Showing posts with label justice. Show all posts
Showing posts with label justice. Show all posts

Thursday, June 4, 2020

Beyond Loaves and Fishes: Justice & Nonviolence



 

A short message concerning what we can do together to assist our African

American brothers and sisters to push back against the sin of racism so

deeply baked into our society. It's a message of encouragement for

everyone and a call to action.

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Beyond Loaves and Fishes: Micah Week 3







This week we picked up with Chapter 2. There will be lots of material about human downfall and what we must do to walk with God instead of stumbling along in the dark being miserable. We ended with Chapter 4. It was a wild ride. You are all invited.

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Anit-Racism Resources

If you are looking for resources that will allow you to fight racism that is so badly harming our communities across the nation and around the world, please follow this link: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1BRlF2_zhNe86SGgHa6-VlBO-QgirITwCTugSfKie5Fs/preview?fbclid=IwAR28P0Fj1Q45vWf7bcIBZDYnyK27Q3Wm0Sz2ZWoD-k30aWnUhibuOXNsPjA&pru=AAABcncwwWM%2Ag_ZhqwgXau1saPP5XcsvoA

ABC USA Letter Refuting Racial Injustice

What follows is a letter from American Baptist Churches USA dealing with the chaos that has occurred as a response to racism following the violent death of George Floyd: 


Dear American Baptists,

The death of George Floyd has caused widespread pain, rage, protests, and violence in Minneapolis and across the United States. I appreciate the input received from officers of the Regional Executive Ministers Council, members of the National Executive Council, and others in constructing a response to this event. While American Baptists have never advocated violence, we grieve with those feeling the pent-up pain from years of racial discrimination and injustice. The horrifying video captured at the corner of Chicago Avenue and 38th Street in Minneapolis has released years of frustration that can never be fully understood by those who have not consistently lived with injustice historically and presently.

Acts of current racial injustice as well as the effects of historic racial injustices have been brought into the light in recent weeks as we recognize that African-Americans have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. In a recent study, the Centers for Disease Control found that 45% of individuals for whom race or ethnicity data was available were white, compared to 55% of individuals in the surrounding community and that 33% of hospitalized patients were black compared to 18% in the community. Unequal access to healthcare, jobs, education, and training have all been influenced by the racialized society in which we continue to live.

Unfortunately, acts of violence have been cast upon many ethnically distinct groups within our congregations and among our international partners. Many Chinese as well as Asian-Americans are being targeted, harassed, and even physically attacked because of comments made about COVID-19. In Malaysia, we are hearing reports of the government using information collected from the treatment of persons affected by COVID-19 for deportation despite earlier statements that no one who sought medical services for the coronavirus would be arrested based on their immigration status.

Racism and Xenophobia have deep roots in American history and culture and wrongs cannot be righted overnight. While expeditious action is critical to the pursuit of justice for George Floyd, dialogue, conversation, systemic change, and continued acts of justice to curb the sources of prejudice and discrimination are needed.

In these tense times of ache and agony and stinging memories of bias and wrongdoing, we are called again to combat racism and resist violence. American Baptists have historically advocated against both violence as well as racial injustice. “Our denominational history is rich with resistance against violence. From Roger Williams speaking in defense of First Nations People, to the Abolitionists, down to Walter Rauschenbusch, and Martin Luther King, American Baptists in particular have been on the forefront for the cessation of violence and the coming of Shalom.” (American Baptist Case Statement on Violence from the 2015 Mission Table). I am calling on people of faith to find the resources of the Spirit to calm their anger. “Lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” (Ephesians 4:1-3, NASV)

Our denominational history is also rich in working toward justice in general and racial justice in particular. “Racial justice,” as defined in our 1989 ABCUSA policy statement, “is recognizing our oneness in Christ, confessing that we have not become what God wants us to be, and committing ourselves to pressing on to that mark of high calling by which we can become a liberating symbol to our nation and world of what it means to be the people of God. In so doing, we can challenge our nation to live up to its high purposes.”

“Thus says the Lord: Stand at the crossroads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way lies; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls.” (Jeremiah 6:16, NASV) I charge our American Baptist family to continue to search, advocate, and live where the good way lies.

Dr. C. Jeff Woods
Interim General Secretary
American Baptist Churches USA

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Beyond Loaves and Fishes: Micah Week 2






After last week's introduction to the Old Testament prophets and how
their jobs changed over 1000+ years, we now turn to the prophet Micah
and what he had to say about Israel, power, corruption, downfall, and
hope. It will be a wild ride. You are invited.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Prayer: Sermon for September 22, 2019



Sermon based on 1 Timothy 2:1-7, in which Paul advises Timothy and us who to pray for and why. Everything he has to say is equally challenging for us as the Christian community today. There is a special challenge and invitation here for members and friends of Lansdowne Baptist Church. All are invited to watch, however, as there is plenty here to challenge everyone. Stop by and worship with us on Sunday morning if you find yourself near Lansdowne, Pennsylvania. The invitation and the door are open.

To the Lansdowne Baptist Church family, listen to this sermon and be ready to respond at our Congregational Meeting on Wednesday evening, October 23rd, 2019.

Friday, August 9, 2019

We American Baptists Stand Against Terror and Hate

The American Baptist Home Mission Societies shared a powerful article by Rev. Dr. Debora Jackson, speaking out against terrorism in our country, standing up for the victims of this weekend's massacres, and speaking out against race hatred and violence. 

In part Rev. Dr. Jackson states: ... we denounce practices of privilege that declare white male gunmen as mentally ill while naming gunmen of color as terrorists. Domestic terrorism, regardless of the perpetrator, is an issue and we cannot abide by tactics that diminish the offense for some. Declaring our faith in the God of love, we condemn the hate speech that is dividing our country. Instead, we commit ourselves to teach the love of God through Jesus Christ, rebuking those who would spread hate.

Read the article at: https://christiancitizen.us/a-call-to-american-baptists/?utm_campaign=coschedule&utm_source=facebook_page&utm_medium=The%20Christian%20Citizen&utm_content=A%20call%20to%20American%20Baptists&fbclid=IwAR2uoLKbL_qH-YUaI-7RpIW6fMxDjmT1D4GDWCfSfdf2aIR2yUMJztmplLQ

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Article 2019: The Collective Conscience of Our Country

The link here is to the Pastoral Letter of the American Baptist Churches USA General Secretary Lee Spitzer. The article deals with the violence currently ripping our nation to pieces. Please read: https://www.abc-usa.org/2019/08/the-collective-conscience-of-our-country-a-pastoral-letter-from-abcusa-general-secretary-lee-spitzer/?fbclid=IwAR3WkzbpwnIYqfanksb1L0IN7vHfSUkJt5V5ZU-dZZ9mZDGugvk1zy193ak

One paragraph worthy of note for anyone wondering who we American Baptists are is: “American Baptists, as a denominational family, have consistently been advocates for religious and civil liberty for all and for the concept of “a Free Church in a Free State” (1986 ABCUSA Policy Statement on Church and State). Key tenets of the divisive ideology of Christian nationalism are incompatible with Baptist theological and social convictions. American Baptists historically have advocated for respect, tolerance, justice and freedom for everyone in our country (and world), while resolutely opposing all manifestations of racism, prejudice, fear and injustice. May we continue this witness in 2019, and into the future.”

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Internment Camps: Then and Now, a Reflection

American Baptist Home Mission Societies states: Yosh Nakagawa briefly notes the relevance of his internment in camps during World War II to today's situation during an interview with EthicsDaily.com recorded at the American Baptist Churches USA Biennial Mission Summit in Virginia Beach, Va., June 21-23, 2019.

A short video remembrance. Please watch: https://vimeo.com/344565286


Monday, March 11, 2019

God Reigns




Sermon for Sunday, 3/10/19, the first Sunday of Lent, based on Daniel 6:16-22, Daniel in the Lions' Den. While the story is best known for the dramatic scene in the lions' den, it is really about something else. About what is possible under God's reign for those of faith ... and how we entrap ourselves in our pride, our ego, our belief some things can never be changed. Come and watch to see how to be freed of such foolish notions.

Also, this is the first week using a brand new video camera, straight out of the box. We had not had time to download the PDF instruction manual yet, so further improvements are expected down the road. Stay tuned and see what happens.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Prophet Cries Out



Sermon based on Luke 3:1-6, studying how John the Baptist made the way straight for Jesus in word and deed. Plenty of life application lessons in John's message for his first century listeners and us on the way of repentance and being a good follower of Christ. Come and watch.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Faithfulness: Sermon for November 4, 2018



Sermon for Sunday, November 4, 2018, based on Ruth 1:1-18. Focusing on the faithfulness of Ruth the Moabite, a foreigner who proves more faithful in Israel than God's chosen people during the years of the Judges. Ruth will protect Naomi, her mother-in-law, even when facing an uncertain future, turning away from the comforts and familiarity of home to follow Naomi from Moab to Israel. In the exploration of Ruth's exemplary faith, we discover a secret to a happy life. Come and listen. If you enjoy what you find here, are near Lansdowne, PA, and don't have a church of your own, join us Sunday morning for worship in the sanctuary. You will be welcome.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Throne of Grace



Sermon for Sunday, October 14, 2018, based on Hebrew 4:12-16. Life is scary, and always has been. The first half of today's scripture reading is scary, and always has been. However, the second half of the reading tells us where to turn to leave fear behind. To whom can we turn to be courageous? Who is in our corner, ready to help us, and to be at our side when our judgment finally comes? Listen and find out.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Fair Wages



The sermon for Sunday, September 30, 2018, covers Matthew 20:1-16, the parable of the Workers in the Vineyard. It explores the issue of fairness from God's perspective rather than humanity's. God's expansive love leads to a surprising level of inclusion. We also explore what "the evil eye" meant back in the day and why we should avoid it today. Have a listen. Peace. Feel free to join us in Sunday worship if you are in the vicinity of Lansdowne, Pennsylvania, and do not have a church of your own to attend. All are welcome.

Every Tuesday night at 8 p.m. (with exceptions for the pastor's vacation and power failures), we have a live stream Bible study. You are invited to subscribe on YouTube (it's free) and join: If you'd like a little more information on becoming a subscriber, see the following. To learn how to join us on the Beyond Loaves and Fishes live stream event each Tuesday night, take a look at the following blog post and follow the simple steps: https://lansdownebaptistchurch.blogspot.com/2018/05/beyond-loaves-fishes-livestream-bible.html

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Iron Man & God's Armor



Sermon from June 24, 2018, based on Ephesians 6:10-17, comparing Tony Stark's Iron Man suit of armor with the whole armor of God. Super heroes provide a wonderful illustration for biblical points. This sermon explores how best to use the various attributes of God's armor. It allows us to help ourselves and others facing adversity, including the ongoing separation of parents from their children along the US southern border and all the issues associated with this practice.

Every Tuesday night at 8 p.m. (with exceptions for the pastor's vacation and power failures), we have a live stream Bible study. You are invited to subscribe on YouTube (it's free) and join: If you'd like a little more information on becoming a subscriber, see the following. To learn how to join us on the Beyond Loaves and Fishes live stream event each Tuesday night, take a look at the following blog post and follow the simple steps: https://lansdownebaptistchurch.blogspot.com/2018/05/beyond-loaves-fishes-livestream-bible.html

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Important Letter from ABC USA General Secretary 2018


AMERICAN BAPTIST CHURCHES USA
___________________________________



June 15, 2018

Mr. Jeff Sessions, Attorney General
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530-0001

Dear Attorney General Sessions,

I am writing to you today on behalf of the 5,000 congregations and 1.3 million members of the American Baptist Churches USA (ABCUSA). As General Secretary, I serve as the national pastor of the denomination. ABCUSA has a long and distinguished record of service in welcoming immigrants and refugees to communities throughout the United States.

The American Baptist family would like to communicate our deep concern over the unjust immigration policies of the United States government, and in particular, the unconscionable separation of children from their parents on our southern border. As a fellowship of Christ-followers who recall the trials of the child Jesus and his parents, who fled from persecution in their homeland to another country (Matthew 2:13-18), we adamantly oppose separating children from their relatives. A just society can fulfill its fidelity to its own laws and border security without resorting to such unwise and harmful practices; instead, we urge that compassion, fairness and family-affirming policies characterize our response to the plight of families on our borders. We note that destructive practices such as the separation of children from parents place a serious burden on our law enforcement agents and officials, who in carrying out such policies find their own consciences ethically compromised and troubled.

Furthermore, we strongly disagree with your erroneous appropriation of the New Testament (in particular, Romans 13) to justify inhumane and unjust governmental actions. No responsible Christian theologian would assert that Romans 13, or any other passage in the Bible, supports the horrific separation of children from parents that we are witnessing at the present time. In fact, both the Old and New Testaments call those who believe in God to welcome refugees and immigrants with open arms and friendship, with loving care and concern, and with the willingness to assist others in enjoying the prospects of a future based on hope and opportunity.

Accordingly, American Baptists wish to express our sincere hope that the separation of children and parents will immediately cease. We urge Congress and the President to approve and implement without delay more compassionate and just immigration policies and procedures. As the leading law enforcement official of our government, it is your privilege and responsibility to lead such an effort. Thank you for considering our position.

Sincerely,

 Rev. Dr. Lee B. Spitzer, General Secretary
 American Baptist Churches USA

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

A Justice That Heals - 2000



Here is a powerful story of reconciliation and forgiveness that heals. This is key to creating healing communities and church stations of hope: working together to help families of those who have been incarcerated and those in prison themselves. It is well worth watching and wrestling with by all who seek to help or who have someone in the prison system.

God bless you all.

For more on the organization Healing Communities that works to create church Stations of Hope across the country, see: www.healingcommunitiesusa.com

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Rich in Mercy



Sermon based on Ephesians 2:1-10, delivered during the season of Lent, 2018. If you want to know what a Buick Skylark and a Ford Pinto have to do with Paul's letter to the Ephesians, you'll have to watch. Good news provided about love, grace, and mercy. Room for reflection on how to react to that as well.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Don't Remain Silent



Sermon delivered on September 3, 2017, exploring  the scripture Luke 18:1-8. This sermon reminds us we must be as persistent as the widow seeking justice from a corrupt judge. See how prayer plays into that persistence and what it has to do with us in this day and age.

As time was limited, we didn't get into some of the other ways Christians are working for justice. We prayed for and provided guidance to all interested in helping the survivors of Hurricane Harvey during our announcements and pastoral prayer time.

For another perspective on persistence, see: https://lansdownebaptistchurch.blogspot.com/2017/08/persistence-is-key.html

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

1000 Ministers March for Justice



A few images from the 1000 Ministers March for Justice of August 28, 2017, starting at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial and ending at the Department of Justice. Ministers, priests, rabbis, and other faith leaders all marched. Over 3000 concerned faith leaders showed up to march for justice for every person oppressed, outcast, and marginalized in our turbulent society today, moving far beyond the expectations of those who organized the march. We came to express our desire to love God and love neighbors. We came to call on our elected leaders to do likewise.

Persistence was required for me as delays began when I arrived. I kept Luke 18:1-8 in mind as I persisted. I started at the Crystal City Underground parking lot in Alexandria, Virginia, took the Metro to the Mall, praying all the while for a person hit by a subway car at L'Enfante Plaza that day (and all persons impacted by that tragedy), headed on over to the MLK memorial down near the Lincoln Memorial (a substantial hike, praying to get there in time and represent my faith well), and joined the growing assembly of marchers there at 11:45 instead of 10:15 or so, as I had hoped. I was in time for the final speech at the memorial and the mile and a half march from the memorial to the Department of Justice. On the way we sang "This little light of mine" with some interesting verse variations, "Sanctuary," and called for justice in a variety of ways, given our various God-given talents. One quote from the event that resonated with those faith leaders present: “It’s time for moral leaders of all religions to get rid of their fear and their political laryngitis and stand up together,” said the Rev. Al Sharpton, who led the march with Martin Luther King III. “We agree that morality must be above party politics.”

I was gratified to meet some of my friends and colleagues there, and to know that others were present, including denominational leaders of American Baptist Churches USA, the Philadelphia Baptist Association, and fellow seminary graduates of Palmer Theological Seminary.

Disclaimer: The "unique" camera views are due to the fact that it was a sunny day and the screen didn't give me much of a view of what I was recording. Still, this will give you a small sense of what happened from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.