Christians Across a Polarized Culture

A commonplace assertion of contemporary American culture is that the religious "brand" is identified with the conservative right -- at least when it comes to Christianity. This idea in borne out by the megaphone of the religious right on several social issues identified with Republican conservatism on the right hand, and the association with secularism on the liberal left. This trend seems to be increasing as fewer folks who identify as liberal or progressive identify as Christians. Of course, this may have more to do with the public representation of Christianity, particularly in the popular imagination and media representations. The very term "Christian" is often shorthand for Republican a

In Word and Deed: Responding to a Culture of Violence

During this Creation Season we have been broadening our understanding of who is our neighbor to include the earth and all creatures. We should love the earth as we love ourselves. Yet we also need to think about our human neighbors in our American culture of violence. How do we, as Christians generally, and as a congregation in particular, address gun violence, racism, exclusion of those different from ourselves-- all problems rampant in our society today? One of the responses we have made is to publicly state our support for gun control with a banner across the front of our building. Our Social Witness Committee has reflected on ways we can make our voices heard as a community of Christians

Diversity and Embrace

The tragedy of September 11, 2001 underscores the culture of violence that haunts humanity. The shadow side of our desire for community is tribalism— a fear of others in order to protect our own. Since that horrible day 18 years ago, the specter of violence and fear of the other has not abated. Yet God's dream for the human community understands our "tribe" to be the whole human family. Difference shouldn't be feared, but celebrated. That's why the beauty of God's good creation exists in its amazing multi-hued diversity. The image of God in humanity isn't found in our sameness but in the beautiful plurality of cultures and peoples around the globe. That's why at St. John's, as we begin the n

To Cultivate and Tend

This Sunday we kick off our annual Creation Season with the blessing of the animals. Why do we spend these weeks in September focusing on creation? Because God created this world and loves it so much that God came to be part of it in the person of Jesus. In that sense, the whole cosmos, the planet and all creation is worthy of reverence, is holy ground. We bless animals in church on Sunday, because they are holy. They are our neighbors. And God wants us to be in right relationship-- shalom-- with all earth's creatures. Our culture seeks to extract whatever we can get from the earth. We see the planet and her creatures as commodities to be used. God sees the planet as the gift of divine love

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