In his keynote at the 2017 National Gathering in Kansas City, Dr. Soong-Chan Rah discusses the changing landscape of our culture, how that affects our churches, and how the dominant gaze of white culture continues to divide and disconnect us from our neighbors.
In her sermon at the 2019 National Gathering in Seattle, Rev. Dr. Kelle Brown preaches on the subject “Bitter,” referring to the name Naomi claims for herself in the book of Ruth. Attending to the truth told in this sermon might be a practice to consider this Holy Week as an individual practice of devotion, or with a small group.
In their testimony at the 2019 National Gathering in Seattle, Heidi Husted Armstrong and Scott Lumsden talk about the story of First Seattle Presbyterian Church. This 30-minute video is a resource for any church group – the session, committees, or teams – to dig into what it takes to transform into the new thing in which God is calling them.
In her testimony during the 2016 National Gathering, Jessica Vazquez Torres offers a strong challenge to the church to get serious about addressing the evil that is racism in meaningful ways. This 30 minute video is a resource for leaders and congregations who are already talking about race, racism, and white supremacy and want to lean into that tension.
In her reflection on the theme of “Woven Together” during the 2019 National Gathering, Tasha Hicks McCray talks about the need for our tightly woven circles to be broken open and torn apart as an opportunity for God’s grace to enter in. Tasha poses several questions that are crucial for individuals and the church to consider.
NEXT Church gatherings – local or national – seek to connect leaders to one another, to spark imagination, to offer an honest reflection about the challenges confronting the church, remind us that God’s Spirit is up to something, and encourage us to see possibilities to which we had been blind before.
I believe that power, all power, comes from God. Not only is God love, God is power. I think that understanding this truth helps us understand why power can be positive or negative.
Reflecting on a theology of power has challenged me to re-evaluate and re-calibrate my ultimate distrust and rejection of power. My calling to follow after Christ and proclaim healing to the nations is woven together with a God-given power and sacred agency to participate in that restoration.
While we may not think of power as something “dirty,” neither do we consider it to be more than a tool of last resort. We prefer to live in the world as it should be, rather than in the world as it is. As a result, we feel that the rightness of our ideas and arguments ought to be enough to carry the day — and if not, if carrying the day requires the use of brute force, then there must be something wrong with our ideas and arguments.
There is power in making the choice to stop and notice our neighbor. There is power in recognizing that we are all broken, we all need mercy. There is power in relationship, in community, and in hope.