Prayers for Racial Justice

This Sunday, August 9, 2015, is the first anniversary of Mike Brown's death.  On this day the congregation I pastor (Fort Myers Congregational United Church of Christ) will join with hundreds and perhaps thousands of other congregations in the United Church of Christ by including prayers for racial justice as a part of services of worship.  This shared emphasis is the direct result of a group of faith leaders who have met regularly by conference call under the leadership of Geoffrey Black, the Read More …

UCC Files Landmark Lawsuit

By now I hope you have heard that earlier this week the United Church of Christ filed lawsuit arguing that North Carolina marriage laws limit ministers' choices, violate the principle of "free exercise of religion" upon which the church is built, and restrict the freedoms of religion and expressive association guaranteed in the First Amendment. The following 2 1/2 minute video message from Geoffrey Black, President and General Minister of the United Church of Christ, provides a helpful Read More …

Faith & Voting

Geoffrey Black, General Minister and President of the United Church of Christ, recently wrote about how being a disciple of Jesus leads him to vote and shapes how he votes. For me voting is love in action.  It is about loving God, neighbor and about self.  Therefore, I vote for candidates who are likely to enact policies that honor God and are in the best interest of my neighbors.  Of course, I also vote in my own self-interest and that too is an act of love.  However, I want to be clear voting Read More …

Toward A Christian Response to the Death of Osama bin Laden

Osama bin Laden’s death has been a lead news story for the last several days.  Over the course of the week I have read a number of tweets, Facebook status messages, and blog posts commenting on the matter from a Christian perspective.  These reflections represent a wide range of theological beliefs, including a number that place United States citizenship above one’s place in the reign of God and sound quite unChristian.  In contrast, I offer the words of leaders from two of the mainline Read More …

Mission 1: Feeding the Hungry and Confronting Food-Related Injustice

The one million member United Church of Christ may be best known by its incredibly successful multi-year "God is still speaking" campaign. Perhaps you have heard the message: No matter who you are or where you are on life’s journey, you are welcome here. We believe in extravagant welcome. (For more information read The Language of God and Uniquely UCC then watch some of the original television commercials.) The United Church of Christ originated as the result of mergers that ultimately Read More …

Five Days Later: Thoughts and Prayers

Five days ago in Tucson, Arizona six people were killed and 14 others wounded, including U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in Arizona.  These deaths and injuries occurred because of the violent actions of one man.  Regardless of your political affiliation or citizenship status in this country, I invite you to take a few moments to consider these thoughts and prayers today. Thoughts Last night, President Obama started his speech with these words: To the families of those we've lost; to all who Read More …

Inviting Ellen – A Lesson in Silly Creativity

The United Church of Christ, a progressive mainline denomination with 1.1 million members, recently launched a creative campaign designed to land Ellen DeGeneres as a keynote speaker at their General Synod, which will be held from July 1-5 in Tampa, Florida.  Geoffrey A. Black, the UCC's General Minister and President, wrote a letter explaining why and how the denomination is pursuing Ellen: Your life, values and humor represent the best of what our church hopes to embody through our witness in Read More …