An Advent Message

By Doug Sloan

Dear NRA,

Here is what you don’t understand…

Two millennium ago, we were given the message that we are to think and live differently.

That Good News message invites us to follow a narrow path:

As individuals, we are to:

* seek resurrection and transformation and to live

* simply and fearlessly and joyfully and hopefully,

* gently and peacefully without violence and without vengeance.

In relationship with others, we are to provide:

* inclusive hospitality

* joyous generosity

* wise and healthy service

As a community, our purpose is to provide education, stewardship, justice, and compassion:

* Education as the respect for and nurture of each student as an individual with unique gifts to be discovered and developed while introducing students to the best of art, knowledge, scientific inquiry, logic, and philosophy and encouraging play, creativity, self-confidence, self-reliance, self-expression, independence, collaboration, and community.

* Stewardship as the long-term protection, management, and replenishment of renewable resources, and that non-renewable resources require minimum use and maximum protection and maximum recycling and contemporaneous and complete reclamation;

* Justice as repair, rehabilitation, restoration, and – where possible – reconciliation;

* Compassion as feeding, quenching, clothing, sheltering, healing, visiting, welcoming, …

As a congregation, our theology is simple:

* The Divine is not distant. The Divine is with us.

* The Divine is unrestrained love and unconditional grace.

Implicit and integral to the Good News message is the rejection of violence and the threat of violence and the instruments of violence as solutions to violence and war. This does not mean we are unresponsive pacifists – it means we are actively peaceful and actively contrary to the ways of violence and war. Our commitment to the Good News message means that we will live it and exude it and provoke it, here and now – constantly and forever, regardless of your response.

If this makes you fearful; if this makes you consider us a threat; we understand and we will not be swayed. We know what you did to Jesus and the early disciples and the many others since then who dared to walk this path. To us, it is more important to live the Good News than to live your way. For each of us, death is inevitable. So the question is: In what manner will we live with ourselves, with others, with the Divine? We have given you our answer. What is yours?

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