Thinking Together Column 1/31/2017

We live in tumultuous times. Jesus described times when families would be pitted against each other, presumably for taking different sides in a great moral issue. “Father against son. Mother against daughter.” Those days have returned, if ever they were truly gone and not just beneath the surface.

I exhort Highlanders to measure our passion with sacred wisdom and gentleness. Let us be as passionate in our kindness as we are adamant in speaking hard truth to power.

I heard someone say after Sunday’s worship, “Highland has become so political.” Because “political” always has  to do with people, I interpret the comment as “Highland is addressing the issues of  the day and taking a stand on them.”

This is true. We cannot and will not be bystanders as a great moral crisis confronts our country. Our commitment as Jesus followers sets our agenda right in the center of the public square as witnesses to what we see with eyes opened by the living Christ.

In being political, it is important that Highland stay both faithful and also non-partisan. We focus on God’s Word and  the needs of the voiceless, rather than on personalities or political parties with whom we disagree.

One thing we will not do: We will not be silent when it is time to speak. We will not be cowed by fear or anxiety—the antitheses of faith. As Baptists, we will speak bravely and boldly from our liberty of conscience.

In a different tumultuous time, Thomas Merton wrote: The great danger  is that under pressures of anxiety and fear, the alternation of crisis and relaxation   and new crisis, the people of the world  will come to accept gradually the idea of war, the idea of submission to total power, and the abdication of reason, sprit, and individual conscience. The great peril is the deadening of conscience.

We gather each week to renew our conscience in God—the Holy Order of Life. We remember who we are and what gives us hope. We learn more about courage and conviction and calling.

We also remind ourselves, as we did at Sunday’s HBC Got Skillz, that life requires balance: tears and laughter, work and play, sorrow and joy.

I’m grateful to be church with the people of Highland.  ~ Joe