"Thoughts and Reflections" has been the title of my pastor's article since I began in appointed parish ministry in 1987. At the time, there was a pastor of some reknown in the conference I serve who made hay with "these are my perceptions," and while I had some perceptions of my own, I, in no way, wanted to have my writings confused with his.
"Captain's Log, Stardate: 71205.2127"
Anyone who knows me also knows how entirely laughable that thought is that I'd be concerned about there being any confusion!
With the advent of this medium to communicate, I've found it much less needy to have something in hard copy to convey my thoughts. Truth is, over these years, I've had something to say--other times, like when it's deadline time for the newsletter, I just needed to say something!
I've long wanted to continue a conversation of my thoughts on issues relative to life (be it the story of my own or just life in general), politics, pop culture, theology, the church (be it the one I currently serve, St. John's, or just the church in general), social issues of our time, or just what it means to be a United Methodist minister in the Memphis Conference - one who aspires to be nothing more than that because I'm sure that's the role I've been called to fill.
This medium will now be my outlet for such expression. And it will be, if nothing else, a means to journal and reflect aloud, in the public forum. We need more avenues to confer, not fewer. This is what I hope to accomplish here.
This day, as I write my first entry into my blog, I also wrote my last hard copied "article" for my church newsletter. I'm adding it to this entry to hold the continuum of my thoughts. I'll also be adding previously written material to frame where my mind has been the past months.
So, we're off and running, and this journey will take me in many different places. I invite you to take it with me.
Oh, and thank you both for reading.
We Will Be Safe Harbor
What in the name of all that is holy are we doing to our children in this country? I used this line in my sermon last Sunday; it seems we’ve gone from praying for our children to preying on them.
It all hit me last week and I’ve not been able to get the images of children abducted, savagely violated, and murdered out of my head.
Did you see the video last week of Shasta Groene, the little girl from Idaho, who has abducted and rescued? It’s just been confirmed that her brother, Dylan, was murdered. Dylan was the same age as my middle child.
In this video, from a convenience store, she walks in, with her molester, and as he’s reading the newspaper, she’s walking up and down each row of the store. And whenever she comes upon an adult, she stops, looks up and gives a brief stare, as if to say, “Please notice me.” And no one does.
Are we even surprised by one more “Amber alert” anymore? Are we surprised that we have to have something called and Amber alert? Where is Natalie Holloway? And don’t you resonate with the pain of her mother when you see her on TV.?
And then, what of the many whose names we’ll never know, and whose cases will never make the news. Tragically, there are far too many more of those? What of the ones within arm’s reach of our congregation? What of the ones who live not with the abuse of individuals, but the abuse of a society that has pushed them to the margins and left them to learn life’s hard lessons alone?
What is it in our culture that creates the environment for adult to enact such violence on children?
Over the past year or so, I’ve asked Lora Jean to make us compliant with policies and procedures adopted by the Conference to insure that of all places, the Church will be a safe harbor for anyone, especially children, who come within the walls of the church, or within the reach of our ministry. It’s called Safe Sanctuaries. The policy was adopted by the Church Council in its Spring meeting, and I commend the task force who worked with Lora Jean to bring to this to the fore.
Unfortunately, such a policy is necessary because we’ve seen that the church has not always been a safe place for the most vulnerable among us.
There are far too many Shasta’s looking up at us and pleading “notice me, please.” Will you? Will we? At Saint John’s, our answer will be, so help me God, “yes.”