So I have a friend, a dear friend in fact, someone I respect and admire. When the subject of religion comes up, he half-jokingly and half proudly will declare himself an agnostic when it comes to notions of God and atheist when it comes to organized religion. He points out regularly in these discussions how the Abrahamic view of God is faulty and even dangerous and how organized religion has hindered progress more than its helped. He is one of many and often has good points. The religion of Jesus, for example, often acts exactly the opposite as Jesus and to what he taught. Religion too often has become ideology and has been behind too many a conflict. It brings to mind that Gandhi quote that is quite common to hear. “I like Christ but I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” At the same time, my friend loves music. This love reaches the level of the spiritual. It is sacred to him. Music provides him so much meaning, comfort, and joy. It is as esse
This is the 2nd Part of a Sermon Series titled "The C3P2 Church." Last week we discussed C ommunity. This week is C onnection. Next week is C ompassion. The C3 of Community, Connection, and Compassion will be followed by the P2 of Prayerfulness and Progress. 1. To God “Breath…Light…Us… (Genesis 1) “God is Breath…” (John 4:24); “God is Love…” (I John 4:8, 16); “God is Light…” (I John 1:5) God is Breath, scripture originally says. And Breath breathed, breathes life into us in the beginning, at the dawn of Creation. The Life of God enlivens Life in us, through us. We are alive in God. Our connection to our Life-Giver more a inter-bond, unbounding us to do Divine Life’s work. God is Light, scripture originally says. And Light enlightened the stars and sun, sculpting this universe, the source of creativity. The Light of God undimmed our dark rooms. We are now alight in God. Our connection to our Enlightener more an extension from You to me and out to the world.
I was born and raised in Upstate New York, growing up in a working-class household whose parents were evangelical Christians. My first mentor was our church's minister, Rev. Dr. Morgan Jones. He encouraged my love of the Bible, my asking of big questions, and my interest in ministry from a young age From 1990 to 1993, I attended Cedarville University, a Christian college with a focus on biblical studies. I met my wife while at Cedarville and we were married in September 1994. In 2000, I graduated from North Carolina State University where I received my Bachelors of Art in Religious Studies. In 2004, I graduated from Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York . I am clinically certified in pastoral care (ACPE), receiving my residency training in 2006-2007 at Tampa General Hospital . For eight years, I ministered full-time as a hospice chaplain, years essential to my growth as a pastor. In July 2013, I was blessed to be called to serve as the minister of the Commu