Well, I'm getting back on the blogging horse after a few months of having little to offer here. Between the busyness of a church capital campaign and the addictive instand feedback Facebook offers, it has been hard for me to get motivated to return tothe blog.
That being said, one motivation is for me to offer more information about sources I cite in my sermons. On May 16, our church celebrated the ending of its capital campaign to raise funds to cover building repairs in our historic building. Throughout the campaign, I tried to frame contributions in terms of recommitting to our church's ministry of being an inclusive and open-minded church in our community and recommitting to our location of the last 90+ years in downtown St. Joseph, MO, where we cannot avoid the needs of our community's most desperate citizens.
To illustrate my vision of our church's ministry, I offered a few illustrations--two of which I can link to here:
1. The wonderfully profound public radio program This American Life had a moving show on May 7 entitled "The Bridge." On it, a journalist shared about a four-mile long bridge in Naan-Jing, China where hundreds of people a year commit suicide by jumping off the bridge. One self-appointed man patrols the bridge to save as many of the jumpers as he can. For me, it was an analogy of what the church should be doing for people who choose self-destructive behavior (including suicide) as a response to the meaningless brutalities of life.
2. I have yet to buy a copy of the book, but I have been greatly intrigued by the book The Other Wes Moore. The author Wes Moore is a decorated Afghan War veteran, White House Fellow, Rhodes Scholar and successful financial analyst. He came from inner-city Baltimore and through the determination of his parents, the grace of many other people and his own considerable talents he escaped a life of despair and crime. He discovers, however, another Wes Moore who is a few years older than him who came from the same Baltimore neighborhoods who is spending life in prison for killing a cop. The author Moore seeks to understand what went wrong in the other Moore's life and what went right in his own. For me, this book illustrates the role community can have in preventing lives lost to hopelessness and destruction.