Sacrificial Lambs and Scapegoats
Remarks delivered at the Witness for Peace footwashing ceremony at the gates of Aero Contractors earlier… Continue Reading
Date: Advent 1 – Dec. 1, 2013
Focus Text: Isaiah 2:1-5
To take Isaiah’s words to heart is to envision a world without hunger, poverty, war, violence, or fear. The prophet’s oracle challenges our endless pursuit for bigger and better weapons, the perpetuation of hatred and violence, the ever-widening gap between the rich and poor, and our insatiable appetite for more resources and power.
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.
From Acts of Faith: Free Lectionary Resources for Prophetic WorshipDate: Pentecost – May 19, 2013
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.
From Acts of Faith: Free Lectionary Resources for Prophetic WorshipDate: 4th Sunday in Lent – March 10, 2013
Click here for a free download of our new 2013 social justice study for Lent: Preparing the Way. This simple 10-page document combines traditional Lenten themes and Bible passages with contemporary issues including hunger, care of creation, and immigration. We invite you to join us in this season of reflection and preparation.
On April 6, state religious leaders and activists will remember Jesus Christ’s suffering and death and the suffering and death of immigrants coming to this country in an “Economic Justice Way of the Cross.” The North Carolina Council of Churches is a co-sponsor of the event which takes place from noon to 2 p.m. at the N.C. State Capitol.The Good Friday commemoration of Jesus’ suffering and death will be linked with the need for justice, immigration reform, a change in US trade policies, and an end to US support for the war in Afghanistan and Colombia. Money needs to be spent on food and economic development instead of war, according to Gail Phares, director of Witness for Peace Southeast, the event’s primary organizer.
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 April 1967, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke at New York’s Riverside Church about the war being fought by the U.S. in Asia at that time, in Vietnam. His words remind us of the choices we now face about war and peace at home and abroad. Click here to download the bulletin insert celebrating Dr. King’s life and work.
Thanks to all of those who supported Abraham Jam and the wonderful performers who made it happen. We hope to have links to additional video from the concert soon, but for now, here’s a sneak peek provided by the Duke Chronicle.You can also listen to Frank Stasio’s interview with musicians David LaMotte, Dan Nichols, and Dawud Wharnsby from the Nov. 16 edition of WUNC’s The State of Things.
The church of which I’m a member, Pullen Memorial Baptist in Raleigh, has had a partnership for many years with First Baptist Church in Tbilisi, the capital of the Republic of Georgia (formerly part of the Soviet Union). The pastor with whom we’ve had the closest contact, Malkhaz Songulashvili, has now become the Archbishop for Baptists in Georgia. (You did not read that wrong. Baptists in the Republic of Georgia have bishops and an archbishop!) Malkhaz was at Pullen on November 13 to preach and lead in the celebration of Eucharist.
Malkhaz has been courageous in his advocacy and practice of nonviolent action as Georgia has gone through its “Rose Revolution,” which moved Georgia away from authoritarian government and toward democratic reform. The Church of England honored his leadership in September 2005 when he was awarded the Lambeth Cross by the Archbishop of Canterbury.
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.
As the “Super Committee” begins to negotiate a deal to cut $1.5 trillion from our national budget, the faith community wants to be sure that our North Carolina congressional delegation – Sens. Richard Burr and Kay Hagan as well as our 13 representatives – remember the calling of the God of all creation to provide for the common good. As the Rev. Dr. James Forbes, a native North Carolinian and senior pastor emeritus of New York’s Riverside Church reminds us, budgets are moral documents that determine who eats and who starves.
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.
In one month, our country will mark the 10th anniversary of the attacks on our nation on 9/11. Many denominations, faith groups and religious organizations have prepared materials for use in community gatherings and worship services in congregations – click here for links to those resources. You will also find pastoral care materials and age appropriate resources for children.
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.
DURHAM, N.C. — It’s summer. It’s hot. It’s the South.
That must mean it’s time for an old-fashioned camp meeting.
Starting Thursday, the bygone staple of the tent revival will be reincarnated on a bucolic North Carolina farm as The Wild Goose Festival. Nearly 10 years in the making, the festival is an attempt to reimagine Christianity for the 21st century under a bigger, wider more inclusive tent.
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.
Torture conference logoOn March 25 and 26, 2011, the Duke University Divinity School in Durham, North Carolina will be hosting a conference on torture. This two-day event aims to equip participants to understand the arguments against torture and to prepare them for anti-torture advocacy within their own communities, trusting that the greatest protection against the U.S. government’s use of torture is a shared understanding that torture is always wrong.
The MIC @ 50 conference will take place on January 14-16, 2011, on the campus of Guilford College in Greensboro, NC. There is no charge to attend. The purpose of the event is to bring the MIC back into the spotlight as a key factor shaping our society and public life.
NC Policy WatchIn recent days, the Internet has been abuzz with revelations brought to us by “Wikileaks” of comments that were never intended to be public. Meanwhile, George W. Bush is touring to promote his new book, enthusiastically admitting that he violated international and US law. As the US government calls for accountability for Mr. Assange of Wikileaks, it must consider the applicability of its own words to other situations.
Do you have a background in fundraising? If you answered yes, the head to the link and apply for our Fund Development Coordinator position today! twitter.com/ncchurch…
When we join together in unions, we can get a seat at the decision-making table and more say about how we're paid, our healthcare coverage, work environment, and other things that matter for our families. Join @RaiseUpfor15 tomorrow morning to stand up for what's right & just. pic.twitter.com/tJhR…
Tomorrow our newest issue of E-news will be hitting your inbox fresh off the press with the latest Council news, events, and resources! Haven't subscribed? Sign-up at the link: ncchurches.org/email… pic.twitter.com/P7Sa…
READ: More evidence showing that life-saving treatment for opioid addiction is available & urgently needed, but federal restrictions are causing barriers to access. #ncpol #ncga #OpioidCrisis twitter.com/Health_A…
Do you think #NC should expand Medicaid? On Thursday, June 6, come hear from 2 legislators who will discuss & share differing perspectives on whether to #CloseTheGapNC. westpreschurch.org/e… pic.twitter.com/yNh6…
RT @RaleighStrike @SierraClub @NCIPL @climateparents @lisahoyos All great action steps. So is joining us May 24th #FridaysForFuture in Raleigh at Halifax Mall from 1-4 to let our leaders know we want them to #actonclimate! @350Triangle @SierraClubNC @CleanAirMoms_NC @ZeroWasteNC #ClimateCrisis
RT @NCIPLYL Rishi Ranabothu recently met with Michelle and amazing and the energetic staff at @ncchurches and @NCIPL Raleigh office after interview with @YES_forum. They took time off their schedule to greet me and I look forward to meeting them again at future events! #faithinaction pic.twitter.com/gSOk…
RT @ClimateReality With new temperature records being set each year, droughts and floods getting ever-more intense and more frequent, and sea levels rising, for many millennials, the climate crisis is becoming a deciding factor in whether to have children. nbcnews.to/2E1x7hK
RT @DalaiLama Honest concern for others is the key factor in improving our day to day lives. When you are warm-hearted, there is no room for anger, jealousy or insecurity. Healthy, happy families and a healthy peaceful nation are dependent on warm-heartedness.
RT @evanlweber How many U.S. Senators have read the IPCC report? Any scientific paper about climate change at all? A climate change book? The most powerful people in the country know next to nothing about the true magnitude and severity of an existential crisis facing human civilization.