When we read the book of Joshua, we typically focus on the physical land that the characters in the book are seeking to inhabit. I think we also learn through the book that God thinks openly and creatively as it relates to who can be in relationship with God and whom God chooses to use in the process of blessing God’s children.
Much has been written lately about our subtle, invisible idols. These false gods manifest themselves when we put our politics above the gospel, the U.S. flag above the cross or our cultural assumptions above the values of Christ’s Kingdom.
It was the thirteenth time I preached the “May Meeting” at this lovely church. I’ve watched as their membership shrinks each year. I want to be of help to them, but I live nearly 500 miles away. It is unlikely my preaching there three or four times a year will bring much change.
Churches throughout the U.S. are dealing with transition. When younger generations of people attend, they typically only attend half as often as everyone else, and they want their relationships to intersect with multiple other aspects of their lives, not just within the walls of a church building.
I sent word I could not attend. There was an important meeting. Attending the reunion would mean traveling for three consecutive weekends. That would mean driving thousands of miles; and, like me, my car was aging.
Earlier this winter, 48 years and one week after my younger brother Dennis died from injuries sustained in a car accident, my two siblings and I, along with our families, made a memorable trek to north Missouri. It began as a journey. It turned into a pilgrimage. Something holy took place. It was life-giving, emerging out of tragedy and loss.
Last year, I was in a meeting with Rev. Paul Msiza, the South African pastor who is president of the Baptist World Alliance. In a Q&A session with some church leaders, he mentioned that pastors in the U.S. might want to consult the Kairos Document (KD) issued in 1985 by a group of mainly black South African theologians in response to the vicious and demeaning policies of apartheid.
One of my favorite movies of 2016 was a science fiction film called “Arrival.” The movie follows a linguist and a physicist who are brought in by the U.S. military after alien ships appear on multiple continents around the globe.