If you can retweet tweets you consider valuable then why can’t a pastor re-preach a sermon? My Easter sermon this year got a lot of hits. It was entitled Why I Believe. It just might be worth twenty minutes of your time this week. Below is an excerpt but you can of course listen online by clicking on that title which is linked.
Coming soon: Pier Perspective. Saturday morning, August 25th at 10:30 at the end of the Recreation Pier on The Wharf. Pastor B will gather with any who are interested in chatting about the topic, “If You Have A Holy Book, You Have Issues.” We’ll leisurely walk along the Wharf, stopping occasionally to chat (as we walk, we’ll ponder a question or thought provided by Pastor and Professor Bledsoe). Why this topic? Some of us are recovering fundamentalists and others are damaged or have been assaulted by bible thumpers. Many of us simply would like to know how we can approach a revered sacred book without compromising our intellects. And there are those who have given up on faith but would like to know how to recover a spiritual life. No need to rsvp. Just show up with comfortable shoes and an open mind.
The neo-Nazis and white supremacists who marched in Charlottesville a year ago have secured a permit to parade their hatred this week-end in Washington, DC. What a vivid illustration of the utter moral failure of the Trump White House and administration. But that aside, what do people of good will do when the haters parade?
Should people counter-protest? Obviously many will and the exercise of their free speech to denounce haters and hatred is probably a good thing.
Should people fight and attack the haters, neo-Nazis and white supremacists? As tempting as that may sound to some it is not only self-defeating but actually empowers them. Nazis and white supremacists were defeated in WWII and of course white supremacy was defeated in the Civil War. These paraders are the defeated. It is a sad and pathetic spectacle.
So I am going to do two things. I’m going to worship this week-end along with millions of other Americans who will be praying and thanking God for mercy and justice in mosques, synagogues and churches across the United States. MILLIONS of us who believe in love and justice will worship. The neo-Nazis and white supremacists might have 500 people show up in their parade. They could have 5,000 and it would come absolutely no where near the number of people who believe in the more noble calling of loving God and neighbor. I know there are denominations and churches that plan to rally elsewhere in the city and that’s great. But I’m “rallying” by worshipping with the People of God. That act of devotion dwarfs the pitiable band of haters who will be banging their trash-can-lid shields.
The second thing I’m doing is ignoring this parade of defeated, sad and pathetic haters. I won’t go near them. Won’t shout at them or try to have a rational discussion with them. I certainly won’t be trying to violently attack them. The ignore button will be on.
The most important thing we can do is vote in November. Those who have abandoned civility, abandoned their oaths of office to protect and defend the constitution, and betrayed the the sick, the poor, the elderly and the workers of this country need to be voted out of office. So do that this Fall. Because the ballot is still more powerful than a gun.
Neo-Nazis and white supremacists! Go home. Go back to your homes and ponder how you chose to walk a path of hatred and by doing so, have diminished yourselves.
August 5th and we enter the “dog days” of summer (hopefully with a break from the rain). Whatever the weather, don’t let it be an excuse for not gathering as the People of God. We are worshipping at 11 a.m. at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 401 I St., SW. Pastor Bledsoe is preaching (All Who Wander Are Not Lost), Jonathan is leading our Gates of Praise, Terryn is singing special music and it is a communion Sunday–given our shared context with Westminster, we are blessed to share across denominational lines in Holy Communion with our Presbyterian brothers and sisters. Above all, in our gathering in Christ’s name, we are assured by Scripture that Christ is with us. That friends is worth missing the talking heads on t.v., the regurgitation of news on news programs and even brunch (though you should get out in plenty of time to eat).
~See you Sunday.
I am working very hard with our Outreach Coordinator, Jonathan, and our Social Media Coordinator, Anna, in an effort to promote our new church that opens in November.
You will be alerted eventually and likely soon about how to “like”us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. We need a push from members and friends to get the word out about our church. So that is coming but I thought I would begin with a “slide” that is emblematic of our identity. Of course, if you have read many of my blog posts or listened to sermons, you already grasp the message in the slide above.
Please, in these waning summer weeks, do not neglect your church. We need you in worship. We need your financial support. And we need your passion for a new day on the corner of Maine Avenue & 7th Street, SW, DC. We have been and remain Riverside Baptist Church but we have also become RIVERSIDE CHURCH @ THE WHARF. I hope to see you in worship with our friends at Westminster Presbyterian Church this Sunday at 11. It is a communion Sunday and I’ll be preaching. Terryn is singing and Jonathan is leading our Gates of Praise. Let’s worship! ~PSTR
This is a repost of a blog entry one year ago May…
The Swiss architect, Mario Botta, who designed Évry Cathedral, spoke about churches and their design in an interview with Judith Dupre:
It’s a bit like theater. The theater is also for those who don’t go to the theater because it’s a place of collective imagination. It’s a place where people go to buy a ticket to Dream. People think, “My city is rich because it has a theater-even if I don’t go to the theater.” A church is a rich addition to a city, even for those who don’t go to church. It becomes a human institution like a library, bank, stadium.
There is so much to appreciate in this statement! Religion and the arts have always been hand-in-glove. Indeed, the function of roles, art, performance and yes, that idea of “collective imagination” are all so spot on and insightful. I also like his willingness to speak to the larger culture that does not “go to church,” suggesting–no, instructing–that a city is enriched by the presence of a church in its midst. Frankly, this is something that percolates in conversations with Monty Hoffman when we talk about the design and construction of our new building, arriving in the Fall of 2018. Charged with the development of the entire Wharf, he is a person who has both an historic regard for and appreciation for the presence of a church (indeed churches) within the matrix of what is being created along the Tidal Basin. Whether or not you attend a church, a church can be a human institution that raises the quotient of humane and intellectual discourse in a community. At least it should and one would hope churches and their architects would aspire to such. We at Riverside certainly do so and our architect, Philip Renfrow of GBR, has melded a rich theological appreciation with a keen modernist/post-modern vocabulary in the sanctuary his team has designed for us.
Arena Stage is a nearby marvel and beautiful landmark in our SW community. It has been and continues to be a place where one “buys a ticket in order to dream a while.” We at Riverside are not so different. We are about to provide a beautiful and evocative space of collective imagination where people enter for a station of rest and peace, to dream of justice and mercy in the light of God’s mercy and love.
~See you Sunday (where we worship together with Westminster Presbyterian Church at 11 a.m. )