I recently attended a middle school football game. As I walked through the crowd I observed the diversity – black, brown, and white. The football teams reflected the same diversity. I watched as two little girls played together – one white, one black. It was evident that this was their first meeting. They looked each other in the face, touched each others’ hair, and hugged. This is my community.
Anyone who knows me well knows that I am a “Trekkie.” My childhood heroes were Captain James T. Kirk, Mr. Spock, and the crew of the Starship Enterprise – NCC 1701. The bold explorations of the crew of the Enterprise thrilled my young mind. I have suggested to my wife that the theme from Star Trek (Where No Man has Gone Before, Alexander Courage) should be played at my funeral as the pallbearers are carrying me out.
“Remember the days of old, consider the years of all generations. Ask your father, and he will inform you, your elders, and they will tell you” (Deuteronomy 32:7).
This morning I watched the events of September 11. The emotions overwhelmed me. I wept. I sat in my chair and remembered.
We are all aware of the atrocities committed by the Islamist terrorist known as the Islamic State (aka ISIS, ISIL). Two American journalists have been beheaded. Thousands of Iraqi Christians have been displaced; many have been crucified, beheaded, and tortured. In my judgment, it is only a matter of time before ISIS targets American interest throughout the world. War seems inevitable. Fear and hate abound.
The problem of post-baptismal sin was an issue of great concern in the early church. The baptismal doctrine of the early church taught that water baptism was the initial act of Christian confession which cleansed the human soul of original sin and all sins committed up to the point of baptism.
The dysfunction of any community is generational. Edwin Friedman says, “the problem with parents, after all, is that they had parents.” According to Friedman’s “systems theory,” dysfunction is structured into an emotional triangle involving three persons, groups, or issues. The emotional triangle serves to maintain a sense of fragile stability, or homeostasis.
One of the harshest statements to come from Jesus was “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs” (Matthew 15:26). When we realize that these words were spoken to a widow in distress they seem to defy the virtues of love and mercy. How can we properly understand these harsh words? What is the significance of this narrative?