Tag Archives: Inclusion

What’s in a Town?

Ordinary Time
January 13, 2018

Scripture Reading: John 1:43-51

The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, ‘Follow me.’ Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip found Nathanael and said to him, ‘We have found him about whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus son of Joseph from Nazareth.’ Nathanael said to him, ‘Can anything good come out of Nazareth?’ Philip said to him, ‘Come and see.’ –John 1:43-49

I grew up on a farm near three small towns located about equal distance from where we lived. We did business in all three towns at one time or another. My dentist was in one, my doctor in another. I do not know why my parents chose which town to visit. As a teenager, I was cautioned not to frequent one of these towns after dark when I was on my own or with friends as it was dangerous. I never knew what that meant, and I did go there with friends occasionally. Nothing bad ever happened. I wonder if the caution came from something that happened in that town when my dad was a teenager some 30 years earlier. It was the closets of the three towns, but more boring than the other two. There was not much to do except drive around the square and see who else was there.

I do think that caution caused me to wonder if anything good could come from that town. Funny, how our minds associate things to make us assume something, not in evidence. Such transference is the bases of much bigotry.

Perhaps having to live with people judging Jesus by his hometown gave him a greater understanding of the importance of inclusiveness. He selected a broad sweep of disciples to train. I worked in an office once with all primarily white women. Don’t ever want to do it again. Give me diversity. One must work a little harder to understand or create the environment for success in such an environment, but the creativity from diverse experiences and training makes for far better outcomes.

Prayer: God, equip us to appreciate the value of learning from each other. Amen.

All scriptures are quoted from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights are reserved.

Resilience

resilience-378-225Living in the Spirit
June 29, 2016

Scripture Reading: Psalm 30

Sing praises to the Lord, O you his faithful ones,
   and give thanks to his holy name.
For his anger is but for a moment;
   his favor is for a lifetime.
Weeping may linger for the night,
   but joy comes with the morning. –Psalm 30

God calls us to be a resilient people. We have been created to be springy—capable of bouncing back from mistakes we have made, trouble we are experiencing, grief, and other setbacks of life. This is what the last phrase in our scripture today is describing. We, followers of Christ take further assurance in this regard when we read in John 16:33 that he said, I have said this to you, so that in me you may have peace. In the world you face persecution. But take courage; I have conquered the world!’

This is all predicated on our capacity to love like Jesus loved. When he quotes Leviticus 19:18, you shall love your neighbor as yourself, he is saying we must each come to terms with our own self-worth before we can recognize the self-worth of others. I believe a lot of the discrimination that exists in this world is a direct result of our inability to love ourselves. In order to feel good about ourselves we must place ourselves in a status that is better than some others. Such reaction causes discord and discontent in the world and we waste a lot more time and energy excluding people than we would if we included them. There are enough problems in the world without creating them for ourselves. One of the things the research shows is that high self-esteem can make people more resilient, make them keep on plugging after initially failing at something*.

It may seem paradoxical but the humility we are called to as God’s people is reflective of our self-esteem.

Prayer: Lord make us whole so that we may truly love like you. Amen.

*Frank Stephenson, Muse, February 2005 see at http://unabridged.merriam-webster.com/unabridged/resilient

All scriptures are quoted from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized 
Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council 
of Churches of Christ in the United States of American. Used by permission. All rights 
reserved.

Speaking Other Languages

Come Holy SpiritEastertide
May 19, 2015

Scripture Reading: Acts 2:1-21

When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.

 Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each. –Acts 2:1-6

Taking Spanish in college, I soon learned that I could read it better than I could speak it, and I now know that since I have not used it, I have lost most of it. Being articulate with the use of guacamole and taco does not count. I also do not text. I guess I am just being stubborn, but it is so much easier to leave a voice message rather than take the time to type out a message with two rather clumsy thumbs that require me to delete and reenter as many letters or numbers as I input successfully. The result is I have a limited knowledge of text speak. I do know LOL. Taking the tests associated with Ruby Payne’s A Framework for Understanding Poverty, helped me understand that I have only a basic knowledge of the language of poverty even though I have worked in that area for over 40 years, am amazingly good at middle class, and failed miserably the language of the rich.

In general, I live, move, and have my being in silos I have chosen or that were chosen for me by my ancestors. It is very, very hard to move beyond those silos but it is possible through the love of God, the example of Jesus Christ, and the gift of the Holy Spirit. Acts 17:28, states, For “In [Christ] we live and move and have our being”; as even some of your own poets have said, “For we too are his offspring.”

 The Kingdom of God will never flourish across this earth until we remove ourselves from our silos of exclusion and open ourselves to the other. Paul’s list for working toward inclusion is: There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3:28) What is in your list for inclusion? What is your plan for climbing out of your silos?

Prayer: Lord, make me whole so that I can open myself to the others in the world today. Let your spirit guide me in meeting people where they are and joining them in growing together toward the oneness to which you have called us. Amen.

All scriptures are quoted from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of American. Used by permission. All rights reserved.