Things To Think About This Week

Our minds bend toward worry.  How do we use our anxiety productively? Can we direct our fear toward something we can control?  Yes. If we worry about those in need following Hurricane in Florence, we can help those who are suffering in tangible ways.

The new technology that connects and improves our lives is destroying the privacy, security, and safety of real communities.  Our virtual lives make us vulnerable.  How can you take control of your vulnerability?

Outrage is necessary when confronting evil.  Some things in this world are outrageous.  When you see it, call it out.

It can happen here.  It is happening here.

Better isn’t only a goal for politicians and priests.  Better is for each of us, today.  We need to hold ourselves to higher standards.

There are too many places on the planet in political, social, and environmental peril.  It is important those of us touched by hurricanes and erosion talk with those impacted by typhoons and earthquakes.  Our lives are intertwined.   All is not well in this world. None of us is ready for Bishop Elon Musk to establish the Martian Missionary Annual Conference.  We are needed here.

The irrelevance we (as individuals or churches) sometimes feel is not the relevance we experience.  Our lives mean more than we realize or are willing to admit.   Go read your Baptismal vows.

The church is an old idea, an ancient model, trying to survive in challenging times.  We need to talk about Reformation; not as a catchphrase or cliché.  It is time for systemic change.  Every five hundred years or so, the church seems to demand an overhaul, from the bottom up.  Now is the time for Reformation.  However, Reformation is not synonymous with regression.

To resist ecclesial change is to ignore the political, economic, and social upheavals occurring all over the world. The church, beyond the international level, pretends it is too inconsequential to influence the global movements demanding change from governments and entrenched bureaucracies all over the world.  This is not true.  Our conversations in local churches are also reflective of more substantial shifts occurring at the global level.  If we limit one, we impede the other.

The world is not a place we remember one Sunday a year, one Sunday a quarter, or after we receive a particular e-mail from the conference or a general board.  Engagement is our full-time job.  In most cases, our global commitment is a part-time position.    We all suffer as we wait for the next headline from Syria, hurricane, or earthquake. Is something more significant happening, something more disconcerting than we realize?

An echo chamber never lies.  I will prove that I am not an echo chamber.  The world is a painful, sometimes crummy place where the good guys often lose.  If I were an echo chamber, I’d have painted a much rosier picture about the Holy Spirit making all things right. Beware of echo chambers.

What if the way we think of church, Bishops, the Bible, Annual Conferences, committees on ways forward, FBI investigations, the United States Senate,  the Judiciary Committee, and the Supreme Court is part of the problem?

We are the problem we’re trying to solve.

Rev. Richard Lowell Bryant