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"What is important is to realize that we are a family... and that the reason we are at church is not to be entertained but to worship God, increase our relationship with God, increase our recognition of God’s worth in our lives..."

 

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  Pastor Michael's Musings

 

 

It continues…

 

In the past month…

 

Philando Castile’s killer, a Minnesota police officer, was found not guilty on all counts.

 

Dominique Heaggan-Brown’s killer, a former Wisconsin police officer, was found not guilty on all counts.

 

Terence Crutcher’s killer, an Oklahoma police officer, was found not guilty on all counts.

 

Yet again, three more young black lives ended far too soon by police.

 

Being a police officer is a dangerous job. I certainly couldn’t do it and I don’t envy those who do. Besides the danger that they willingly put themselves in, they also endure stress and disrespect beyond imagination. We should do better at caring for the physical, emotional and mental well-being of our officers.

 

That being said, it is far more dangerous, stressful and life-threatening for simply being black in America – something that, unlike a police office, an African-American does not willingly choose.  

 

Officers choose the perils and stress of police life, but all of those young black people murdered by police officers, do not choose to be black.  Now, I know that this is a simplification on my part. I can’t get away with saying that these people were shot only because they were black, but we can’t stick our heads in the sand and think for a moment that had they been white, they’d probably still be alive today.

 

I’m bothered that three more black people were killed by police AND I’m more bothered that those officers will suffer no retribution for murder. Too many young black people are being killed by police. Something needs to be done – now!  The problem is systemic and has existed for centuries. It won’t be resolved tomorrow, but that doesn’t mean we can’t live and act in ways that envision the hope that it might. We need to live God’s commandment: God’s will being done “on earth as it is in heaven.”  WE NEED TO LIVE ‘HEAVEN’ HERE AND NOW.

 


Where we do we fit into this problem? What can we do? Part of what we can do is acknowledge that there is a systemic problem and recognize how we play a role (willingly or otherwise) in it.

 

Since 2012, the following men and women died at the hands of police officers. We can start by remembering them and what the world has lost.

 

·        Freddie Gray (spine was broken by officers when being placed in custody)

·        Walter Scott (shot in the back; stopped for a broken taillight)

·        Eric Harris (shot by officer who thought he was just “tazing” the suspect)

·        Tony Robinson (shot 3 times)

·        Phillip White (died in police custody, likely mental illness)

·        Jerame Reid (multiple shots)

·        Rumain Brisbon, (one fatal shot)

·        Tamir Rice (12 years old holding a toy gun, one fatal shot)

·        Akai Gurley (one fatal shot; officer was convicted of 2nd degree manslaughter)

·        Tanisha Anderson (died after head slammed into concrete; suffered from schizophrenia & bipolar)

·        Dante Parker (died from effects of being repeatedly tazed),

·        Ezell Ford (shot 3 times – once in the back, suffered from mental illness)

·        Michael Brown (one fatal shot)

·        John Crawford III (one fatal shot)

·        Eric Garner (choked to death)

·        Dontre Hamilton (shot 14 times; suffered from schizophrenia)

 

- Pastor Michael

 

 

Pastor Greg’s Gandering     

 

 

Sabbatical

 

So, as hopefully everyone knows by now, I am now on Sabbatical for the month of June.  The purpose of the Sabbatical is to provide a time of re-creation, rest, and renewal; a time to get away from the stress and pressure of the ministry.

 

While I am on Sabbatical I will be doing my best to avoid emails and other church related business.  To help me achieve this, please send Prayer Requests to Pastor Michael at leadpastorucb@gmail.com.

 

As always, anything dealing with building administration or scheduling can go through Bridget, the office administrator, at ucboffice@gmail.com.  

 

While trying to achieve the above goal of a Sabbatical I will also attempt to write a Musical Sermon like the minstrel story tellers – a.k.a. “Alice’s Restaurant.” But I will give a warning that it may fail.   If it works, you’ll hear the results in July.  If it fails you probably don’t want to hear it.

 

I also hope to finish reading The Book of Joy, which I think you are all familiar with by now. I will also get started on  SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome by Mary Beard. Rome, though not where Christianity was conceived, it is where it was born and developed.  It will also be some preparation for our trip to Italy in September (vacation, not sabbatical).

 

In addition, I would like to study guitar music theory, visit another local church and learn a little Italian. This might be a bit to pack into one month, given that the primary objective is rest, but I will give it my best.

 

See you in July.

 

-Pastor Greg

 

 

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