Our role as a faith community in times of tragedy is to come together and support one another. I hope you’ll take a moment to read this article from Faith & Leadership in which 12 Christian leaders (including Pullen’s Pastor Nancy Petty) respond to the shooting at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida.
Archives for June 2016
Text: Galatians 5:1,12-25
Freedom. My first taste of freedom, or so I thought, came on October 4, 1979—the day I turned 16. I awoke early that day, dressed quickly and waited rather impatiently for my father to take me to the DMV to get my driver’s license. All that stood in the way of my freedom was passing both a written test and an actual driving test. Given that I had been driving on the family farm since I was about 10, I didn’t worry a lot about the driving part. The written test gave me a bit more pause, but after all I had studied for weeks, so I was also quite confident about that, too. As was the procedure, I took the written test first. An eternity passed before the DMV instructor came over to me and said, “Okay, let’s see if you can actually drive.” Relief washed over me. At least I had passed the written part. As for the driving test, it was a shaky start. Getting out of the parking space I hit the brakes just a bit too hard. After we recovered from whiplash, I proceeded to the stop sign at the entrance to the DMV parking lot. Guess what? Driving instructors don’t consider a slow stop a complete stop. Nevertheless, I did manage to recover from that as the nice man loudly cleared his throat and I quickly came to a complete stop before I was completely in the middle of the road. Thank goodness we agreed to chalk those first few minutes up to nerves. From that point on, I did fine. And on that day, I felt a sense of freedom that I had never felt before, and it was exhilarating. I was, as the saying goes, “footloose and fancy free.” At least for a 16 year old. [Read more…]
Text: Luke 8:26-39
When I was in sixth grade my grandfather bought a baby pig. It only took about five minutes for me to bond with this baby pig as my new pet and playmate. On the days that I would stay with my grandparents after school I would spend all afternoon playing with and talking to Arnold. That’s what I named him. I know, not very creative. But, after all, Green Acres was one of my favorite childhood shows and one of the main characters was a pig named Arnold. Well, you know the rest of the story. Arnold wasn’t bought to be my playmate. And one day when I was in the eighth grade I came home from school to find Arnold gone. As I would later learn what happened to Arnold, my heart broke.
For animals lovers like myself, who tend to humanize all animals, stories like this one in Luke are tough. It is easy to get focused on the pigs and the fate that befell them. Why did something bad have to happen to the pigs for something good to happen to the man who was possessed? Why do our sacred stories tell of saving one living creature at the expense of another, even if they are just stories and metaphors?
I don’t know the answer to that but what I do know is that in some sense, for some of us, it is easier to focus on what happened to the pigs than to wrestle with the idea and questions and reality of demons. But today, I am afraid that we don’t have the luxury to get sidetracked with the pigs in Luke’s story. There is something much more urgent in this text that demands our attention: that of speaking to the demons of our day. [Read more…]
Click here for information about the Organizing Against Racism – Youth Workshop coming up. It will be hosted at Pullen.