Prince

Breaking News. “Oh, okay let’s see what this is going to be?” Prince has passed away at Princethe age of 57.

Wow. I don’t know about you, but Prince’s death hit me in a way I would not have expected. It has struck a chord with so many.

He was a musical maestro, immensely talented and gifted with a way with words that few musicians possess. He encouraged us to party like its 1999, because surely there would be no year 2000.

His concerts weren’t just concerts. They were part work of art, part religious experience. His performances drew you into a different world for a little while while pointing you to a different kind of truth. Perhaps there is something deeper to our mourning Prince’s death than just his music. His music points us to a deeper truth about his life. Prince lived life free and to its fullest. Check out this quote from him, “despite everything, no one can dictate who you are to other people.”

How liberating is that statement? It’s a gift to own that we are a beloved child of God, uniquely made by God, and given gifts to use in this world. How many of us can’t live out that truth in our own lives for one reason or another? How many people in the world have this truth suppressed in their lives? Do you (and I) suppress this truth for others?

You are a child of God. No one can dictate who you are to God or to other people. No one.

That is what I will miss most about Prince. Prince knew the freedom to be fully alive, to be who God had uniquely created him to be. No one could dictate who he was created to be. The world admired him for that and gave us hope that each could know that same fullness of life.May we embrace that for ourselves while extending it to all people.

“no one can dictate who you are to other people.” 

Thank you Prince. Well done, good and faithful servant.

 

Discover the Disciples- You Have A Place at the Table

The Table RoundA twenty dollar bill. One of the great feelings in the world is looking in the pocket of a jacket you haven’t worn in a while and finding a twenty dollar bill. Found money!

I’m wondering if the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) isn’t like that twenty dollar bill you find in the pocket of a jacket you haven’t worn in a long time. You had no idea it was there, but once you find it, you are so glad that you did. If I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) the “best kept secret in the world” I would have a lot more than the twenty bucks I found in my pocket.

The truth is that we are not good at telling our story or even describing in a fluid manner what we love about our church. I am soon beginning a new series called “Discover the Disciples” in which I hope to equip my church people to better articulate what they love about our core values and why this is the church for them. I also hope to share with visitors and those not familiar with our core values why I believe that we are a church that is perfectly positioned to be a meaningful church experience, one that shapes us for wholeness in our life and the world. .

Here are some common questions about our denomination. Oh, one word about that word- the “D” word. I wonder if movement is a better way to describe what we are. Okay, enough about the “D” word.

“Your logo looks like a wine glass with an X. Are you all against drinking?” (No, but drink responsibly of course)

“Are you kind of like Presbyterians? or Methodists? or Lutherans?” (In full disclosure, many of our people answer this question with a “kind of”)

“Are you liberal or conservative?”

and my favorite… “Are you a cult?”

To contrast some of these common questions, I asked on Facebook for people to describe Disciples in seven words of less. There were some great responses. Here is a sampling:

Accepting, evolving, questioning, respectful, supportive, Christ like, home

Y’all come! We love the table!

All welcome, freedom of interpretation, grace spoken

Priesthood of all believers; an Open Table

You are loved, welcome, forgiven, and whole

Loving, forgiving, questioning, supportive, all are welcome

being true to the love of God

Dang, this is good stuff. Sign me up! We shouldn’t be keeping this a secret. Not just for personal reasons, but for communal reasons as well. We need more people who are shaping their lives around this ethos. We need more people who are telling the story of our churches using these phrases and terms. We need the fresh wind of this spirit.

I’m looking forward to this series, not only for our congregation, but for myself as well. Because I need to be reminded that there is a place at the table for me as well. Now, that’s good news.! That is a story we need to be telling.