Our Vision, Our Song

Here is the sermon I preached on July 1, 2012. I weave together the vision statement that I have proposed for South Church (see previous blog post), this clip from the new HBO series, The Newsroom, and 2 Corinthians 8:7-15. This is an example of how our vision statement might be used as a touchstone for conversations and growth.

“Our Vision, Our Song”

Those of you who are on the church mailing list should have received the July issue of our South Church newsletter, The Voice, in the past day or two. If not there are copies on the desk outside the chapel. In my monthly column I propose a vision statement for South Church. A vision statement is meant to articulate where we want to go as a church, what we would like to become. I offer these words for prayerful consideration and discussion, “South Church bridges the differences that divide our world to become one Body of Christ.” I hope this captures the diversity, hospitality and grace we seek to embody while also calling us to respond to a hurting world. I am planning to preach a sermon series on this vision in the fall, but I thought I would introduce it and give it a little work out this morning.

In The Voice I write of the hurtful divisions that wrack our world today. Families, communities, our country, indeed our world are ripped apart by differences in beliefs and practices. Nowhere are these differences more visible and acute than in our national politics. Battles between Democrats and Republicans have never been so bitter or divisive. This vitriol was all on display this week when the Supreme Court announced its decision to uphold the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, the health care legislation proposed by President Obama and approved by Congress. Of course I have opinions of my own with regard to the various issues that face our country and our world. I too take sides. But more than anything, my heart just hurts at the brokenness among and between people on all sides who I believe to be good, created in God’s image.

I love this country. I was walking down my street this week and saw that some of my neighbors had put out their American flag in anticipation of the Fourth of July. When I came home that day I was pleased to see that Lourdes had the same idea and had retrieved our flags from the basement for placement in our garden. My love of country aside, I sometimes worry that patriotism, or more correctly nationalism, contributes to division. All sides in public policy disputes claim to be on the side of God and country, implying that anyone who disagrees is not a good Christian or a good American.

A friend shared a transcript of a speech from a new show on HBO called The Newsroom. Jeff Daniels plays news anchor Will McAvoy. In this episode McAvoy is part of a panel discussion with a liberal and conservative pundit. A female college student asks the panelists, “What makes America the greatest country in the world?” McAvoy hedges, not wanting to take sides. But the moderator presses him and he responds:

“It’s not the greatest country in the world professor, that’s my answer.”

He turns to the liberal pundit, “The National Endowment for the Arts is a loser, yeah, it accounts for a penny out of our paycheck but he (referring to the Conservative pundit) gets to hit you with it any time he wants. It doesn’t cost money, it costs votes, it costs airtime, it costs column inches. You know why people don’t like liberals? Because they lose. If liberals are so smart, how come they always lose?”

He then turns to the conservative pundit and continues, “And with a straight face you’re going to tell students that America is so star spangled awesome that we’re the only ones in the world that have freedom? Canada has freedom. Japan has freedom. The UK, France, Italy, Germany, Spain, Australia, BELGIUM has freedom. So, 207 sovereign states in the world, like 180 of them have freedom.”

“And you,” he now directs his attention to the young woman who asked the question, “sorority girl, just in case you accidentally wander into a voting booth one day there’re some things you should know. One of them is there’s absolutely no evidence to support the statement that we’re the greatest country in the world. We’re 16th in literacy, 32nd in math, 14th in science, 50th in life expectancy, 49th in infant mortality, 3rd in median household income, Number 4 in labor force and Number 4 in exports, we lead the world in only three categories: Number of incarcerated citizens per capita, number of adults who believe angels are real, and defense spending where we spend more than the next 26 countries combined, 25 of whom are allies.

Now none of this is the fault of a 20 year-old college student, but when you ask what makes us the greatest country in the world, I don’t know what you’re talking about. The first step in solving any problem is recognizing there is one. America is not the greatest country in the world anymore. Enough?”

This is tough talk and I realize that this is a heck of a thing to share in a sermon on the Sunday before the Fourth of July. First, it may sound like I’m being hard on this land that we love. And second, we might well ask what any of this has to do with the Good News of Jesus Christ.

Well, the answer to both these questions comes back to the vision statement that I am proposing for South Church. “South Church bridges the differences that divide our world to become one Body of Christ.” Nationalistic claims in general, and the claim to be the greatest country in the world in particular do not aide in bridging differences that divide our world, especially when there is evidence that this is simply not true. I should say that I spot checked the rankings in that speech and even adjusted a few numbers based on what I found, so while The Newsroom is a fictional show, these statistics stand up.

Jeff Daniels’ character Will McAvoy says that the first step in solving a problem is to recognize that there is one. We might also say that the first step in bridging the differences that divide us is to tell the truth, most especially to tell the truth about ourselves.

This morning’s lesson from Second Corinthians speaks directly to this issue of bridging differences. In his letter Paul is encouraging the church in Corinth to give to the church in Jerusalem. Corinth and Jerusalem represent a central division in the early church, a division between Gentiles and Jews. The founding members of the church in Jerusalem were Jews before they chose to follow Christ, while the Corinth church was made up of Gentiles, or non-Jewish Christians. There was lots of conflict in the early years of the church about whether Gentiles could even become Christians. Maybe the arguments about whether Jews or Gentiles were better Christians can be equated to our present day battles about whether Democrats or Republicans are better Americans. The Gentile Christians in Corinth were wealthier than Jesus’ followers in Jerusalem so Paul is encouraging the Corinthian church to collect an offering to support their struggling brothers and sisters in Jerusalem. Paul is “testing the genuineness of (the) love” of the Corinthian Christians by asking them to overcome their judgment and distrust and give to the Jerusalem church. Listen again to his words to the Corinthians, “I do not believe that there should be relief for others and pressure on you, but it is a question of a fair balance between your present abundance and their need, so that their abundance may be for your need, in order that there may be a fair balance.”

These early Christians were just as divided around matters if ethnicity, nationality, class and beliefs as we are today and Paul made it his mission to bring them all together in Christ. Paul seeks to bridge the divisions that divide the world to form one Body of Christ by asking the Corinthians to set aside their judgments to find a fair balance between their needs with the needs of others.

These lessons apply to each of us today just as they apply to our church. As we examine our lives and our church we are called to tell the truth about ourselves, even when it hurts, and seek a fair balance between our needs and the needs of others. Since before my arrival at South Church the tradition here has been to conclude worship on this Sunday before the Fourth of July with the hymn, This is My Song. The words give beautiful, poetic expression to the vision of a church that bridges differences that divide the world to become on Body of Christ. I close with these words:

This is my song, O God of all the nations,
a song of peace for lands afar and mine.
This is my home, the country where my heart is;
here are my hopes, my dreams, my holy shrine;
but other hearts in other lands are beating
with hopes and dreams as true and high as mine.

My country’s skies are bluer than the ocean
and sunlight beams on clover leaf and pine;
but other lands have sunlight too, and clover,
and skies are everywhere as blue as mine.
O hear my song, though God of all the nations,
a land of peace for their land and for mine.

This is my prayer, O Ruler of all nations;
let thy reign come; on earth thy will be done.
In peace may all earth’s people draw together,
and hearts united learn to live as one.
O hear my prayer, though God of all the nations;
myself I give to thee; let thy will be done. Amen.

Please share your thoughts, not only about the sermon itself, but about the use of the proposed vision statement as a focal point for our community.

The Vision Thing

This is my column from the July, 2012 South Church newsletter, The Voice:

President George H. W. Bush once dismissed pleas from his party to articulate a compelling vision for the country by making contemptuous reference to “the vision thing.” This sound bite only seemed to reinforce the perception that Bush’s presidency was a ship without a rudder, wandering from one short-term objective to another.

From time to time someone at South Church will ask me about my vision for the church. I think a shared, compelling vision is essential for any organization, so I haven’t been dismissive of these queries. But I also haven’t rallied the church around a single, coherent “vision statement,” yet.

There are two reasons for this. First, we are a Congregational and Baptist church committed to democratic governance. Ideally, a vision emerges out of a congregational process in which everyone participates. But such visioning processes can be long and, frankly, tedious. Instead of ending up with a powerful statement of vision the result is too often a cumbersome paragraph that looks like it was written by a committee (because it was).

The second reason I haven’t proclaimed a vision for South Church is because there have been lots and lots of other pressing issues before the church. Restoring confidence and hope following a challenging interim period and addressing a life-threatening budget crisis seemed to call for a series of timely responses instead of “the vision thing.” Maybe this is how President Bush felt.

This said, I have had a vision that has served as my rudder since I first experienced a call to ministry. And I have frequently articulated this vision here at South Church; I just haven’t announced it by saying, “HERE IS MY VISION!” But this vision is often discernable in my sermons and evident through the choices I make as your pastor. I wonder how each of you would complete the sentence, “Pastor George’s vision for the church is…”?

My words of welcome on the South Church homepage are instructive:

“Welcome to South Church! We are a diverse community of faithful and seekers. We are Baptist (ABC) and Congregational (UCC); we are black, brown and white, gay and straight, Republican and Democrat, born again and agnostic; we work in schools, offices, factories and Dunkin’ Donuts; we are students, retired and unemployed. We come from backgrounds Protestant and Catholic, while others are discovering church for the first time.

And when we come together with our joys and sorrows, our faith and our doubts – when we worship together, share communion together, sing together, study the Bible together, and fellowship together – we love and support one another to become one body of Christ.

No matter who you are, no matter where you are on life’s journey, you are welcome here. Welcome home to South Church.”

What to you find here? Diversity? Yes. Hospitality? Certainly. Grace? Of course. But there is still more implied by these words. Try this on for size:

South Church brings people together across the differences that divide our world to become one Body of Christ.

I don’t need to tell you about the hurtful divisions that wrack our world today. Families, communities, our country and our world are ripped apart by differences in beliefs and practices. Attempting to bridge (not resolve but connect across) our differences is a tall order requiring much more than a smile and a handshake on a Sunday morning. We would have a lot of work to do to live into this vision for the church, but when I look out on the congregation on a Sunday morning I believe we are already off to a great start.

Please prayerfully ponder these words, “South Church brings people together across the differences that divide our world to become one Body of Christ.” Does this vision for South Church speak to you? Could this vision provide a rudder to guide our worship and work together? How do we become the church described by this vision? Let’s begin the conversation and get under way.

I Just Can’t Do It All

I have been asked to write a regular column for the New Britain Herald. Here is the column that ran on November 25, 2011:

Stressed. Anxious. Worried. Overwhelmed. As a pastor, these were some of the feelings I heard expressed by New Britain residents in the days following the October Nor’easter. Most of us confronted cold, dark nights lit only by candles and flashlights. Some were trapped in their homes for days because of downed trees and branches. Many were unable to cook meals or wash clothes. Others couldn’t bathe or flush their toilets and had to stay with relatives or in shelters. This rare storm tested our ability to respond to adversity in our lives.

One comment in particular made me pause and ponder the spiritual lessons we might take from this experience. These words came from a big, burly guy, a former Marine and firefighter, who had set out early Sunday morning to plow driveways for his customers. Like all of us he was appalled by the devastation and destruction he encountered. In his younger days, he thought, he would have taken it all on. He imagined his younger-self brandishing a chainsaw and single-handedly clearing every blocked road and rescuing every trapped little old lady. But now, as he picked his way through the debris, he could only shake his head and say, “I just can’t do it all.”

I just can’t do it all. We should all pause and repeat these words; “I just can’t do it all.” On one hand, this is an honest acknowledgment of our limitations. But these words are also the first step in leading a life of faith. When we acknowledge our limitations, we make room in our lives for the divine to move.

We often associate faith with belief in a particular God, doctrine or set of values. But before we ever arrive at what we believe in, we must know how to act from faith. How will we respond when we are stressed, anxious, worried or overwhelmed, when we confront devastation and destruction in our lives? C. S. Lewis once said, “What saves a man is to take a step. Then another step.” Our first step is to simply let go and say, “I just can’t do it all,” and trust that someone or something else can and will respond. Then, in faith, we take another step.

Published in: on December 9, 2011 at 7:15 pm  Comments (3)  
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Happy St. Ambrose Day, Rod!

Today is Saint Ambrose Day.

Shane Claiborne’s Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals and its accompanying website regularly integrate reflections on the lives of saints, ancient and contemporary, into daily prayers. Today’s prayer introduces Ambrose of Milan (339-397):

A provincial governor in fourth-century Italy, Ambrose was drafted to serve as bishop before he was even baptized. Reluctant to serve the church at first, he took the task seriously when he finally accepted the call. Ambrose gave away all of his possessions, took up a strict schedule of daily prayer, and committed himself to the study of Scripture. Called from the world of politics to serve the church, Ambrose was a leader who spoke truth to power and did not back down, insisting that “the emperor is in the church, not over it.”

Addressing Roman Emperor Theodosius about a massacre he had authorized at Thessalonica, Ambrose of Milan wrote, “You are human, and temptation has overtaken you. Overcome it. I counsel, I beseech, I implore you to repentance. You, who have so often been merciful and pardoned the guilty, have now caused many innocents to perish. The devil wished to wrest from you the crown of piety which was your chiefest glory. Drive him from you while you can.”

The life of Governor (and Bishop) Ambrose stands in the sharpest possible contrast to the disgraced and ousted Governor of Illinois, Rod Blagojevich, who was today sentenced to fourteen years in prison for corruption. Where is our Ambrose?

Of Church, Bikers and Beer!

This ad for Carlsberg Beer has received over eight million hits on Youtube! After you finish laughing, think about how this might reflect someone’s experience walking into a church for the first time. Will we appear as a room filled with intimidating bikers? Will we welcome the brave souls who squeeze into a pew warmly, if not raucously? If not a cold beer, what do we have to offer that lets people know that they are just one of the gang? Turn it around? How would a couple tough looking bikers feel walking into our church on a Sunday morning?

Published in: on November 11, 2011 at 7:12 pm  Comments (1)  
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Peace Elmo Joins South Church Community Clean-up!

“No matter who you are or where you are on life’s journey you are welcome at South Church!”

Published in: on October 16, 2011 at 11:43 am  Leave a Comment  
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Pyro-Theology: Consuming But Not Consumed

Worship is canceled tomorrow because of hurricane Irene. So in lieu of a sermon, I thought I would offer a blog post. The lectionary reading this week is from the third chapter of Exodus (1-15). Moses was keeping the flock for his father-in-law when the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of a bush. The bush was blazing but was not consumed. God called to Moses from the bush and Moses answered, “Here I am!”

Those of you who follow the South Congregational-First Baptist Church Facebook page know that I have recently become enamored with Peter Rollins. I’m not quite sure how to classify him, philosopher, theologian, new-monastic, prophetic voice in the emergent church? I know he is a beer drinking Irishman and that is good enough for me! His book Insurrection: To Believe is Human, to Doubt is Divine will soon be released, and reviews, interviews and excerpts have recently appeared on Facebook and Twitter.

In Insurrection Rollins speaks of what he calls pyro-theology. He coined the term based on a quote from a dead Spanish Anarchist named Buenaventura Durruti who said that “The only church that illuminates is a burning one.” Of course Durruti was advocating for the destruction of the church as an institution. On the one hand Rollins accepts Durruti’s critique that the church today too often fails to illuminate anything or anyone. On the other hand he appropriates the image of the burning church to demand a faith that is on fire, that is all consuming. Rollins grounds this pyro-theology in radical confession of doubt and unknowing. Doubt and unknowing should be the starting point for our prayers, our hymns and our services of worship. Only then will we make room for an authentic experience of the divine. Here is Rollins’ fellow Irishman Pádraig Ó Tuama giving beautiful, poetic expression to such a confessional, pyro-theology in his song Maranatha. Note, the song includes “the eff-word” so you may not want to play the video in the presence of young children.

We worry that if we admit our failures and limitations we will be consumed by our doubt and unknowing. In fact the opposite is true. When we, like Pádraig Ó Tuama, confess that we are weak, that we are tired and give up, that we have screwed it up again, and that we have made our home in Babylon, Holy fire will kindle within us, and the church will again blaze a path for a hurting world. Alleluia!

Wrestle With This! God, Taxes and Politics of the Apocalypse

This sermon seemed to strike a chord on Sunday and remains relevant despite the apparent deal on the debt ceiling. For those that know my tongue-in-cheek, wry, irreverent presence in the pulpit, forget that. Forget Pastor George and imagine, if you can, Prophet George. Isaiah, Jeremiah, and George. Hmmm, not sure it will catch on. Nonetheless, wrestle with this and comment.

I don’t know about you, but I find much of what is happening in the world today to be depressing, anxiety producing and infuriating. It is bad enough that we are involved in intractable wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya, wars that continue to inflict death and destruction, not only on our own troops and families but also in the lives of millions of innocent people in these countries. It is bad enough that we are mired in an intractable recession that is inflicting gross hardship on millions of people. It is bad enough that we are confronted with a debt crisis that threatens entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare, leading to financial insecurity and high anxiety all the way around. Wars, recession, debt crisis and to top it all off we have these idiots in Washington D.C. who are holding the country hostage to make political points. It all makes me completely insane and I am just fed up!

Remember those commercials for Calgon bath beads. We see a harried woman overwhelmed by the chaos at home who pleads, Calgon take me away. We then see her blissfully reclining in a luxurious bath. Our temptation in the face of the chaos and anxiety that surrounds us is to call out, not to Calgon, but to God, “Lord, Lord, take us away!” Take us away to some imagined, blissful paradise.

Perhaps this is what Jacob is feeling. Jacob has plenty of chaos to deal with himself. You will remember that Jacob tricked his brother Esau into giving away his birthright. In a rage, Esau vows to kill Jacob. To preserve his life, Jacob’s mother Rebekah sends Jacob to live with her brother Laban where he marries Laban’s daughters Leah and Rachel. Many years pass and as we come to this morning’s scripture lesson Jacob is hoping to reconcile with his brother Esau. Jacob has sent a peace offering of livestock but is still terrified that Esau will destroy him and his family. Jacob sends his family ahead of him and settles down for the night. The scripture doesn’t record his thoughts or his prayers but we can imagine him pleading, “Lord, Lord take me away.”

Instead of whisking Jacob and his family away to a place free of all conflict, fear and hardship, God comes to Jacob in the form of a stranger and wrestles with him. God leaves a mark, striking Jacob on the hip that he will forever walk with a limp, but Jacob refuses to let go of God. God renames Jacob, saying “You shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel (which means “the one who strives with God,” or “God strives”) for you have striven with God and humans.” And God blesses Jacob.

Jacob is confronted with chaos, fear and suffering. But instead of taking him away from it all, instead of taking Jacob up the ladder into heaven, God comes down Jacob’s ladder and wrestles with him. As we face the chaos, fear and suffering of wars, recession, debt crisis and political Armageddon, a wrestling match with God is hardly the answer we seek to our plea, “Lord, Lord take us away!”

Which brings us to this video that narrates and illustrates a contemporary parable written by an Irish writer and storyteller, Peter Rollins. What do you think?

The idea of God abandoning people in heaven as a judgment on their failure to commit themselves to and engage in the hardship and suffering in this world is creative if not strictly biblical. But Rollins’ parable certainly gets at biblical concepts that are at the very heart of our faith. God’s promise is not all about some future escape to a blissful paradise. God promises to be present with us in the chaos, fear and hardship of our lives in this world, today. And God asks us to be present with, not escape from, those who suffer the most from our present tribulations.

God descended to wrestle with Jacob, wrestle with Jacob’s history of selfishness and deception, and wrestle with the fear Jacob felt as he anticipated the possibility of redemption and reconciliation with his brother Esau. If we stop reading at verse 32 as we did this morning we miss the real outcome of God’s wrestling match with God. The very next verse reads, “Now Jacob looked up and saw Esau coming.” Jacob advances toward Esau bowing to the ground seven times as he goes, (and) Esau runs to meet him, and embraces him, and falls on his neck and kisses him, and they weep.

God descends among us, wrestles with our fear and dread, our hardship and suffering, and leads us to redemption and reconciliation. Of course we know this because in Jesus Christ God didn’t just come down a ladder to Jacob, God descended to wrestle with human sin and suffering and redeem all of us. But God does more than wrestle with us and redeem us, in Jesus Christ God calls us to wrestle with and redeem all those who suffer the consequences of war, illness, poverty, and injustice.

Nothing communicates this call more effectively than the story of feeding a crowd of 5,000 people with five loaves and two fish. Note, though, that it isn’t Jesus who feeds the crowd. The disciples come to Jesus at the end of the day and say, “it’s late Jesus, send all these people away so they can buy food for themselves.” But, knowing the plight of this battered and broken rabble, Jesus responds to the disciples saying, “No, don’t sent them away, you feed them.” He blesses the bread, breaks it and gives it to the disciples to distribute to the crowd. Some scholars explain this miracle by suggesting that once the crowd saw that the disciples were sharing everything that they had, everyone in the crowd responded by sharing what they had.

How might these two stories, Jacob wrestling with God and the disciples feeding the 5,000 with 5 loaves and two fish, respond to the hell, and I mean hell, that is breaking loose in Washington? Here are a few thoughts:

God is here in our midst wrestling with us to bring redemption and reconciliation out of sin and conflict. Bearing the name Israel, we are called to strive with God and humans. We can’t hide, as people of faith we are marked by our encounters with God. Wearing the mark of these encounters for all to see, we are called to confront fear and humble ourselves before our brothers and sisters in Christ. If Jacob and Esau can reconcile, so can Democrats and Republicans. But it requires all sides humbling themselves, maybe even bowing to the ground to each other seven times. Just imagine! And Jesus commands us, you feed my hungry, my hurting, my naked, my sick; give everything you have.

This is one of the ideas behind taxation, taxes are a way of sharing our loaves and fish with seniors who have worked their whole lives trusting that they would not be abandoned when they cannot work any longer, taxes provide for those impacted by the recession, the unemployed, the homeless and the hungry, taxes provide healthcare for the sick.

Now, some say that it is not the government’s role or responsibility to care for the most vulnerable. O.K., truth be told, this libertarian perspective is not inconsistent with the Bible. There is no clear biblical mandate for government to provide for human need. So one can believe that the government is not in the best position to meet these needs, that the government is inefficient, that the government doesn’t spend tax money wisely, and still be a faithful Christian. But if we are to be faithful to the Bible, we absolutely cannot write the most vulnerable out of our lives of faith and this means challenging ourselves to give everything that we have for the least of these.

Jesus commands us to meet these needs somehow. I paid over $16,000 in taxes last year. Unlike the loaves and fish it isn’t all that I have, but it is a lot. You bet I’d like to have that money back. But if I am going to make a case that I don’t want the government to have this money, that I don’t want the government to respond to the needs of the hungry and hurting, then I darn well better be prepared to give that money and more to the hungry and hurting crowd around me.

How many of the people who are raging about the government taking their money are upset because they would rather give all that money away to the most vulnerable people in their community. How many would give the $16,000 or $6,000, or $160,000 that they paid in taxes to the homeless shelter down the street, to Iraqi children who lost limbs in the war, to a neighbor who hasn’t worked in four years. I can tell you how many. Zero.

Some of the voices I hear in the budget debate cry out that the government is taking their hard earned money, money that belongs to them. Rubbish. All that we have is given to us by God, only so that we can share it. Wrestle with that!

Retelling Redemptive Stories: Leah and Casey Anthony

Based on very little biblical evidence, scholars have often reached the verdict that Leah is the ugly, less desirable sister who was rejected by Jacob in favor of her younger, more attractive sister Rachel. Midrash brings sacred imagination to the biblical bits of Leah’s life to weave stories that reveal Leah to be strong and compassionate. These stories redeem Leah and her reputation in history.

Casey Anthony has been almost universally condemned. Can we pick up her story at the courtroom exit and use our sacred imagination to craft narratives that are redemptive, for Casey and for ourselves? What would such a story look like? Where would we begin?

Salt and Light: Witnessing to God’s Presence in the World

Jesus tells us that we are the salt of the earth and light of the world (Matt 5:13-16). That means that people see God in and through us, and we see God in and through the acts of others. Have you had a God Sighting lately? Have you been somewhere where the unexpected kindness of someone makes a difference in your day? Have you or someone you know spoken out against racism or in support of the rights of gays and lesbians? Have you witnessed the faith and courage of someone as they face a life threatening illness?

Thanks to technology first developed to chronicle human suffering, we can now share our witness and testimony about God’s work in the world for all to see. Ushahidi (Swahili for witness and testimony) is an internet application that was first developed to document acts of political violence in Kenya in 2008. Since then, Ushahidi has been used to monitor elections in India, locate earthquake survivors in Haiti, identify oil washing up on beaches following the BP oil spill, and monitor crime in Atlanta. Ushahidi collects, sorts and maps reports from observers, then displays this information on a website. If the technology is useful for monitoring suffering, why not use it to report Good News!

This is what we have done at South Church in New Britain. Using the Ushahidi application we have set up a website to allow anyone to report their God Sighting, their Good News about the ways God is acting in the world today. Reports will appear on the Salt and Light website with a brief description and a color-coded dot on a map to indicate whether the God sighting was evidence of faith, compassion or justice. Try it! There are currently four ways to submit your witness and testimony to the Salt and Light website:

1. Go to the website, http://saltandlight.crowdmap.com then click on the green “Submit a Report” button in the upper right. First enter a short title, then a brief description of your God Sighting, next click whether this event was a reflection of faith, compassion or justice, and finally enter the location and click the green “Submit” button at the bottom of the page.

2. Send a text message including a brief description of your God Sighting to 860-681-9128. Include the word faith, compassion or justice and your location in your text.

3. Tweet your God Sighting on Twitter with the hashtag #besaltandlight.

4. Or send and email to saltandlight@southchurch.org. Here too, include the word faith, compassion or justice and your location.

Including your name and email address is optional (when reporting through the website). If you choose not to include your name, your submission is completely anonymous. Once Pastor George approves your report, your witness and testimony will appear on the Salt and Light website. Be salty! Let your light shine!

Published in: on February 15, 2011 at 10:08 pm  Leave a Comment  
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