Maybe It Is Time to Make a Muslim Friend

I have been reading a lot of really hateful sounding stuff lately from many different sources.  I hear or overhear people talking about Muslims, Blacks and Homosexuals, Refugees as if these people are not even human beings.  It is so easy to think that way when we put ourselves in our little bubble of interacting with only people who are just like us in every way.

What if instead we went out of our way to get to know someone that was Muslim, Black, Homosexual or Refugee?  I can guarantee you from personal experience that your whole viewpoint will change.  I am not talking about someone holding a sign or yelling loudly but I am talking about a real time conversation with another person.

We are trying here at FCC on the Green to provide many opportunities for this kind of life changing conversation to happen between people.  We cannot stand together with people whom we do not know.  And yes, the Biblical story is one of walls coming down that divide people.

So let the friendships begin.  Let us stand in solidarity with all humans that are created in the image of God and yes that is all people.

Frank

Let's Be Frank - Pentecost

I have been thinking a lot lately. Yes, even Pastors use their minds sometimes. I am asking myself this question over and over again—Does Pentecost really make any difference in the 21st century? Or are we like the story from long ago still building our Towers of Babel? You know what I mean right? We live in this pluralistic world and our temptation is to build the wall higher so that it will just be ‘our kind’ to deal with. And yet we read that when the wind came a blowin’ at Pentecost all erected walls that kept those not like us out began to crash. Instead of a bunch of Babeling that no one understood all people understood each other. Now that kind of rushing wind (Great Spirit) sounds like something we really need in the church and world right about now. However, I think that we are headed more back to building our towers to separate than we are letting the spirit blow them down. We are trying to keep people out of certain bathrooms even. We are sitting back and doing nothing as thousands continue to be killed by guns out of control while just being apathetic. We are calling people Jew—Muslim---Christian—Black—White—Hispanic—Gay--Straight rather than trying to understand one another and realize that there is enough truth to go around for all of us. 
Was not Pentecost a story of hope at its very roots? That even against the human tendency to divide people the wind blows anyway and brings people together. We are now in a season of graduations along with Pentecost. All these graduations remind us that all good things come to an end and at the same time as we celebrate an ending, an accomplishment, we also celebrate that something new lies ahead. Maybe in that same light we need to celebrate the ending of Babel—of walls that separate. Just maybe we should let the wind blow into our hearts and minds and let our Babels turn to communication. Am I just drunk (as the people accused on that Pentecost day) or was Peter right in quoting the prophet Joel, “your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams”. Oh yes, our sons and daughters are telling the truth and this old man is dreaming out loud with you. Unifying spirit blow down the walls that divide and may we celebrate with working toward justice for all people. Great Spirit blow!
 

Let's Be Frank - Lent

As I am writing this we are only about one third of the way through Lent but I find myself already thinking about ‘coming out on the other side’. Do you ever seem to get stuck in the wilderness or the desert of your life? Many people think of resurrection in many different ways. Some insist on the literal bodily resurrection of Jesus—yes, I do believe in the resurrection but the thing that means the most to me is that Jesus ‘came out on the other side’ of the wilderness. You see he could have gotten stuck in the desert. I mean after all he was struggling with what is really important in life. He was struggling with what his mission would be in the world. Let’s see, he struggled with being relevant (turn the stones into bread). Then, on to struggling with doing the spectacular (throw yourself off the top of the temple). And finally he struggled with power (all this I will give you). Now, I must admit I probably would have gotten stuck in that kind of desert. Or maybe I am stuck. And just maybe the church of the 21st century is stuck also still struggling with what we are to be in this world. In the end Jesus says to the tempter, “away from me” and at that point the tempter left him. In other words ‘Jesus came out on the other side’. Yes, you and I have many crosses and desert’s to deal with—do we not? But there is great hope to me that Jesus ‘came out on the other side’. So let the struggle continue but let it continue knowing that we too will come out on the other side. We too will experience resurrection. Join me on Sunday March 27 and let’s celebrate together. By then I will be ready folks—this struggle is getting a little long. 

Frank

REFUGEES post by moderator Nathaniel Yordon

This past weekend my wife Mary and I headed up to the State Capitol in Hartford for a rally.  Say YES to Syrian Refugees.  The good news is that our Governor had already said yes and welcomed some Syrian refugees who were told they were not welcome in Indiana.  Mary found out about the rally and immediately said "Let's go."  Why did we go?  Well I wish I could say that it was because it was the day before the beginning of advent and it was just so appropriate for the season and the whole concept of no room at the inn.  But that was not it.  It was way more fundamental than that.  The rally was a gathering of people of all religions, Jews, Muslims, Christians, indigenous peoples and those with no religion.  It was people coming together to support refugees from a terribly war torn country.  We went because we could not imagine turning away people who had to flee their homes and wait up to almost two years to get through the screening process.  We went because we felt it was the least we could do for the refugees.  It was a rainy and it was cold, but it was worth it.  It was worth it, because it was inspiring to come together with a group of people who care.  To come together with a group of people who are not consumed by fear.  To come together in peace and to be reminded that this world is not filled with hatred.  So yes, perhaps some of us Christians were there because we believe that there is room in the inn.  But this rally was bigger than that.  Room at the inn is a universal concept.  We saw that Saturday and that is a beautiful thing.

Circumstance

It's been one week, one week exactly since the Big Birthday Bash for my 60th and Lily's Baptism by the sea.

It's been one week, one week exactly since the most horrific car crash on the Taconic highway claimed the lives of two beautiful women, Ledell and Kat Mulvaney, and critically injuring Ledell's husband, Don.  They too had been celebrating that weekend, the 38th year of God Show at Silver Lake Conference Center.  I imagine they were quarterbacking in the car on the way home, recapping the final production the night before and praising the creative energy of the teens as they developed the theme throughout the week.  They were headed home, exhausted, but in a good way.

Amie was in charge of the fruit kabobs, for which she solicited help from 4 year old Truett.  Being obsessed with "patterns"- it was the perfect job for him....blueberry, grape, pineapple, cantaloupe, strawberry...repeat.  Page, Edgar and Jason were busy stringing lights and decorating while Brooke and Frank shared the countertops and cutting boards preparing appetizers and dinner.  My job was to keep Grand Nanee out of the kitchen and to play with Lily.  No problem there.  There was lots of chatter and catching up among the cousins.
Family - the whole night was about Family.  I found myself feeling overwhelmed, appreciated, loved, but most of all, grateful for my husband and my children, and those dearest to me. Amie and Frank had chosen the theme for this Birthday Bash - A Flip Flop Kinda Girl in a Flip Flop Kinda World.  They were right on target and we partied well into the night, celebrating 60 years of life, laughter and love.

Unlike most at FCC on the Green, I can count on one hand the number of times I have been around the Mulvaneys.  There was the God Show two years ago, a Silver Lake GALA and auction around the table one evening, and on April 6, 2014 at the Opening and Affirming vote at church.  I guess that is why it is so odd to be mourning the loss of people I hardly know.  Perhaps it was my first impressions of the Mulvaneys;  Ledell's larger than life personality, Don's humbleness of character and natural music ability, and Kat's style, a unique vintage look that drew me to YouTube to listen to her music.  I knew then that her songwriting and vocals were a special gift.  They were a family - a good family who loved all of humanity - who never stopped giving to it or standing up for it.  Perhaps that's why I mourn.

Two families, miles apart, one hot summer day in August.....and God is in our presence, surrounding us in our circumstance.  No matter where we are on life's journey, God is there with us - Emmanuel - blessing our children in Baptism, celebrating our good works, and giving us hope to carry us through.

Thank you Kat and Ledell for challenging us to think, to imagine, and to take risks that will better this world.  We will do our best to do likewise.
Peace and Light forever,
Jill Newsome
 

From Legal Pad to I-Pad

Wow!  We are launching a new website.  Okay I am a person who has been marinating a little longer than some of you.  What that means is just in the last few years I have moved from those bright yellow legal pads to a I-Pad.  Communication is changing and will continue to change.  Yes, lots of change but change does not have to be a bad or fearful thing..does it?

Yes, this place or concept called Church that I have given the last 30 plus years to is in a constant state of change..along with the rest of the world.  I know it may sound simplistic or trite but even with all the change I still believe in the Jesus dream of community that makes a difference in the real world.  So join me on this crazy journey of trying to be real in the 21st century..okay I will give up the legal pads for a better environment but I will keep communicating the unbelievable love of God for all of us crazy folks..  Rev. Frank

ps...thanks Brookie..love ya