All posts by Lorne Bostwick

About Lorne Bostwick

I'm Senior Pastor at Central Presbyterian Church. I have a Doctor of Ministry degree from Union Theological Seminary in Virginia and have completed the academic work for a Doctor of Ministry in Pastoral Counseling at the Lloyd Center, San Francisco Theological Seminary. While labels can be confusing and definitions imprecise, I consider myself to be a theological progressive. I believe there is space in the room for all of us. The only exceptions are if you opt out because it is too hard for you to embrace the diversity in the room.

Evangelical Vote

Franklin Graham posted on Facebook, “Did God show up? In watching the news after the election, the secular media keep asking “How did this happen?” “What went wrong?” “How did we miss this?” Some are in shock. Political pundits are stunned. Many thought the Trump/Pence ticket didn’t have a chance. None of them understand the God-factor.

Hundreds of thousands of Christians from across the United States have been praying. This year they came out to every state capitol to pray for this election and for the future of America. Prayer groups were started. Families prayed. Churches prayed. Then Christians went to the polls, and God showed up…I pray that President-elect Trump will surround himself with godly men and women to help advise and counsel him as he leads the nation.”

I want to respond as a Christian to this. My church was praying too but not for Trump to win. We were praying as Jesus taught us to pray “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Many of us are grieving the result of the election because of what it says about incivility, intolerance, disrespect, anger, and hate within the American population. We still believe that God will have God’s way of love, mercy, compassion, and justice. I reject the idea that Trump represents that. However, the majority of Americans voted for a diverse, hospitable, and tolerant nation. If Donald Trump’s election is a catalyst for us to all work harder to become more united, casting out fear with hope, hate with love then thanks be to God. But Trump is not the representative of Jesus. He is not a savior. Christians who prayed for Trump to be elected are expressing anger not mercy, hate not love, division not reconciliation, fear not hope. Franklin – Your Evangelical Christianity fails on so many levels to represent the love of God for all people expressed in Jesus life, death and resurrection. I reject the idea that this religious movement is Christian and reclaim the love and justice of God expressed in Christ’s life. We will continue to pray for you and Evangelical Christians everywhere who have mistaken political power for the redeeming love of God. Like Jesus, we will continue stand with the oppressed (Hispanics, Women, Blacks, LGBTQ, Muslims and anyone else left out). God was incarnate in Jesus to the broken, alienated, and afflicted. O God, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.”

Lament

Let Me Lament that compassion may rise out of my tears and hope be found in my destitution. I’m grieving this morning as many of you. Those who are angry with us, with them and everyone have had their way. We are left in darkness with no path out of incivility, violence, racism, and disrespect. The values of education, cooperation, and compassion have been defeated. But we are not the first to be in this place where hope has all but vanished. Let us join with our ancestors in lament that we may find hope beyond the hope we had hoped for…

Psalm 22
1 My God, my God, why have you abandoned me? I have cried desperately for help, but still it does not come. 2 During the day I call to you, my God, but you do not answer; I call at night, but get no rest. 3 But you are enthroned as the Holy One, the one whom Israel praises. 4 Our ancestors put their trust in you; they trusted you, and you saved them. 5They called to you and escaped from danger; they trusted you and were not disappointed.6 But I am no longer a human being; I am a worm, despised and scorned by everyone! 7All who see me make fun of me; they stick out their tongues and shake their heads. 8″You relied on the Lord,” they say. “Why doesn’t he save you? If the Lord likes you, why doesn’t he help you?” 9 It was you who brought me safely through birth, and when I was a baby, you kept me safe. 10 I have relied on you since the day I was born, and you have always been my God. 11 Do not stay away from me! Trouble is near, and there is no one to help. 12 Many enemies surround me like bulls; they are all around me, like fierce bulls from the land of Bashan. 13 They open their mouths like lions, roaring and tearing at me.14 My strength is gone, gone like water spilled on the ground. All my bones are out of joint; my heart is like melted wax. 15 My throat is as dry as dust, and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth. You have left me for dead in the dust. 16 An evil gang is around me; like a pack of dogs they close in on me; they tear at my hands and feet. 17 All my bones can be seen. My enemies look at me and stare. 18 They gamble for my clothes and divide them among themselves. 19 O Lord, don’t stay away from me! Come quickly to my rescue! 20 Save me from the sword; save my life from these dogs. 21 Rescue me from these lions; I am helpless before these wild bulls. 22 I will tell my people what you have done; I will praise you in their assembly: 23 “Praise him, you servants of the Lord! Honor him, you descendants of Jacob! Worship him, you people of Israel! 24 He does not neglect the poor or ignore their suffering; he does not turn away from them, but answers when they call for help.” 25 In the full assembly I will praise you for what you have done; in the presence of those who worship you I will offer the sacrifices I promised. 26 The poor will eat as much as they want; those who come to the Lord will praise him. May they prosper forever! 27 All nations will remember the Lord. From every part of the world they will turn to him; all races will worship him. 28 The Lord is king, and he rules the nations.29 All proud people will bow down to him; all mortals will bow down before him. 30Future generations will serve him; they will speak of the Lord to the coming generation.31 People not yet born will be told: “The Lord saved his people.”

The Lord lets us lament but calls us to encourage one another to remember who is in charge and where things are headed. We must walk through the valley of shadows to emerge into the kingdom of light.

New Year

Every year it seems obligatory to make a “New Year Resolution.”  I have wondered what that may mean in the context of the Christian Faith.  How many of us even think of faith when we consider our resolutions?  Well, this year maybe you should add a filter to your consideration of resolutions — the filter of faith.  How is your resolution related to what God is doing in your life and through your life in the world?  If you are resolving to loose weight, could you imagine it as a faithful response to the stewardship of the gift of your body?  If you are resolving to be more courteous to others, can you imagine it as a response to the command of Jesus to love our neighbors?  Maybe if our resolutions are not only for ourselves but for God and the world we may have a better chance of seeing them through.

Syrian Refugees

The Syrian Refugee Crisis is complex and challenging. Of course no country wants to import terrorism but Lebanon, Jordon, and the EU are not letting that stop them from providing compassionate refuge for those fleeing from Syria. The church has always been there to help resettle refugees and we want to help now! Remember the story of the Good Samaritan? Those who lived in fear walked by on the other side. Those who lived by humanity and love jumped right in.  The National Council of Churches adopts the call of the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services to receive 100,000 new refugees this year in the United States. National Council of Churches endorses Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services Call to Receive Refugees

 

SquareOne Villages Fundraiser

SquareOne Paella Fest 2015
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You’re invited to a benefit for Emerald Village Eugene, a project by SquareOne Villages!

 When:  Sunday, September 2015
6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

 Where:
Sweet Cheeks Winery
27007 Briggs Hill Road
Eugene, Oregon 97405

What:
Twenty local chefs will prepare paella, a traditional Spanish dish, with their own unique touch and distinct flavor. Choose one or choose a taste of all 20! A complimentary glass of Sweet Cheeks wine is also included. Seating limited to 250.

Get your tickets here!  or at Central Presbyterian Church Office

Event Details:
Congressman Peter DeFazio will speak and Dan Bryant, Executive Director of SquareOne Villages, will share the vision for Emerald Village Eugene—a new approach to affordable housing, starting at SquareOne.

Your co-hosts include Mayor Kitty Piercy, State Senators Floyd Prozanski, Lee Beyer, Chris Edwards, State Representatives Paul Holvey, Val Hoyle, Nancy Nathanson, Phil Barnhart, John Lively, and County Commissioner Pat Farr.

Entertainment by
Evynne Hollens and Nathan Alef.

 Thanks to our corporate sponsor for this event, Thrivent Community – Lane-Douglas Associates.

 Hors d’oeuvres at 6 pm, paella served at 6:45 pm.

Worship and Ecology: A Sermon Series

Yesterday I began a series of sermons on Ecology and Worship. At one point I was trying to describe the effect that the last two centuries of scientific knowledge have had on our way of understanding the world and the conflicts it presents to liturgical professions that are based on worldviews that could not have imagined what we know today. These confessions of faith like those found in the creation story that image a world surrounded by water and a dome to keep the waters out no longer works as literal explanations of the earth upon which we live and move and have our being, but they still proclaim a faith in the goodness of creation and the responsibility we have to care for it. After worship, a member of the CPC congregation, Micheal Boonstra, pointed me to this video called “Overview” in which astronauts talk about the same spiritual experience the writers of Genesis tried to convey but in the context of our more recent understandings of the world/universe. We are all in this together not just with neighbors but with the whole creation. Our care of this world is as essential today as it was to the writers of Genesis – maybe even more. Watch the video.

 

PC(USA) issues the following statement in response to the church burnings in the South

hate-inspired tragedy like the murder of nine worshipers at the Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, South Carolina, causes people of good conscience not only to grieve, but to reassess their attitudes about race, and moves people of all races to come together and take actions that reflect new commitments to heal long-standing wounds in the United States.

Unfortunately, those commitments to reconciliation inflame in some the same racial hatred that motivated the Charleston killings and result in a backlash of further violence. In the last week, at least seven churches with predominantly black membership have been burned in Tennessee, Ohio, North and South Carolina, Florida, and Georgia. Some have already been confirmed as arson.

These burned churches are reminders of the smoldering racism that still infects our body politic and makes clear the work that remains for us all.

We grieve with all those whose church buildings have been lost or damaged, whether as a result of racial hatred or not. We thank God that the losses were of property and not lives and we urge all who are able to support them with prayers and financial support as they recover from their losses.

As Christians we live in hope of a Beloved Community where racism and other evils that divide us are washed away. Even as we wait, we are called to work with all our energy and resources to make that a reality. In support of that vision, we urge all Presbyterians and their congregations to reach out to their African American neighbors, assuring them of their love and support, including a willingness to stand with them in the face of danger.

The Reverend Gradye Parsons
Stated Clerk of the General Assembly

Ruling Elder Heath K. Rada
Moderator, 221st General Assembly (2014)

The Reverend Larissa Kwong Abazia
Vice Moderator, 221st General Assembly (2014)

Ruling Elder Linda Bryant Valentine
Executive Director, Presbyterian Mission Agency