Many childhood lessons are life lessons

I remember a boy in my grade school who seemed to be quite popular. Kids wanted to be in his inner circle. But he demanded loyalty. That usually meant doing something or treating someone in ways that were clearly in violation of what I knew to be right. Wherever he was there seemed to be a great deal of negative energy. I wanted to be in his group because he was in charge. But over time I was able to see that he was not really a friend that you enjoy being with and share companionship with. His popularity was based on dividing people and creating chaos. He said things about others that was not true. He created enemies. 
   I found myself looking up to people who brought people together and had positive energy for life. I found myself looking for friends and leaders who crossed playground boundaries and seemed to bring kids together who might not otherwise trust or like one another. Life was steady and peaceful and fun in their presence. 
   Many childhood lessons are life lessons. Pay attention. 
Pastor Steve

Election Season Is Dangerous

In the first chapter of Genesis (the first book of the Bible) we are told that human beings were created in the image of God. Then in the book of Exodus when Moses delivers the 10 commandments to the people, there are two commandments that are related to each other and to the idea of being created in the image of God. One is about making idols or fashioning our own god or gods. The other is about misusing the name of God. 
You see, we were created in the image of God but we keep trying to create God in our image. We like to fashion our God to agree with us and do what we want. We talk about God like our “good buddy” or personal servant, doing what we want and believing what we believe. 
Once President Lincoln was asked, “Is God on your side?” He replied, “I don’t know but I hope that I am on the side of God.” I sure appreciate that. I know it sounds strange for a Pastor to say, but I think we should watch out for being too sure of ourselves about God and God’s will.
Election season is dangerous for this kind of self-righteousness and smug certainty. I will not attempt to speak for God or tell people how to vote. What I will do is draw from scriptural themes and values along with the social principles of the United Methodist Church. And I will gladly share my thoughts with an openness for dialogue. I will share the values and principles that I think our faith tradition calls us to be attentive to. 
Here are some of them: Stewardship of the earth, all human beings created in God’s image, care for the poor and economic justice, welcome for the immigrant and sojourner, peacemaking, liberating the oppressed, and the golden rule as a guide to live by.
I could go on, but these are the first to come to mind. I know that enacting values and principles can be difficult. As they say, “the devil is in the details.”  
Let’s just say this is the beginning of the Pastor Steve voting guide. Could we start with the list above as a guide when we vote. What would you add to the list?

Pastor Steve Lundin