In this political climate

I want to encourage anyone who reads this to read it slowly and daily during these final weeks of the 2016 Presidential Campaign for the President of the United States of America. This comes from a correspondence written between 130 -200 CE titled Letter to Diognetus, who recorded these observations about Christians in the early church:

“The Christians are distinguished from other men neither by country, nor by language, nor by the customs that they observe; for they neither inhabit cities of their own, nor employ a peculiar form of speech. They dwell in their own countries, but simply as sojourners. They marry, as do all others; they beget children; but they do not destroy their offspring. They have a common table, but not a common bed. They are in the flesh, but they do not live after the flesh. They pass their days on earth, but they are citizens of heaven. They obey the prescribed laws, and at the same time surpass the laws by their lives. They love all men, and are persecuted by all. They are unknown and condemned; they are put to death, and restored to life. They are poor, yet they make many rich; they are lacking all things, and yet abound in all; they are dishonored, and yet in their very dishonor are glorified. They are spoken of as evil, and yet are justified; they are reviled, and bless; they are insulted and repay the insult with honor; they do good, yet are punished as evildoers.”

 

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A Reminder in this Fear-Filled Political Home Stretch

Well, we are entering the home stretch, aren’t we?  The home stretch of the 2016 National Election, for the human being, who will be the next President of the United States of America.

It is – this time around – a particularly fearful time, a fear-filled time, it seems to me.

I opened up the Guardian this morning to catch up on some breaking news that I realized I missed and didn’t know anything about. It was another Trump rape allegation. Rape isn’t just about intercourse; you all know that, correct? This time, by the way, it’s a matter of public record. (I’m just going to stop there.*)

But it wasn’t only that. Alongside that Breaking News was a headline that read: “Hacking/Entire U.S. political system “under attack” by Russia, experts say.” Why do newspapers do that? Sometimes I think they’ll say anything, in any way, to attract more consumers; and suck in people like me!

Hard to believe that our choice has come down to this – Donald Trump, and, yeah, I guess, Hillary Clinton, too.

We are in the home stretch of another National Election, and – this time around – it is an unusually fear-filled time. I know that some of you are feeling that and some of you aren’t. Or maybe you each feel it to a greater or lesser degree than me. But it’s hard to argue that this home stretch has elevated the fear.

It’s in that context that I want to remind us – and remind myself – of what Jesus said, “Go, into all the world … making disciples … baptizing them … and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20)

*We can talk about all that… But in the words of an old friend: “If you’re wanting to talk in order to straighten me out, I’m not really all that interested. That to me is just downright boring; and I’ve got better things to do with my time.”

My Prayer for HCH Sports Authority

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Opening Remarks:

I’m really happy to be with you today. Thank you for the invitation.

I grew up in Virginia, and spent twenty years in Tennessee, and then my wife and I moved our family to Houston in 2001. We drove into Houston on Go Texan Day, and my not-quite three year old daughter had her pink cowboy boots on the whole way. I appreciated Edie very much when she emailed me, and she remembered that I brought two of my daughters with me the last time I was invited here. Some of you remembered that when I came in.

Whenever I visit Virginia and Tennessee, where my mom and three brothers still live, I will meet someone who asks, “What’s it like to live in Houston?” Anymore I answer this way: “We live in a city where we hear, literally, 4,5,6 different languages spoken, every … single … day.” And then I say, “And, … it’s in Texas!” And it’s always a surprise to those who have stereotypes about Texas. Houston is a remarkable city.

Mayor Turner recently opened me up to something I think is really important for our city, something I hope people are getting. He said, “Houston is a diverse city; and our challenge is to be an inclusive city.” It’s clear that the work you do serves to meet that challenge to be an inclusive city  in a way that serves the common good. And so, I hope you hear this enough: Thanks for what you do for the well-being of our remarkable city.

Prayer:

I invite you to pray along with me:

O God, Who is in and through all, and in Whom we live and move and have our being.

Thank you for the Good Will that is represented in the people around this room, and for the good work they do – both through Houston Sports, and in the many other activities they’re involved in, activities that bring life and life to the full for so many.

We ask that You help these leaders to continue to be Open to the newness you desire for us all. Give each one a renewed energy for the work, an even greater clarity of vision, and the strength and wisdom needed to live with integrity to follow through with the commitments made.

And we pray for this city, which You love, for all to be well, even to those considered least and last among us.

We ask this – with humility and gratitude. Amen!