Faith Reflections

Faith Reflections

Contributing authors and speakers share their insights on matters of faith and the community.

How did King come to terms with constant struggle, lack of progress, dreams delayed? Most fundamentally, he believed in an ultimate reality that makes defeat temporary and redeems our failures. He trusted what Jesus has told us about God as love.

It has been 44 years since the death of Martin Luther King, Jr. What would he think about our life together today? I doubt very much that he could visualize an African American in the White House so soon. I can only imagine the quiet satisfaction he might feel. But he would agonize over the fact that we are in this country more divided by wealth and income than at any time since the Gilded Age of the 1890s and the Great Depression of the 1930’s. He would not be surprised that African Americans, as usual, are bearing a disproportionate share of the burden.

Rev. Susan Johnson discusses themes of danger and hope in the Magnificat and asks us to dwell on Mary’s witness and participation, which magnify God for us – that is, making God visible, tangible, palpable, follow-able, helping us to understand where God is, what God is doing, what the signs are – scattering the proud, bringing down the mighty, lifting up those of low estate, feeding those who hunger and thirst, sending away those who have had more than enough already.

The following letter was written by Rev. Don Ashmall, Council Minister for the International Council of Community Churches. It was passed on to us by a PCG constituent and we enjoyed it so much, we wanted to share it with you. Happy Advent!

Peter Baugher, Partner, Schopf & Weiss LLC, and member of the PCG of Directors, offered the following reflection and introduction when the Rev. Alexander Sharp preached at the First Congregational Church of Wilmette on the text Matthew 22:15 “Give, therefore, to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”

I received a communication by email declaring, authoritatively, that “Jesus is with the 99%.” How reassuring! But I have my doubts. And for all sorts of reasons.

Recently, as some of you know, I was arrested along with 1,250 others in a non-violent civil disobedience action in front of the White House. The general purpose of the so-called Tar Sands Action was to remind President Obama of his campaign pledge to make this generation “the first to free itself from the tyranny of oil”--all his words.

This week, amid news of political debates, two death row executions, mass graves in Libya, plummeting stocks, and hand-wringing from the General Assembly of the United Nations, I found myself standing in a crowd in downtown Chicago listening to the words of the rapper and political/social critic, Mos Def in his song, _Life in Marvelous Times_...

In America we value democracy. We value decent wages. We value everyone having a seat at the table. In America, the way out of this crisis is dialogue and meaningful partnership and collaboration. Keron Blair, the Student Programs Coordinator for Interfaith Worker Justice, writes about current labor issues in the context of his faith.

Jim Winkler, General Secretary of the United Methodist General Board of Church and Society writes about his arrest on July 28, 2011, along with ten other faith leaders from several religious traditions, for praying in the Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol during the recent budget debate in Washington.

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