From the Pastor - May 2017
"We are not sheep or cows. God didn't create fences for us or boundaries to contain our nationalities. Man did. God didn't draw up religious barriers to separate us from each other. Man did. And on top of that, no father would like to see his children fighting or killing each other. The Creator favors the man who spreads love over the man who spreads hate. A religious title does not make anyone superior over another. If a kind man stands by his conscience and exhibits truth in his words and actions, he will stand by God regardless of his faith. If mankind wants to evolve, we must learn from our past mistakes." (From Suzy Kassem, "Rise Up and Salute the Sun").

What are your boundaries? Where are your walls? Human beings have this fascinating tendency to put up walls, barriers, and borders all over the place. We do it geographically and, even more importantly, we do it emotionally, socially, and spiritually. There is an old saying that goes something like,  "Good fences make good neighbors." I wonder, though, if we tell ourselves that so that we feel good about constructing separation in our lives.

I don't believe there is anything innate in human beings that cause us to think this way. I think we have taught ourselves to believe that we are safer, or happier, or wealthier, if we have these firm boundaries.

These boundaries cause problems in two important ways. First of all, they keep others out. The boundaries attempt to keep us safe by not allowing someone or something to come into contact with us. They keep out what is different in a belief that it is dangerous. Secondly, these boundaries keep us inside. They tell us that we must do certain things, mustn't go certain places, mustn't watch certain television shows or read certain books. They reinforce the belief that what is different is dangerous and somehow it will lead us astray.

At the end of the day, boundaries are impediments more than they are impenetrable securities. In the middle of May. I will be traveling to San Antonio for the Festival of Homiletics, a yearly meeting of pastors and preachers from around the country. It is an event focused on the art of preaching and we get to hear well known preachers and how they bring the Word to people. Adam Hamilton, Will Willimon, Water Brueggemann, and Rob Bell, just to name a few. The theme this year has to do with barriers, walls, and other ways we create and construct to keep ourselves safe and how we might safely, but courageously tear down those walls. As we get closer to summer, I urge you to take a look at the walls you've constructed and ask yourselves some serious questions about how those walls may be hurting you rather than helping you.

In His Peace,
Pastor Steve