. Things got real as usually life does. That's when we have to ask ourselves, do we retreat or do we engage?

I retreated for a few days to attend to my wounds but then I heard the podcast yesterday. A good pastor knows how to stick to you when you need it. How can I preach love and reconciliation if I am not willing to do the work? I called my friend last night to see if we could meet over tea. I heard from her this morning and tea is set for Friday. She is my friend and we share a lot in common but we have differences.

My question to my readers is this. Are we going to let our differences continue to drive us apart or are we going to be intentional in engaging with our friends and doing the messy work so we can forgive and reconcile one another to God?

It is within us to heal this land. Will you join me?

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Time to speak up!

In my Christmas sermon I spoke that even people with disabilities face persecution in our society today. Sadly we have an example of that. If you want to read more about it click here. If you have not heard a mentally disabled man was held against his will, bound, gagged and intimidated with a knife by four people. Thankfully the 4 people have been arrested and the man has been given medical treatment.

Within 1 month of the  November 8 election the Southern Poverty Law Center has recorded 1,094 bias related incidents.

I don't know about you but I am tired of standing by and just watching hate happen all because someone is different. This cannot be what America has become. Those of us who believe that love is greater than hate and that love can conquer all things must start speaking up with crimes like this are committed against people whether for their religion, gender, race, orientation, nationality or ability. To much division has driven some people to vilify and demonize others who are different. Let us choose a better way. let us commit to seeing the humanity in each person and love them for the creation they are. A person created in the image of God. Let love overflow our lives and onto others. This is the only way.

by Dorothy Oger

I shall stand for love,
even with a broken soul,
even with a heavy heart.

I shall stand for love,
for the world is wounded.
Not just my little piece of land,
where I am mostly safe,
where I am mostly well,
but our world, everywhere.
Every day.

I shall stand for love,
because we need more light,
not more deaths,
not more power,
not more bombs.

I shall stand for love,
so that our children are safe,
so that our friends are sheltered,
so that our borders are open.

I shall stand for love,
even with a broken soul,
even with a heavy heart.