Posts Tagged ‘Acceptance’

Beautiful Hearts

April 2, 2017

We attended the Trans Day of Visibility: Rally for Equality. I confess, I know and understand very little about the journey of transgender persons and what they have been through, though I know many and am educating myself by studying, listening to their stories, respecting their presence and rights, deliberately seeing them, and loving them. While I can never fully understand, I can understand better. As it was said at the Rally Friday, it is up to me, up to us to do the work of study and educating of ourselves to try and better understand what our transgender friends and family are going through and have been through. I am working on that, I want to better understand so I can be a better pastor, ally, advocate, friend, … a better person in my loving of all of God’s children…all of us.

trans

Speakers at the rally shared stories of loss and pain. Friday I heard not just stories of bullying and hatred, but witnessed it firsthand. I listened as speakers shared of youth and adults who have ended their lives because of religion, culture, and society who diminish and belittle who and whose they are, and I was moved to tears. I can only hope to somehow understand a small fraction of the pain and fear they have encountered on their journey, but I can be here for them as they make that journey, we can all be here for them as they make that journey. Transgender persons and their journeys, though filled with tragedy and pain, fear, risk, and struggle, are courageous and beautiful, all of them.

I think of that familiar passage about the anointing of David when God shares that God looks upon the heart. I can honestly say, the transgender persons I have encountered and come to know, have beautiful hearts of grace, compassion, courage, and love. I have much to learn from my transgender brothers and sisters that already has and will continue to deepen my understanding and walk with them as well as my walk with God in Christ. I am grateful and I look forward to a new journey each morning!

For our church, here at College Hill. The first of the year I had the congregation fill out note cards expressing what they loved about CHUM, why they came, what was our purpose. I shared those responses in our newsletter and we will be visiting them at our next Extended Council meeting. While we want to be aware and attentive to all the responses, the overwhelming nature of the responses had to do with our open, loving, welcoming, and inclusive posture and vision. We will be focusing on that and talking about how we can better share that message not only with our current membership but with our city and Annual Conference.

I want to emphasize my place here in this writing in that I stand with and will advocate for transgender persons, and gay, lesbian, bi-sexual persons, and those regardless of sexual orientation, race, gender, and age who are marginalized and oppressed. It is my passion, my vocation, my calling, and I believe what and who God with Christ has called me to be in this world so filled with brokenness, bigotry, hate, and exclusion.

I implore our society, city, state, country, and religious communities, to stop the discrimination and hate. Sit down with someone, talk less and listen more to the stories of those who simply want to live authentically as they were created to be. Here at CHUM, we are, and can be even more of a beacon of justice, grace, wisdom, and love. It is a beautiful way to join the beauty of this diverse tapestry of us God has created. Join me won’t you?

It is one of the many ways we seek to be faithful to the Spirit and one another here at the Hill, where you are one of the community, the whole community of God’s children!  Here where there is always an open door, a safe space, a warm welcome, and a place at the table.   Until next week, God bless, and know you are never alone.

Pastor Kent

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Practicing Presence

February 6, 2017

Mozart, our Shar-Pei, is a lover so to speak. He loves affection and attention. Ignoring him is usually not an option. He loves to be loved. Our car Frodo, on the other hand, is a one person cat for the most part. He sits on TruDee’s lap if he sits on lap at all. It only takes a look from me to cause him to flee across the room, he pretty much doesn’t want anything to do with anyone or anything except TruDee.moz-and-frodo

He will acknowledge our two dogs as long as it’s his idea and not theirs. Mozart really wants to interact with Frodo, but most of the time Frodo is not having it. I noticed the other evening Mozart scooting across the floor close to Frodo. Mozart finally stopped and simply lay his head close to Frodo and just waited.

Perhaps he learned this from our older dog Simeon, I have often referred to Simeon as my Zen master. Simeon for the most part is about presence. He doesn’t need a lot of attention or petting, he is generally content just laying or sitting near you in a, “I’m here,” presence.

I think about so many instances and situations in our culture and society, our state and nation, our government, politics, even in the church and I wonder what we might learn from such an example of Mozart and Simeon? It seems to me there is so much incivility, vitriol language, intolerance, lack of understanding, and too much talking at one another rather than listening.

I wonder, if we focused more on the practice of forgiveness and grace, a practice of a patient listening presence rather than how we are going to respond in accusation or proving another wrong and we right, if our world, our churches, and our lives might be a little more open to the common good for all? I wonder.

Take some time this week and beyond to consider how we could all spend a little more time on inward reflection on our own behavior and reactions. Take some time this week and beyond to reflect on how we all might practice patience and an intentional listening presence to understand rather than to be right.

Mozart’s attempt at practicing presence did not result in a new best of friends scenario, but perhaps it will lead to a more understanding and friendly relationship between two who must live in the world together peaceably and gracefully. Practice patience. Practice presence. Practice Love, Kindness, and Humility.

It is one of the many of the ways we seek to be mindful of the Spirit and one another here at the Hill, where you are one of the community.  Here where there is always an open door, a safe space, a warm welcome, and a place at the table. Not Your Ordinary Church. Until next week, God bless, and know you are never alone.

Peace and Light…and Presence for Your Journey!

Pastor Kent

From Prejudice to Acceptance

February 27, 2012

I walked down to Dillon’s the other day to get a salad to bring back to the office for lunch. At the corner of the parking lot behind the wooden fence at the corner of the parking lot was a man evidently sleeping off the night before in a bed of fallen leaves and dirt. As I crossed the parking lot and into the store I wondered about him, how he ended up in that particular place, if he had a home and if so how far was he away, when was the last time he had had something to eat.

I stepped to the salad bar and filled my container as my mind continued to wonder about one asleep, cold, and alone on the ground. I really ought to do something. But, what if he is violent? What if he doesn’t want any help? What if he isn’t asleep at all but worse? My mind considered all kinds of possibilities and reasons not to do something. I snapped the lid shut on my salad and turned to go to the checkout line.

I stopped, turned back around and went to the deli. I picked out a prepared sub sandwich, a bag of chips, a candy bar, a bag of almonds, and a bottle of water. I checked out and started back through the parking lot wondering if he would still be there curled up in the corner. Stepping down off the retaining wall and around the corner there he was unchanged from moments ago. I reached in my pocket and pulled out a five dollar bill, all the cash I had on me, and put it in the grocery sack. I stepped a bit anxiously onto the leaves next to him and said, “Excuse me.” He didn’t move at first, then slowly opened his eyes squinting at me in the bright noonday sun. “Here is some lunch for you,” I said as I sat the sack down close to him. He didn’t say anything, just closed his eyes again. I stepped away and continued on my way back to the church.

I wondered if he would remember I was there or if he would wake up and wonder where the heck this sack with sandwich and water came from. I pondered my own reaction and response as I considered what if anything to do. I considered why my mind had thought of so many reasons not to do anything. I suppose there is always a place for a little healthy caution and wariness and at the same time I really had no reason to think he would do anything but accept the offer.

I do that a lot I think, I suppose we all do now and then when confronted with those situations out of our comfort zone. We err on the side of caution when perhaps the better choice is service and compassion. It is not always an easy choice or decision to make and one needs to be safe. And yet sometimes that becomes rationalization for our own fear, our own bias, our own prejudice, and keeps us from a posture and attitude of acceptance and grace.

For our second Sunday of Lent in the Sermon Series “Breaking Free; The Kindom Experiment” we will be considering those things that incarcerate us in prejudice and bias and look for ways to break free to acceptance and understanding as we reflect and practice moving from “Prejudice to Acceptance.” Join us this Sunday and we continue to journey of the Way.

It is one of the many ways we seek to be faithful to the Spirit and one another here at the Hill, where you are one of the family. Here where there is always an open door, a safe space, a warm welcome, and a place at the table.
Until next week, God bless, and know you are never alone.