The story of Communion on the Moon presented on July 21, 2019 by Quentin Holmes.
About Lorne BostwickI am a native of the Northwest, growing up in Spokane Washington, I graduated from the University of Washington with degrees in Communication and Education and after teaching high school for several years attended Union Theological Seminary in Richmond, Virginia where I earned a Doctor of Ministry degree. I was ordained in 1984 to serve the Catonsville Presbyterian Church in the Baltimore area. After 9 years I accepted a call to serve the Needham Presbyterian Church in Boston and 8 years later, a church in the Central Valley of California. While serving in California, I attended San Francisco Theological Seminary doing post-graduate work in Pastoral Counseling. In August of 2006 I accepted a call to Central Presbyterian Church as its Senior Pastor and Head of Staff. I have served on the Board of Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon, chair the Theological Dialogue Committee and am on the Executive Committee. Currently, I’m on the Board of Presbyterrian Collegiate Ministries, a subsidiary corporation of Central Presbyterian Church whose purpose is to manage a student housing facility at 1414 Kincaid and support Presbyterian Campus ministry. I’m the Board President of SquareOne Villages, a tiny house village developer serving the homeless, and rent challenged in the Eugene area. I chair the Commission on Ministry for the Central Region of Cascades Presbytery. The staff of this church is dedicated to a ministry of caring, inquiring, and including. It is such a pleasure to serve with this congregation. They create a wonderful network of caring relationships. Most members are involved in community service, justice work, sustainability, and work for peace. On a personal note, I’m so grateful to be living in the Northwest again. The University neighborhood is teaming with energy, intelligence, and imagination. It is a wonderful challenge to help shape that vitality for the future. I enjoy outdoor activities such as gardening in the summer, sailing in the fall, and skiing in the winter. Welcome to Central Presbyterian Church
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According to the Pew Research Center a growing share of Americans are religiously unaffiliated. They recently asked a representative sample of more than 1,300 of these “nones” why they choose not to identify with a religion. Out of several options included in the survey, the most common reason they give is that they question a lot of religious teachings. I think it is important for us to realize that religion today is viewed as an answer to life’s questions rather than a common quest to engage these questions. That is too bad because none of has all the answers. We want people in church who are committed to engage the questions.
Six-in-ten religiously unaffiliated Americans – adults who describe their religious identity as atheist, agnostic or “nothing in particular” – say the questioning of religious teachings is a very important reason for their lack of affiliation.
The second-most-common reason is opposition to the positions taken by churches on social and political issues, cited by 49% of respondents (the survey asked about each of the six options separately). Smaller, but still substantial, shares say they dislike religious organizations (41%), don’t believe in God (37%), consider religion irrelevant to them (36%) or dislike religious leaders (34%). Maybe this will help us form our understanding of how to communicate better with our un-churched neighbors.
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As individual Christians and as a church we are invited into Lent to engage in prayer and reflection on the meaning, purpose, and promise of our lives as children of God. Like Jesus, the church is asked to stand in the wilderness, with temptation and wild beasts on one side and attending angels on the other, and to recognize and rely on the voice of God and of the Spirit to lead us through to renewed relationship with God and one another. The Lenten season gives us the chance to move beyond the conventions and pretenses to which we cling and behind which we often hide in our lives with God, and to experience in their place, the intensity of a walk with God in the wilderness. Lent is a journey. You cannot leap from baptism to resurrection without going through the wilderness just as the people of Israel could not get to the promised land without passing through the same. Let’s not avoid Lent because of its challenges but rather embrace it as the path to deeper faith and more abundant life.
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Last week the President brought the virtue of loyalty into the public discourse. Loyalty is a common virtue that most of us hold in high esteem. However, loyalty always has an antecedent. There is always something to which we pledge our loyalty. As Christians we have an ultimate loyalty to God following in the way of Christ. Of course we have other appropriate loyalties too: to our church, families, spouses, and friends. But Luke reminds us that families divided against each other and in the midst of division were to remember their ultimate loyalties. This informs how I see issues in the political arena as well. When the President asks for loyalty from a civil servant who has a higher loyalty (to the Constitution) it puts public servants between a rock and a hard place. The same is true in the church. In the Presbyterian Church our constitution requires that members remain free of any obstacles to faithfulness to God. It is one of the reasons we have checks and balances in church government too. We govern without affording any one person the right to be a final authority. Our loyalty being to Christ, in prayer and conversation we seek the will of God together by consensus or majority. Even in the minority we do not ask people to violate their loyalties to Christ. The church only works when all members seek together to be representative of the Will of God. That is the nature of being Christ’s body in the world. All parts working together, equally valued and equally humble.