In 2016 the United States welcomed 85,000 refugees; so far in 2018 we have received less than 21,000. And the cap for 2019 will be the lowest cap on admissions since the program began in 1980. The secretary of state says it’s about “prioritizing the safety and well-being of the American people.” It sounds to me like the studies on generosity are still right: we’ve got too much – affluence and/or fear – to be willing to share.
For a lot of folks these days, that cross on your necklace might as well be a neon billboard declaring that the sermon being preached to everyone you meet is saying, “We don’t want people like you in the Church.”
At our annual Preacher Camp, it is pastoral ministry, with all the contextual uniqueness six churches can offer, that brings us to the table. An ancient truth, still challenging and comforting a hungry and hurting world, gives us a common hope and keeps us together.
The U.S. presidency is, first and foremost, a position of spiritual leadership. Tragically, this president has wielded his spiritual influence to incite and divide.
What do you do with a skeptic who’s not so sure of the concept of God but believes the Way of Jesus should change the world? You make a deacon of him, of course! And when he dies, what do you say? How honest can you be?
If our culture is devoid of moral depth and lacking in spiritual integrity, how could such a culture recognize a prophet to begin with? “Prophets are not without honor, except in their country,” or so said Jesus not long before they killed him.
It is a confusing time, but one thing is crystal clear to me: if committing an adulterous affair with a porn star, if that kind of morality and that kind of character is “completely irrelevant” to a Church that has always said exactly the opposite, there is another thing that will be “completely irrelevant” to today’s culture — and that is, sadly, the Church.
Between these two disheartening poles, it’s not the muddled mush of some middle ground I’m seeking — which makes staking a claim to “free and faithful” even more difficult.
Since that disturbing Oval Office pronouncement there have been thousands of opinions written across the political spectrum, endless hours dedicated to punditocracy in the marketplace, countless words of pulpiteering offered by the Church. And I’ve been afraid to speak.