Joe Kay is the associate minister at Nexus United Church of Christ, Butler County, Ohio. He also writes a weekly blog at https://joekay617.wordpress.com. His email address is listed on the blog, in case you care to contact him directly.
Posts By This Author
America Has Never Been One. But It Has Been United.
At times like this, it’s good to remember that our founders valued our vast differences and set up a big government of checks and balances that would force us to compromise and cooperate. Government fails — and we fail as a nation — when people go to Washington and statehouses insistant on getting their way, without compromise.
That attitude is an un-American attitude. It goes against the heart of what makes us who we are. It makes us unravel.
To My LGBTQ Friends: Thank You for Your Courage
Bullets and the Radical Welcome
Something incredible happened there after the murders. Family members publicly forgave the killer. People filled the church the following Sunday — some sitting on the very spot where blood had to be cleaned from the floor – and proclaimed their commitment to compassion and forgiveness.
And the next Wednesday night, they did what they’d always done on Wednesday night. They held a Bible study. They welcomed anyone who was interested, and sat together in the same room where nine people had died and committed themselves to the Spirit of radical welcome. The topic of discussion that day: the power of love.
Archie Bunker and Me
Who Would Jesus Pee With?
The gospels provide short, thumbnail descriptions of what Jesus is passionate about: Feeding the hungry, healing the broken, sheltering the homeless, visiting the imprisoned, sharing everything with those in need. Trying to love everyone unconditionally. Being compassionate and accepting. The gospels go on and on about this.
Peeing? Not a word.
A Mother's Day Liturgy: 'That They May All Be One'
The liturgy for this Mother’s Day is unintentionally perfect. It’s from John, the part where Jesus is praying for his dear friends at the last supper.
What does he pray for them to be? Great preachers? Saintly saints? Perfect people? Nope. He prays that they will be one – one with each other, one with God.
Will We Be Divinely Vulnerable?
Will we sit and listen to a refugee mother talk about her family’s horrific life in her war-torn country, and realize we’re no longer afraid of her? Will we talk to the gay couple that needs a cake and hear their love story, and feel a bond because it reminds us of our own love story? Will we look into the eyes with the homeless person begging just outside our car window and see another human being in pain, and suddenly feel an urge to help them? Will we make ourselves divinely vulnerable?
In that moment, we reach beyond our fear. We’re finally freed by love. No longer hiding in a tiny room behind a locked door. That. We all need more of that.
When Your Prayer Needs a Do-Over
I’m a hospice volunteer. I visit several patients each week, just sit down and chat about stuff. I do it primarily for me – it’s who I am, how I’m wired, and I suspect that I get a lot more out of it than the people whom I visit. They share some of the most poignant and difficult and joyful moments with me. And their final days.
Campaigning While Christian: 6 Tips for the 'Jesus' Candidates
I can’t watch the political debates for long without feeling sick: So much animosity and ego and bullying and attacking and negativity; so little thoughtful discussion and kindness. The toxic words seep inside my skin and into my emotions. I have to get away from it.
The worst part is when candidates use their “religion” as a justification for all of the ugliness being spewed — when they start trying to one-up the other and convince voters that they, themselves, are true believers who rank right up there on Jesus’ most-favored list.
Will We Live Alone, Behind Walls of Our Making?
Francis is right. The spirit of religion is about healing and nurturing and bringing together. And he puts the question into the politically charged air once again: Walls or bridges? What’s it going to be?
Do we open ourselves to the spirit that wants to give us new hearts? Or do we choose to have hearts as cold as a stone wall?
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