Sarah Jackson joins the podcast to discuss her work with Casa de Paz Colorado. Several years ago,...
Category: Ethics and Social Justice
Please welcome back Pastor Greg Henneman, Director of the Healthy Eating and Living (HEAL) initiative at Church and Community Development for All People. Here, he reflects on God's call to mutuality:
Psalm 130 has long been the psalm I identify with most. I resonate with the psalmist crying from the depth of the heart. As one who served in the military, I have experienced the twice repeated phrase “more than those who watch for morning, more than those who watch for morning.” I love the modern expression of the song by Sinead O’Connor. But while this psalm is an old favorite, this week I have noticed something new. In verse 7, Israel is invited to put its hope in the Lord, because with the Lord there is “steadfast love.” Steadfast love sounds good on its own: a love that is not conditional and doesn’t wax and wane like our love of a favorite song or restaurant. But this is only the surface of it. The word translated steadfast love is the Hebrew word 'hesed' which means 'mutuality'.
If there is one thing I’ve learned in ministry it is the power of mutuality. It was including homeless people in on the creation and weekly leadership of Community of Hope that made it work. Mutuality is at the core of the United Methodist Church’s focus area of ministry WITH the poor. Mutuality is the secret sauce that makes Church and Community Development for All People a place of ever growing relationships and expanding programming. Within the Fresh Market and the Free Store, it is impossible to tell from racial or socioeconomic background who is provider and who is recipient. Mutuality is more than a management concept to involve people from the bottom up in order to create diverse community. Mutuality is who God is. God is in the cry from the depth of the heart. God is equally present in the broken heart of divorce as in the joyful heart of newborn parents. God is as much in the mud covered eyes of the blind, the leper, the addict, and the prostitute as God is in the faithful church goer.
When we are willing to put aside our ego and be vulnerable enough to share ourselves with others, the God of mutuality is moving. When we are humble enough to admit we don’t have all the answers and open our heart in prayer, the God of mutuality speaks. When we look at others asking what we can give instead of how we can receive, the God of mutuality provides. I am often asked, what is the greatest asset of our community. Every time I respond by saying, relationships. It is in the mutuality of people who look out for each other and care for each other and support each other that the peaceable kingdom grows. The mutuality of God’s love is what forms us and shapes us and leads us forward. We find God in serving the other, because the God of mutuality found us “out of the depths”; and, when we are willing to go down in the depths with others we find the God is mutuality is there.
This is complete madness. Nuclear war is, officially, back on the table. The US and Russia have been playing an intense nuclear game of tit for tat for months, well before the Trump disaster. Syria, NATO expansion, and the Ukraine have all upped the atomic ante.
This picture is from a public twitter account and includes reconciliation leaders reconciliation leader Chris Rice, Heidi Weaver-Smith and Emmanuel Katongole. Link: https://twitter.com/heidimweaver/status/740871675198210048 Dr. Chris… Recovering Reconciliation as the Mission of God appeared first on Christian Peacebuilding.
Perhaps you read about him or heard about him on the news? The young United Nations peace worker who was kidnapped in the Congo on March 12, 2017, and whose body, along with a colleague’s, was found in a shallow grave on March 26? His name was Michael Jesse Sharp. […]
On Fridays, BTSF offers links to other discussions about race & Christianity. It's an opportunity for you to read other perspectives, and for me to give props to the many voices leading the way... Weekly Round Up:
These are some of BTSF's links of interest this week. What are yours?
Feel free to contribute your own links in the comments section, or submit items you feel should be included during the week. Self-promotion is encouraged.
Feminist theology is a very broad term ranging a variety of theological traditions. This makes sense, given the nature of Christian theology, which is far from homogeneous. Without giving a detailed analysis of each tradition, which Grant does provide a brief overview, let’s look at the general goals and themes within Christian Feminist theology as … Continue reading "White Women’s Christ and Black Women’s Jesus: Blogging Through Pt. 3"
5. At least become willing to delay your plan. If you’ve gone far enough in your process that you’ve actually developed a general or specific plan or intent to follow through on suicide, try to become willing temporarily delay acting on it– even if it’s just an internal commitment to not do it over the [Read More...]
The death toll continues to rise As nation after nation competes on the world stage To prove its strength before its enemies Its might before the world The loss of whole families and communities seem to be of no consequence The only thing that matters is that the strongest survive and win But what exactly … Continue reading →
Andreas Ehrenpreis is not a well-known name in church history, but what he managed to do is truly astonishing. Born 1589 in Illingen, Germany, Andreas was brought up as an Anabaptist – a persecuted, radical Christian movement that emphasised faith, peace and justice. At seven years of age, his family joined a Hutterite community in Morovia, modern-day Czech Republic. […] Continue reading →
Welcome back guest writer Eileen Howard, as she explores some of her families history and what it means for her today: I am researching my family genealogy and it has been fun (and time consuming). I’ve traced ancestors back to the pilgrims and to the revolutionary war. I’ve found some really hilarious and interesting family stories. I’ve also found that I cannot escape the sins of our nation. All my life I have thought of myself as part of a family that was above the sin of slavery. We were northeasterners who moved to the Pacific Northwest. You won’t find a Morrill (my maiden name) that owned slaves. Ah...but now I find my family goes back through other branches to North Carolina, Kentucky and Virginia. And there, in black and white, thanks to Ancestry.com, are records that list slaves. and ancestors who fought for the Confederacy. Not only that, but I discovered a very intriguing story about one branch who lived next door to Daniel Boone’s family in North Carolina. Boone led some of my ancestors to settle Kentucky! How exciting! Until you realize that by “settle” they mean “kill Indians.” They fought at Fort Boone against the native peoples, killing them and taking their land. I wonder if we will ever be a truly free nation until we boldly face and repent of our original sins? The backlash against “political correctness” has some basis in truth – people just want to move on and want to stop the back and forth labels of racism. They feel they want to just live and let live and treat people as humans. I do think there have been overreactions to minor things and I, too, find these frustrating. But I now think they are rooted in this issue: We still have not fully repented of our original sins so, like a festering wound, it just keeps opening up again and again. In 12-step groups, this is called Step Eight. Make a list of all persons we had harmed and make amends to them. But this is difficult when the core of the harm is generations ago. However, the benefit to me of that original sin is clear as I do my research! Generations of my ancestors had land, power, and money because they either built it on the labor of slaves or took land from native people. So, in 12 step groups, this is what you do when you can’t directly make amends to a person you’ve harmed: A Living Amends. A Living Amends is when you start living your life the way you should have lived it back when you were harming others. A living amends, means rooting out the current forms of institutional racism and unconscious privilege. It requires acknowledging that generations of oppression have led to an inherent systemic inequality from birth. Stop pretending that we all start on a level playing field. It requires deep self-examination to see where our institutions have inherent bias against people of color, such as in our policing and justice systems, hiring practices, real estate sales, and schooling. And, for the Native People of this country, wow… I don’t even know where to begin, the sins are so deep. Maybe by just stopping taking their damned land and using it for oil pipelines! My hands are not clean. I did not just drop on the planet without a family history. While I cannot go back and change the actions of my ancestors, I can participate in repentance and make a living amends to the ancestors of those who were harmed.