The Weekly AVENUE – July 14, 2016

Welcome everyone.  You are cordially invited to worship and fellowship with us as we celebrate the 9th Sunday after Pentecost.  You are welcome to come and hear our pastor, the Rev. Pat Locke, whose sermon will be “Keeping the Main Thing the Main Thing” with the scripture taken from Amos 8 and Luke 10.   The Lunch Bunch will be dining at Mediterranean Garden following morning worship.  We look forward to having you join with us in worship and Christian fellowship. May God Bless !

Standard Lectionary for 9th Sunday after Pentecost / 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time, July 17th is Amos 8:1-12; Psalm 52; Colossians 1:15-28; and the Gospel of Luke 10:38-42.

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From the Pastor’s Desk

Dear Friends in Jesus Christ,

At the 222nd meeting of the General Assembly of the PC(USA), Rev. Jan Edminston and Rev. Denise Anderson were elected Co-Moderators. In a recent blog post, Jan Edminston related the story of meeting a young man in an elevator the day after GA. The young man looked at her and blurted out, “Oh hi! You’re the White one.”

“Yes.” Edminston wrote, “I am The White One. My name is Jan.” She goes on to say, “I think of myself as White. I am biased about race. I am a perpetuator of racial prejudice. I am so thoroughly privileged that I only notice it a tiny fraction of the time. I am uncomfortable around people of other races sometimes to the point that I say or do awkward – sometimes even asinine – things.”

As startling as this is to read, I find myself admiring Jan Edminston’s rather ruthless candor. She takes a devastatingly honest look at what even the most liberal of we white people fear are our inner-most feelings. We are not proud of these feelings. We don’t want the world to work this way. And seemingly every day we are confronted with the ugliness these attitudes create.

Now, please know I don’t say this to make anyone feel unduly guilty. Nor do I consider prejudice to be solely a “White thing.” But I wonder if Jan’s message is not so much a blame-game, but rather a call to “rip off the band aid” of racial niceties so we can all deal with the wounds underneath. Often anger and despair this deep must get plenty of air before anything constructive can happen. But only if all sides are willing to be honest.

Yesterday I had a conversation with a church member about the integration of WAPC in 1966. During a time of extreme racial conflict in American (particularly in the South) Pastor Don Frederick led a congregation of forward-thinking people to do what he and others considered to be “the morally right thing.” And of course, the people of WAPC were not the only brave ones in this story. What courage it must have taken for the African American members of Bethesda Presbyterian church to throw their lot in with ours!

How sad for us today then, to know racial prejudice and White privilege never went away at all, but rather became a nightmare of subterranean evil. As hard as it is, perhaps we should all take time to ask ourselves if Jan’s statements could apply to us – if we’re willing to take an unflinching look.

We have all witnessed race-based evil this week. As Edminston calls us to do, let’s remember our baptismal vows: “Do you renounce evil and its power in the world, which defied righteous and love?” Response: I do renounce them. “Do you renounce the ways of sin that separate you from the love of God?”  Response: I do renounce them.

There is no doubt we are all angry and afraid. But the worst we can be in indifferent.

Blessings,
Pat