PASTOR’S PEN
 

Thursday Thoughts

The language we use is interesting, When someone says “homeless people” what comes to mind? When that same label is listed under “crime” and “safety,” how do you picture “homeless people?” A report at city council on Tuesday night, listed homelessness as a criminal problem to be removed from the downtown, rather than a social problem that we must solve. I was able to challenge the council and audience to not think of homelessness this way — but to think of names and faces of people we have taken the time to know. What is a homeless person? Children, teens, seniors, women, and men. Unemployed, underemployed, people with serious health conditions, mentally ill, addicted, and veterans. Each person has fallen through the safety nets. Each person is a child of God. Why is the problem growing? Is the problem connected to the economy, employment opportunities, the cost of housing, a lack of mental health and addiction recovery services?
 
We could go on and on. It is complicated. Solutions will require a multi-pronged approach. Let’s not try to simplify the problem by blaming the victims or just trying to “remove the problem”. As followers of Jesus, we are called to take the side of the poor, the vulnerable, the outcast. I want our church to do this in the most thoughtful way possible. Offering friendship, providing relief, working on solutions. Let us be good friends and people of compassion.
Steve


Thursday Thoughts

One of our office volunteers, Lisa, is always putting up wonderful inspirational quotes around the building. I found this one by an unknown author, on my office door the other day. “Peace — it does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.”

     Darn it! Sometimes I want a peace with no noise, trouble or hard work. But that is not the peace you find at First United Methodist Church in Salinas. What I am discovering is what the Apostle Paul called — “the peace that passes understanding.” To be able to stand with those who are hurting, frightened, angry, oppressed, traumatized, addicted, mentally ill, and dying — and still be able to say, “it is well with my soul.” To feel connected to God, self, and others in spite of the daily stress, the disappointments, the heartache.

    Thank you Lisa, for taping that reminder to my door. To all of you — May the peace of Christ be with you.

Steve     

 




 
Pastor Steve Lundin