Sunday, June 28, 2015

Well Being

“Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—when they see the love you have for each other.”
John 13:34 (The Message)

The students were amazed by the joy we saw when we first visited and lived in a small rural poor community in Honduras!  It was obvious that most of the metrics used to assess need would not capture the well being of this community.  

More recently, we heard again from Jean Varnier, the 2015 Templeton Prize winner and founder of L’Arche communities of the disabled.  His big ideas find their reality in small acts of kindness and communities that value the most rejected.  

This last week, we where all amazed by the forgiveness given by the relatives of those murdered at Emmanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina.  What was the origin of these great acts of forgiveness in that community of faith?

The message for me of these examples of “Well Being” starts well before the suffering and pain.  It happens in small ways that are practiced over and over again.  It becomes a way of being well in a welcoming community.  The practice of healing is found in this practice!  It requires a focus and faith that is lived everyday.  It means that we need to be present with those who suffer even before we try and “do something”.   It is for Christians the basis of our healing mission.  

Thanks be to God for all who build communities that care for each other and bring “Well Being”.



Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Doing Better?

“When the consensus culture collapsed in the 1960s and 1970s, 
taking with it all but the vestiges of the old Protestant establishment, 
that collapse initiated, among other things, a religious crisis.”
 George Marsden

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; 
I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
John 10:10 (NIV)

Our church has begun reading Robert Putman’s book, Our Kids, that is a critical look at the changes in American society since the late 1950’s.  He makes the case from a personal as well as with social statistical data that there has been growing inequality in the United States and that it should be corrected.  Others have come to the same conclusion.  What is less clear is the nature and rationale of the prescriptions,  You would think that we know the answer from what has worked as well as failed both here in the United States as well as other nations and cultures.

We need to clearly see the nature of “well-being” as well as the nature of “non-being” and understand that these ideas are not solely economic, educational, societal or scientific.  At its most basic level, the idea of “well-being” combines the ideas of “meaning” and “purpose” as applied to individuals and communities.  These ideas have come to us through faith and within faith communities. 

This is where I think we can find a clear response to what our church is trying to address…How do we respond to and with our community with a message of “well-being”?  What I think we already know, is that when we have reached out, we have been blessed and we have felt that “well-being” both as individuals and a community.  It needs to be the story we share.  It is a story of reconciliation and healing.  It is a “better” story!



Marsden, George (2014). The Twilight of the American Enlightenment: The 1950s and the Crisis of Liberal Belief . Basic Books. Kindle Edition.

Putnam, R. D. (2015). Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis. Simon & Schuster.

Pickett, K., & Wilkinson, R. (2011). The Spirit Level: Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger (Reprint ed.). Bloomsbury Press

Deaton, A. (2013). The Great Escape: Health, Wealth, and the Origins of Inequality. Princeton University Press.