From My Reading – January

“Our communion of saints is not dependent on whether or not we live in the same neighborhood or like the same news channel. Our unity in Christ, our being a part of the communion of saints, is not dependent on whether or not we share the same theological perspective or fully comprehend each other’s lived experiences. Rather, the only thing our unity in Christ, our being a part of the communion of saints, is dependent upon is God. Period. And God has made us a part of the large communion of saints together, the body of Christ together, because that is what God does. And God has yet to ask our permission to do it. As people who follow Jesus, it is just who we are” (Shannon J. Kershner, pastor of Fourth Presbyterian Church in Chicago).

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“Rene Girard, the founder of mimet­ic the­o­ry, dis­cov­ered a sim­ple yet pow­er­ful pat­tern detectable in all inter­per­son­al rela­tion­ships, claim­ing that ​imi­ta­tion is the fun­da­men­tal mech­a­nism of human behav­ior.” In oth­er words, we become and we behave like the peo­ple with whom we keep com­pa­ny. This is why, with both warn­ing and encour­age­ment, St. John wrote, ​Beloved, do not imi­tate what is evil but imi­tate what is good” (3 John 11). The bap­tized lifestyle is the art of imi­tat­ing the Mas­ter Artist, the one who both cre­at­ed all things good, and the one who is restor­ing good­ness to all things. It is this god­ly mis­sion of good­ness that gets reflect­ed in chil­dren of God as they prac­tice the art of imi­tat­ing Christ”(Eric Peterson in the Renovare Weekly Digest for Jan. 4-8 website).

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“Fight for the things that you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you” (Ruth Bader Ginsburg)

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There are forces today in America trying to divide people along racial lines. There are forces today that are still preaching hate and division.  There are forces today that want us to return to the old ways, to lose ground to take our eyes off the prize.  It makes me sad, for we don’t want to go back. We want to go forward and create one community – one America.

The journey begins with faith in the dignity and worth of every human being.  That is an idea with roots in scripture and in the canon of America, in Genesis and in the Declaration of Independence.  The journey is sustained by persistence – persistence in the pressing of the justice of the cause.  And the journey is informed by hope- hope that someday, in some way, our restless souls will bring heave and earth together , and God will wipe away every tear” (John Lewis in the Afterword of Jon Meacham’s book His Truth  is Marching one, John Lewis and the Power of Hope).

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“My preaching professor in seminary gave his students this charge: help folks hold two seemingly opposing truths, one in each hand. [For example, we] cannot be unafraid; we need not be afraid. The storm is real; Jesus is here. This is hard work, holding them both. Let nothing trouble you or frighten you; we live in terrifying times. For the one who has God lacks nothing; we long for a peace, fellowship, unity we do not have. God alone, God alone, God alone is enough. May it be so” (Kate Kooyman, Reformed Journal: The Twelve).

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“The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members, a heart of grace, and a soul generated by love” (Coretta Scott King).

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“If the God you believe in as an idea doesn’t start showing up in what happens to you in your own life, you have as much cause for concern as if the God you don’t believe in as an idea does start showing up.  It is absolutely crucial, therefore, to keep in constant touch with what is going on in your own life’s story and to pay close attention to what is going on in the story of  others’ lives.  If God is present anywhere, it is in those stories that God is present. If God is not present in these stories, then they are scarcely worth telling” (Frederick Buechner in Whistling in the Dark)

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