Communities in Transition

Fifth Sunday of Easter

Psalms 31:1-5, 15-16

Acts 7:55-60

1 Peter 2:2-10
The world changed. There’s no going back to “normal” — only a march toward some kind of new normal that hasn’t fully revealed itself.  Society is restructuring to figure out how to meet people’s basic needs, but a lot of people suffer and die in the process. Some people cover their ears, grab weapons and mob the truth tellers like Stephen.  With all of the post-resurrection upheaval, life must have been so disorienting, overwhelming and exhausting for the early church.

Acts describes a community in transition that’s trying to figure out how to live in light of the ongoing revelation of God.  Spoiler alert – they weren’t the first and they aren’t the last to embark on this journey. In the epistle lesson, Peter compares that community to spiritual infants.  Figuring out how to order our lives seems to be the eternal Judeo-Christian project. Read more

Fasting From Privilege: Thoughts and Prayers are Not Enough

Fifth Sunday after Epiphany

Isaiah 58:1-12

In both Isaiah’s immediate history and ours, God’s people ordained and blessed an oppressive and extractive government/economy and the Israelites, like us, lived in the ugly results: an unjust society that divides people, accruing significant excess to some and increasingly preventing many others from meeting their basic needs for shelter, food, and clothing.

Israelite society didn’t stratify until they chose to inaugurate a monarchy. Economic injustice increased under Solomon, when the government introduced a tax structure and conscripted labor that accrued benefit to a few at the expense of many. Read more

A Vision for Justice

Twentieth Sunday After Pentecost
Habakkuk 1:1-4, 2:1-4
Isaiah 1:10-18
Luke: 19-1-10

Habakkuk and his lament resonate acutely. He could very well be a contemporary (especially with what hipsters are naming their kids these days), standing next to us as we brace for the daily waves of injustice and violence in our world: suffering at the border, gun violence, endless wars, the opioid epidemic, racism, the lack of political will to meet people’s basic needs for affordable housing and healthcare, the insane vitriol that comes out of the President’s mouth. You could keep going; I could keep going. Read more

Rich Towards God

Eighth Sunday After Pentecost
Luke 12:13-21
I work in development for a Human Services non-profit that meets people’s basic needs, while we advocate for systems that distribute resources in a more just and equitable manner. As a result, I spend 40+ hours a week thinking about people and our relationship to resources, primarily money. People who have it; people who need it; the systems in this country, county, town that have privileged and continue to privilege some people’s ability to amass it.

I think a lot about how to motivate people who have money to share it, but I also wonder why our society – our life together as organized through a system that we call government – is structured such that basic needs are not considered a right or subsequently funded with public dollars, i.e. our gathered resources. Honestly, it would be great if jobs like mine didn’t exist because the political will to care well for each other did. So, I welcome Luke’s willingness to talk bluntly about our relationship to resources. To be honest, I could use some help in knowing what to think. Read more

Mary’s Topsy-Turvy Vision

Fourth Sunday of Advent
Luke 1:39-55
In her hymn, Mary has a personal understanding and clear vision that God’s work in the world is a sort of topsy-turvy force that contradicts the power and privilege of human-created structures. God’s “great things” include scattering the proud, bringing down the powerful/lifting the lowly, satiating the hungry/sending the rich away empty. Read more