Today’s Word from Pastor Jim…  

The Christian Church gets a lot of bad press.

That is partially because we deserve it, but it is mostly because bad news is what makes the news. Most churches, like most people, just go about their faithful work day after day, year after year. They routinely keep the laws of the land, conduct themselves ethically, and treat their neighbors with love and respect.

The stories of faithfulness are so routine that they are mostly boring and get little attention. In the same way, most teachers are good and faithful, most first responders quietly give their lives to public service, and most parents lovingly care for their children. There is no news-worthy story to be found; their actions are expected, predictable, routine, and faithful. Most black people do not live in poverty, most white people are not white supremacists, most of our cities are not experiencing riots, and most of our people wear masks to protect others.

The Christian Church gets a lot of bad press. That is partially because we deserve it. The church is a human institution and all human institutions are flawed. The Christian Church has often been overly concerned with political power, the oppression of minorities, amassing great wealth, and building impressive edifices. The survival of the human institution has taken priority over the teachings and the mission of the one whose name we bear. The Christian Church has been around for 2,000 years; of course, there are chapters in our historical record that are anything but Christian. We have reason to repent and to act differently going forward.

That said, most churches, like most people, just fly under the radar doing good and trying to live justly and peacefully with their neighbors. Trinity Lutheran Church in Freeland rarely makes the news.

We were in the paper years ago, when we granted a common courtesy to a neighbor, who happened to be a developer. We garnered some public attention when we were among the first to honor, celebrate, and officiate at the weddings of same-sex couples. For 67 years, TLC has pretty much just tried to quietly do what Jesus has called us to do.

The Christian Church gets a lot of bad press. Perhaps sometimes you find it awkward to identify yourself as a Christian, knowing that some will conclude that you are anti-intellectual, right-wing, judgmental, bigoted, and in lock-step with certain political candidates.
Let me share some good news with you, and let me thank you for making this good news possible.

In the midst of uncertainty, church closure and pandemic anxiety, in the first six months of 2020 your church has given $118, 634 to local, national, and international benevolences. When we add in the 2020 College Scholarships that have been awarded, that number nearly doubles. Do the math. In the first six months of 2020 we have given $8,000 a week to causes outside our church. More than $1,000 every single day, no holidays or days off. Why is it important to share this news? Because this is not news at all, it is what we do, and we do it because we are followers of Jesus; we are called to change the world for good. We are blessed to be a blessing.

Be inspired. Be hopeful. The world is not as bad as it appears. The news of the 24-hour news cycle is not the norm. Most churches and most people are good and faithful.

One day closer.

Much love,

Pastor Jim

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