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was made blatantly obvious that he was not welcomed there. Brian was gay. Joe and his wife believing that all people need God in their life, and that all people need God people too church wanted to invite Brian to our church. But the question was, Brian be welcomed here?
Joe, now that we have a little more time, what was your question? I asked him.
Maybe a little background would help. Joe is what I can only describe as a true man of God and a blessing! He is kind and generous and was a tremendous support to me, his pastor in the previous congregation I served, although technically, he was not an official member of that church. His wife was, but he had what I would call differences, that in his mind, for the time being, precluded him from officially joining. But in practice financial, and physical is fully a part of that congregation. So much so, that he and I regularly met for breakfast at least once a month where we would share and pray for one another. It was during these times of sharing where we discovered much as we both love God and follow Jesus and I do not necessarily see eye to eye with one another. Joe is by his own account a fundamentalist in his Christianity, quite conservative, a devout evangelical with pretty solid Pentecostal beliefs. I on the other hand am not a fundamentalist but espouse a solidly mainline Protestant perspective. While I very much appreciate Pentecostalism and am glad for its contribution to Christianity and even in my own faith formation, I firmly in the Reformed camp. Whereas we both are evangelicals, I am unabashedly a liberal evangelical. Therefore, Joe New Balance Red 620 Trainers and I have a differing of perspectives. But for all that we disagree about, we have far greater agreement in what we hold in common firm conviction of the power of the Gospel, of the way of Christ, and the reality of God grace and truth. And with the importance of the church living that grace and truth out!
members to ask a further question, who is my neighbor? Jesus answers that by telling the parable of the Good Samaritan, the one about how some sad fellow finds himself robbed and beaten and left for dead on the side of the road. Fortunately, you might think, two devout religious types walk past where he lays. But in seeing him, they purposely keep on walking and ignore him. Now we are aware, but it bears repeating that this fellow is is Jesus, as are all the folks in the crowd around Jesus This is important only in so far as the cultural contrast of the third person to walk past our poor beaten half dead lying in a ditch guy. Because the third person is a Samaritan people with similar religious and cultural background as Jesus and his people, yet generally disparaged by them. And yet it is the Samaritan who helps the poor beaten down Jewish fellow, going out of his way to provide assistance. And Jesus asks, who was a neighbor to the man who fell into harm.
and strength. And love your neighbor as yourself. In the gospel story according to Luke, reciting these commandments leads one of Jesus audience New Balance 620 On Feet
Jostled by one of the Sunday School teachers who has her own immediate concern to share with me I interjected, it can wait till the end of worship? to which Joe is satisfied.
Obviously, Joe and I would have further conversations and we would not always agree with one another and we would not always understand in the same ways. But what we both believed was that Brian for that matter, any and every person be welcomed in Christ church.
The Sunday School concern dealt with, the organ prelude begins, we join hands with the choir members as one of our elders leads us in prayer, and the last few stragglers get to their seats before the service commences. But now, rather overshadowing in my mind I wonder, is Joe question and why is it so important?
Which brings me back to that Sunday morning worship service and Joe question. The morning went rather normally. Following the benediction I greeted folks as they left the sanctuary on their way to coffee fellowship and again met with Joe, having wondered in the back of my mind the entire time, is his inquiry?
Which brings me back to Joe. was your question, Joe? I asked. He responded that his wife had a co worker call him Brian had recently gone through some difficulties in his life. He had grown up in the church, but had not participated in organized religion for a number of years. And now at this point in his life, he felt he needed church again. The thing was, he had recently visited another local church where it Men New Balance 574
The gospel lesson for the day had to do with the Great Commandment. You know: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, Black New Balance 420
In hearing the children message, in hearing the gospel lesson, Joe came to a conclusion on what the answer should be. Yes! We should welcome him.
The children message that day included the parable of the Good Samaritan and it also included how we are to love our neighbors as ourselves, including and especially those who are not necessarily like us. Kids may not understand all the complexities of what a Samaritan is, but they certainly understand that sometimes one kid will pick on another kid that is different or that sometimes some children are excluded. Sometimes even, they have been the one excluded. As well, sometimes even they have been the one to pick on the other.
He responded, you already answered it!
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