Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Questions…

Sorry for what will be an unusually short letter this go around. Though it’s summer, still the schedule is moving on and we have work to do and ministry to plan and ministry to do and God to love and serve and…thanks be to God! For hands that are busy, and hearts that can rest.

Still, I wanted to get your feedback on an idea that the Board and I had during our most recent meeting. I was asking them about what they wanted to think about as a church during the fall, in worship and sermons and more. “What are the questions that weigh on your hearts,” I asked. “Those that you’ve wanted to think more about, but haven’t gotten to you yet?” “Well,” someone responded, “I wanna know what to think about a God we praise and love for God’s Creation, and yet so many still war and suffer?” Good question! “Well,” another responded, “I wanna know more about why, when we’re trying so hard to be good and follow God’s ways, still we have pain and run into trouble?” Good question!

And that got us to thinking that other people, in our church and beyond, are probably wrestling with such thoughts too. So what if our sermon series for the fall, and perhaps other church activities, took on these tough, tricky, hard but important questions? Could we handle that?

Answer: Of course we can! Plymouth Creek is a place, I believe, folk can ask hard questions. We don’t fear doubt. We don’t enforce one way of thinking. We honor freedom and intimacy, and trust God wants such full faith from us. So I’m in the process of gathering from friends and church members a list of ten or so questions that matter for people of faith. They could be sticky ones that have hung around for years, or centuries. They could be the silent ones we sometimes dare not to ask, but feel we could and should, or at least want too. They could be questions that other faith communities haven’t dared to bring forth, but since we’re a community of openness and care, we feel we’re up for the challenge. Questions like- Isn’t religion always violent? How can anyone know the will of a supreme being? Why are Christians seen in broader culture as anti-gay or oppressive to women? Are we?

Thus, this letter. I’m hoping for your feedback on the idea itself. If it sounds dumb or lame to you, please tell me! Or if makes you a little nervous but a lot excited, let me know that too! And, assuming we make this plan, I want to know the questions that are on your mind. Send me an email, pull me aside after church, give me a call. We’ll schedule coffee or lunch, perhaps, and just talk together. I love that! Then, as a community, we’ll tackle some sticky, tough issues, and so be better people of faith for it. Plus, I plan to advertise to the community on our church sign and perhaps other places what the “question of the week” will be for the upcoming Sunday. Therefore, I’m hoping that we think together not just about those questions that challenge us, but our neighbors too. That way our worship and church life together will be an opportunity for outreach, invitation and mission, as well as our weekly fellowship and support to one another. After all, the questions of faith are the questions of humanity, to whom God sent the Son to show a better way. And God has called God’s people to invite their neighbors on that journey with love and respect, so that through all our questions, a beloved community can form. I’m looking forward to how that journey continues this Fall. Thanks be to God!

Grace and Peace,

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