Category

Questions About Faith

July 11, 2016

The apostle Paul asks, “what then are we to say about these things?” (Romans 8:31)

The truth is that sometimes I am not sure what to say about these things.

Alton Sterling.

Philando Castile.

Brent Thompson.

Patrick Zamarripa.

Michael Krol.

Michael Smith.

Lorne Ahrens.

It’s not just that I fail to understand our addiction to violence that makes taking a life too easy, or that I fail to understand unbridled hate (in the case of the five Dallas law enforcement officials who lost their lives to a man filled with rage).

What this latest chapter in our country’s unfolding series of tragic events has taught me is that as a white man in a “white collar” job in America, I will never understand what it feels like to be black or to wear blue.

That may sound obvious, but I think the events of this week may, finally, begin to disabuse many of us of our need to understand and explain away these kinds of tragedies.

For too long, people (like me) have heard, discussed, commented, debated, and—in many cases—judged these compounding American tragedies as if we had the perspective to offer wisdom.  People—like me—who will never know what it is to teach our children how the color of their skin might impact the way they are viewed by the police, or what it is like for a law enforcement officer to see every encounter as a potential for danger.

What we were really doing is exposing our privilege.

Maybe instead of feeling the need to say something about these things we might try to listen.

If we are white, maybe we might ask a friend who is a person of color what these things are like for them.  Or ask a police officer how these things impact their oath to protect and serve.

And then we might remember that Paul’s question isn’t really an invitation for us to fill the space with our feeble words.  For it is God who speaks the answers to the questions that arise from things like these.  And that answer is found in the person of Jesus, who knows what it is to suffer, and to love.

– Pen Peery

 

August 7, 2014

Compassion.  Check.  Sadness. Check.  Guilt.  Check.  Paralysis. Check.

Sometimes this seems to be the progression of our feelings about injustice, suffering and generally the things make God weep.  Feeling sad can’t be enough, can it?  What else are we to do?  What else is possible?

For context, comparison and contrast, please read Isaiah 58:2-12 and Luke 13:10-17

What do you think most breaks God’s heart in this world?

July 23, 2014

When do we notice God’s presence? Looking back at our lives, where have we experienced the love of a God who promises to never let us go?

It is normal and important to wonder where God was in the unresolved and difficult passages of life. It is just as important to lift up where God is – that becomes the fabric of our testimony…a testimony that can encourage and invite those who hunger and thirst for a relationship with Christ.

For context, we look to Psalm 13 and Matthew 14:22-33.

What do you you think? Where is God in your life and the lives of others?

June 11, 2014

In this week’s Gospel lesson, Jesus tells his followers that they must “become like children” in order to enter the kingdom of heaven. In a world that values advancement, education and progress, these words are hard for us to hear. We love children, but we don’t necessarily want to be children again.

As we begin our summer sermon series, “Questions of Faith,” we will look at some questions asked by children of our congregation and consider what it might mean if we were to look at our own faith through the eyes of a child.