Showing posts with label nonviolence. Show all posts
Showing posts with label nonviolence. Show all posts

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Pastoral Letter from ABC USA's General Secretary Following the Recent Violence

Please take the time to follow the link and read this important message from Rev. Dr. Lee Spitzer addressing the tumultuous week just past. Here you will find carefully delineated the stance of American Baptist Churches USA concerning individual liberty and equality.

God bless you all. http://www.abc-usa.org/2017/06/16/a-pastoral-letter-from-abcusa-general-secretary-rev-dr-lee-b-spitzer/ 

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Courageous Conversations in Philadelphia: Sharing Stories of Race

This event, dealing with racism and sponsored by some pretty influential groups in Philadelphia, attracted 175 people and a fascinating panel. These were courageous folks willing to be uncomfortable together and explore a topic currently attempting to tear humanity apart. Included in the link below is a recorded version of the entire event. I recommend giving it a listen. A powerful early topic of conversation is in believing other people's stories, the stories of people who live lives different from your own. We need to believe the stories of others, especially their challenges and tragedies in the face of racism, and act in ways that help them.

Here are some Bible verses that show how it has always been God's intent to reach out to all people everywhere. Check out: Genesis 12:1-3; 1 Chronicles 16:23-34; Psalm 96:1-3; Isaiah 56:6-7; Matthew 9:35-38; Matthew 28:18-20; Luke 4:16-19; John 20:19-23; Acts 1:8; and Revelation 7:9. I recommend reading these passages all together to get the sweep and breadth of God's vision. It will not take long. Ask yourself after reading these passages, how does reaching out to others different from yourself fit into the big picture of what God wants us to be doing?

Here is the link to both several written stories and the recording of the event to listen to: http://www.newsworks.org/index.php/education/item/104158-courageous-conversations-sharing-stories-about-race-and-pledging-to-practice-more

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Fishers of People



Sermon based on Matthew 4:12-23, in which Jesus moves to Capernaum, gathers his first disciples, and we explore what discipleship means. Further, the sermon includes the discipline of non-violent communication as one way to be modern-day fishers of people. Are you in? How will you respond when Jesus asks you to "Follow me" and states, "I will make you fishers of people."

Monday, November 7, 2016

Our Job Never Changes: Sermon for November 6, 2016



Sermon based on Matthew 22:36-40, the greatest commandments. No matter the situation (even in a contentious election season), Christians are called to love God and neighbor. Doing so transforms the lives of those who attempt this very tall order and those who are on the receiving end of that love. Give it a try. Jesus challenges you to do so.

One small correction: reference to a "Roman Candle" should be a fountain. 

Monday, June 20, 2016

Powerful Statement from Our Denomination Following the Shootings in Orlando

American Baptist Churches USA is the most diverse denomination in the United States. Our churches have a great deal of autonomy, we are equally divided between Democrats and Republicans, and we have varying interpretations of particular passages that have been the focus of recent cultural and religious debated.

Yet, in the midst of turmoil, our leadership provided the following powerful message of love. Please follow this link and read: http://www.abc-usa.org/2016/06/17/abc-interim-general-secretary-addresses-orlando-shooting/

A few highlights:
We offer our deepest sympathy to the families and friends of the victims of the horrible tragedy in Orlando. We extend love to those of our family directly affected. We grieve with our American Baptist brothers and sisters who are part of the LGBTQ community. My message to them is, never mistake our debates and disagreements with the depth of our love for you as part of our family. To the rest of the ABC family my message is, even in the midst of profound disagreement, let us love as Christ loved. 
~Interim General Secretary Dr. Susan Gillies


Following Gillies remarks, Rev. Judy Fackenthal said, “As President of ABCUSA, I concur with Interim General Secretary Susan Gillies that any act of violence against any part of the human family is fully outside the vision of God’s gracious love for all people. While American Baptists may not agree on a wide variety of issues, we claim God’s love as a just and all-encompassing love. I pray for the people of Orlando, particularly the LGBTQ community as well as the Hispanic community that has been particularly affected by this horrific violence. May we work together to seek to end hate and the outcomes associated with it.”


“The events of last week hurt me deeply, as a Christian, Baptist and as a Puerto Rican,” said Dr. Josue D. Gómez-Menéndez, vice president of ABC. “At this time I would like to express my solidarity with all the people who are suffering from the effects of violence, misconceptions and separation. In the end what we discover in the depth of love is that we find our essence and human reality, our claim to the dignity of the human being and our real choice to reflect Jesus in every step.”

Friday, June 17, 2016

Two Powerful Statements From American Baptist Home Mission Societies After Orlando

The American Baptist Home Mission  Society describes itself as follows
As part of American Baptist Churches USA, American Baptist Home Mission Societies (ABHMS) answers God’s call to live out Christian faith through ministry that strengthens congregations and connects with communities beyond church walls—ministry that encourages and nurtures disciple-makers who shout the Good News of Jesus Christ and impact our world with God’s love.
In the wake of the terrible shootings at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, a previously safe haven for members of the LGBT community, ABHMS released the following: http://abhms.org/about-us/news/american-baptist-home-mission-societies-stands-lgbtq-community-wake-orlando-massacre/

Further, the ABHMS makes this statement about gun violence: http://abhms.org/about-us/news/abhms-urges-american-baptists-advocate-gun-violence-prevention/

Please read and prayerfully consider.


Saturday, August 29, 2015

Putting Aside the Hateful Meme

I am growing increasingly disturbed with hateful "memes" abounding on social media of all sorts.  So many of those pithy pictures and quotes are designed to divide people. A great many memes essentially say, if you do not agree with me, you are subhuman. Making people into subhuman "others" is the first step toward violence against them. Before sending another hateful meme, we should all pause and ask ourselves, "Who do I know who is being unfairly tarred by the gross generalization here?" Ask, "Does this stand with or violate the two great commandments to love God and neighbor (everyone)?"

Let's all do what we can to stem the tide of divisive hatred leading to violence.

Thanks.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Celebrating Weakness



Sermon focusing on Paul's weakness and God's use of that weakness from 2 Corinthians 12:2-10. If you stick with it, toward the end is a call for Christians to come together against injustice, letting Jesus' love shine through us and God's strength use us.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Rejoice Always





The apostle Paul calls you to rejoice this Christmas season, and throughout the year. It's a matter of trust and a defiance of fear. It's also a healthy way to live. Wishing you a blessed Christmas.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Missionary Jeni Pedzinski Speaks at LBC

We were pleased to hear from Jeni Pedzinski, missionary to Thailand, on Sunday, November 16, 2014. Jeni is currently preparing to serve as the senior administrator of the New Life Center Foundation in Thailand. The center, established in 1987, serves young ethnic minority (tribal) women who are at risk of being, or have been victims of, human trafficking, forced labor, and sexual abuse. Jeni will provide support to the NLCF staff in administration, Christian discipleship, and financial literacy.

She is very well suited for the task at hand. Her presentation was moving. The story of how she was called to service by God through the stories of another missionary whom she met and spoke with when 11 was inspirational. It is amazing to see how God nourishes the seeds of faith planted in our lives by other faithful followers.

To learn more about Jeni Pedzinski's mission work, see: http://www.internationalministries.org/teams/529-pedzinski

There you can also find ways to support her vital work if God moves you to do so. For more on mission support, see: http://www.internationalministries.org/missionary_support_information

Jeni also lists a number of ways you may be involved in her ministry:

  • Join her Ministry Partnership Network (MPN)
  • Share information about her ministry with others
  • Go on a mission work team to her country
  • Give to her ministry individually or through your church
  • Send emails and birthday and Christmas cards
  • Pray for her ministry
We at LBC wish her all the best in her important work and will be praying for her continued success. 

Thursday, September 4, 2014

LOVE: Paul's Solution for a Divided Society

Paul was writing to a divided church in Rome, with Gentile and Jewish Christians hardly getting along. The society around them was dangerous, the recent history had been deadly, especially for the Jews. Paul's solution, trust in the power of love. Love your neighbors, both inside the church and beyond its walls. Let Jesus' command to love neighbor and God guide them. His sense of urgency applied well to the dangerous times.
Romans 13:8Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery; You shall not murder; You shall not steal; You shall not covet”; and any other commandment, are summed up in this word, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 10Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law.
11Besides this, you know what time it is, how it is now the moment for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we became believers; 12the night is far gone, the day is near. Let us then lay aside the works of darkness and put on the armor of light; 13let us live honorably as in the day, not in reveling and drunkenness, not in debauchery and licentiousness, not in quarreling and jealousy.14Instead, put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.

This same advice applies well to us today. We live in dangerous times in a divided world. In the U.S. we have little trust in our formal institutions, in our doctors, our employers, our religious leaders. In fact, only one third of all Americans trust each other. It is so bad, most people won't trust others enough to even bowl with them! All the while tensions rise, arguments arise, and violence follows. Let's all give love a try instead. Love neighbors, help them along life's rugged road, and see if we don't all end up in a better place. Maybe we'll even meet on the lanes.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Philadelphia Baptist Association President Reflects on Ferguson, Missouri, Turmoil

The lack of relationships, or people distancing themselves from one another speaks clearly as I listen and watch the events unfold in Ferguson. The lack of representation of one sector of a community in the necessary functions of governance leaps to the foreground. I ask myself, where are the leaders? How did things stay so bad for so long? Where are the healthy relationships that lend to a well-functioning community?

The humanity of Michael Brown, the 18 year old shot dead in the street, seems not to be acknowledged. His body lay in the street for hours. Why? The pain of such indifference resonates with the experiences of so many people(s) who join in protest in Ferguson and across our nation. It is as if we think we can be a healthy society and ignore the plight of any member.

Today, I am saddened by the events in Missouri and I stand convicted. I need to tend to my relationships. Each human encounter is meaningful and I should be mindful of it. It is my perception that we have physically and emotionally abandoned one another and are largely a narcissistic society.

Today, I will tend to my relationships, my own humanity. I will not be dismissive!

The Apostle Paul writes, if one part suffers, every part suffers with it. (1st Corinthians 12:26)

Rev. Dr. James E. McJunkin, Jr., Executive Minister
PHILADELPHIA BAPTIST ASSOCIATION

Friday, August 15, 2014

Actively Working to End Violence

With all the horrific examples in the news today of violence in our society and around our globe, we are all called to work for the end of violence. We are called to take responsibility for the violence we enable and perpetrate in what we say and do, often without much thought, and change our ways. In 2013, American Baptist Churches USA held a Mission Summit and came up with a plan of action for churches and individuals to follow. Working together we can accomplish much. See: http://www.abc-usa.org/violence/ for the details.

May the peace of Christ be with you ... and may you pass that peace on to everyone you meet.

Come and join us at Lansdowne Baptist Church and let's strive to end violence together!