Jesus taught us to love everyone, and whether or not we like them has no bearing on it. Christian love is not about emotions, it is about grace. Christian love does not come with a Hollywood soundtrack, but rather with the sweaty brow of hard work.
In an annual tradition, here is the customary Epiphany Proclamation, to be read out at services today and shared with the faithful. Since I am not serving in a parish, I am pleased to share this with you, dear reader, here on 7WD.
Back in July, an article on evangelism and race was the cover story in Christianity Today (“Dear Pastor, Can I Come to Your Church?”). The author set out to answer a vital question, “Do Christian churches in the United States actually welcome people from different racial and ethnic groups?” Turns out, the Episcopal Church does not have a good record on race and evangelism.
I pulled a blogging muscle in the run-up to General Convention last spring. Of course, I don’t mean a literal muscle. Just got a bit worn out, so I’ve had a rest. But it’s time to write again! As soon as I get all the cobwebs cleared, I’ll have more to say on the usual topics and maybe some new ones.
We’re looking at four structure resolutions today. Three resolutions are to restructure executive council, to reduce the number of standing commissions, and to reform our budgeting process. We’ll also look at a resolution on provinces. Time is short, but I’d like to share a few brief thoughts on these resolutions.
Now is the time. If you are a bishop or deputy, pray earnestly. Be bold! Be not afraid! If you are not here at convention, pray for your bishops and deputies. Reach out to them and share with them your hopes for action for the sake of the Gospel.
In any case, after dinner and dessert, I arrived back in my hotel room only to notice sixteen more resolutions now posted online. Zoinks! I’m sure there will still be even a few more coming. Anyway, here are the latest resolutions.
A Facebook friend asked what he should binge-watch next. Knowing that he’s a serious church nerd, I naturally suggested the upcoming General Convention. Did you know that’s an option? Sure, it’s not on Netflix (yet), but you can still binge-watch hours and hours of worship and deliberation from the General Convention.
You know how it’s all crumbs when you get to the bottom of the cereal box? Well, Tangled Up in Blue has reached that point. Now I’m not saying that the resolutions are crummy! Just like those crumbs, which are still delicious (if a bit soggy), these resolutions are as delicious as the others. But these are bits and pieces, odds and ends.
The two most important things we can do to work for peace in the Holy Land are to engage (if possible, by visiting and by making pilgrimage) and to pray for the peace of Jerusalem. This is actually the most important thing. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem. This will change our hearts and, I believe, the hearts of people throughout the Holy Land.
We haven’t used memorials in a while, which explains why plenty of bishops and deputies had forgotten that such a thing exists. Gay Jennings has been among those urging the revival of this venerable instrument. Memorials provide a way to shape conversation without resorting to resolutions. At their best, memorials can guide our whole church into new places.
We are considering resolutions which might bring about transformational change in our church, in many lives, and indeed in the whole world. When we preach the Good News and share it, when we take seriously our work as disciples of Jesus Christ, all sorts of good things happen. Yes, parliamentary procedure can lead to all this. We’ll be looking at three great evangelism resolutions from deputies in this post.