The IM Saturday Monks Brunch: June 29, 2019
ANGLICAN IMMIGRANT INITIATIVE…
With the refugee situation on our southern border rising to such prominence this past week, it is refreshing to read this:
For the two last years, the Church of St. Clement (Anglican) in El Paso had opened its doors monthly to house 30 of the many Central American asylum seekers pouring into El Paso, TX in search of safety and rest.
Once a month they pick up several vans full of those requesting asylum and provide them three days of a safe place to sleep, food to eat, showers, clothing and even toys for the children. Then they help these individuals and families connect to their sponsors and to the place where they will await their asylum hearings. While the seekers are at the church, they are given Spanish New Testaments and receive prayer from on site intercessors. If they are still there by Sunday morning, they attend the Holy Eucharist at Rey de Paz, St. Clement’s Spanish-language congregation.
When St. Clement’s began this ministry, they were helping meet a practical need. Today, they are trying to address a crisis. Each day, 300-700 asylum seekers pass legally through the US Border checkpoint in El Paso. Then Immigration and Custom’s Enforcement (ICE) loads them up into buses and drives them into El Paso’s downtown, and drops them off with no further assistance. While the federal government does have money allocated for the purpose of housing asylum seekers, as does the United Nations, the funds are blocked from use due to the complex US political debates around immigration. Consequently, ICE has requested that the churches and non-profits of El Paso help; St. Clement’s is one of the churches that answered the call.
While the national debate on immigration rages, how do we respond to an immediate crisis? When the vestry of the Church of St. Clement was asked permission to begin this ministry, they prayed for a month, and then voted unanimously to approve it. “It didn’t matter that our immigration system is broken,” explained Rector Bill Cobb, “the ‘refugees’ that are released by ICE and granted temporary legal status tell stories of the profound human need and desperation that led them to journey to the United States. We are reminded of Jesus words, ‘whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’ (Matthew 25:40).”
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SIGNS THAT LET ME KNOW I’M NEAR HOME…
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QUESTIONS OF THE WEEK…
For a religion that claims to be all about accountability, one that even frequently claims that people reject the religion out of hatred for accountability, they sure don’t believe in holding their leaders to it. Even the organizations that claim to hold church leaders to accountability through transparency in finances can’t actually do much if their members don’t cooperate. (Captain Cassidy, Roll to Disbelieve)
• Russell or Jerry Jr.?
“Pastors, theologians, church leaders, Christians, should be unanimously calling for a compassionate response, care, concern, and ministry to these children. It would be good if we could just all agree that we need to help and support positive solutions for these children,” Cross added.
Politico Magazine’s chief political correspondent, Tim Alberta also pointed to the political and cultural divide among evangelicals.
“This not a political statement but a simple fact of culture and theology: There are Russell Moore Christians and Jerry Falwell Jr. Christians. Choose wisely, brothers and sisters,” he said. (Leonardo Blair, Christian Post)
Though the process of letting go was very hard, I no longer cling to the plan. I believe in something more tender, riskier, more fragile. I believe that human freedom isn’t an illusion; it’s the real deal. God works with the free choices we make in the free universe we live in. God dreams for us, hopes with us, and grieves with us in real time. God works in subtle, mysterious ways, always and everywhere, to redeem us without violating our freedom. (Debi Thomas, The Christian Century)
• Yes, we’ll have no bananas?
I had no idea, but bananas are the fourth biggest food staple in the world, behind rice, wheat, and corn. The banana used to be a luxury good. Now it’s the most popular fruit in the U.S. and elsewhere. But the production efficiencies that made it so cheap have also made it vulnerable to a deadly fungus that may wipe out the one variety most of us eat. Scientists have a way to save it — but will Big Banana let them? (Freakonomics Radio podcast, Episode 8-43)
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THIRTY YEARS TOO LATE FOR ME…
I attended Trinity Evangelical Divinity School for seminary, which is affiliated with the Evangelical Free Church in America (EFCA). My intention was to become a pastor in the denomination. For various reasons, it never happened. One of the theological reasons involved an issue regarding eschatology.
The EFCA had a history of dispensationalism, though they were known for their willingness to debate certain aspects of that, such as the timing of the rapture (pre-trib/mid-trib/post-trib). One non-negotiable, however, was premillennialism. Their commitment to this was so strong that when they had an opportunity to hire Bruce Waltke, a world-renowned OT scholar, they demurred, because he was an amillennialist. Though I remained nominally premil in my theology, I was not thoroughly convinced and was open to other perspectives. That would not have served me well had I become an EFCA pastor.
But all that is changing now…
The EFCA Board of Directors has introduced a motion to amend Paragraph 9, Article III of the Articles of Incorporation of the EFCA, the Statement of Faith, as follows:
We believe in the personal, bodily and
premillennialglorious return of our Lord Jesus Christ. The coming of Christ, at a time known only to God, demands constant expectancy and, as our blessed hope, motivates the believer to godly living, sacrificial service and energetic mission.
This motion was unanimously and enthusiastically adopted by the Board of Directors in February, 2017. Because the motion involves a proposed amendment to the Articles of Incorporation, the motion was presented to the 2017 Conference but cannot be acted upon until the 2019 Conference and must receive the affirmative vote of two-thirds of the membership of the 2019 Conference present and voting. The board strongly believes that this motion allows time for necessary and important conversations as a movement.
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MAKE AMERICA HATE AGAIN…
A network of anti-LGBT churches used its “Make America Straight Again” conference to move beyond its stock fallacies and hate-filled rhetoric and call for the government to begin rounding up and executing homosexuals.
Steven Anderson, well-known for his calls for the murder of LGBTQ people, spearheads the New Independent Fundamental Baptist Movement (New IFB), whose ministers spoke at the gathering. But it was the inclusion of Anderson’s lesser-known associates that revealed the breadth of the New IFB’s growing influence.
The New IFB is a group of 22 domestic and eight international churches led by Anderson’s colleagues and acolytes. Those evangelists often rival his rhetoric in their depictions of LGBTQ people as rapists and pedophiles who are a danger to society and worthy of death.
…At the conference, held June 14-16 in Orlando, Florida, speaker after speaker railed against the LGBTQ community. Preachers repeated long-discredited myths such as linking homosexuality to pedophilia and child abuse, and said LGBTQ people should be barred from adopting or fostering children. Like Grayson Fritts, their New IFB colleague in Knoxville, Tennessee, they called for the government to kill LGBTQ people.
…As Anderson left Revival Baptist Church Saturday afternoon, he briefly engaged with protesters outside the church before walking away and yelling, “Get AIDS and die!”
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VAN THE MAN…
I have been remiss in failing to recommend to you Matt B. Redmond’s great series on Van Morrison on his blog, Echoes and Stars. Matt is a quintessential music lover, and he writes vividly with passion about his long time affection for the Irish singer and his remarkable career.
Writing about Van is intimidating. There’s no way around it. Each word has felt like a shadow of the real thing. Like chasing chimeras. You never feel as if you have pulled off anything close to getting at the reality of what you are dealing with. But every writer will tell you about the need to write about those subjects which rivet their attention their most. And my attention has been fixed pretty consistently on Van for nearly 25 years.
- Part 1: Introduction
- Part 2: Introduction, part 2
- Part 3: 1968-1974
- Part 4: 1977-1983
- Part 5: 1985-1991
- Part 6: 1993-2000
Spoiler: Matt’s favorite Van album is Hymns to the Silence (1991). Here is the opening cut from that great record, “Professional Jealousy.”