October is here and Fall has arrived. The days are cooler, the leaves are beginning to change and sweater weather is on the way. During October I will be preaching on some issues that I wanted to share with you and express why I have chosen to do this. To begin with, I am mindful that our life of faith is always held in tension with secular society. Most people spend and hour in worship and the hope is that then we go into the world prepared to live as God’s people. This is difficult at its best with the divisions of thought, belief and will about every issue that affects our communities, society and nation. We don’t take time to really talk about sensitive issues from a faith perspective because in trying to respect our friends and neighbors we don’t want to be offensive. We have forgotten how to have respectful and affirming conversations about the issues that divide us because the media, where we get most of our information today, leads us to do otherwise. It is important as a person of faith to truly know what scripture says about the issues facing us. We all agree that we love the Lord our God with all of our heart, mind and soul and that we are called to love our neighbor. We all claim that God is sovereign and Lord of all creation and that we are called to serve God first. To affirm these things in our decisions and our life means we need to understand God’s Word and how God’s Word guides us and speaks to us in ALL things in ALL of life because God is Lord of ALL of life. Needless to say, that is a daunting task to accomplish in a 15-20 minute sermon once a week! The topics I will be addressing in October are:
Faith and Leadership: What does God expect and what does God see in our leaders. What is our responsibility in choosing leaders as we are guided by faith?
Faith and Abortion: Do we know what scripture says about the decision to terminate a pregnancy? Most of our information comes from the media which is biased toward a specific agenda. How do we discern God’s will?
Faith and Gender Diversity: What does the Bible say about LGBTQ+ people? How does scripture and our faith guide us in understanding the diversity of gender identities beyond the male/female heterosexual identity?
None of these are easy topics but all of them are woven through how we relate to others, how we respect humanity, how we understand God’s presence and work among us and how we participate in shaping our communities and nation. I know there are those who are very sensitive to keeping faith and politics separate, yet we acknowledge that God is Lord over all of life, including our political life which shapes who we are as a community and nation. That is why it’s important to know what God’s word says about these issues that face us. That said, this series is strictly about WHAT SCRIPTURE SAYS ABOUT THESE ISSUES. It is NOT a series to tell you how to vote. Presbyterians affirm that we vote and work in our communities according to our conscience. What we forget in that statement is that Presbyterians firmly believe that it is God’s Word that guides our conscience, not a party, not the media, not strong personal emotions.
There is so much tension and division among people today surrounding single issue concerns. I am inviting all of us to step back, seek God’s Word, seek peaceful and constructive dialogue with others, dig deep to understand what we encounter in our world and to prayerfully respond in faith to God’s leading as we individually participate in the affairs of our community and nation. And, PLEASE, if you have questions…call me!
May God bless you and may God bless our nation in these difficult times.