Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Social Responsibility

Our current series is about the bridges that divide us. On Sunday Pastor Caz spoke about race. He talked about corporate responsibility, and how foreign that idea is in North America. It means if we have any influence on a person, we have a responsibility to call out sin. Caz shared the passage from Joshua 7, where a family was punished for the sins of one person. The idea behind this is to not be a community where grievous sins occur. It’s hard for me to separate the word “corporate” from business, so let’s think in terms of social responsibility. We have responsibility to others in our community and our nation. This means being willing to hear uncomfortable things. We have Jesus as our model. He broke all kinds of social customs, talking to women and Gentiles. Maybe today he would hang out at a hard core rap venue. He made people uncomfortable. We need to be uncomfortable.
     Those of us who are white need to put our defenses down and try to understand what the term white privilege is and is not (Hint: it doesn’t mean you’re racist or rich). We need to listen to the many grievances of minorities. We need to listen and believe. We need to not excuse microagressions people of color deal with daily. As Pastor Caz pointed out, it is hard to find the exact path. But it starts with honesty and listening.
     I could create an entire syllabus on this, but for now, here are a few pieces that have moved me: This spoken word piece is by the artist Propaganda, who was featured on the “Exploring God” series a few years back. It is a story told as an allegory. It is six minutes long. Find six minutes.
The following video is called “Deconstructing White Privilege.” It is 20 minutes long. Find 20 minutes.
Deconstructing White Privilege with Dr. Robin Di Angelo from GCORR on Vimeo.

The following article chronicles the many instances of racism experienced by the author of the piece. It is written with the intention to educate. There is some inappropriate language.

We are not perfect. We all have work to do. Let us be a church that looks to Jesus, and is willing to be uncomfortable in order to work towards true unity. Beth


Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Celebrating Samantha

Today is my daughter’s birthday. This week, she also earned the “Star Student Award” for being “an awesome leader and a good example to others.”  She is an amazing child and I am not surprised she won the award. With the award came some extra homework. One of the extras was to write a letter to our child telling her why she is a star in our eyes.  I am sharing it because everyone should write these letters to someone in our lives- especially our children. On Sunday Caz talked about celebrating the differences between genders.  This is so needed. It won’t be perfect, but we have to try. Let’s celebrate those in our lives. Beth


Wednesday, August 9, 2017

plants and jazz

Our sermon talked about the Parable of the seed in Matthew chapter 13 (read it here: Matthew 13). I really appreciate that Shane talked about how relevant the metaphors were for the listeners of the time. Growing up in the suburbs, plant metaphors are not particularly powerful for me.  But the listeners of this story understood that God had planted them, even as they were repeatedly exiled. And we, as Gentiles, have been grafted in.
            After church I had wonderful conversation with some ladies and we talked about the different backgrounds we had come from: Catholic, Jewish, Agnostic. Shane shared an excerpt from the book  “Blue Like Jazz” about a woman who read the same parable and hoped to be like the good soil where the plant grew.
            We are the good soil. We have found God even when it does not seem like we were placed in a clear path. We found God even if we were not raised in a Christian home, and even if others in our family do not join us. If we accept God, we are good soil.  If God’s seed does not grow, it is because we have turned away. God does not turn people away. He does not turn anyone away who accepts Him. Isn’t that amazing? He continually reaches out to us. He speaks, and we just have to shut up and listen.
            May we continue to be good soil. May we continue to receive all of the blessings God wants to give us. May we be a church who functions as Jesus intended, and not the way the world says things should work.  May we accept all of God’s lovely and rich soil.
                                                                        beth kropf


Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Step Up: When you don't get warm fuzzies

Wouldn’t it be lovely if everyone we served was grateful and always made good decisions? Caz talked on Sunday about how unequivocal Jesus is in His command to care for the poor. Not just the poor that we think deserve it.    
            Serving does not always come with warm fuzzies. And yet how often has God reached down to us to show us the way out of our sin, knowing that we will continue to wallow in our darkness? How pure are our motives if we need our actions to be glorified?
            Last weekend I did a 6K for Water race, which helps provide clean water to children in impoverished countries like Zambia. 6K is the distance many children have to walk daily for water. My heart melts for causes like this, and I will probably run charity races all summer.  This is not bad, but what about all of the invisible needs around me?  There are families near us who don’t have the advantage of being sponsored by a large organization and who slip through the cracks of social services. There are families who need help paying bills. And maybe they spend too much money on things they should not. (How many of us can claim we have not?) It is appropriate to have boundaries and some sense of accountability.  But as Caz said, we aren’t excused from the helping the poor. Wouldn’t it be great to develop relationships with families and help them onto a better path? Wouldn’t it be great if our church was seen in the community as a family that helps with yardwork, childcare, and groceries? I like that Caz shared the quote from the book about poverty, and how it is about so much more than money. The poor in our area should not feel inferior and invisible. They are never invisible and inferior to God. They should be served by us, welcomed by us. Who’s in?



Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Reconciliation with math problems

My six year old can be challenging. She can argue and whine and make me rattle my brain for appropriate consequences. I used to threaten to take away the privilege she has to go to sleep next to me.  Then I realized that no matter her behavior and no matter the need for a consequence, I did not want her to have to fall asleep alone, knowing I was angry with her. Bedtime is our reconciliation time. She needs the routine of a Hidden pictures, telling me the best part of her day, and doing math problems before sleep. She shares things she does not at other times of the day.
            A parent- child relationship is different than other relationships, of course. In other relationships it may be necessary to speak hard truths before bed or even on the way to church.  As Caz pointed out, we cannot claim that we are not a “people person” or that we are right and the other person was wrong. God reached down to reconcile to us. We were not ready to apologize. We were not ready to change. But He valued a relationship with us.       
            Caz shared Matthew 5:21 and how it matters to God that our relationships are right. It is not enough to keep marriage vows and maintain civility. We need to step and up and offer reconciliation.   Someday my six year old will outgrow her bedtime routine, and reconciliation will not be as simple and sweet as my hand on her back. What could my impact be if I offered others the same grace that I offer my kids? What could the impact in your life be?
  Beth Kropf