From the Pastor
To say that we are living in politically complicated times would be a bit of an understatement, don’t you think?
First Christian is, to use an increasingly popular term, a purple church. That is, some of us voted blue, some of us voted red. (Of course, some of us voted some other color entirely, or didn’t vote at all, but you get the idea.) In some ways, being a purple church is really hard. We aren’t quite sure how to talk to each other these days; we’re nervous about offending someone we care about, wondering how we can possibly see things so differently.
In other ways, though, it’s really good news. In a time when our country feels completely divided between us and them, purple churches like ours have something deeper that holds us together. We’ve always valued the diversity of opinions within our community. One of the things we hold dear is that we can disagree and still come to the table together. That hasn’t changed. Still, it’s not easy, so here are a few thoughts on being a purple church in such a time as this:
Have a conversation. Find somebody you respect and with whom you disagree (I promise you can do both) and invite them to talk. In person, not on Facebook, over a cup of coffee or a meal. Don’t assume that you know everything about what the other person thinks. Do assume that they have the best of intentions. You might not change each other’s minds, but you’ll learn something and you just might understand each other better. Need a conversation partner? I’m available.
Respond, don’t react. The rapid-fire pace of the news, and social media in particular, make it easy to read a headline and react with outrage or fear. Read the whole story. Make sure it’s from a reputable source of journalism and not just online click-bait. Then figure out how to respond: maybe you respond by learning more about the issue, or you pray about it, or you write to your legislators. Knee-jerk reactions exacerbate tensions; thoughtful responses from faith-led people can change the world.
Remember who we are. At a time when words like justice, compassion, and welcome have become politically-loaded terms, it’s easy to forget that these are the very ideals that make us who we are. We value these things not because we voted for one candidate or another, but because we are created by a God who calls us to welcome the stranger and look out for the needs of the most vulnerable among us. We are followers of the Christ who came to free the oppressed, feed the hungry, care for the sick, and include the excluded. We are guided by the Spirit who leads us back to the table each week where we share the feast of God’s abundant grace.
If we hold onto those truths and let them guide us in all that we do, I believe that our beautiful purple church can be a gift to the world.
Glad to be walking together with you,
An update about our music transition:
As you know, we’re in a period of transition with regard to our music staff, following the departure of Jody Henley and Genie Jones. I’m grateful that Carol Burnett is serving as our interim music director and organist, and I am looking forward to working with her for the next several months. With input from the Personnel Committee and the Worship Ministry Team, I’ve put together a search committee consisting of Eleanor Bray, Patti McDonald, April Murray, and Troy Desselles.
We met recently and spent some time thinking about the role of music in our worship life, and our dreams for the music ministry at First Christian Church. Over the next several weeks, we would like to hear from you: Members of the search committee will be attending a variety of small groups (Table Talk, Agape, choir rehearsal, Table Topics, Vintage Bunch, youth groups, etc.) to gather input, and if you miss one of those, there will be an listening session on Sunday, March 5, following worship.