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Thoughts from Pastor Dan

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Dear Friends Church Family,

 

Today’s midweek devotion will also appear in the September church e-newsletter, The Connection.  Read on and stay tuned…

 

Despite the start of the fall semester for our community and the crazy excitability that comes with it, I’ve been carving out purposeful time for reflection—Sabbath moments to ponder, pray, and remember.  Why now?  Because September 1st marks 10 years since my first official day serving the pastorate of Friends Congregational Church.

 

A lot has happened in 10 years from the universal to the personal.  How is a pastoral minister supposed to process it all?  I thought I’d take the number 10 and turn to the Scriptures for clarity.

 

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Andrew Morgan’s new documentary, The True Cost, exposes the “fast fashion” trend of the fashion industry and the consequences of it.  The film mentions a mid-twentieth century theory about consumerism that differentiates between the things we use and the things we use up.  Things we use are commodities such as cars, refrigerators, and lawn mowers.  Things we use up are things such as gum, paper, and cigarettes.  What fast fashion has convinced us of—without us really recognizing it—is that we now view clothes as items for us to purchase and quickly use up, the result being that we buy more clothes for cheaper prices at shorter intervals.  And because we consume clothing in bulk at this unnecessarily rapid pace, we wear them only once or a few times if at all before throwing them away, giving them to goodwill, or leaving them in storage never to be used again.

 

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Dear Church Family,

 

In her book The Disabled God: Toward a Liberatory Theology of Disability, Nancy L. Eiesland interviews Diane DeVries who openly shares her story: “DeVries was born in rural Texas in 1950 without lower limbs and with above-elbow upper extremity stumps.”  While Devries’ physician even viewed her physicality as “a shocking catastrophe,” DeVries understood her body as “just something that happened,” and her parents did, too.  A first child in a working-class family, DeVries readily describes herself as “an expected and wanted child.”  Neither she nor her parents viewed her body as defective.  This was who she was, and, as a family, they embraced adjustments to their lives accordingly.

 

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Dear Church Family,

Greetings from the mission field!  I'm visiting our three Friends Church youth--Kindall, Sean, and Spencer--on their mission trip in Austin with Reach Beyond Mission.  They are learning about food justice and working with youth groups from Kentucky and Louisiana.

Today, I had the privilege of driving these young missioners around the Austin area with an organization called Mobile Loaves and Fishes.  MLF is an ecumenical non-profit whose mission is steeped in the gospel accounts of Jesus feeding thousands with five loaves and two fishes: "We empower communities into a lifestyle of service with the homeless."  After a morning of getting educated about MLF, preparing 80 sandwiches, and loading a service truck with food, cold drinks, clothing, and shoes, our group drove to three different locations and spent time with our neighbors in need.  It turned out, however, that we were just as much in need as the ones we were (are) called to serve.

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Dear Friends Church Family,

 

Our kids, ages 7 and 10, are away for a week of camp.  It’s their first-ever overnight camp.  Consequently, this is a first for Stacy and me.  So, when I pulled the blinds of my office window this morning, overlooking the playground, trees, and our church’s prayer labyrinth, this prayer just popped out:

 

Good and gracious God, thank you for this day.  Thank You for the happiness of my children and the ones in the safety of Your hand that they are getting to know this week, both peers and counselors alike.  I praise You now for the stories Mac and Ruthie might gush or withhold when they hop in their parents’ car to return home.

 

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Dear Friends Church Family,

 

Today’s midweek devotional will appear in the “Faith & Values” section of this Saturday’s Eagle.

 

God declares through the Prophet Isaiah in the Hebrew Scriptures, “Is not this the fast that I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?”  Surely Isaiah informed Martin Luther King’s understanding of systemic injustice that led him to prophesy, “A threat to justice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

 

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Dear Church Family,

 

 

 

This week’s Midweek Devotional comes from guest writer Krista Burdine, an active participant in the life of Friends Church.  Krista has a blog called “Free Range Chronicles: Pursuing Adventure and Abundant Life” at https://freerangechronicles.wordpress.com/

 

Midweek Message: Reflections on a reading for July 12



Showing the Spirit Through Service

Ephesians 1:3-14

13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit.

 

Midsummer in the United States traditionally represents a time for recreational pursuits, in order to allow for restoration from the grind of daily activities throughout the school year. We rest, play, and reflect on the highs and lows of the recently concluded year, before setting up for the rigors of another trip around the sun.

 

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Dear Church Family,

 

Today’s midweek message is a day early to remind you that Theology on Tap gathers tonight at 6pm.  All are welcome.  Details below.  Read on!

 

Let’s not get tired of doing good, because in time we’ll have a harvest if we don’t give up. –Galatians 6:9, Common English Bible

 

Last week I was at Big Bend National Park with family.  We took a four-plus-mile hike up a huge mountain on the Lost Mine Trail.  When we reached the top, I noticed a large rock at the edge of the mountain that overlooked the entire canyon.  My initial thought was, “Maybe I can climb on top of that rock and have that much more of a majestic view,” but when I got to the base of the rock I found that it was way too steep.  However, there was a slight pathway around to the other side of it that led to an inlet just big enough for me to sit and enjoy the view!  Carefully scaling the side of the rock, I reached the other side and sat in its cleft overlooking green mountains and hearing nothing but the rare gift of silence.

 

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Dear Church Family,


Today’s midweek devotion is written by Andrew Roblyer, a Friends Congregational Church member who is part of the Faith and Inclusion Ad-Hoc Committee and co-leads Living the Questions, our ministry of, by, and for 20 and 30-somethings.

 

I’ve been thinking a lot about “extravagant welcome” lately, which I feel is an appropriate topic considering that I have been so kindly welcomed to share my thoughts with you this week

 

You see, I was raised in a tradition that fostered a “club” mentality to church. Visitors were welcome, but always encouraged to become members as soon as possible so as to truly receive the full support of the church family. Outreach and evangelism were important, but only insofar as they encouraged people to attend, and eventually join, our church.

 

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Dear Friends Church Family,

 

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. –Matthew 5:9

 

I’m scheduled to officiate a wedding in McKinney, Texas in a couple of months, but instead of joyful nuptials shared between two beautiful people, all I can think of is inexcusable violence exerted against a teenage girl by a supposed authority figure.

 

You’ve heard the news: There was a pool party in the Craig Ranch neighborhood in McKinney.  Teenagers, both black and white, were there swimming.  According to Texas Monthly's The Daily Post, “Witnesses say that some white adults at the pool had made racist comments—telling the black teens to ‘get used to the bars’ outside of the pool, or to ‘go back to their Section 8 housing.’ (The average home price in Craig Ranch is $450,000.)”  Tensions escalate.  Police arrive on the scene.  When a 14-year-old black girl tells an officer—identified as Corporal Eric Casebolt—that “she needs to find her glasses,” she is grabbed by the officer and, moments later, thrown to the ground.  Casebolt then grabs the girl’s hair, pulls a gun on two unarmed teenage boys who approach this troubling scene; and “when the girl screams about his gun, he grabs her by the back of the head, shouts, ‘On your face,’ and slams her, face-first, into the grass.”  The man then puts his knee in the girl’s back to keep her pinned down as she cries, “I’m not fighting you.”

 

This Week @ Friends (DP)

Wednesday - Sep 02nd

Sep
2


6:00-pm 7:00-pm

Sep
2


7:30-pm 9:00-pm

Thursday - Sep 03rd

Sep
3


7:00-pm 9:00-pm

Friday - Sep 04th

Sep
4


5:30-pm 10:00-pm

Saturday - Sep 05th

Sep
5


10:00-am 12:00-pm

Sep
5


3:00-pm 5:00-pm

Sunday - Sep 06th

Sep
6


9:15-am 10:15-am