Sunday, June 29, 2014

Pastorgraphs: "At Home with My People"

E-Vangel Newsletter
June 30, 2014

Christ United Methodist Ministry Center

“Christ in the Heart of San Diego”
3295 Meade Avenue - San Diego, CA 92116 - (619) 284-9205
Pastorgraphs: "At Home with My People"

MY PEOPLE: Jim Wallis, Founder and President of Sojourners, at the inaugural Summit in Washington DC.
AT HOME: Martha Jenkins, 92, my Mother and matriarch of an amazing family if I dare say so dedicated to God, Church, and Family.

Last week I set foot in Washington DC, Maryland, Virginia, Tennessee, Mississippi, Illinois, Wisconsin and California. Needless to say, I took a week off from The E-Vangel. My sojourn to the inaugural Sojourners Summit gave me many opportunities for spiritual reflection. I was at home with my people. Let me tell you what I mean by that.

“I’ll call nobodies and make them somebodies;
    I’ll call the unloved and make them beloved.
In the place where they yelled out, “You’re nobody!”
    they’re calling you “My People” (God’s living children)”
~ Romans 9:26 (Jenkins translation)

For the first 30 years of life, I was “at home” in three places (with my family, in church, and at school). But during the next decade, I was increasingly not “at home” in the church I had been born into, who taught me about God’s love and God’s Word. For my own spiritual integrity, I resigned my pastorate in 1988 and left the denomination I had loved to find “at home” again.

It did not take long. After exploring several different denominations, I shall never forget the feeling sitting on the back pew of Mississippi City United Methodist Church in Gulfport where I was “at home” again. In retrospect, it was a realization I was Methodist all along. I am a Methodist by choice and conviction. It had much to do with the balance between evangelism and social justice (and social action) taught by John Wesley’s example in the 1700s.

I had a similar experience last week at Sojourners. These are “my people” and I am at home with them. Sojourners don’t just talk a good talk, they put faith into action, especially when faith and justice intersect. That often requires taking a stand on controversial issues. It is often sacrificial, speaking the truth to power.

At The Summit, we heard from:

·    a father who lost his child at Sandy Hook speak about gun violence where 90% of Americans are for background checks, but our do-nothing Congress lacks moral courage to even discuss how we might curb this epidemic
·    a former inmate (now a Black Baptist preacher) speak about prison reform where prison has become “big business” and an institutionalized way to insulate the rich from the poor
·    a Native American theologian who beautifully reminded us of God’s instruction to “subdue and replenish” the earth
·    a Georgia Congressman who marched with Dr. King warn that hard-won voting and civil rights are now being taken away for political advantage
·    panels who spoke powerfully about a wide range of issues from the “stained glass ceiling” women still face in the church, the implicit stratification of our society, gender equality, and the “I-word” (immigration reform). 

Sounds like a bunch of liberal do-gooders, doesn’t it? But you might be as surprised as I was that we had many Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives, Pentecostals, Evangelicals, Mainline Protestants and Catholics participate. That is another reason these are “my people”. 

Last, but certainly not least, the trip to DC afforded an opportunity to visit “my people” in Yazoo City, MS, my hometown. Last Sunday, my 66th birthday, I had the great joy to worship with my 92-year-old mother and sisters, Linda and Marietta, and extended family at Parkview Church of God. I am always “at home” in worship at Parkview.

This trip refreshed and renewed my soul. But it is always good to get back home with “my people”, Anita and Chris, and to have the honor to preach and fellowship yesterday at home with “my people” at Exodus Church.
What a fellowship, what a joy divine!  

Devotedly yours, Bill Jenkins



A Modern Aesop’s Fable:

“Once upon a time, in a land not far away, there was a city that abused and terrorized their children, killing many of them with gang violence. The surviving children said, “Let’s go to our neighboring city, a safe place where we can sleep in peace and grow up.” So they left their parents and homes, and took a long, dangerous journey. When they finally reached their destination, they sought out the police and said, “Please help us. We are in great danger. We are hungry, need clothes and someone to care for us.” But the citizens were filled with fear about the children. They began to come up with all kinds of excuses as to why they should send the children back to their homes. The children said, “We have not come here to hurt you, we have come here to be safe and perhaps find someone who will help us.” But the citizens would not listen. They blamed their mayor and city council for not protecting their city limits from these scary children. Chapter Two. The citizens all eventually died and appeared before God. “Let us in your city, God. We want to walk the streets of gold.” And God said, “You cannot come into my city.” They said, “Why not? We went to church, we tithed, we obeyed the laws.” God replied, “I was hungry, thirsty, naked, sick, imprisoned and strangers, the little children at your city gates, and you turned me away! Depart from me you accursed, I never knew you.” There was much wailing and gnashing of teeth. The Moral: Those who show no compassion receive none. The End.”


Bill Jenkins, A Sojourner in this life ~


Matt. 23:23 "You hypocrites tithe of your mint and spices, but ignore the weightier matters of the law - JUSTICE, COMPASSION and FAITHFULNESS." The children are not on trial, church, we are!

No comments: