Tag Archive: spiritual


Who’s Your Neighbor

“Who’s Your Neighbor” was the topic of the January meeting of the Religion Communicators CouncilDallas-Ft. Worth Chapter – held at University Park UMC. I am a member of RCC as a representative of Christ UMC, Farmers Branch, and the Communications Committee. Giving the presentation was Anne Marie Weiss-Armush, president of the DFW International Community Alliance.

The DFW International Community Alliance is a network of over 1600 internationally-focused organizations in the Dallas/Ft. Worth metroplex that embodies the cultural and economic vibrancy of the global community. Their mission is to “build mutual understanding and respect by linking diverse international cultural communities.” The organization not only aligns the diverse groups with one another and the society as a whole, but the members of the groups with themselves. Yahoo groups were formed, such as an African group, to promote community among those living in different areas of the metroplex.

A newsletter is sent out by email each week listing the cultural activities of the many varied ethnic groups. As a new subscriber, I look forward to receiving notice of events in our community and the surrounding area. The subject was quite timely, considering our pastor, Dr. Vic Casad’s recent sermon on the demographics of our community and congregation. While Weiss-Armush praised churches who are reaching out with ESL classes – of which Christ Church is one – there are more opportunities for advancing communication among various ethnic groups with the goal of unifying the community with open exchange of cultural influences.

The Christ Church congregation is a diverse group of individuals and families, as are other faith communities. However, there are other people(s) in our community who are seeking faith, or simply help, on some level, but are unsure where to turn for guidance and assistance. We see them every day at the store, the library, the rec center, and other places.

As part of our mission to share the love of Christ, we need to reach out to other faiths and cultures to move toward a unified community – understanding, appreciating, and celebrating our differences. Sometimes we reject what we do not understand instead of realizing that the ways in which we are actually different are relatively insignificant. As part of our mission as stewards of God’s earth, we must work alongside – and in community with – our multi-faceted neighbors. Which, as the alliance illustrates, is true of any and all faith communities whose end result of mission is to help and serve others.

Do I see opportunities in our community to share the word and be of physical and spiritual assistance? All the time. Do I have opportunities to ask questions and listen to someone about their faith community and how we are alike? Again, all the time. Do I avail myself of every opportunity to be a witness to the love of Christ? Unfortunately, no. But I am praying about it and working on it. How about you?

Peace be with you.

Vanity of vanities, says the Teacher,

vanity of vanities! All is vanity.

What do people gain from all the toil

at which they toil under the sun?

A generation goes, and a generation comes,

but the earth remains forever. Eccl. 1:2-4

During a Disciple Bible Study several years ago, when we got to Ecclesiastes, the text suggested that we read the entire book in one sitting. Always up for a challenge, I dutifully read it all the way through – and I was fascinated. Of all the books in the Bible, I have read or heard passages from Ecclesiastes the least in my lifetime as a Christian. Granted, I did not go to church all the time when I was younger.

If you take a passage of Ecclesiastes out of context, it can be downright depressing. Which is the general opinion of Ecclesiastes from what I have ascertained after hearing sermons, speakers, and talking with people. But when I read it in one sitting, not only did I see the relevance to my life, but was left with a feeling of hope. Quite the opposite of what I expected after what I had heard.

I knew then that my next Bible study would be Ecclesiastes. This is not the first full length Bible study I have written, but it will be the first one published. The previous studies are still waiting for reprint permission for passages I included. So I began my journey with Qohelet, the teacher.

Scholars generally agree that Solomon did not write Ecclesiastes. But it is not known for certain who did write the book. I prefer to look at it from the view that Qohelet, the “teacher,” or “preacher,” was the author. It seems to be more relevant to our lives today from that view.

I am currently editing the book for the last time. Feel free to join me on my dual journey – through Ecclesiastes and the editing process – which will continue as a journey through theology and our lives today.

Peace be with you.

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