Saturday, July 26, 2008

AIDS Walk San Francisco

Marcus Jung, Will McGarvey, Bruce Reyes-Chow

It amazes me that 25,000 people helped raise over $4.5 million dollars.  While many people were at worship in churches around the Bay Area, others were walking and praying for a cure to a disease that continues to ravish people all around the world.  Almost three decades after the first victims of AIDS were targeted and excluded from the church, today even Evangelical Christians in America are working to end this terrible disease around the world.  While in Seminary, I remember organizing my congregation in creating home health care kits to send to southern Africa.  People went shopping for rubber gloves, bandages, gauze, scissors, and bedsheets, and we mailed them in large boxes to our Presbyterian partners.  With the increasing number of AIDS orphans, the families and villages that have been devastated, and the those here in the U.S. who continue to live with the effects of the virus, let us continue to pray, and walk, and heal.

This year, about the same number of Presbyterians joined in the walk.  The Episcopalians raised $19,000, the Lutherans raised $16,000, and the Catholics raised $13,000.  Next year, lets send teams from every congregation in the Presbytery, and see if we can catch up with our brothers and sisters in raising money for a cure.  Then more of us will be able to participate in the great hospitality offered by Mission Bay's community! 

Friday, July 18, 2008

The New Social Creed

The recent General Assembly updated its Social Creed from the versions of the past in an attempt to be able to address the current needs of the world.  What do you think about this?  What would you add, or leave out?  What is the role of the Church in the world?  How does this affect our local mission?

A Social Creed For the 21st Century

Remembering the prophetic Social Creed of the Churches of 1908, we respond to God’s call to transform our social order toward justice and peace, and address the 21st century’s great challenges of globalization and sustainability. Hearing also concerns of churches and peoples around our globe, we pledge ourselves to specific practices of personal and social responsibility that reflect our Triune God’s gracious will for all creation. We rejoice in the Biblical vision where all “shall long enjoy the work of their hands” and “not labor in vain or bear children for calamity”(Isa.65: 22-23).

In faith, we celebrate the full humanity of each woman, man, and child, all created in God’s image, by working for:

  • Employment for all, at a family-sustaining living wage.
  • Protection of workers from dangerous occupational conditions, injuries, and death.
  • Full civil, political and economic rights for all people, protected by new governance structures.
  • Abolition of forced labor, human trafficking, and the exploitation of children.
  • The rights of workers to organize, and to share in workplace decisions and productivity gains.
  • Adequate time and resources to care for families without fear of work penalties.
  • High quality public education for all, free from racial, gender, or economic disparity.
  • A fair, de-racialized criminal justice system, based on restorative justice and rehabilitation.
In the love taught by Jesus, despite the world’s sufferings and evils, we honor the deep connections within our human family and seek to awaken a new spirit of cooperation by working for:

  • Abatement of poverty and enactment of policies benefiting the most vulnerable.
  • Universal healthcare.
  • Safe, affordable housing, served by adequate public transportation.
  • An effective program of social security during sickness, disability and old age.
  • Tax and budget policies that reduce disparities between rich and poor, strengthen democracy, and provide greater opportunity for everyone within the common good.
  • Just immigration policies that protect family unity, safeguard workers’ rights, require employer accountability, and foster international cooperation.
  • Public service as a high vocation, with integrity in voting, campaign finance and lobbying.
In hope sustained by the Holy Spirit, we pledge to keep and heal the environment, recognizing our responsibility for its health and our interdependence with Creation and one another, by working for:

  • Adoption of simpler lifestyles for those who have enough.
  • Access for all to healthy food, clean water and air, with wise and equitable land stewardship.
  • Sustainable use of all resources and promotion of alternative energy sources.
  • Equitable global trade that protects local economies, initiatives, cultures and livelihoods.
  • Peacemaking through international cooperation and rule of law, mutual security rather than unilateral force, nuclear disarmament and a strengthened United Nations.
  • Redirection of military spending to more peaceful and productive uses.
  • Relationships of mutuality among the world’s churches and faith communities.
With all those who labor and are heavy-laden, we commit ourselves to a culture of peace and freedom that embraces non-violent initiatives, human dignity and greater equality, with a deeper spirituality of inward growth and outward action. By these means, we witness to our hope in the God who makes all things new, whom we know in Jesus Christ.


Ok, so our Moderator, and my friend, the Right Rev. Bruce Reyes-Chow has encouraged the church to increase the different ways we as pastors communicate with our congregants and the church at large – and so, after much arm twisting I have finally started a blog.  

I will use this space to go down the many rabbit trails our weekly lectionary scriptures take us.  I also hope to further explore what it means to be a Christian in the midst of Empire – both as citizen and critic – asking what it means not just to believe in Jesus but to be a follower of his radical message in a time of much Christian complacency and complicity with injustice around the world.  

So read and struggle along with me.  Replies are always welcome.  Let's start a conversation about our lives and loves – exploring how God calls us into the future together.