Updated 9/7/2017, 9/20/2017

The news reports from Texas, the Carribean, and Florida continue to give us reason to pause. Hurricane season is in full force. Harvey, Irma, Jose, and Maria are impacting millions of individuals. Natural disasters are impacting people around the globe. People in Sierra Leone have experienced torrential rains, mudslides. In each of these disasters families and individuals have been displaced, homes have been destroyed, and life has been lost. In the midst of any natural disaster, we can wonder, “what can I do?”

It is easy to get overwhelmed by information.

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A Response To Racism

Over the past several days I have been asking myself the question, “Why do we act surprised that racism still exists?”

I don’t want racism to exist, but I live in a culture that cultivates it. Where I grew up, racism was present. I graduated from high school with it. Although I have worked my entire ministry to fight it, at the moment I feel I have had very little impact in ridding the world of it. I have not ignored its existence but every time racism raises its despicable head I feel myself from deep within react with “Not again! I thought we were beyond this.”

We have been through too many Charlottesville events over the past several years. Whether a gathering of white supremacists demonstrating their right to hate, a massacre in a Charleston church, a young black man shot on the street in Cincinnati, the beating, shooting, harassing of black men and women not only on the street, but in their cars, in police “paddy” wagons, in classrooms, courtrooms, and office rooms.

Why do we act surprised?

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Late Saturday, August 12, 2017, Tim shared the following message with pastors in the Capitol Area South District – West Ohio Conference of the UMC. 

What is our Response?

The reports that have come out of Charlottesville today are unbelievable and unspeakable. The event today is the latest event drawing white nationalists and alt-right-wing activists from across the country to protest. Today it was Charlottesville’s decision to remove symbols of its Confederate past. At least 1 person is dead and 34 people were injured in regard to the scheduled rally.

The events of the day are disturbing and disgusting.

The question I ask is the same question I have asked before: What is our response to such despicable activity?

When I heard the news, just like when other events of terrorism and violence occur, I recall the words of Paul in his letter to a church in Ephesus:

Charlottesville Ephesians Transforming Mission“Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power. . . so that you may be able to withstand on that evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.” –Eph 6:10-12

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This is the sixth in the series, “Who Will Name Reality?” This week Tim explores opening our eyes to live at a deeper level.

Preference or Purpose?

We live in a changing world. Uniformity and consensus are being replaced by individuality and diversity as the connective tissue in our communities and personal relationships. We have begun to place more importance on preferences and less importance on the mission and purpose of our congregations.

We live in a time when we have divided ourselves into positions around a number of issues. Each issue is good within itself, but the issue is not the purpose. We have begun to see those persons who disagree with us as enemies. Although it seems extreme, in many cases we have moved to destroy those who stand in the way of what we believe and desire.

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This is the fifth in the series, “Who Will Name Reality?” This week Tim offers a reality check.

Is Perception Reality?

While I read the Gospel lection for last week, Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52, I was thinking about the phrase, “perception is reality.”  I think that most people think their perception is correct, on most, if not on all issues.

The reality is our perceptions are way off…our perceptions are often not reality.

The scriptures help us see reality, especially in regard to relationships and spirituality. In this parable, maybe all the parables in Matthew’s gospel, names reality within his context.

Taking that truth, we can name reality as well.

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