Post-Election Reflections

As so many people reflect on the meaning of this week’s election, the Rev. Dr. Sharon Watkins, General Minister and President of our denomination, offers these words (originally posted Nov. 9th): 

I lie down and sleep;

I wake again, because the Lord sustains me. Ps 3:5 (NRSV)
As we awake to this day after the election, some things have not changed. Whether we are rejoicing or we are feeling stunned and disappointed, the Gospel still calls us to love God first of all with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. It calls us to love our neighbor as ourselves. In the story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37), where the hero is the racial, religious minority, Jesus reminds us that our neighbor is the one, next door or around the world, who shows mercy. Jesus calls us to show mercy and to receive mercy. Jesus calls us to “love one another.” (John 13:34)
The Gospel does not change with an election; what the Gospel requires of us does not change. Jesus’ first inaugural address began with these words, “the Spirit of the Lord is upon me because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor…” (Luke 4:18) God, now and always, is on the side of the poor, and we who follow Jesus must be also. No matter who is in charge of our governments, we are charged with loving God and loving neighbor, even in costly, self-sacrificial ways. We are called to be loyal to the reign of God.
American Disciples, as part of a movement for wholeness, will no doubt struggle to regain our footing with each other in these immediate days. This was a bitter, divisive campaign. The echoes will continue to reverberate for a while. To those who are rejoicing, we recall “… but (if I) have not love, I gain nothing.” (I Cor. 13:3.) To those who are fearful this day: “Perfect love drives out fear.” (I John 4:18)
On this day, our job as disciples of Christ, is still the same as it was yesterday, as it will be tomorrow – to proclaim by what we say and what we do that God is a God of love, and we are people of love – for all God’s children. Our call is to work together for the common good, to welcome all to the table, people of all races, ages, gender identities, abilities, religions, and yes, politics, and to find ways to work together to extend to each other – across the whole human family – the abundance of a generous God.
No matter who won the election, this morning we Disciples were still going to be, and still are, a pro-reconciling/ anti-racist church. We are still a church that works tirelessly, led by Disciples women (clergy and lay), to end human trafficking. We are still a church that welcomes more refugees and immigrants than almost any other compared to our size. We are still a church seeking to offer grace and welcome to LGBTQ brothers and sisters. We are still a church that learns from and shares with Christian and interfaith partners around the globe. We are still a church that seeks to walk lightly on this earth, knowing that “all of creation waits for revealing of the children of God.” (Rom. 8:19). This morning we are still a movement for wholeness, seeking a community where nothing is broken and no one is missing, seeking to receive God’s gift of oneness already given to us in the life, death and resurrection of Christ Jesus. We are still a church seeking to be diverse but not divided in Christ, striving to be one in our love of God and our visible love for each other. We are still a church that will gather together at the Lord’s Table this Sunday celebrating our unity in Christ. And we are still a church, no matter what political affiliations we have, that will pray together each week, “Thy kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven.” And we will join our hands and hearts to make it so.

Building a Just & Inclusive Community

If your heart beats for a just and inclusive community that celebrates the dignity and equality at the center of Christ’s love, then you’ll want to know about some wonderful opportunities taking place in Springfield October 6-10.

Oct. 6, 1:00 p.m.
Pro-Reconciliation/Anti-Racism Workshop

layout.header.leftDrury University is offering a special half-day workshop on the critical issues of racism and systemic injustice, in partnership with the Pro-Reconciliation/Anti-Reconciliation Team. The afternoon will include speakers, video, interactive experiences and conversation. Attendees will learn to

  • Name and understand key terms/concepts related to racism
  • Describe contemporary and historic examples of institutional racism, white privilege, civil and human rights in the U.S.
  • Articulate a biblical foundation for justice ministry
  • Engage in informed dialogue about current issues of racism and reconciliation in the U.S. and in local communities
  • Begin to develop personal and community-based “Next Steps” to address systemic racism in participants’ own communities.
  • Participants in this workshop will likely be interested in the conversations on race in America that Lyle Foster is currently facilitating on Thursday evenings at Big Momma’s.

Location:
Drury University
900 N. Benton
Springfield, MO 65802

Oct. 7, 7:30 p.m.
sharonwatkins-small-225x300The Rev. Dr. Sharon Watkins, General Minister and President of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), will speak on understanding the role of church as being a movement for wholeness in a fragmented world. She is the author of Whole: A call for unity in our fragmented world. In the book, Dr. Watkins brings stories from her wide experience in Christian and interfaith circles, and she shares an invitation to live out God’s unconditional love that heals divisions and divisiveness in both North America and the global community. At the invitation of then President-Elect Barack Obama, Dr. Watkins preached at the National Prayer Service in Washington, D.C. on January 21, 2009, the day after his inauguration. She also served a term on President Obama’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships and offered the call to worship at the President’s second National Prayer Service in 2013.

Location:
Central Christian Church
1475 N. Washington
Springfield, MO 65802

Oct. 9, 10:00 a.m.
mjRev. Dr. Mark Johnston, Executive Director of the GLAD Alliance (Gay, Lesbian, and Affirming Disciples), will speak on the importance of providing inclusive places of welcome and hospitality for LGBTQ people. Dr. Johnston earned his Ph.D. in Pastoral Psychology from Boston University in 1993, and is a licensed psychologist in Massachusetts. He worked as a therapist with LGBT clients and their families for over 25 years before accepting the call as Executive Director of the Open & Affirming Ministry program in July of 2013. He now lives in San Francisco with his partner Shannon Halkyard and their stubborn and energetic Jack Russell Terrier Fannie Mae. He is an avid sailor, cyclist, and scuba diver, and wannabe linguist.

Location:
Brentwood Christian Church
1900 E. Barataria
Springfield, MO 65804

Oct. 9, 6:30 p.m.

© Jim Mayfield 2007

© Jim Mayfield 2007

Dr. Teresa Hornsby, professor at Drury University, will lead a conversation on her new book, Transgender, Intersex & Biblical Interpretation. Dr. Hornsby received her Masters of Theological Studies degree from Harvard Divinity School, as well as a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in New Testament Studies from Vanderbilt University. Her research centers primarily on the topics of sexuality and gender in the Bible. When not teaching, researching and writing, she brews beer and plays drums in a Riot Grrrl band.

Location:
Brentwood Christian Church
1900 E. Barataria
Springfield, MO 65804

Transgender, Intersex & Biblical Interpretation: A Conversation with Dr. Teresa Hornsby

© Jim Mayfield 2007

© Jim Mayfield 2007

Dr. Teresa Hornsby, professor at Drury University, will join us on Sunday, October 9 at 6:30 p.m. to lead us in conversation about her new book Transgender, Intersex & Biblical Interpretation.  Dr. Hornsby received her Masters of Theological Studies degree from Harvard Divinity School, as well as a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in New Testament Studies from Vanderbilt University. Her research centers primarily on the topics of sexuality and gender in the Bible. When not teaching, researching and writing, she brews beer and plays drums in a Riot Grrrl band.

Phillips Theological Seminary, a Disciples of Christ graduate school in Tulsa that trains ministers and leaders of the church, offers prayer in response to the death of Terence Crutcher

pts-logoPhillips Theological Seminary, a Disciples of Christ graduate school in Tulsa that trains ministers and leaders of the church, including Phil (’02) and Emily (’07), offers the following prayer in response to the death of Terence Crutcher, the son of one of its graduates. You can read the full post from the seminary here.

Prayer of Longing

In a time when some are left to wonder whether black lives matter,

In a time when children are killed and left in streets and on sidewalks

      well after their premature last breath,

You are present, O Spirit of God,

Groaning and sighing when words offer no solace.

God, you are present with everyone

Who hungers and thirsts for justice,

Who lives in fear,

Who grieves,

Who buries loved ones,

Who cannot breathe.

So too, God, are you present

With everyone whose hunger is satiated, and thirst quenched,

Who prioritizes comfort over justice,

Who chooses silence or distraction,

Who forgets to speak out, or who drowns out others with their speech.

O God, help us to see ourselves and each other

In the light of your justice.

Deliver us from the fear of who we might encounter.

Enable us to recognize our prejudices,

And give us ears to hear each other –

And by hearing each other, hear you.

Embolden us to make possible the hope of human dignity

Without diminishing real experiences of despair and suffering.

Pour out your Spirit on us, making us partners in justice

For a human community

Where no one doubts they matter.

Amen.

Rev. Dr. Mark Johnston, Executive Director of GLAD, set to speak at Brentwood on Oct. 9th

mjWe are pleased to welcome the Rev. Dr. Mark Johnston, Executive Director of our denomination’s open and affirming ministry program (“GLAD Alliance” — Gay, Lesbian and Affirming Disciples), as our guest preacher for worship on Sunday morning, Oct. 9th. Rev. Johnston will be in Springfield for our denomination’s Regional Assembly on Oct. 7-9, where he will be leading a workshop on the importance of welcoming and affirming LGBTQ people in the church, and we were able to work things out so he could speak at Brentwood while in town. We look forward to welcoming him at Brentwood! Here’s his bio, from the GLAD Alliance website:

Mark Johnston first encountered the Disciples of Christ when he enrolled at Texas Christian University. He has been an ordained Disciples minister since 1992, earned his Ph.D. in Pastoral Psychology from Boston University in 1993, and is a licensed psychologist in Massachusetts. He worked as a therapist with LGBT clients and their families for over 25 years before accepting the call as Executive Director of the Open & Affirming Ministry program in July of 2013. Mark now lives in San Francisco with his partner Shannon Halkyard and their stubborn and energetic Jack Russell Terrier Fannie Mae. He is an avid sailor, cyclist, and scuba diver, and wannabe linguist.

Guest Speaker at Journey Sunday School September 18

bob-minorAt 9 a.m. on Sunday, September 18, Dr. Robert Minor will speak on “Dealing with Religion When You Have Tried Everything and Nothing Seems to Work” (for LGBTQ folks and their Allies). A national resource for information on gender issues and gay/straight relationships for organizations, businesses, educational institutions, and media outlets such as NBC and USA today, Dr. Minor has been speaking, consulting and leading workshops for twenty years. He will be speaking later that afternoon at PFLAG on “Why Do Homophobia and Transphobia Keep Hanging On?” PFLAG meets at National Avenue Christian Church at 3 p.m.

Pro-Reconciliation / Anti-Racism Workshop — Oct. 6 at Drury

layout.header.leftPlan to attend a special half-day workshop on the critical issues of racism and systemic injustice, offered by the Anti-Racism/Pro-Reconciliation Team (Christian Church of Mid-America) in partnership with Drury University.

Here’s what you need to know:

Where: Findlay Student Center Ballroom, Drury University

When: Thursday, October 6, 1:00-5:00pm

Who: All are welcome, especially congregational leaders, clergy, youth and children’s ministry leaders, community leaders

What: The afternoon will include speakers, video, interactive experiences and conversation. Attendees will learn to

  • Name and understand key terms/concepts related to racism
  • Describe contemporary and historic examples of institutional racism, white privilege, civil and human rights in the U.S.
  • Articulate a biblical foundation for justice ministry
  • Engage in informed dialogue about current issues of racism and reconciliation in the U.S. and in local communities
  • Begin to develop personal and community-based “Next Steps” to address systemic racism in participants’ own communities.

Cost: $10/person (Drury University is providing space and support at no charge as our partner in this event, allowing us to keep the cost very low).

For question regarding registration contact the SW office of the Christian Church of Mid-America at ccmasw@sbcglobal.net or 417-865-0850; for questions regarding the workshop contact one of the following Pro-Reconciliation/ Anti-Racism Team:

  • Phil Smith at phil.minnie@yahoo.com or 573-221-7376
  • Rev. Margie Pride at memblvdcc@sbcglobal.net or 314-776-1669
  • Rev. Kathyrn Wilson at kathryn@southjoplindisciples.org or 417-624-2522
  • Rev. Joe Jimerson at joe.jimerson@prodigy.net or 573-808-3756
  • Madeline Haraway at mharawaydesigns@sbcglobal.net or 314-771-0975
  • Rev. Martha Jolly at martha.j.jolly@gmail.com or 573-999-6356