In the Sunday School class Marcie and I attend we have many lively discussions about topics that help us grow to a deeper understanding of what it means to live our Christian faith in the 21st Century. We are currently discussing the book, “Why Did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha, and Mohammad Cross the Road,” by Brian McClaren. His purpose for writing the book is to challenge us to maintain a strong Christ-centered faith that is not hostile to other faiths (from which we might also learn about God).
Early in the book, McClaren recounts a conversation with a colleague who caused him to think about his own faith a little differently. The friend said, “Remember Brian: in a pluralistic world, a religion is judged by the benefits it brings to its nonmembers.” How we treat the “other” matters.
This certainly rings true with Jesus’s teachings. He demonstrates reaching out to people cast as “the other” when he engaged the Samaritan woman, touched and healed the leper, included the tax collector and said, “When you do it for the least of these…you do it unto me…”
I am grateful for both the legacy and the ongoing ministry and mission of HPCUMC to reach-out to and serve many who are often seen as “the other” in our world. This is why we confidently make our giving to HPCUMC the priority for our philanthropic giving. Just last week I sat paying bills with six non-profit solicitations before me (often the case). You have probably been there many times as well. We give to many of them because they do good and important work. But we know that our core beliefs are the core beliefs of this church we attend, and that the resources we give will be used to support those beliefs in our community and world. What priority do you make your offering to Hyde Park Community United Methodist Church where your core beliefs are shared?
Dr. McCoy reminded us on Easter that the Easter story is the proclamation that God is constantly “making moves” to overcome evil with good, fear with assurance, hopelessness with hope and death with life. As we give of our resources through the offering or make a planned gift to the Endowment Fund, we are partners in proclaiming our core belief, “Christ is risen!” Checkmate!