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Voices in Worship

“Because it is the truth that will set us free. 

Sadly, too many of us in the church don’t live like we believe this. We live as if we are afraid acknowledging the past will tighten the chains of injustice rather than break them. We live as if the ghosts of the past will snatch us if we walk through the valley of the shadow of death. So instead we walk around the valley, talk around the valley. We speak of the valley with cute euphemisms:

“We just have so many divisions in this country.”

“If we could just get better at diversity, we’d be so much better off.”

“We are experiencing some cultural change.”

Our only chance at dismantling racial injustice is being more curious about its origins than we are worried about our comfort. It’s not comfortable conversation for any of us. It is risky and messy. It is haunting work to recall the sings of our past. But is this not the work we have been called to anyway? Is this not the work of the Holy Spirit to illuminate truth and inspire transformation?” 

― Austin Channing Brown, I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness

“But dialogue is productive toward reconciliation only when it leads to action – when it inverts power and pursues justice for those who are most marginalized.” 

― Austin Channing Brown, I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness

“Our tendency in the midst of suffering is to turn on God. To get angry and bitter and shake our fist at the sky and say, “God, you don’t know what it’s like! You don’t understand! You have no idea what I’m going through. You don’t have a clue how much this hurts.The cross is God’s way of taking away all of our accusations, excuses, and arguments. The cross is God taking on flesh and blood and saying, “Me too.” 

― Rob Bell

“If the gospel isn’t good news for everybody, then it isn’t good news for anybody. And this is because the most powerful things happen when the church surrenders its desire to convert people and convince them to join. It is when the church gives itself away in radical acts of service and compassion, expecting nothing in return, that the way of Jesus is most vividly put on display. To do this, the church must stop thinking about everybody primarily in categories of in or out, saved or not, believer or nonbeliever. Besides the fact that these terms are offensive to those who are the “un” and “non”, they work against Jesus’ teachings about how we are to treat each other. Jesus commanded us to love our neighbor, and our neighbor can be anybody. We are all created in the image of God, and we are all sacred, valuable creations of God. Everybody matters. To treat people differently based on who believes what is to fail to respect the image of God in everyone. As the book of James says, “God shows no favoritism.” So we don’t either.” – Rob Bell 

“Missions then is less about the transportation of God from one place to another and more about the identification of a God who is already there […] You see God where others don’t. And then you point him out. So the issue isn’t so much taking Jesus to people who don’t have him, but going to a place and pointing out to the people the creative, life-giving God who is already present in their midst. ” 

― Rob Bell

“Awe is the gateway to compassion. It is a deep awareness that we are creators, creators who work with the Creator, in an ongoing project of crafting a world. If we do not like the world or are afraid of it, we have had a hand in that. And if we made a mess, we can clean it up and do better. We are what we make.” 

― Diana Butler Bass, Grounded: Finding God in the World-A Spiritual Revolution

“Gratitude is complicated. Feelings of dependence—and interdependence—can be both elusive and resisted, mostly because they are caught up with soul-crushing ideas of obligation and debt. But if gratitude is mutual reliance upon (instead of payback for) shared gifts, we awaken to a profound awareness of our interdependence. Dependence may enslave the soul, but interdependence frees us.” 

― Diana Butler Bass, Grateful: The Transformative Power of Giving Thanks

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