Jeff’s Jottings – October 2018

Both/And

So much of life is presented as either/or. Either you’re for this or you’re against it; you can’t have mixed feelings about it. Either you’re female or male; you can’t be something else.

Digital technology is based on either/or: either 1 or 0. And while the either/or of digital technology may help me write this column, layout this newsletter, and get it delivered to your email inbox, very little else in life is truly either/or. In fact, almost everything that is presented as a dichotomy by media or our own minds isn’t a dichotomy.

Take the challenge of addressing climate change. Many from our congregation took to the street at the beginning of September to pressure political leaders to make real progress on addressing climate change by adopting policies. Many others in our congregation held us and all the marchers in prayer. It would be easy to hear a dichotomy: either the political leaders take real action or we’re toast. It’s easy to hear it that way, because it’s almost true. Almost.

The truth is that we can’t deal with climate change by changing our lightbulbs. The issue is so large that it will take major, systemic change to address the issue. We will need to do things like move from a fossil fuel-based energy system to a renewables-based energy system. And to get there will take major policy actions.

And, those policy actions are not enough. The reality is that addressing climate change is a both/and. The individual choices we make make a difference. If we each make changes in the three highest impact areas of our lives – transportation, household and office energy use, and diet – it will have a real impact.

That’s why I’m inviting you to join the “Living the Change” personal commitment movement sponsored by Green Faith. I encourage you to go to livingthechange.net/my-commitment and, inspired by your faith and based on your personal motivation, choose your very own commitment and find out about the impact it will have.

I made my own commitment (see picture – the thing about taking public transportation to work is really a commitment to walk). I invite you to join me.

“What Shall We Bring”

Without a doubt, one of my favorite scriptures is Micah 6:1-8. I don’t want to say too much about it here; I’ll be preaching on it on it on Commitment Sunday, October 28. But I want to talk about our pledge campaign, and the theme, “What Shall We Bring?” comes from Micah 6:1-8.

If you look at the titles of this month’s sermons on page 1, you’ll see that the question isn’t only about money. In fact, Micah 6 says that our offerings of stuff (including money) are not as important to God as our offerings of relationship (but more on that on October 28).

Now, if our financial giving isn’t as important to God as is how we give our hearts, you may wonder why we spend a whole month on a pledge campaign. I can quickly think of two reasons, one theological and one practical.

The theological reason is that this season is not only about our stewardship of our money. This season is about our stewardship of our whole lives. That’s why we’ll be looking at issues in addition to the issue of money.

The practical reason is that we are moving toward a balanced budget and to do that we need to have some idea of how much money you plan to give during 2019. There are, of course, two ways to balance a budget that in the red: increase income; decrease expenses. Because we know that decreasing expenses means decreasing ministry, we do ask our members and friends to see if they can increase their giving to increase the church’s income.

As we examine our theme, “What Shall We Bring?” spending time on the theological issues, I hope you will also consider the practical issues, too.

Peace,
Pastor Jeff

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