New friends, now friends, & old friends

The family reunion continued today as I greeted, hugged, and talked with long-time friends, friends I see at home, and I met new friends. One of the old friends I greeted, Kathryn, was accompanied by a new friend, Elizabeth. Kathryn spent a year with me at LTS in several of my classes. Elizabeth and I discovered that she knows my son. Other new friends include one of the regional ministers in Oregon where I will be living soon. Friends I see at home included a family from my church in Wheeling. At times I felt conflicted and overloaded as texts, phone calls, chance meetings, and hugs competed with one another for my attention. You know? That’s a great and joyous kind of overload to experience.

There is joy when friends reunite to be strengthened, challenged, and renewed for striving for God’s Realm (kingdom) of Belovedness.

Location:Brick Church Pike,Nashville,United States

Ahem, friends, we don’t own Jesus…we FOLLOW Jesus

The second day of the General Assembly of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) ended, at least for me, with a powerful worship service. Holly McKissick’s preaching inspired, confirmed, and reinvigorated. She reminded folks that we are in the business of following Jesus. We do not own Jesus.

How do we “own” Jesus? We own Jesus when we imply that our understanding of his life is the only correct understanding. We own Jesus when we define Jesus’ message of love as one about insiders and outsiders. You’re on the inside when you adhere to narrow definitions of behaviors and beliefs. You’re on the outside when you don’t fit my standards.

We “follow” Jesus when we live our faith, striving to live a life of servanthood to all God’s people. We follow Jesus when we reach out in love to those like us AND those unlike us. We follow Jesus when justice, when the well being of the least of these, takes priority over our own comfort. We follow Jesus when we choose to err on the side of love and charity.

Location:Brick Church Pike,Nashville,United States

Family Reunion

We’ve arrived in Nashville for Disciples every two year family reunion. It was literally a family reunion as we met up with my dad. He traveled from St. Louis today. Next we met up with Rev. Judy Bennett and her husband Fritz from Wheeling. The five of us had a pleasant evening meal talking about strengths and failings of the church. Good conversation, tasty food, and laughter are a pretty good way to begin the Disciples’ family reunion. More to come in the next few days as we learn, laugh, and worship.

Location:Brick Church Pike,Nashville,United States