Friday, July 10, 2009

Love your neighbor

It is my job this Sunday to preach a sermon about "The Good Samaritan" story found in the Gospel of Luke.
My heart is so heavy and broken thinking about what it means to care for the "man in need on the side of the road". I feel so limited, cynical and fearful to really say anything profound about reaching out to "someone out there".

Jesus is clear, love your neighbor as yourself.
We are called to reach out to those in need.

Just this afternoon I received two phone calls back to back.
One was a continuation from an event yesterday.
Our doors are locked for the security of 125 preschoolers. I know it is not ideal, but it is also a ministry to keep those children safe. So, someone needing gas money comes to the door and is offended because he is not "greeted at the door like a human being".

Okay, so maybe we don't have the "Open Doors, Open Minds, Open Hearts" completely down.
But can I just be really honest. We wouldn't need doors locked if people didn't come to the door in a belligerent manner and send fear through the building. (I talked to the guy on the phone, he was scary. I am a little worried about those leaving the building over the next few days). That is where the fearful part of the feeling in my heart comes.
How do we reach out in a society that is full of such anger, which creates fear?

So we fail to "love your neighbor as yourself". Ugggghhh!

However, in between the door visit and the phone call accusing me of personally "not having gas money, but you have a really nice sign out there" (If he only really knew about that sign...),
I got another phone call.
During that phone call I found God speaking to me in incredibly moving ways.
I was reminded that "the church" is suppose to be a place where people can be safe to be "the work in process" that we all are.
No, we don't always do it right and to be honest (again) we probably never will always get it right.
John Wesley believes we are all just moving onto perfection - I agree.
Yet, we can still have open hearts and receive another broken heart's words and desire to take this journey together.
In the Gospel, the Samaritan who helped the man on the side of the road, put the man on his own animal and traveled with him to the inn. He didn't send him ahead, he took the journey with him.

We may pass by sometimes without even noticing.
We may even have locked doors.

And yes, we may even get it right, with the Holy Spirit guiding each word.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas discussion questions

Campbell at the Movies is taking place all through July. On Wednesday night, July 8th we watched The Boy in the Striped Pajamas. If you would like to consider some questions for discussion, check out below and post a response.

see you at the movies!

Discussion questions for The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

1. Prejudice is an attitude while discrimination is a behavior. Explore • these differences?

2. What is a stereotype? Why do people stereotype groups that are different from them? How does the movie depict Nazis stereotyping Jews?

3. When the mother learns that Jews are being exterminated at the camp, she questions her husband. “How can you?” she asks. He responds: “Because I’m a solider.” How do these two perspectives contrast?

4. Why do you think Gretel believes the viewpoints of Lieutenant Kotler, the tutor Liszt, and her father about Jews. Although Bruno is younger than his sister, he questions their viewpoints. Why?

5. One the early turning points for the mother in the movie is saying thank you to Pavel for treating Bruno. What has changed for her at this point? Why do you think she seems open to considering a different perspective?

6. At times, the father is shown as a loving parent and husband. How is this possible given his role as a Nazi officer giving orders to treat people in humanely?

7. How does Bruno justify continuing his friendship with Shmuel despite what his father, sister and tutor said about Jews?

8. The barbed wire fence is a physical separation between Bruno and Shmuel. What other types of separation does the fence represent in this story?

9. Neither Bruno nor Shmuel really know what is going on at the concentration camp. Why is that, and what allows them to keep their innocence?

10. What events and experiences lead Bruno to gradually give up some of his innocence and see things differently?