Posts

Working Together

stories 2When I relocated to NY in 1982, I began to check out the options available for my young children to receive the discipline of a spiritual, and not necessarily religious, education. I was tireless in my search, visiting churches and synagogues in NY and CT with no avail.

I wanted for them to have an understanding of a belief that influences one’s everyday life, one that molds character and values, one that would propel them to be kind, caring compassionate individuals with a knowledge that they had an obligation to serve those around them, to make a difference. Indeed, these sentiments were inculcated in them at home, but, I was acutely aware that the reinforcement of these values, outside the home, was equally important. Several years went by, and we, as a family, were “churchless,” and then, serendipitously, a friend, invited my son to join him on a work trip to El Salvador, led by Paul Alcorn.

This was the beginning of a long and rewarding relationship with BPC, for my two children and myself. For us, BPC is about social justice, being inclusive and open minded, never afraid to wrestle with difficult issues, about not providing glib answers to knotty problems, but rather having the humility to admit that some questions do not have answers or answers that are nuanced, about being able to say, “I understand,” or “it is ok,”when what one has just shared is off the grid, it is about a  community of people who think about the “other,” rather than the “self.”

I am grateful to BPC for co-parenting my children, giving them the tools to be critical, bold, strong and committed to ideals that matter. I thank BPC for the career choices my children made, for the way they conduct their exemplary lives, as young adults. I owe a deep debt of gratitude to BPC, because I know that what began with my children, will surely be passed on to my grandchildren, and so on,  it is unstoppable, and I can categorically  and honestly say that I could not have done it alone.

Thank you, BPC!

SP

Counter-Cultural Christianity

When I was growing up it was no big deal to say you were Christian.
Everyone I knew said that.
Everyone.
And, Christianity was easy.
It meant showing up for worship at 11:00 on a Sunday morning.
And, maybe showing up or helping out your church in some other way.
Everyone I knew did that.
Everyone.
It is not like that now.
Far from it.
Now there are more people not here than are here.
Maybe even more people who say they are not Christian than readily and openly admit they are.

More and more, it seems…
To show up on a Sunday morning for worship;
To be a part of an intentional community which gathers;
To invest time and energy and something of self to feed those who are hungry or to shelter those who have no place be or to speak up on behalf of those who have no little or no voice;
To make a conscience decision to set aside some portion of your income for something more than household bills or personal use;
All because of what you believe or the values that grow out of your faith tradition is an intentional decision; a counter-cultural decision in a way it has not been for a VERY long time.

In many ways this shift from then to now is hard for us for whom church has been an important part of our lives for nearly everything about who we are and how we do what we do is based on a way of being that is no longer the norm and no longer understood or valued or accepted by the larger community.
But, if we can begin to let go of what was
(which, if we are honest, was often more cultural than Christian);
If we can to begin to find a new way…
And, if we can do it well…
What emerges might be a powerful and important witness for the deepest and best values to which we, as human beings, can aspire.
Compassion.
Kindness.
Community.
Justice.
Equality.
Peace.
Values which are desperately needed if we are ever going to find a way to live together.