During this COVID outbreak, I frequently call to check in with Trinity’s older members who are quarantining. This week, I spoke with a retired pastor who attends Trinity. I always enjoy talking with Dale. Perhaps he’d told me before, but I’d forgotten, that his older sister is also a retired pastor. In her mid-90’s, I remarked to him that she must have been quite the trend-setter. Indeed, he confirmed that she faced much opposition and an uphill battle from the moment she verbalized her ministry call… which would have been in the 1950’s! Women weren’t supposed to be ministers in the 1950’s. It was a man’s job. God called men, right? After all, the New Testament tells women to be silent in church.
Fortunately, today, women are welcomed as pastoral leaders in many Christian denominations and churches. Welcomed because people understand that 21st century American culture is very different from the ancient Mediterranean world. We recognize that women are not property, nor are they inferior to men.
To truly live according to scripture, we need to understand scripture. To understand scripture, we need to understand the differences between our cultures. A great deal of our New Testament epistles or letters contain contextual theology, an early evangelist’s instruction/responses to people asking questions or facing challenges specific to their lived experiences and context. If we do not understand the intersection of culture and theology, we’ll make inappropriate applications that don’t fit our cultural experiences and context. Worse yet, they may cause spiritual pain and harm to those whom God loves.
This Monday, July 20, is our monthly Fusion gathering at Trinity. The speaker will be Jason Conner. Jason arrived at Trinity two weeks before COVID shut-down. I’d say I’m amazed he didn’t give up on us (because he’s never seen our sanctuary with more than 45 people in it!), but it’s become pretty clear to me that Jason doesn’t give up easily. A gay man, he’s faced a lot of rejection and judgment from churches over the years. Yet, he has such a deep love for Christ and the Church that he has endured, wisely recognizing that God is more welcoming than many who claim to represent God.
I invite you to come and hear Jason’s inspiring story this Monday, July 20, at 6 p.m. on Trinity’s south lawn.
Fusion is a once-monthly gathering offering an alternative experience in Christian community. It’s designed for individuals who might describe themselves as “spiritual, but not religious” and as seeking a sense of community, but may not be attracted to traditional, or even contemporary, church worship services.
Fusion features a speaker sharing a personal story based upon a specific topic and a bible (sacred) story connected to their own experiences. At the conclusion of the speaker’s narrative, participants are invited to join in “table talk” to share their personal stories and perspective in a facilitated, small group setting. Fusion concludes with a free meal. You are invited to connect, discover and grow within this community.
Can’t physically make it to Fusion? It’s live streamed on our Fusion Facebook page.
[Check out my new Twenty at Twilight weekly video post. Twenty at Twilight airs each Wednesday from 8:40 to 9:00 p.m. It is a quiet, reflective way to end the day praying the scripture. View on Trinity’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/TrinityUMC509 This week’s post: https://www.facebook.com/TrinityUMC509/videos/3109484055805564
Also, check out my new book Companions on the Journey: Foundational Spiritual Practices available through Wipf and Stock (https://wipfandstock.com/companions-on-the-journey.html) or contact me directly for a signed, discounted copy.
Contact me regarding spiritual direction at firstname.lastname@example.org]