Tuesday, August 8, 2017

First Lines: Can We Talk?
E-news August 8, 2017
by Griff Martin

A week ago a group of us stood on the steps of the capital and once again made public what we believe about “all people, all people, all people.” We were part of the larger voice of the church that reminded our world that God says we are all beloved children of God. We spoke together in a voice of love (which is the most important voice we have – not a voice of uniformity, but a voice of love).

And what we said and did last week gained a little bit of attention and any time that happens, we start getting phone calls from outside voices who want their turn to share. The phone calls literally started before most of us even made our way back to the church that day, and the phone calls and emails are still coming…. Here’s a sampling:
“How sad to see another church and its pastor fall into the arms of Satan….”
“If you would sit and really study the bible – the King James Version – and pray, you would know how far you are from God’s will.”
“We pray you see the light and return to God’s arms.”
“Stop calling yourself a pastor until you will preach the truth.”

And those are the nicest ones. The worst ones all involved threats and fears of sexual violence that would be committed against our loved ones in a public restroom because of our stance.

However, in the midst of that I got one email that simply read: “Pastor help me. I am not where you are on this issue, but recently my son started wearing makeup and I am so lost. I am starting to ask some questions that really scare me and I still have a lot to learn. Can we talk?”

And in the midst of all the mess and ugliness, I heard the three words that are the lifeline of humanity: can we talk?

In this day and age I am so fearful that common ground, sacred middle ground and civil dialogue are lost in our culture, and without those I don’t know who we are or what we do.

You see when I think back on my life, every great change of thinking – every act of faith – every act of salvation has come from a question that quietly stirred in my soul and lead me to reach out and ask someone, “can we talk?”

“Can we talk” is light in the darkness; it’s hope in the face of hopelessness; it’s love and not fear. It’s how we get from not knowing to knowing; to becoming part of the story.

“Can we talk” leads to justice and not power; to unity and not division; to common ground and not personal privilege; to sacrifice and not self; to wisdom and not ignorance.

And that sure seems like love: light, hope, knowing, part of the story, justice, unity, sacrifice, wisdom.

And that sure seems like exactly what our world needs today.

And that sure seems like something that the church can offer.

I mean to me, that sounds like sitting down at a campfire with a group of friends and having someone stand up and say: “Can we talk? Because I have a story I need to share… The Kingdom of God is like…”

Grace and peace friends.



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