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Race

Learn more on the Office of Race Relations website.

Forgiveness

I once walked out of my church right in the middle of the service. I was with my daughter and I can tell she was embarrassed but followed me out anyways. If you know me, I don’t like to interrupt or cause an interruption so walking out was a pretty drastic move. I didn’t plan on it, I was actually looking forward to the service as the topic was about forgiveness and we were going to hear from Wilma Derkson via a Ted Talk and follow up with a discussion.

The Power of Story in Anti-racism Work

So much of what I’ve been learning in my work is not new, but nevertheless illuminating. There is an incredible amount of power that someone’s story holds. There’s power in sharing our own story, but there’s also power through listening to others' stories. When we see ourselves reflected in the stories of others, it can have a profound impact on our feeling of belonging. So here’s my story. 

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Bring Us Together

Christians live in "already but not yet" time. The kingdom of God is already here through Jesus’ life, teaching, death, and resurrection. It is present today in this world and it is spreading like "yeast" (Matt 13:33). At the same time, the full manifestation of the kingdom is not here yet. It will be fully established in the eschaton, on the end of the day when Jesus returns with his angels to redeem all the believers and renew everything. So, as the church witnesses and participates in God’s kingdom, we know that it is imperfect.

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Justice Prayers - May 18, 2022

We are confident
that the light
which shines in the present darkness
will fill the earth
when Christ appears.
Come, Lord Jesus.
Our world belongs to you.

- Our World Belongs to God (Article 6)

Jesus’ Resurrection and Social Justice

A few weeks have passed since we celebrated Easter Sunday but I’m still reflecting on the meaning of Christ’s resurrection. What about you? What does resurrection mean to you and how do you embody it?

Justice Prayers - April 13, 2022

"Go out into the world uncorrupted, a breath of fresh air in this squalid and polluted society. Provide people with a glimpse of good living and of the living God. Carry the light-giving Message into the night so I’ll have good cause to be proud of you on the day that Christ returns. You’ll be living proof that I didn’t go to all this work for nothing." - Philippians 2:14-16 MSG

My Racial Education

Chicago made up its mind about me. As a kid, I took weekly trips downtown and watched people of every hue. Wandering through Marshall Field department store, I noticed the security guards who kept a close eye on me. These guards made up their minds about me. I remembered pressing my face against clear window panes of expensive stores along State Street, none of the white faces ever made eye contact with me during the Christmas season. However, one yuletide season, my sister Rebecca and I stood beside a white Santa and I sat on his lap unsure what to think about this.

One Thing

We are always looking to reduce things to the simplest and easiest form. We want the main points and Cliff Notes. We want to do that one action that will give us the greatest return on investment. Maybe that is why a teacher of the law asked Jesus what the most important commandment was. Instead of hundreds of rules and regulations, if he followed this most important commandment, the scales would tip in his favor. Jesus answered that the greatest commandment is: “Love God and Love your Neighbor” (Mark 12:29-31). Simple right?

The Reverse Kingdom

Sometimes I find myself singing a nursery rhyme I heard many years ago, The Reverse Kingdom. It has several stanzas, but the first two are the ones that stuck with me: 

Unity is Hard Work

Thank you for celebrating the OSJ’s offering Sunday with us this week.  Interim director Mark Stephenson offers his thoughts as we reflect together on working together as one body.


Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you. (2 Cor. 13:11)

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