Building Bridges

Building Bridges, Issue 11, November 27, 2019

April 08, 2020 by John Maurice

“In November, people are good to each other. They carry pies to each other's homes and talk by crackling woodstoves, sipping mellow cider. They travel very far . . . to share a meal with one another and to give thanks for their many blessings - for the food on their tables and the babies in their arms." Cynthia Rylant   This Thursday is Thanksgiving. The original Thanksgiving was celebrated in 1621 as the Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag Indians shared an autumn harvest feast that is acknowledged today as one of the first Thanksgiving celebrations in the colonies. For more than two centuries, days of thanksgiving were celebrated by individual colonies and states. However, in 1863, in the midst of the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day to be held each November. Sarah Josepha Hale, a prominent writer and editor (and probably most recognized as the author of the children’s poem “Mary Had a Little Lamb” [originally known as “Mary’s Lamb], was the driving force behind the Thanksgiving proclamation. For 36 years Sarah Hale wrote to and lobbied politicians to declare a national day of thanksgiving. Because of her efforts she was given the nickname “Mother...

 

Building Bridges, Issue 10, November 11, 2019

April 08, 2020 by Marty Riley

“The soldier above all others prays for peace, for it is the soldier who must suffer and bear the deepest wounds and scars of war." Douglas MacArthur November 11 is Veteran’s Day. Title 38 defines a Veteran as anyone that has served in the Armed Forces and was discharged under honorable conditions. Today there are nearly 22 million veterans in America that have served from WWII to the present. War is a horrible thing and in a good and decent society, it is a last resort. But due to the evil in the human heart, hatred and war are a part of the human story. James 4:1 says, “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? ”In the late 1800’s many mistakenly believed that humankind was inherently good and that enlightened and educated people would never wage war again. Then came World War I. WWI was called “the war to end all wars.” The devastation experienced in this horrible warwas so unsettling that the nations of the world wanted to prevent such a slaughter from ever happening again. Sadly, the harsh terms of the Treaty of Versailles in...

 

Building Bridges, Issue 9, September 4, 2019

April 08, 2020 by Marty Riley

“Christians experience grief but without despair, sorrow but without defeat, sadness but without hopelessness.” Tim Challies, "How to Grieve Like a Christian" All of us must face seasons of life that bring a time of separation, grief, and pain. People that we love are injured or killed in accidents. Others are diagnosed with terminal diseases, and the process of dying ensues. Women experience miscarriages and grieve the loss of a child they have dreamed of and for whom they have prayed. The Scriptures show that death is universal and that its cause was the Fall, as Adam and Eve disobeyed God. Romans 5:12 says that “sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned.” In fact, this was the punishment that God had declared to Adam and Eve when he told them that “on the day that you eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil you will surely die” (Genesis 2:17).  Death is not merely physical death, however; death can also be spiritual or eternal. Spiritual death is why we must be raised to life through faith...

 

Building Bridges, Issue 8, July 30, 2019

April 07, 2020 by Marty Riley

“Your checkbook reveals all that you really believe about stewardship . . . . A person who has been a Christian for even a short while can fake prayer, Bible study, evangelism, attending church, but he can't fake what his checkbook reveals.” Ron Blue, Master Your Money I recently read a book titled Don’t Say $#%&cX in Church by Bo Chancey. It begins with this sentence: “Let’s talk about money and God. More directly . . . let’s talk about your money and your God.” We are generally okay with having conversations about money or conversations about God, but conversations about our money and our God are off-limits because it becomes very personal and specific. Trust me, I get it – the majority of mail, spam messages, and telephone calls we receive are trying to manipulate us to do something, buy something, or donate something. Vacationclubs, timeshare deals, mortgage refinancing, police/fire supporters, and hosts of other people and causes try to convince us to give to their cause or buy their product. To be honest, some of us try to absent ourselves from church when we know that “Stewardship Month” is in full swing. There is something uncomfortable...

 

Building Bridges, Issue 7, June 14, 2019

June 14, 2019 by John Maurice

"Love has no exception clause. When we choose to follow God, we give up our rights to be unforgiving, to treat people poorly, or to be discriminatory."Caleb Kaltenbach The month of June is recognized as Pride month. There are Pride events held nationwide in cities large and small. Pride festivals and parades are conducted mostly as a celebration of the progress the LGBTQ community has made in recent years. The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) represents a force of more than 3 million members and supporters nationwide, comprising the largest national lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer civil rights organization. The vision of the HRC “is a world where LGBTQ people are ensured of their basic equal rights, and can be open, honest and safe at home, at work and in the community” (https://www.hrc.org/pride). The first graduate class I took was one dealing with ethical issues. It is no surprise that there is a swell of controversy surrounding those issues. The professor stated that one of the largest issues to confront society and the church over the next twenty-years would be the issue of gay rights and ultimately gay marriage. I, most likely due to my...