First of all, the only point of a gun is to kill. That’s what it was designed for. And that’s what it does. Let’s not pretend they named it an assault rifle for some other reason. An assault is an act of violence done to someone. You can argue these weapons of death are for protection, but the only way a gun will protect you and your loved ones is if you are willing to pull the trigger and kill someone. God has made it pretty clear, that killing is a no-no.
Speaking of commandments…Our obsession with guns is nothing shy of idolatry. If you are offended by me saying that know that I don’t care. These facts offend me and ought to offend you. America has more civilian-owned guns than it has citizens. We are 25 times more likely to die by gunshot than any other country in the world. Gunshots are the leading cause of death in children.
As far as I know, we are the only country that supports an organization whose only job is to protect the gun industry. With the blood still fresh on the linoleum floor of Robb Elementary, the NRA is meeting to discuss new ways to spin the same old story. “It’s a mental health issue.” And my favorite, It’s not guns that kill people, it’s people.” We’ve heard their lies. And they don’t work anymore. The right to bear arms doesn’t give you the right to bear false witness. Another no-no of God’s.
Gun advocates want us to believe that the only way to protect ourselves from gun violence is to arm ourselves with more guns. That idiotic logic has helped produce more mass shootings this year than we’ve had days. It’s gotten so out of control that the phrase “gun violence” has become synonymous with the name America. It’s time to go in a new direction.
The 2nd Amendment isn’t a sacred document. Nor is it more important than any other amendment. Or our right to live, and to live a life with liberty to pursuit a life without the fear of getting shot.
So to every politician and voter who call themselves Christians, remember the word of Jesus who said, “If any of you put a stumbling block before one of these little children who believe in me, you’d be better off if a great millstone were fastened around your neck, and you were drowned in the sea.”
On this Memorial Day, I light this candle in honor every child of God whose light has been extinguished by a bullet. As it flickers, may it remind us all of the Eternal light for which they are now a part of.
Most humans don’t train for these kinds of events. When Joe Garcia got the news, his heart didn’t just break, it shattered. While putting flowers on his wife’s makeshift memorial, Joe suffered a fatal heart attack - leaving their four children instantly orphaned. Their names are: Cristian, José, Lyliana, and Alysandra.
There will be more names added to this list if something isn’t done to ensure everyone has the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. But I fear nothing will.
Zara Rahim tweeted, it’s “Insane how the only notable change since Sandy Hook is that kids are now formally trained to hide, barricade doors, fight, or run for their lives. That was the solution. Too literally put the responsibility on kids to figure it out and wish them good luck.”
How many more must die before we say this is enough?
If you’re like me, then you’re probably suffering with compassion fatigue. Trying to keep up with the latest trauma is leaving even the most faithful feeling helpless and hopeless.
I’m tired of feeling this way. I’m tired of grieving for this insanity. The Bible doesn’t tell us not to grieve, but we must not grieve as those who have no hope. But this week, it doesn’t feel like that anymore.
As I searched the bible for a word of scripture that didn’t sound cliché, something jumped out at me that gave me a glimmer of hope. It was a name that I had never really noticed before. It’s from the lectionary reading for today. (Read Revelation 22:8-16 here.)
I think we can all agree with John who reminds us that the darkness is filled with evildoers, immoral people, murderers, liars. People who not only prey and kill innocent children but also people who turn a blind eye to it, or worse, gaslight it for political power.
No matter how bleak the world gets, no matter how dark the night becomes, we will always have light of Christ, our Morning Star, ushering in a new day.
For those of us who are in a dark place right now, here’s what I reminded everyone on Easter morning - God does some pretty amazing things in the dark. Between dusk and dawn, God is not asleep but hard at work. The psalmist writes, “He who keeps you will not slumber” (Ps. 121:1).
When we set our eyes upon the Morning Star, we are reassured that the darkness never wins. Death does not have the final word. God does.
In Christ, we know a new day is dawning, but not yet. This is the paradox of our faith. We long for a new heaven and new earth that Jesus promises. But until that day comes, we are called to navigate this dark space – by abiding in him, living out his word in the world.
That word is love. And that love is the light of Christ that shines upon us; exposing the darkness for what it really is. As the church, the very body of Christ, we must let his light shine brightly through us if we are to confront and conquer evil. This is no easy ask.
Thankfully, Jesus does not leave us helpless. He has armed with all the power of the Holy Spirit to tear down the systems of injustice, and destroy the idolatry of guns, power, and greed.
We have what it takes to demand sensible gun laws and to vote politicians out of office if they are unwilling to create those laws. We have what it takes to ensure every child has the chance to let their potential shine brightly. The same power that was given to Jesus himself has been give to us to transform a dark world into the loving light of God. But what good is that power if we only keep it to ourselves?
We can no longer stay silent, fearing the dark shadows. We must stand up and act out by shining the light of Christ on the real evils that are infecting our communities, our country, and this world.
If Easter has taught us anything, it’s that the night may rage for a time, but it will always succumb to the light. As it is written, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.”
During our time of suffering and pain, we are not alone. We have each other. And we always have the indwelling love of God with us. Whatever darkness you’re experiencing right now, I invite you to hold onto the truth that God is love, and such love is eternal. Just as love comes from God, so too does it return to God. When we die, we will lose everything that life gave us except for the gift of love.
The million dollar question is how will you use that gift of love today? How will you shine Christ’s light so brightly that people will be drawn to its warmth?
If you believe gun violence is a mental health issue, then what will you do to make sure that people receive the health care they need. If you are tired and worn out from living in fear of gun violence, then what are you going to do to put an end to it? If you think the life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness is important for us as a nation, then what will you do to ensure that every life gets a chance to experience it fully?
Jesus says, “See, I am coming soon; my reward is with me to repay according to everyone’s work.” What we do today, matters. In this sacred space of Anamesa, we must always remember that our actions, like Jesus’ own name, will echo throughout all time and space.
There is an eternity behind us. And an eternity ahead of us. But it’s here, in this moment, we expose the darkness for what it is by shining the light of Christ, our morning star, so that all of God’s children can live to see another day.
Inspired by a message by Bryan Chapell from The Hardest Sermons You'll Ever Have to Preach: Help from Trusted Preachers for Tragic Times. Zondervan. Kindle Edition, 2011.
Jesus answered him, “Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words, and the word that you hear is not mine but is from the Father who sent me. - John 14:23-24
If you have been a part of our church movement, then you know I talk about love ad nauseum. The reason behind it is simple. The world needs more love. We’ve tried the way of hatred and it has failed us. Maybe it’s time we try something different. So, until love becomes as natural to us as breathing, I’m going to continue to preach about it every chance I get.
We started this church on the founding principle of loving God, loving others, and serving both. This is not an original idea. In fact, some 50 years after Jesus’ death and resurrection, the Apostle John wrote these words.
READ John 14:22-27 here
This passage is part of Jesus’ famous farewell discourse. A tough talk our Lord has with his Apostles to prepare them for what was to come. He prepares them for the future by telling them to be mindful of the present. The way they do that is by keeping his words. If they continue to live into his teachings, Jesus assures them that God’s Spirit will always be with them. And wherever God is, so too is peace.
Historians believe this gospel was written sometime between the 80’s-early 90’s of the first century. A time when house churches like ours were popping up all over the Roman Empire. As Jewish Christians were being evicted from their synagogues, the fledgling movement had to find ways to define themselves, while defending themselves from abuse and attack. Jesus knew the best line of defense would be to stand firm in what he had taught them.
What was true way back then, is still true for us today. Empires still exist. People still attack one another in the name of religion. Hatred is still a thing. And the call to love is still our calling.
Jesus knows that even if the world no longer sees him in the flesh, they will see us making his love visible as we live out his words in that space between us and them. And according to John, this means keeping his commandments; washing one another’s feet; loving and serving one another.
Sallie McFague describes the Christian community as “midwives of divinity.” By making the words of Christ our own we are able to give birth to God’s love wherever we are. But here’s the thing. We can’t truly love God unless we love God’s world and all that is in it. The two go hand in hand.
With all the hatred and vitriol infecting our daily lives, it seems we’ve lost this sense of love, at least for our fellow human beings. When these first church communities came into being, love was thought of as “the giving of the self.” Today, it seems too be the opposite. We’re more focused on what we can get instead of what we can give. Jesus makes it very clear that love is the rule for living with God, and the best way to do that …is to live out his words - giving ourselves to one another.
Like I said, Anamesa was founded on the principle to love God, love others, and serve both. To achieve this, we will need the constant presence of God in our midst.
Let us not forget that the same Spirit of God that was given to Jesus himself is also given to us so that we can make God’s love visible just like he did.
Love is Anamesa. Love is how we fill the space between us and them.
Love must be the Spirit by which all that we do is done. Love must be the priority of anyone who claims the name of Christ.
Love is the power that can transform hatred, because wherever there is love, there is God’s healing presence.
Michael Curry describes love as “an action, with force and follow-through…it’s the only thing that has ever changed the world for the better.” Then there was Martin Luther King who said, “I have decided to stick with love because hatred is too great a burden to bear.”
If you need to remember anything from today, may it be this: choose love.
It is extraordinary power that propels us towards doing the work of Christ in the world. We’ve tried hate and it has failed us. Christ showed us, love wins.
If we want to see change in our world, then we must make love the epicenter of life because in the absence of a physically present Christ, it’s still the best way for others to experience and feel the indwelling presence of God’s grace in the flesh.
We are all living in a war zone where hatred, violence, greed, and selfishness breed nothing more than pain and suffering, mass shootings, and the suppression of minorities. In recent years we have seen a rise of racism, nationalism, and xenophobia. People are hurting and hating others because where they’re from or who they love.
Hatred has failed us. It’s time we do something new. It’s time to embrace Jesus’ love ethic. He taught us, by showing us, what complete love is all about – compassion, kindness, and infinite patience. Wherever we show these things, we know that Jesus is there too. Because those who keep his word, He and the Father, “will come to them and makes a home in them.”
Standing before a crowd of prisoners Johnny Cash said, “All your life, you will be faced with a choice. You can choose love or hate. I choose love.” We are standing at a crossroad and must decide which way to go.
Will it be the way of Jesus? Or the way of the world? Will we embrace what Jesus taught and make a positive change in our communities? Or will we convince ourselves that Jesus didn’t really mean what he said.
The church has enough hypocrites who say they “keep Jesus’ words” and yet their actions say otherwise. But I think Jesus would agree with me when I say you can’t stand for love, if you continue to support laws and industries that make money off hatred, fear, and violence.
Just as our Lord always put inclusion, justice, kindness, and mercy above his own needs, so to must we do the same for each other – especially for those who have nothing to give in return.
It’s in that space between us and them, we can hear Jesus say, “They will know you belong to me by the way you love one another.”
The world is looking for Christ. Who among us will bring him into being? Canadian poet Rupi Kaur wrote, “To hate is an easy, lazy thing. But to love takes strength everyone has but not all are willing to practice.”
Who among us is willing to take that risk of being hated and rejected by standing in Christlike love? Who among us is willing to leave the center and go to the margins, to be the visible presence of God to those who are suffering and mourning?
We all have the strength to love. But who among us has the faith to act?
This can be a difficult and scary decision. But let us not forget what our Lord said, “Do not let your hearts be troubled.”
Instead let us live in this moment, holding fast the Word of God who has come to us in the flesh, and make this space between a place where God’s heart is open to anyone who wishes to enter.
Bartlett, David L. and Barbara Brown Taylor, eds. Feasting On The Word, Year C , Vol. 2. Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2009.
Curry, Michael. Love Is The Way: Holding on to hope in troubled times. New York: Avery/Random House, 2020.
Another gentle reminder from the great Henri Nouwen:
“Listen to the Voice of Gentle Love”
“Listen to your heart. It’s there that Jesus speaks most intimately to you. Praying is first and foremost listening to Jesus who dwells in the very depths of your heart. He doesn’t shout. He doesn’t thrust himself upon you. His voice is an unassuming voice, very nearly a whisper, the voice of a gentle love.
“Whatever you do with your life, go on listening to the voice of Jesus in your heart. This listening must be an active and very attentive listening, for in our restless and noisy world God’s so loving voice is easily drowned out. You need to set aside some time every day for this active listening to God if only for ten minutes. Ten minutes each day for Jesus alone can bring about a radical change in your life.
“You’ll find it isn’t easy to be still for ten minutes at a time. You’ll discover straightaway that many other voices, voices that are very noisy and distracting, voices that do not come from God, demand your attention. But if you stick to your daily prayer time, then slowly but surely you’ll come to hear the gentle voice of love and will long more and more to listen to it.”
If I were to ask you to describe what heaven looks like, what would you say? Streets of gold? Ornate mansions? Everyone wearing white robes? My mother-in-law told me she believes heaven is an endless seafood buffet. But John makes it very clear that the sea is no longer.
Of course, Revelations is a book full of symbolism. You might recall me saying that the sea, or water, in ancient Hebrew texts is symbolic of chaos. So, according to John we can say good-bye to chaos, and suffering and pain. God is moving in making a home among us.
This should be good news. But I think too many Christians have kept heaven at a distance. A place we go to when we die. I’m not suggesting this is wrong. But if our focus is only on “going to heaven,” then there’s a good chance we might overlook the fact that heaven has already come to us.
If we are to believe the bible, then through the incarnate Christ, God has already come to us to usher in the kingdom of heaven. The way I see it, heaven is anywhere and everywhere God is.
Like I said, I believe God is here, propelling us forward in this sacred space called life. So, while it’s good to keep our eyes focused on what is to come, it should not blind us to what’s going on right now.
If you want to see heaven, then all you have to do is open your eyes and see God in your midst. But don’t just take my word for it. Sitting on the throne of God’s glory and grace, the Holy One declares, “I am the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end.” It’s between these two marks of time, God comes to us to dwell among us.
It is here, in the middle of the story, between the beginning and the end of our life, we’re called to live into our Christlikeness, our own incarnate goodness. We are called to live this way not because we are afraid of missing out on some great party in the afterlife, but so that God’s glory can shine through us right here, right now, in Anamesa.
There is a lot of hurt still happening, a lot of pain and suffering. There are a lot of people who are blind to their own goodness muchless the greatness of God. As followers of Christ, we are to give God glory by being the glory of God in all that we do if only so that others can see God in their midst and do the same.
Thus, we must always be mindful to the world around us, and our actions and reactions within it. Wouldn’t you know it, the Bible gives us some direction on how to do just that. The prophet Micah writes, “O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8).
Isn’t that what Jesus was all about? Isn’t he the poster child of justice, kindness, and humility? The gospels are filled with stories that support this claim.
watch the message here.
In Matthew 8, a leper approaches Jesus to be healed of his affliction. Because of God’s own law, this man has lost his family and friends, his job, and even his community. He’s been sent away to die alone, all because of his disease.
What we might think this is an archaic law, but it’s no different than how we treated people with different skin color, or who were inflicted with HIV? It’s what we continue to do with people with COVID. It’s been said, “A man is called selfish not for pursuing his own good, but for neglecting his neighbor’s.”
This weekend, there was another mass shooting which, according to the reports, was racially motivated. What unjust laws do we still protect that cause others harm? What unfair practices do we support that keep our neighbor from being made well?
Many preachers like to say, “What would Jesus do?” But I think it’s more important to ask, “What would I do to Jesus?”
What would I do to stop Jesus from becoming a victim of gun violence? Would I be willing to wear a mask or get vaccinated if I knew I could potentially infect our Lord? God has come to us, to live among us. Shouldn’t this say something to the way we “love thy neighbor?”
Also in Matthew’s gospel, the only judgement Jesus speaks of is based on what we do or do not do to the least of these. In other words, in the space between the Alpha and Omega, what we do matters.
As Jesus’ own life exemplified, there’s nothing more important in human life than to love and be kind to others. Like Mark Twain mused, “Kindness is the language that the deaf can hear and the blind can see.”
The leper approaches Jesus and says, “Lord if you choose, you can make me clean.” Jesus looks upon this man, sees what injustice has done to him, and simply says, “I do choose.” Jesus saw the leper through the lens of loving kindness which made him move with compassion to heal the man.
Although God’s own law states no one could touch a leper, Jesus placed kindness and mercy above the law. Shouldn’t we do the same? Isn’t our goal to be more like Jesus who humbled himself by putting this man’s needs before his own.
Jesus didn’t help the man for his own selfish ambitions, or so the leper would praise and worship him. Jesus did it so God’s glory could be seen and felt in the flesh.
We are given this moment to act with loving kindness so that God’s presence can be seen and felt in our hurting world. Where there is war, division, hatred, bigotry, racism, injustice, and greed Jesus invites us to live an incarnate life like the Holy One who is “making all things new.”
Just as heaven descends to earth, we are called to ascend beyond our own humanity to bear witness to the divine image upon which we were created.
To quote Jared Stacy, “The church is at its best when it offers the world a preview of God's future instead of longing for return to some mythic past.”
Between the Alpha and Omega, we are called to live like little Christs in the world where God is moving us forward with justice, kindness and humility. Here, in the corridors between heaven and earth, God’s love is made known to us, in us, and through us. But it’s up to us to let that love transcend beyond ourselves.
As you think about what this means to you, and what God is asking of you, let me remind you that this present moment is the only time that you own. This second is our only certain possession. Someone once described it like this, “Yesterday is a canceled check. Tomorrow is a promissory note. But today is cash in hand.” Spend it as if you are betting it all on God who gave all, to redeem and restore all.
Like the Apostle Paul wrote to the churches in Philippi, “Forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil.3:13-14).
As we set our sights forward towards a better heaven that is to come, we must not ignore our own heavenly call – to love God, love others, and serve both.
I hope that you will enter the next moment of time with the intention of loving one another as if you are giving your whole heart to the Holy One who gave everything on a cross for us.
If I have learned anything in my lifetime, it’s that the best way we can worship and glorify God isn’t by going to church. But by going out into the world as the church; the visible, tangible body of Christ himself.
We are not a building, a brand, or a program. We are God’s children, created from God’s great love, to be a living sacrament to the Holy One who makes all things new.
Bartlett, David L. and Barbara Brown Taylor, eds. Feasting On The Word, Year C , Vol. 2. Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2009.
Inspired by Henri Nouwen’s quote: “Just as a whole world of beauty can be discovered in one flower, so the great grace of God can be tasted in one small moment.”
I do not believe God forces us into faith but invites us into a relationship. We don’t have to accept this invitation. I believe God loves us no matter what we decide. With that said, I truly believe God wants us to choose good, to uphold every aspect of life.
a walk with our Shepherd through Psalm 23
The first smartphone I had was an Android that came with Google maps and an advanced GPS system. While those are pretty much standard on any smartphone, back then it was a novelty.
On road trips, my wife prefers to use actual paper maps to get us places. But during one trip to Tennessee, I chose to let my phone navigate us back to the airport. In a calm and reassuring voice, the magic phone lady said, “In 400 feet, turn right and proceed on route for the next 30 miles,”
Trusting technology, I followed her lead down a country road that zigged-zagged around the Smokey Mountains. A left turn here. A right turn there. A merge onto another small road. And then “the left.” As in the one that clearly screamed, “Uh-oh, this can’t be right.”
I didn’t need to see the “I told you so” look from my wife to know I made a bad choice. To call this a road was a stretch. It was more like someone’s driveway; the kind you see in horror films which never bodes well for the people in the car.
I think this is a perfect image of God. It’s poetic, pastoral and very personal. With the wonderful use of metaphor, the poet teaches us about the nature of God’s character. And what it means to choose God as our shepherd.
Life is full of choices, isn’t it? We even see it in this psalm which begins, “The Lord is my shepherd.” It’s so familiar to many of us that we might overlook the obvious. By claiming the Lord as his own, the poet made the choice to be with God.
Unlike real sheep, we’re given the choice to follow this Good Shepherd. Or follow the ways of the world. One demands and takes from me. Whereas the other only wants to give.
As the poet points out when the Lord is my shepherd “I shall not want.” Here’s the thing about sheep. They have a special bond with their shepherd. They know he only has their best interests in mind. If they are hungry, they trust he will feed them. If they are tired, they trust that he will watch over them while they rest.
In the same way, when we choose to be in a relationship with God, we too can count on God’s providence and provision to be upon us. Our shepherd knows what we need even when it’s not that obvious to us.
How many times have you been so focused on someone else’s welfare that you’ve ignore your own? The world makes me fend for myself. But the Good Shepherd “makes me lie down in green pastures.”
While the image of God making me do something contradicts the idea of free will, it does say something about God’s love for me. It tells me that God has my best interest at heart, making sure I take time to rest, refuel, and recuperate.
Between the pandemic, the economy and political turbulence around the world, most of us barely holding on. Stress, anxiety and fear have been leading us astray. A great reason to follow this Good Shepherd is not only does he make me find rest but that, “he leads me beside still waters.” In ancient Hebrew scripture water symbolizes chaos.
In the beginning God’s Spirit hovered over the chaos breathing life into the world (Gen.1). The Israelites crossed through the chaos of the unknown while fleeing Egypt (Ex 12). And remember how the disciples were blown away when Jesus calmed the stormy chaos they were facing (Mt. 8).
This shepherd wants us to follow him, through the chaos and fire of life to the very heart of God where peace and tranquility, the pure essence of God’s shalom awaits to “restore my soul.”
In case you didn’t know, God is all about redemption and restoration. This is good news because we sheep like wander. Our Good Shepherd faithfully and tirelessly pursues the flock to returns us to “the right paths for his name sake.”
Here’s another thing we shouldn’t be quick to rush over. When you choose to follow God's lead, be expected to walk in God’s footsteps. That means, if God’s way is love and mercy, then be prepared to show love and mercy towards one another. If God’s way is justice and fairness, then that should be reflected in everything we do or support.
watch the entire message here...some thoughts on Mother's Day are included like bonus material.
The Bible tells us that Jesus chose to live by this measure, even if it killed him.
By living into God’s righteousness, Jesus ushered in the kingdom of heaven, bringing salvation and restoration into the world. Jesus could face the worst of humanity because he trusted God enough to follow God's lead.
This poetic psalm gives us this assurance, “Even though I walk through the darkest valley I fear no evil for you are with me.”
We often read this poem at funerals because there is comfort knowing that God is with us and will not abandon us. But we should always read this poem because every day someone is walking through the darkest valleys.
This could be a physical space, like war torn cities in the Ukraine. But more often it’s a mental and spiritual darkness…where feelings of shame, guilt, and resentment lead to depression, anger and violence.
This psalm provides me with the assurance that God sees me even when there is no light. Everywhere I go, every space I enter, everything I do, this Good Shepherd follows me in my wonderings – to guide, provide, and protect me along the way.
So, let’s assume you choose to believe God is always present. How might that change the way you act or react towards another? I ask because the poet tells us God has “prepared a table before me in the presence of my enemies.”
Does this mean I’m sitting at the table while my enemies are looking from afar? I don’t believe the God of this poem is that small and petty. I believe God invites us all to the table, even those we hate, judge, criticize, and despise.
Most scholars believe the metaphor of the table conveys God's goodness and power. A feast which Walter Brueggemann describes it as “A surprising gift that ends all diets of tears." The Shepherd leads us all to this heavenly banquet so every last one of us can be loved on and spoiled by God.
The poet proclaims, “you anoint my head with oil,” which in ancient cultures is how one welcomed a person of great importance into their home. We are important to God. So much so that God will spare no expense to welcome us and spoil us until “my cup overflows.”
In this space between the pasture and the palace, there’s enough love, mercy and grace for me and you and everyone else. There’s much so that it spills out all over the place.
The world wants to take. But this Good Shepherd wants to give, give, give. No wonder the poet declares, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.”
God does not wait for us to seek or to call or make a choice. Instead, God pursues us - steadily, tirelessly, and faithfully for no other reason than to love us where we are.
This makes me wonder, who chooses who?
Like I said earlier, life is full of choices. From what to have for breakfast to what college to attend to whether start a family or not. Some choices are small. Others are huge. All pale in comparison to the choice God has already made for us…to redeem us and restore us in God’s heart.
Were would our faith be if we didn’t have a choice to accept God’s gifts? What good would those gifts be if we were forced to accept them?
This week, a woman’s right to choose what is right for her body is once again under attack. Because this has been mostly justified by other people’s religious convictions, I feel compelled to speak on this issue, as both a member of the clergy, and a co-founder of Anamesa.
I do not believe God forces us into faith but invites us into a relationship. We don’t have to accept this invitation. I believe God loves us no matter what we decide. With that said, I truly believe God wants us to choose good, to uphold every aspect of life - from the womb to the tomb.
I believe that God came to be with us, through a woman’s body, in the flesh and personhood of Jesus the Christ. I believe this act was done so that we could see firsthand what God’s transformative love is capable of doing.
I have never shied away from stating that I am pro-choice. As such, I choose life. I choose to live that life abundantly by following the way of Jesus, whom I believe is the living Word of God. But I also recognize that this is my personal choice. I do not demand or expect that it become yours. It’s not an easy or popular choice.
To follow the way of Jesus, means to stand up against war, poverty, guns, hate speech, injustice, bigotry, sexism, and anything else that stops a human from living a full life. This is my choice which I make not out of fear of damnation, but out of great love for the One who first loved me, and wants to spoil me.
Here in Anamesa, we do not limit a person’s choice – especially women – because we believe having a choice is what leads people back into an authentic, trusting relationship with a God who is bigger than our pettiness and politics.
Every woman, like every man, is given the choice: She can follow God's lead. Or be pursued by God her whole life long. Either way, God does not give up on her. Or you or me.
We are all God’s sheep, called not to follow blindly but willingly.
As the life, death and resurrection of Jesus has proven to us, there are no limits to God’s power to shepherd us home. All one has to do is look at a map to see the many different ways to get to the same airport.
Some of us will take the interstate, some the backroads, and the trails less traveled. But in all of these spaces, between the pasture and palace, God is always there to meet us, love us, and spoil us until every last one of us is brought back into the fold.
So each and every last one of us can boldly proclaim, “I will dwell in the house of the Lord, all the days of my life.”
An ex-copywriter turned punk rock pastor and peacemaker who dedicates his life to making the world a better place for all humanity.
"that they all might be one" ~John 17:21
“Prius vita quam doctrina.”
~ St. Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274)
* “Life is more important than doctrine.”