Saturday, December 25, 2010

January Faith Happening Letter

Happy New Year! The adventure of 2010 has morphed into the hope of 2011. That means that it’s time for New Year’s resolutions. A new chance to start over. To begin again. To start things afresh. For some of us, our resolution might be to exercise more, watch TV less, spend more time with family, eat organic food, stop smoking, etc. There are many good things that are worth resolving to do. And a new year is a great time to start.

As we think about our personal New Year’s resolutions, I’d like to invite everyone to think about the New Year’s resolutions that we have for our faith journeys. To help us ponder this idea, here are a few questions for meditation: How is God speaking to you? What is God calling you to do? What is God calling you to be? Where is God calling you to go? Who is God calling you to be with? What things is God calling you to heal? What part of your faith journey is God calling you to focus on? How is God calling you to be active in the shared ministries of Faith?

Every person will answer these questions differently. The point here isn’t to tell anyone what to do or how to answer. The goal is simply to invite questioning. Not the kind of endless questioning that is anxious-making. Instead, it’s the kind of questioning that moves us onward. It keeps us searching, listening, and praying. In progressive Christianity we call this “living the questions.” It’s the kind of life that is lived with an open mind that is eager to learn, an open heart that is eager to share, and an open hand that’s eager to receive.

As we “live the questions,” we may find that our New Year’s resolutions change over time. Not because we have stopped doing them, but because we are called in a new direction. God’s call in our lives changes as we journey. We’re not called to stay on one pathway forever. Instead, we’re called on a holy adventure. In this adventure with God, we’ll take many different pathways and directions. God isn’t a boring God. God is the Great Adventurer that goes with us on the great adventure of life.

Psalm 139:7-12 describes God’s adventurous presence in our lives: “Where can I go from your spirit? Or where can I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there. If I take the wings of the morning and settle at the farthest limits of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me fast. If I say, ‘Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light around me become night’, even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is as bright as the day, for darkness is as light to you.” May these words of Scripture bless you on all the adventures of 2011.

Enjoy the New Year!


Pastor Brian

For The Bible Tells Me So (Film)

Sunday, January 9th at 10:35am
Cost: FREE

All are welcome to join us for a free viewing of the award-winning documentary, “For the Bible Tells Me So.” This film explores the intersection between faith and homosexuality in powerful ways.

Can the love between two people ever be an abomination? Is the chasm separating gays and lesbians and Christianity too wide to cross? Is the Bible an excuse to hate?
Through the experiences of five very normal, very Christian, very American families - including those of former House Majority Leader Richard Gephardt and Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson - we discover how insightful people of faith handle the realization of having a gay child. Informed by such respected voices as Bishop Desmond Tutu, Harvard's Peter Gomes, Orthodox Rabbi Steve Greenberg and Reverend Jimmy Creech, “For the Bible Tells Me So” offers healing, clarity, and understanding to anyone caught in the crosshairs of scripture and sexual orientation.

“For the Bible Tells Me So” has won many awards, including the Audience Award for Best Documentary at Outfest Los Angeles, Jury Prize for Best Documentary at the Tampa International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, and the HBO Audience Award for Best Documentary at the Provincetown International Film Festival.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Phyllis Tickle on Advent

This Advent season, Patheos is hosting a new video series, “The Coming of God: Reflections on Advent,” featuring well-known progressive Christians on what Advent means to them.

In the first video, renowned author and speaker Phyllis Tickle shares her thoughts on Advent, “the most grand of the Holy seasons.”

Friday, December 3, 2010

Preparing for Jesus the King: December 5th

This Sunday we're going to explore the Biblical understanding of Jesus as "King." What kind of king would he be? What kind of people would he help? What kind of foreign policy would he have? How would we serve a king like this? To explore these questions, we'll look at Isaiah 11:1-10, Psalm 72, and Matthew 3:1-12.

Creative worship. Scriptural exploration. Illuminating preaching. Traditional music. New music. Communion celebration. Prayers for one another. And more.

All are welcome this Sunday at 9:30am.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

December Faith Happenings Letter

Dear Friends and Members of Faith UCC,

Christmas is the season that we celebrate the incarnation of God. The presence of God in the world – in our world. Not born into wealth and privilege. Not born on a regal mountain or grand fjord. Not born with power or clout. Not born to middle-aged, socially secure parents. Instead, God was born far away from all of those things.

Love was born in a rural, forgotten part of the world. Love was born in a feeding trough of a rickety barn. Love was born in the presence of watchful cattle and stinky donkeys. Love was born to na├»ve, anxious teenagers. Love was born as a baby – giggling, crying, sleeping, and all the other stuff babies do. Love was born with a need to be fed, nurtured, and snuggled. Yes, God was incarnated in this little expression of Love we call Jesus.

In Jesus, we see God’s incarnation revealed in a unique way – a nearly scandalous way. It challenges our notion of God being a bearded old man, an all-powerful ruler, or a CEO. Instead, the birth of Jesus reveals a God who isn’t afraid of real life. God isn’t afraid to be a dependant baby. God isn’t afraid of pregnant teenagers or smelly animals. God isn’t afraid to be in the midst of financial hardship or housing problems.

The God revealed through the birth of Jesus is a God who isn’t afraid to be present through the real “stuff” of life. Perhaps that is why people call Jesus by the name Emmanuel – God-with-us. God is with us through all situations in life. God is here to bring forth hope out of difficulty. God is here to bring forth joy in times of despair. God is here to bring good news to the poor. God is here to bring forth justice in systems of inequality. God is here to bring forth light in the darkness. God is here to bring forth divine love to all humanity.

God isn’t just sitting on a cloud in Heaven, removed from the world. God is right here, right now, working in and through each of us. At Christmas, we celebrate the fact that God is scandalously present in the everydayness of life. And through God’s radical incarnation in our lives, each of us gets to give birth to Love anew. Love is born anew each time the love, justice, and mutuality of God is shared.

Joy to the world!


Pastor Brian

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