Yesterday we celebrated Palm Sunday. It is a day of triumph, but that triumph is short lived. Even though John places the entry into Jerusalem after this story, the story of Mary anointing Jesus with pure nard, a perfume, which Judas understands to be of great value, this is an important story for us to hear as we move toward Easter. Palm Sunday reveals Jesus' calling to be the victorious but humble king (Zechariah 9:9), the path leads through death, and therefore it is appropriate that Jesus be prepared for that move.
Monday, March 30, 2015
Sunday, March 29, 2015
Everyone loves a parade. It doesn’t matter if it’s the Rose Parade or a Fourth of July parade. We love the floats and the bands and the candy thrown to the kids by the paraders! Maybe you’ve been in the parade. You marched in the band, walking what seemed like miles, trying to play your instrument while keeping your feet in proper motion and your lines straight. Maybe you rode on a float, which in a small local parade might be the back of a pickup, or simply walked down the street waving a flag.
When a team wins a championship, the city will host a parade so that the people can celebrate their team. The players ride by waving to the screaming fans, while confetti falls from tall buildings. Of course, the joy doesn’t last long, because teams rarely repeat their big wins.
Most parades send messages. A Fourth of July Parade celebrates patriotism, while a championship parade celebrates the superiority of one’s team over its rivals. As that old song from the 70s puts it: “We are the Champions of the World!”
Friday, March 27, 2015
Yesterday the governor of Indiana signed a "Religious Freedom" law that essentially gives businesses and others the right to discriminate against LGBT folks on the basis of their religious beliefs. Indiana is one of many states that is enacting legislation in anticipation that the Supreme Court will strike down gay marriage bans.
My denomination, which is based in Indianapolis and is scheduled to hold our 2017 General Assembly in Indianapolis had threatened to move the General Assembly elsewhere if it was signed. In a letter sent to the governor, together with the Presidents of the Division of Overseas Ministries and Division of Homeland Ministries, Sharon and her co-signers declared:
Thursday, March 26, 2015
It has been fifty years since the events of the Selma march. That being said remnants of the past linger. Segregation may not be legal, but it still exists in subtle ways. Tonight in Detroit we have the opportunity of listening to voices and hearts and begin to heal the wounds of the past so we can go forward. The Detroit Clergy Gathering has invited the Metro Coalition of Congregations to come together for conversation and commitment to a new future. In the civil rights struggle. Persons like myself -- persons who are white and male -- have stood as allies. But, we must admit that we have not experienced discrimination. We've not faced the prospect of being pulled over by the police simply because of our color. We have not be denied voting rights. I stand as an ally, but I have much to learn.
With that, I will be sharing a prayer in the event. In light of this, I thought I would share this video that will, I believe, be shown this evening. It does capture the spirit! If you're in the area tonight, join us!!
We have a long way to go, but we shall overcome.
In The Spirit of Selma from Zachary Cunningham on Vimeo.
Wednesday, March 25, 2015
While the vast majority of Latinos are Roman Catholic, great numbers are leaving the fold. Many "defect" to Protestantism, especially Pentecostalism. This is true both in the United States and in Latin America as a whole. There are a number of reasons for this, but it does point out important areas of concern for all of us. It is not movement from one tradition to another that is the biggest concern -- it is secularism and even more worrisome, indifference. I invite you to read and respond to Martin Marty's thoughts.