Time to Take a Knee
It has been nearly fourteen months since Colin Kaepernick first knelt during the playing of the… Continue Reading
Rev. Cody Sanders, Ph.D. candidate in Pastoral Theology and Pastoral Counseling at Brite Divinity SchoolThere is something in these furious, feverish words that beckons beyond a simple description of what life will be like if you choose to follow a peculiar call from Jesus and your closest friends and family don’t. Beyond description, there is something of a call in this passage trying to work its way inside of us. These words beckon us beyond a recounting of our inevitable losses on the journey, to embrace our sacred calling to disturbers the peace.
Rep. David Price (Binkley Baptist Church, Chapel Hill)Religious ideas are crucial, both to understanding this history and to dealing with its current manifestations. Realism as to people’s sinfulness and will‐to‐power figured directly in the Constitution’s checking of political power—Madison in The Federalist sounds like a good Calvinist—but taking such beliefs to the extreme can erode all trust and hobble democracy. As for current politics, as Jim Wallis asks in his new book, why should Christians believe in sinless markets any more than they believe in sinless governments?
This workshop on energy policy is also a continuation of Rev. Fletcher Harper’s plenary session (available here) at the 2013 Legislative Seminar. Harper is Executive Director of GreenFaith, a New Jersey-based non-profit committed to building environmental leadership among people of faith. He is also an Episcopal priest.
Sojo.netJesus was a peacemaking, blessed child of God, but he also was an “other.” Reviled and persecuted, he was the paperless son of displaced immigrant parents. The prophetic iconoclast. That guy who hung out with those people, the type most modern leaders would not associate with, except for a photo opportunity at a Thanksgiving Day soup kitchen. Let us remember on Sunday when we celebrate his resurrection, that Jesus was crucified because he was an outsider whose way of doing things scared and angered the powers-that-be.
Durham Herald-SunThe ballot referendum that could cement the definition of marriage as “the only domestic legal union” into the state Constitution has turned a political debate into a religious one — and is mustering people of faith across North Carolina to the polls.
Raleigh News & ObserverWe would not have chosen to be a part of an issue like this, but we are. The world is watching North Carolina to see what we will do. There is compelling evidence that conspiracy to commit kidnapping and torture were committed by Johnston County’s Aero Contractors. The state should investigate these claims and determine their validity.
In his recent Washington Post op-ed article entitled “The Values Debate We’re Not Having,” Richard Cizik highlights the disconnect between an individualist market-first ideology and the Christian calling to love our neighbors. Cizik represented the National Association of Evangelicals in the corridors of power in Washington DC for 10 years. I think he’s raising some crucial questions for all people of faith, across the political spectrum.
Interfaith Dialogue is a crucial endeavor in light of the increasing religious diversity in our nation and our own communities. Globalization is a wondrous, yet in some ways perplexing reality, and it brings us into ever more frequent contact with persons of other faiths. While at one time the dialogue between Christians and Jews was common and we often spoke of our Judeo-Christian heritage, that conversation has necessarily expanded to include our increasingly numerous Muslim neighbors and we now speak of the Abrahamic Faiths. We are becoming increasingly aware of Buddhist, Hindu and Native American neighbors as well as persons of other religious traditions. It is imperative that we acknowledge, understand, and appreciate each other for the sake not only of civility, but because all our religious traditions require hospitality of us.
When a distinguished group of Muslim Imams published their historic “A Common Word Between Us and You” it was met with resounding expressions of appreciation by religious and secular leaders alike. It was an effort to initiate a broad dialogue across the United States between Muslims and Christians. It focused on two central themes which these two historic faiths hold in common: Love of God, and Love of Neighbor, and it sites the many texts of the Hebrew Scriptures which are venerated by both religious traditions. It seemed inappropriate to engage in such a dialogue without including our Jewish colleagues from whose faith tradition these texts originated. Hence, a three way dialogue was seen as the best approach.
The General Assembly met for three days last week in its second mini-session following adjournment of the regular long session. This session was supposed to be the “Constitutional Amendments Session,” but when the dust cleared, only one constitutional amendment had been approved – the one which defines marriage so as to exclude people who are gay or lesbian not only from marriage but also from civil unions or other similar committed relationships and which could also prevent local governments and even private companies from granting partner benefits to anyone not in a two-gender marriage
The North Carolina General Assembly has met for its third time this year. This was to be the “Constitutional Amendments Session,” but when adjournment was reached yesterday, the only constitutional amendment which had been passed was the one excluding people who are gay or lesbian from marriage, something that is already statutory law in our state.
Pictured left, St. Paul’s Chapel became a refuge for rescue workers after September 11.The tenth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks is next month, and it happens to fall on a Sunday. The NC Council of Churches has already posted some resources for worship planners, and there are a couple more links at the end of this blog. We also want to make you aware of community services which are being planned.
While it is true that central to Christian theology is the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, it would be erroneous to reduce the whole of Christian theology to a set of beliefs. If one surveys the gospels, then a person will find Jesus both expounding upon theology and liberating people. For those who were sick, he cured them of their sickness. For those who were blind, he gave them sight. For those who were saddened, he comforted them. Jesus gave concrete solutions to the problems that people faced in the 1st century and did not merely offer them a set of beliefs.
In a community of Christians, the hopeful possibilities present in conflict will only be realized when we deal with the tension in a productive way. When a congregation faces conflict openly and directly with the people involved, there is a good opportunity for the situation to result in positive change and closer relationships between people. When conflict is handled in a way that cuts off communication and silences questions, the conflict can escalate and become destructive.
Building community is the most effective (though perhaps least dramatic) way to resist divisive rhetoric that demonizes the ‘other.’ It is much easier to caricature people we don’t know. It is hard not to challenge stereotypes when one’s own personal experience and relationships contradict them.
The News & ObserverAll the conflict raging about the Wake schools for the past year and a half came spilling out Wednesday night when a panel of federal civil rights investigators heard testimony – often heated – in an East Raleigh church.
The hearing concerned a complaint against Wake Public Schools, filed with the federal education department by the state NAACP. An estimated 200 people nearly filled the fellowship hall at Martin Street Baptist Church, with speakers making emphatic points on both sides of the issues.
On February 21, 2011, a conference on “Christian Conviction and Cultural Accommodation” will be held at St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Church in Greensboro. The conference will begin with Dr. Robert T. Osborn, former professor at Duke University, speaking on The Barmen Declaration, a theological protest against German National Socialism. Then there will be conversation on Christian witness, in the public arena, without accommodating to the prevailing culture.
Letters to the Editor, Raleigh News & ObserverI have the pleasure of serving on the board of the N.C. Council of Churches. I agreed to serve on the board because the council reflects many of my life’s values. The council’s website states: “The Council enables denominations, congregations and people of faith to individually and collectively impact our state on issues such as economic justice and development, human well-being, equality, compassion and peace, following the example and mission of Jesus Christ.”
I hope you had a chance to see NC People this past weekend. I was honored to be invited to be one of Bill Friday’s “people.” It actually started as part of the Council’s 75th anniversary last year, though it didn’t make it to the airwaves (an outdated term, if ever there were one) until now. Bill Friday celebrated his 90th birthday last summer. Even if you are new to the state, the hoopla surrounding his birthday would have made you aware that he is one of the state’s giants. I don’t know that there’s anybody alive today who is more respected or beloved or who has had more impact on the state for a longer period of time.
NC Council of Churches Executive Director George Reed appeared as Bill Friday’s guest on UNC-TV’s NC People on Friday, January 7. The program also aired Sunday, January 9. George spoke with Mr. Friday about the Council’s past as well as its future, discussing the Council’s work for social justice and the role faith communities and people of faith can play.
Stan Kimer, newly elected Council president, was interviewed on WUNC’s The State of Things on January 6. In his conversation with host Frank Stasio, Stan spoke about the Council and its work, including priorities for the upcoming legislative session. Listen to the interview by clicking here.
The protesters from Kansas have come many miles to spread their hatred at Elizabeth Edwards’ memorial service. Let us be clear: the Bible calls us to kindness and respect for one another, and Jesus Christ preached throughout his life that we should love one another. The protesters’ appalling and repeated violation of the sacred services by which we honor our dead, along with their representation of themselves as messengers of Christ, are offensive and misrepresent Christian faith.
I strongly encourage people of faith who feel so led to contact your senators and urge them to support ratification of the New START treaty, which will reduce the US and Russian stockpiles by 30% and allow on-the-ground inspections, suspended last year as the START I treaty expired, to resume.
In light of data recently released in the Wikileaks documents regarding the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, a group of pastors, priests, theologians and seminarians has issued a call to preachers to address the acts of violence detailed in those documents, and their failure to live up even to the standards of Just War theory.
The American IndependentThe NC Council of Churches on Thursday strongly endorsed the right of Muslims to build a community center near the site of the 9/11 terror attacks in New York City. “We stand with our Muslim brothers and sisters in affirming their right to build on a site two-and-a-half blocks from Ground Zero,” the council said in statement unanimously adopted by its governing board at its meeting this week in Greensboro. The statement comes as controversy flares around a TV ad being aired by North Carolina Republican congressional candidate Renee Ellmers.
The North Carolina Council of Churches represents 6,200 congregations in 17 denominations statewide. The North Carolina Council of Churches condemns all religious violence. As people of Christian faith, we value a teaching common to the Abrahamic faiths, which in the Christian tradition is expressed as “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” As Christians in a nation largely founded by religious refugees, we value the freedom of religion guaranteed by our Constitution and proudly proclaimed worldwide as a foundational principle of United States government and society. For freedom of religion to have substance and integrity, it must extend to people of all faiths.
What: Clergy Breakfast on Health
When: Thursday, Aug. 26, 8:30-10am
Where: St. James AME Zion Church, Goldsboro (206 S. George St.)
Why: Discuss opportunities for clergy to improve their health as well as the health of their congregants through PHW and other faith-based health initiatives.
In a letter to a friend in the spring of 1776, John Adams said, “We may please ourselves with the prospect of free and popular governments, God grant us the way. But I fear that in every assembly members will obtain an influence by noise rather than sense, by meanness rather than greatness, and by ignorance and not learning, by contracted hearts and not large souls. There is one thing, my dear sir, that must be attempted and most sacredly observed, or we are all undone. There must be decency and respect and veneration introduced for persons of every rank, or we are undone. In a popular government, this is our only way.”
RT @healthandfaith “The question today is what can you do in your church, family, & community to help prevent addiction.” Thanks to Rev. Frank Lassen of HighLife 252 @ Source Church for actively promoting #harmreduction! #opioidcrisis #OpioidAwareness
RT @healthandfaith “If churches can open their doors to those struggling with #addiction, this would help so much.” When we put faith into action, people feel the #love & #compassion, and we save lives. #harmreduction #opioidcrisis #opioidawareness
Help us celebrate our anniversary! In 2020, the Council will turn 85 & to celebrate our rich history, we plan to commission a mural. Please share this request for proposals within your networks! bit.ly/2ZAixWM
Thank you Kitty Hawk UMC for letting us into your space to speak about the #opioidcrisis & #harmreduction. We are grateful for partners who are spreading compassion & #opioidawareness in our communities. #NC pic.twitter.com/SyyQ…
“If churches can open their doors to those struggling with #addiction, this would help so much.” When we put faith into action, people feel the #love & #compassion, and we save lives. #harmreduction #opioidcrisis #opioidawareness
“By opening up our sanctuary, I’ve formed a bond of trust that I’m there to love on them.” The faith community is here to provide compassion & love judgment-free to ALL. #harmreduction #opioidcrisis #opioidawareness
“The question today is what can you do in your church, family, & community to help prevent addiction.” Thanks to Rev. Frank Lassen of HighLife 252 @ Source Church for actively promoting #harmreduction! #opioidcrisis #OpioidAwareness