Tag Archives: diverse

In Which I Define Terms

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Wednesday, November 16, 2016

fish-ichthus

In Which I Define Terms

I am uncomfortable with the term “Evangelical.”

There. I have said it. There it is, in black and white. (At least, in black and white on the computer screen.)

Looking at my past, I do have some Evangelical street cred. Yes, I was active in a bible study group in high school and into college, which led me to a non-denominational bible church on the northwest side of Chicago. I learned Pietistic practices, which were oddly and wonderfully balanced by the liturgical learning and careful Lutheran catechism of the church where I was baptized and confirmed.

And, to crown all this bible learning, I received a bachelor’s degree from a non-denominational bible college in downtown Chicago, in the mid-1980’s. (In church music. I wasn’t allowed to take biblical Greek or study to become a pastor at the time, since I was a woman. Women weren’t permitted/allowed to serve freely or utilize their God-given gifts. At least, under that particular stream of Evangelicalism. But, I digress.)

Yes. I used to identify as an Evangelical. Over the years, how twisted that term has become. So much rule-keeping, modern-day Pharisaism/legalism, and—most frightening to me, bigotry and xenophobia. Arrogant, condescending, cultural baggage is also hung on that moniker, causing me to shrink from using the term for myself.

What particularly opened my eyes to the smallness and meanness of modern-day Evangelicalism was (in no particular order), seminary training, counseling training and on-the-job work as an addictions counselor, chaplain training, and on-the-job work as a chaplain in an urban setting.

I sometimes take refuge in the historical definition of Evangelical, as in one who freely and gladly shares the Good News of the Gospel. Period. I am more likely to align myself with that simple definition, which is sadly antiquated, nowadays.

And now, post-presidential election, I have absolutely NO idea what an Evangelical is, or isn’t, or stands for or against or anything else. I find myself running to the embrace of a God who is so much bigger than anything this world has for me. My Refuge and Strength, and a very present Help in times of trouble and need.

Dear Lord, in Your mercy, hear all of our prayers for our country, for our representatives, for the leadership. Lift up all of the diverse voices, and downtrodden and silenced groups across this land. Draw us together as the unified people we strive to be, and show us all the way to walk together with openness, genuineness, tolerance, and—yes—love. (Even towards Evangelicals. 😉 ) Amen.

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my companion blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.  #PursuePEACE. My Facebook page, Pursuing Peace – Thanks! And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

Prayers of Thanksgiving? Wonderful Peace Breakfast!

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Friday, October 21, 2016

 

breakfast-shot-3-eric-ponders

(Photo Credit: Eric Ponders, The North Shore Voice) (www.FaceBook.com/MGVoice)

Prayers of Thanksgiving? Wonderful Peace Breakfast!

 

Ever have one of those days? Or, weeks? Maybe even, one of those months? Yeah—me, too. When I invited many of the same village and religious leaders to a second Peace Breakfast, some of them told me that they unfortunately could not attend. The past few weeks have been extremely busy—for everyone!

We met again, this morning. We met, again, to talk about next steps towards peace, friendship, and cooperation, in this wonderful and diverse suburb of Chicago. And, we came up with some great ideas!

Some backstory: several people around the table pointed out that there was a good deal of fear, anxiety, and general uncertainty in portions of the population in our area. How can we reach out to them, in a proactive, useful and needed way?

As one local media member (Eric Ponders) reported, “Proactive initiatives for community outreach were discussed, including strategic plans, combining resources, more encompassing events with multiple communities, pooling our resources – potentially programming as well as funding, creating a grass roots initiative, communication strategies for outreach and facilitation & more!”

Yes, looking at what we discussed, we could say that we discussed public health. Alternatively, we could say we discussed funding and community strategy. I prefer to look at it another way. The village and religious leaders gathered there discussed ways to lower fear, anxiety, and uncertainty; we discussed ways to promote family- and community-building, finding ways to work together across neighborhoods, villages, and townships.

Did we find ways to pursue peace? Promote friendship and harmony in the midst of a very diverse population in our area? I think we did. So, YES. This morning’s Peace Breakfast was a wonderful next step, indeed.

Thanks, God! A great, big praise to You for Your assistance.

(Thanks as well to Eric Ponders, who is also known as North Shore Voice.)
@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my companion blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.  #PursuePEACE. My Facebook page, Pursuing Peace – Thanks! And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

Interfaith Walk for Peace, and More

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Saturday, September 24, 2016

instrument-of-your-peace-dove

Interfaith Walk for Peace, and More

Today was the Morton Grove Interfaith Walk for Peace. An event that I have been working on and hoping and praying for, for a bunch of weeks. Such a great response for the Interfaith Walk! All ages, strollers, someone in a wheelchair. Wonderful cross-section of the community in Morton Grove walking with us today.

As I went from one group of walkers to another, I heard bits of conversations—friendly, encouraging talk between diverse people. People from different places and from different faith traditions.

I heard many people today looking forward to another Morton Grove Interfaith Walk for Peace next September! With a nearby suburb having a Peace Festival this weekend as well, I can envision a North Shore Peace Initiative—especially if many of us talked to friends about Interfaith Walks in other, neighboring suburbs of Chicago.

Just think. If people built bridges of peace, friendship and harmony. Just imagine. Less ignorance and misunderstanding. What a wonderful place the Chicago area could be.

Such an awesome start! Let’s keep the conversation going. Dear God, let it be so! Lord, in Your mercy, hear all of our prayers for peace, harmony, and an end to conflict and violence. Amen.

Peace.

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my companion blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.  #PursuePEACE. My Facebook page, Pursuing Peace – Thanks! And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

An Interview for Peace, and More

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Thursday, September 22, 2016

microphone-vintage

An Interview for Peace, and More

This afternoon, I had an interview. I was talking with several guys in a radio station control room. (WCGO-AM in Evanston.)

We all had earphones on, and were talking into large microphones. (All of that seemed a bit odd at first, but I got used to it.) The funny thing about this experience? It was just a conversation between me and two other guys.

The topic of the conversation was pointed towards peace, however. Yes, we went several other places, but that was the starting and the ending point of my interview. Peace. Yes, I did mention the Interfaith Gathering for Peace I had at St. Luke’s Church last night. (Just briefly.) However, I concentrated more on what is coming up this weekend.

I almost feel like a broken record, since I have talked about this and encouraged people to attend this for some weeks now. The Morton Grove Interfaith Walk for Peace. In such a diverse and multi-cultural community as Morton Grove, this walk lifts up our diversity and is a way to express friendship and fellowship towards one another. Plus, we will try to learn more about each other by walking together. Visiting different houses of worship, faith and culture.

An interview for peace. Actually, for peace’s sake. Let us all pursue peace. #PursuePEACE. God willing, we all can try, one kind word at a time. One act of service at a time. One friendly smile at a time.

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.  #PursuePEACE. My Facebook page, Pursuing Peace – Thanks! And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-ers

Peace and Social Justice, Part Two

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Wednesday, June 15, 2016

act, do, walk

Peace and Social Justice, Part Two

Yesterday evening’s panel discussion at the Muslim Community Center in Morton Grove was a wonderful opportunity to gather together and share insights into different faith streams. Yet, five similar viewpoints on Social Justice. How each of these faith streams—forms of spirituality—religions—has an impact on society and the outworking of kindness, mercy and justice.

As someone invited to be the representative of the Christian point of view, I had specific understandings of Social Justice (from my faith stream). I was fascinated to see how much overlap there was between all five forms of spirituality.

This goes to show how much diverse people of different ethnicities, various cultures, and widely scattered nationalities all around the world have so much in common. All faiths seek to better society, whether in small ways or large, whether dealing with one person or many.

I do not mean to be political. Jesus did His best to steer clear of politics. I really strive to follow His excellent example. I quote from my remarks made yesterday. “Different rabbis or teachers had different opinions on what was the greatest of all commands. Some of these teachers wanted to know what Jesus considered the “most important” of the laws in the Mosaic law code, which was (and is) the official Jewish rule book.

“In the Gospel of Mark, chapter 12, Jesus does not name one of the “big 10,” the Ten Commandments. Instead, He responds with the Shema. “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength,” from Deuteronomy 6:5-6.

“Jesus does not stop there! No, He makes another definitive statement. “31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Did you follow that? Jesus made “the greatest command” into a two-part command.

“Love God, love others. Two sides of the same coin.

“’When we hear these words, we know that we are close to the center of Christianity, that we are close to the heart of God. The cross of Christ, the most important symbol of the Christian faith, has two dimensions: a vertical love to God and a horizontal love towards our neighbors.” [1]

“The simplicity, truth and wisdom of love is at the heart of the Good News of God, the message of Social Justice. Think about it. If we truly love, what else is necessary?”

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.   @chaplaineliza  And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

[1] ·  “The Hinge, The Two Great Commandments,” Gospel Analysis, Sermons from Seattle, Pastor Edward F. Markquart, Grace Lutheran Church, Seattle, Washington.

Peace and Social Justice

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, June 14, 2016

JUSTICE do, think

Peace and Social Justice

Tonight was the panel on Social Justice as a foundation to faith streams. The panel was hosted by the Muslim Community Center. I was the Christian representative on the panel, and we all shared on what was each religion’s view of social justice.

But first, we all had several moments of silence for all those who died and were injured in the shooting in Orlando. And all the relatives and loved ones.

The audience was diverse and appreciative. We shared expressions of peace. And then, we delved more deeply into social justice. Expressions of why the Eternal requires us to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God.

The Mayor closed the evening with reflections, and a call to walk together. To pursue peace. Our suburb is so diverse, and we all are encouraged to reach out to one another.

Thank God for gatherings of friendly people, people who are open and want to try to understand more about other faith traditions. God willing, may we live in peace, harmony, and friendship.

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.   @chaplaineliza  And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

Peace: The Peace Vigil and School Children

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Sunday, June 5, 2016

Definitions from Gemini Jr. High School

Peace: The Peace Vigil and School Children

I remember the Morton Grove Community Peace Vigil last Wednesday with great appreciation. Yes, the Peace Vigil accomplished its purpose wonderfully. It was a simple event. Some of the diverse people in our community had a chance to get together, think about peace and harmony, and seek to continue the conversation of peace. And, we did it! It happened.

In particular, I remembered the great opportunity I had to talk with young people at Gemini Jr. High School in Niles. And, the welcome and courtesy I received from Principal Rich Groeling and all his staff and faculty members. (Thanks so much, again!)

Since I had a number of different personal definitions of PEACE from Gemini School, I made a simple poster where I displayed a bunch of these personal points of view. An informal display stood near the entrance to the Peace Vigil, and a large number of people slowed down, looked at the various definitions, and discussed the points of view.

Wonderful chance to have the participants at the Vigil discuss PEACE. And young people have such great ideas! Innovative, too. Excellent job, all the way around.

Morton Grove and its surrounding communities are indeed quite diverse. Culturally, ethnically, in terms of religion, and in several other ways. Great opportunity to embody the melting pot that is the United States.

Why not have positive interaction? Hope and harmony, instead of divisiveness, alienation, anxiety and fear? That is my sincere hope and prayer. God willing.

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.   @chaplaineliza  And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er