Every person has a story...Jesus calls us to listen.
If you get a chance, take 15 minutes and watch this mini-documentary on the life and legacy of our friend Brent Walker, who will retire as Director of the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty at the end of the month. Brent has been a tireless advocate for true religious freedom -- the freedom of all to worship as belief and conscious dictates, and not as government or a majority religion would dictate.
On a more personal note, when I briefly joined the BJC as an intern in 2007, Brent welcomed me with an energetic kindness that I've rarely encountered. He so clearly loved his job, that he infected the whole office. His ready smile, though genuine, can be misleading, though -- he has this way of getting you to agree with him before you even realize that's what you're doing.
As Buzz Thomas says at the end of the video, "the BJC's best days are still ahead of it." But we will all miss Brent's leadership and enthusiasm.
As the president-elect gets closer to becoming the President, more and more churches are signing up to become "sanctuaries" to undocumented immigrants. Sanctuary churches risk fines and members risk imprisonment to house immigrants in danger of immediate deportation. As Donald Trump has promised to deport ALL undocumented immigrants, no matter the cost to families or the communities they are a part of, more and more churches are signing on to the philosophy.
Read this article from Baptist News Global to understand why President-Elect Trump's pick for Education Secretary should be troubling for all who value the Baptist principle of separation of church and state.
I'm re-posting this gem from last year because, if anything, it feels more relevant and important to be truth-tellers this year. And even more important to have a holiday full of hope and gratitude.
Happy Thanksgiving! As you celebrate the things that are absolutely fantastic about this most delicious of holidays (spending time with family and friends, being grateful to God and one another), do also keep in mind that the origins of the holiday, like much of our culture, may not be quite as benign as you may have been told.
I'm not trying to get you down about the holiday, but it's best to go into all these things with open eyes. That way you can celebrate it the right way and reclaim questionable symbols for your own. I, for example, will be celebrating the Abraham Lincoln version of the holiday, ever hopeful and grateful to come together with those I may disagree with in the spirit of healing and friendship. And I choose to think of the fellowship with my family around the table as a symbol for the coming feast in the Kingdom of God, where all will sit down with one another.
Be joyful, be grateful, be well, and be full of truth!