Churches in the deep rural were decades ahead of what churches in larger towns and cities are experiencing now (numerical decline and struggles with building maintenance), and they may be decades ahead of us in how to be church. The discipleship coach model of congregational empowerment is one that we need to consider as a creative possibility and not a sign of defeat.
The police brutality and systemic racism that Floyd suffered, the wildfires in Northern California, and the low air quality in this country are just some of the harsh impacts of the climate crisis that have affected the planet even before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. This climate crisis illustrates our disconnection from our Self, from Nature, and from the planet Earth.
https://media.mywtenfold1.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/10/2020/09/14113248/jojobird.jpg315315Layton Williams/wp-content/uploads/sites/10/2016/01/NEXT-Logo-FINAL-Horizontal_lato-1030x229.pngLayton Williams2020-09-14 11:36:332020-09-14 11:36:33Reconnecting with Self, Nature, and the Planet
We evangelize self-help as salvation. The much quoted/much maligned “pick-yourself-up-by-your-boot-straps” is the end result of a culture that places heavy expectations on what you can do on your own, and specifically as a means to explicitly call against systemic change that may dare to entitle someone to something they may or may not deserve.
https://media.mywtenfold1.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/10/2020/09/08100257/logan-weaver-UoXvjzgTOyk-unsplash-1-scaled.jpg17062560Layton Williams/wp-content/uploads/sites/10/2016/01/NEXT-Logo-FINAL-Horizontal_lato-1030x229.pngLayton Williams2020-09-08 10:04:162020-09-08 10:04:16Self-Help Individualism Helps. It Cannot Stop the State From Murdering Black People.
Whether it’s navigating emails, phone calls, texts, push notifications, news channels, or web sites, involuntary over-excitement sums up the challenge I feel the need to lean into today. But where do I start? I have to make conscious, consistent decisions, otherwise the “cares of the world” in the Parable of the Sower will too easily “choke the word” as I am overwhelmed with the scope of voices vying for my attention. Thinking of the above verses from Hebrews, I am struck with the notion of being “surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses”. Who are the witnesses I can listen to and learn from?
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Do we even believe that a new creation—namely we people of GOD—is possible? Do we believe the good news of Emmanuel (God-with-us)? Do we want to be changed? Are we willing to let go of who we think we are for who we are created-to-be? We are a people created to desire justice, peace, and right relationships with all of creation as we all live in the DIVINE who simultaneously lives in us?
In many ways, border crossings performed by refugees/migrants today is an act of resistance against nation-states who consider it their absolute right to decide who may or may not enter their borders. Refugees are resisting not having voice or visibility by breaking the silence and showing up in huge numbers at international borders, even in the midst of the current pandemic. While this kind of resistance may not be enough to improve their situation or change the system, at the very least they hope to raise awareness that something needs to be done. I believe our God struggles with them as they travel through liminal spaces.
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My privileged rest has the opportunity to take up Jesus’ yoke and be there for those who cannot find a way right now. For those who are fretting. For those who are frustrated. For those who feel powerless. For those who are disenfranchised. I need to listen, learn, and be present where possible to extend Jesus’ grace in solidarity to bear the burdens of my siblings in Christ and neighbors. I know my skills and resources, and I know I am blessed. I can do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with my God.
https://media.mywtenfold1.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/10/2020/08/14090018/ana-cernivec-ZzFUHsc9PCo-unsplash-scaled.jpg17102560Layton Williams/wp-content/uploads/sites/10/2016/01/NEXT-Logo-FINAL-Horizontal_lato-1030x229.pngLayton Williams2020-08-14 09:03:312020-08-14 09:03:31What Is Your Yoke?