June 29, 2005
The state government of Tennessee is wrestling with the issue of providing health coverage to its citizens who cannot afford health insurance. The conversation appears to be rather onesided at this point. The government is doing what I expect the government to do; and that is to look at the bottom line. But, there are those of us who embrace the "Great Commandment" as our criteria and lens through which we view and make decisions. We are constrained by our love of God and neighbor to seek ways in which we can bring healing and wholeness to others. I have discovered that "loving others" is costly. In this case, I believe that it is worth the time and effort for us to find ways we can provide at the least "basic health coverage" for those who can not provide it for themselves or their families. The 2004 Book of Discipline in paragraph 162T reads "Health care is a basic human right. Psalm 146 speaks of the God 'who executes justice for the oppressed;/who gives food to the hungry./ The Lord sets prisoners free;/ the Lord opens the eyes of the blind.' ...It is unjust to construct or perpetuate barriers to physical or mental wholeness or full participation in community." I realize that these are tough times and that many will not embrace this idea of health care being a human right but I ask, "Is there a person of Christian faith who would feel justified in her or his heart in turning a person away from medical attention that would prevent that person's death?"
June 10, 2005
I love music and as many of you have discovered music can determine and alter our mood, our frame of mind, disposition, ambience and even the atmosphere in which we work, play and serve. And just like music can change the mood so can excitement, good preparation, the decor of a room, the lighting of a space and many other changes that we can put into place.
We live in an age when information and education is so available to us that at the click or double click of a button or mouse we can pull up all kinds of data, information, statistics, and models to help us be intellectually prepared to accomplish and fulfill the various missions we are called upon to complete. Yet, with all of this, we are still guilty of being stuck in a rut, hibernating and unable to move forward. So if all of this is available to us why aren't we moving forward?
I believe it is a matter of mood. I know I should do it but I just can't get started. It is sort of what the teenagers tell us sometime, "I'm hearing you but I'm just not feeling you." In many of our lives, our congregations, our districts and yes even our annual conferences we need to begin to work on "Mood." We need to set the atmosphere for spiritual work to happen. No wonder Jesus told the disciples "Go to Jerusalem" (But don't do anything. This is the official Swanson translation) "stay there until you are filled with power from on high. Then, you shall be my witness." Change the mood in your worship, change the mood of your bible study, change the mood of your Wednesday Night Suppers, change the mood of your Sunday School classes, change the mood of your children, youth and young adult ministries. Until someone says "I'm in the mood for sharing the love and excitement of becoming a disciple of Jesus Christ."