Should Christians Be Sorry?

Politically speaking, I lean towards the left and self-identify as a Democrat. Most of the reason I identify with this political party is because of my Christian upbringing. Growing up attending Catholic schools, I was taught that Jesus loves everyone and that God shows grace and forgiveness to those who ask Him for it (and even to those who don’t ask as God’s love is unconditional). These are values that I have taken into my adult life and values I plan to raise my children with.

But Christianity stretches through the entire political spectrum. This is a statement that has bothering me quite a lot lately as I have felt that many of the things happening in Congress, both on the Republican and Democrat side, are not real representations of Christians. Between the House and Senate, 92% of our Congress members identify as Christian. However, the support for specific bills and legislation does not always reflect our Christian teachings. I encourage you all to reflect about what your definition of being a Christian is and how you reflect this definition in your everyday life. Here are a few thoughts and questions I have to get you started:

  • Many LGBT+ people have been hurt by the church’s teachings in the past with homophobic and transphobic remarks coming from the pulpit. How do Christians begin reconciling this? As Christians, are we called by Jesus to apologize for these hateful teachings?
  • Speaking of apologizing, what is Christian’s calling in regards to Trump’s executive order to ban people from predominately Muslim countries?
  • Another question in relation to apologizing: As Christians, Jesus tells us that we need to repent and ask for forgiveness. How do we ask for forgiveness for the church hurting others who don’t identify like us? Who should be asking for forgiveness—should it be the people who inflicted the harm or all people who identify as Christians?
  • How do Christians, as a whole, become less judgmental and how do we learn to take our judgement and turn it into unconditional love?
  • A familiar Methodist phrase is “open hearts, open minds, open doors.” As Methodists, how do we practice this phrase? How do we show others that we are truly “open mind[ed]”?

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Some Bible verses that really helped me answer these tough questions:

  • John 13:35, By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:11, Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
  • Luke 18:19, “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone.
  • Acts 10:34, Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism

Katie Taylor

Daily Bible Verses

Each day come and goes with a flood of emotions and actions. Whether you’re happy or sad, worried or losing faith, God reminds us in the toughest of times, he is there for us. Use this template as a guide for leading us in the direction that God calls us to see and learn every day.

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-Lauren Muth

Mountain or Water?

In prayer yesterday morning, I was thinking about all the mountains in my life that God has moved. It was a moment of thanksgiving, to be sure. But that moment of praise gave way to a startling realization: I can also be the mountain. Yikes!

When we open our eyes to the wonders God has done — and is doing — we learn a little about the nature of God. God is relentless. God always pursues what God desires with a patience that is unsurpassed. In fact, I think God delights in showing us that what we see as impossible is possible! In our humanity, we can sometimes use improbability and impossibility as an excuse. But we cannot forget that God is a God of possibility. When we forget this, we become the mountain, the very thing that God must move!

Oh my goodness, let me not be the mountain! Please, let me not be the mountain.

Rather, let me be like a stream. God is more like a stream — a powerful river that makes its own Way — adaptable yet unchanging, full of life, always moving, renewing, always creating. Yes! Let me be like a stream, one that is sourced with the living water, the wellspring of all that is!

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Psalm 42:1-2a

As a deer longs for flowing streams,
    so my soul longs for you, O God.
My soul thirsts for God,
    for the living God.

-Susan Mercer, Wesley KU Campus Minister

Daily Encounters: Music

This post is the second part of a five-part blog series, “5 Ways to Encounter God Daily.”

Last week I challenged myself to listen to only Christian music throughout the days and spend each day exploring a different genre. Growing up going to youth group events and church camp, a huge part of my childhood was singing Christian music in choirs. I started the week thinking I knew what I would get out of this experiment but ended up with a new found love of soothing Christian lyrics.

Day 1: Calming Christian

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I don’t know about you, but for me Monday’s are rough. Listening to this music as I was getting ready in the morning provided some sort of hope. Maybe this Monday would be full of happiness. I can’t promise it changed the outcome of the beginning of the week but as it played through my earbuds, I had many moments of self-reflection. I spend about 10-15 min between each class riding the bus or walking. While I usually take that time to relax, having words of Jesus’ love and giving glory to him, I was able to maximize on these small increments of time and reflect on those lyrics.

Day 2: Rock/Alternative

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Oookkkaayyy so this genre is incredibly inclusive of the label “Christian.” I searched the internet and through many different Spotify playlists and was left with a question “what makes Christian music Christian?” I always thought it to mean the subject of the lyrics surrounds the holy trinity or worship or something biblical. However, it seems most music that is labeled “Christian” is done so because the artist wrote one of two Christian songs at some point and all their work is forever now labeled “Christian music.” This lead to much frustration on my part but overall the day did introduce me to a couple genuinely positive songs.

Day 3: Worship

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What a great day this was! I added some classics to the playlist that brought me back to my “Jesus choir” days and found some great new artists. While in most music I can’t stand that prerecorded clapping and screaming and singing along, when it’s worship music, I don’t mind too much. It feels motivating. Like hundreds of people are singing to me, hoping my day goes well. Wow. After reading ^^ that sentence, I have to apologize for how cheesy that comes across. PLEASE GO LISTEN TO CHAIN BREAKER BY ZACH WILLIAMS. If you get nothing else out of this post, get that

Anyways, PLEASE GO LISTEN TO CHAIN BREAKER BY ZACH WILLIAMS. If you get nothing else out of this post, get that that song is incredible.

Day 4: Pop&Rap

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The Spotify playlist title, “Christian Dance Party” may sound like the music they play at a high school dance so the teenagers don’t get too crazy but it’s an awesome exploration of various pop and dubstep songs that have Christian lyrics. Some are of course better than others but I loved hearing the fast beat I crave with the wholesome, inspiring lyrics I love.

Overall this week taught me the power of which music you have in your ears all day. Angry lyrics make me angry. Calming lyrics make me calm. Christian lyrics give me small moments with God every day. Moments that make me pause and think about small things I could do to make my day something God would brag about.

Below I’ve linked playlists of the best music I found each day along with a favorites playlist of the week playlist that I listened to on the last day. Enjoy this and reach out if you find an incredible artist or song you need to share.

-Abby

Christian Personality

The other day, I was surfing around the internet, taking the Myers-Briggs test to pass time and learn fun things about myself in the process. I was thinking how interesting it would be to learn who each of us relate to in the bible based on our personalities and preferences. I stumbled upon this Bible Character Quiz and would highly recommend taking the time to take it (only about 2 minutes).

If you’ve happen to take the Myers-Briggs test in the past, this is also a Reformed Worship website that will help you learn about what kind of worshiper you are. I found this very helpful in learning about how I act not only in daily life, but how my Chrisitan roots are influenced by who I am at my core.

Below, I’ve attached a Myers-Briggs Biblical personality chart that I think will give each of us new insight to each influential biblical character and their relation to us today.

enfpinthebiblehttp://lutheranmission.blogspot.com/2014/10/myers-briggs-and-chrisitianity.html

-Lauren Muth

Only Jesus

In this season of new beginnings…years, semesters, presidencies,              (insert your new beginning here), we must remember that as people of faith, our strength comes from Christ. Our strength to endure. Our strength to persevere. Our strength to hope. Our strength to dream. Our strength to be courageous. Our strength to succeed. Remembering this requires surrendering our egos – our desire for control (our savior complex) – to the only one who has the power to save: Jesus.

I have a small prayer cross that was a gift from a dear Korean friend. On that cross in Korean are the words “Only Jesus.” Remembering that it is only Jesus who has the power to save…us, our institutions, our church, our government, our nation, our world, etc…necessitates that we also remember Jesus is the only thing we should hold onto. Everything else is temporary. Everything else will fade away. What matters is Jesus’ steadfast and enduring love for us – for every single one of us – just as we are.

Only Jesus.

Yes, in the midst of our flaws and failures, fears and temptations, joys and sorrows — in the midst of our humanity — Jesus looks on us with love. Jesus takes us by the hand and says, ‘I will lead you. I’ve got this. I’ve got YOU.’

We have received an invitation! Jesus invites us to join him in the creation of a new reality. Each of us has within us a glimpse of this new reality. None of us has the whole picture. We must all work together!

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Our own cropped image rests in our gifts and passions — the places where we see what is and long for what could be, the places where we find delight and joy. Uncovering our cropped image requires prayer — listening for and to the Holy One. Once uncovered, we must share what we see with others. Sharing what we see requires us to be vulnerable and open, daring and courageous.

But it is the only way we can discover how our piece intersects with others’ and it is the only way we can help to create a new reality. We can’t do it alone. We need each other. We need Jesus.

Only Jesus.

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-Susan Mercer, Wesley KU Campus Minister