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An arresting thought

"Some things are worth losing for."

I was driving, listening to a podcast (my current preferred in-car entertainment) when I heard that statement. It was arresting. Like, literally. I was so struck by that thought that I had to pull over to process it for a moment.

"Some things are worth losing for."

Ta-Nehisi Coates, one of my favorite authors, said that in a conversation with Chris Hayes. With the 2019 Special General Conference* just two months away, those words loom ever larger.

*What's the Special General Conference? We'll offer a series of posts on that very soon.

We believe LGBTQ+ people should have all the rights available to heterosexual, cisgender people both in civil life and in the United Methodist Church. 

We might not get there in 2019. We may even lose some of the gains we've achieved toward inclusion. But if we do, it will be worth it to stand with marginalized people for justice.

This week the Reconciling Ministries Network offered an inspiring statement, "Called, Committed, and Faithful." I recommend you read the whole thing. Here's a taste:

We tirelessly dedicate ourselves to living the reality of our baptismal vows: resisting evil, injustice, and oppression. We do this by seeking justice for people of all sexual orientations and gender identities....

 

The Scriptures tell us that we love because God first loved us. We are grateful for that surprising, unexpected love that God has graciously offered and for the many ways we experience that love first-hand through the lives and stories of so many who have been part of the Reconciling family and movement within our beloved Church. Those stories have made The United Methodist Church stronger and more vibrant across our great connection...

 

We witness the lives of many of our friends who have not felt welcome inside the doors of United Methodist churches. Their calling, their ministry, and even their baptism have been questioned. But we still believe in the best of what The United Methodist Church can be: a movement where social and personal holiness blossom in a wide variety of contexts including in communities outside of the United States.

 

We have much to learn together.

 

Posted by Pastor Dave Buerstetta with
in Faith, Hope

Will we be peacemakers?

Merely one week ago, the General Board of Church & Society of The United Methodist Church (the justice arm of the UMC) sent a passionate note in response to recent hate crimes like the anti-Semitic murders in Pittsburgh and the anti-black murders in Kentucky, plus multiple other recent instances of violence and hate. In that note, Church & Society's General Secretary, the Rev. Dr. Susan Henry-Crowe, used a line from A Tale of Two Cities (one of my favorite books) to try to find a way forward: "recalled to life."

A Tale of Two Cities ends as a story of resurrection with the main characters, Dr. Manette, Charles Darnay and Sydney Carton, being “recalled to life.”

 

Resurrection, in Dickens, demonstrates that the spiritual lives of all people depend upon the hope of being born anew, recalled to life.

We must soberly ask, in the light of the chaos and violence around us, what does it mean for us to be recalled to life?

Read the whole note here.

Now, today, that note is tragically out of date with yet another mass shooting Wednesday night. As Church & Society wrote this time: 

"Like me, you might have felt a familiar sense of disbelief, sorrow and dread as the reality began to sink in... senseless violence, terror, tragedy, death and profound loss of life have cut yet another community. Jesus calls us to be peacemakers (Matthew 5:9), yet it often feels like there is not much we can do. How can we make peace when violence intrudes on our daily reality?"

Adding to all this violence and hatred, locally, more than 56,000 people spread over Cook, Will, and DuPage counties voted for an actual freaking Nazi for U.S. Representative. That includes 11,576 people from Will County and 176 from DuPage County.

It is enough to make one scream, shout, and lament: What can we do?!

Here's something we can do: attend a vigil to end gun violence. The closest one scheduled so far is at the Universalist Unitarian Church in Joliet on December 14th at 6:30pm

Jesus calls us to be peacemakers. But that doesn't mean to be doormats. The section of scripture that verse comes from (Matthew 5-7) we usually call The Sermon on the Mount. It is full of creative non-violent responses to violent oppression.

That's what true peacemaking is: creative non-violent responses to violence. 

So let's plan to go to that vigil. 

But let's not stop there. We're better together, so let's crowd source this: What else do you want to help WUMC do to work to end gun violence and hatred in our communities, in our nation, and in our world? Leave a comment below or email me. 

 

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