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Advent 2016 - The Season of Hope

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Advent Week 1 - Hope This week we light the first candle in the Advent wreath. “We light this candle in hope, the bright hope of Jesus, the Christ.”
Isaiah 2:1-5
"The word that Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.In days to come the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be raised above the hills; all the nations shall stream to it.Many peoples shall come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of theLord, to the house of the God of Jacob; that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.” For out of Zion shall go forth instruction, and the word of theLordfrom Jerusalem.He shall judge between the nations, and shall arbitrate for many peoples; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.O house of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of theLord!"
Reflection Hope is not…

everything certainly is not okay today

I woke up this morning as a white, cisgendered, heterosexual, middle aged, non-disabled, middle class, Christian male in a land that is designed by and for people just like me to privilege and benefit people just like me. 
Today, I will not ask anyone to be patient;  I will not admonish anyone to calm down;  I will not implore anyone to relax;  I will not patronizingly say "everything will be okay" to anyone.  Doing any of the above only reaffirms and reinforces my position of privilege. 
Today is a day to be quiet.  Today is a day to listen.  Today is a day to be with one another.  Today is a day to acknowledge our sin and brokenness.  Today is a day to sit with someone in their real pain and fear.  Today is a day stand up for the rights of others.  And so is tomorrow. 
To my friends and family whose skin tone is one of the many beautiful shades of brown, bronze, olive, yellow, or any other hue under the sun... To my transgendered, queer, lesbian, gay, bisexual friends and…

Unity Over Uniformity

In the noise and vitriol of the last year, it seems as though we have forgotten that unity and uniformity are two different pursuits. 
Our goal as a people should be to seek harmony in the midst of our differences (unity) and not to stay the "same at all times, in all places, or for all parts or members" (uniformity from Merriam-Webster Dictionary). Unity is the noble quest to remain together no matter what for the good of the whole. Uniformity is the search for an unrealistic sameness in thought and behavior for the protection of those in the position of power. The first represents the dream of a healthy and diverse democracy. The second exposes the anxieties and fears of difference and change. As we approach the end of months of posturing, finger pointing, name calling, and heated angry discourse may we remind ourselves and one another that unity is up to us. We are not beyond it. All hope is not lost. 
However, unity can only be found in re-dedicating ourselves to the diffi…