I spoke to a group of Lutheran men in Myrtle Beach Monday night in a lead-up to the April 1st faith town hall type event, “Beyond Colorblindness: Into the Faith Divide,” that will be held at 4:30 p.m. at Lackey Chapel at Coastal Carolina University.
I hope to see you all there. (Oh, I'll also tell you about 'God-ordained' cocaine sales.)
Below is the write-up from someone at Monday night's talk.
By Lloyd Mackall, Public Relations based in Wachesaw East Plantation:
Grand Strand 'Brothers, Sisters in Christ’--Where Are We Going?
All people have an equal opportunity to love God. He loves us back. Even with God’s grace in play, faith is a balancing act for church people.
These are some of the statements of faith brought forth in discussion as speaker, Isaac Bailey, local newspaper columnist for The Sun News, spoke at a meeting of Lutheran Men in Mission at Shepherd of the Sea Lutheran Church in Garden City.
Bailey in his Sun News column, “A Different Perspective,” said he is involved in engaging the Grand Strand in a public conversation about matters of faith and religion and how they are changing in the 21st century even here on the “buckle of the Bible Belt.”
Bailey asked the Lutheran group if it is possible to continue worshiping together and respecting those with whom you have disagreements on fundamental issues about your faith. This drew many divergent responses from the group of mostly retired veterans.
LMM member Steve Reed said he was reading a new book by Jim Wallis, “On God’s Side--What Religion Forgets and Politics Hasn’t Learned about Serving the Common Good.” Wallis is CEO of Sojourners, and author, public theologian, speaker and commentator on ethics and public life.
Bailey shared some of the struggles he had over the past few years by attending churches where the views he holds on certain issues are not welcome and are sometimes taken as a threat. He said faith is hard. “And it only gets harder when a fundamental tenet that you have long held dear is challenged by someone you love, trust and respect.”
“This is where I am now, I’m sort of gun shy to tell someone I am a Christian,” Bailey said. “It is less about helping poor people and the down trodden, it is more about that label. Here is where you must believe, no matter what. God talked about educating a curious mind, I am sort of naturally curious and ask questions about everything. I question everyone because that is how God made me.”
Growing up in St. Stephen, he is a graduate of Davidson College in North Carolina. The local award-winning columnist said he is gathering information for a “Beyond Colorblindness--Into the Faith Divide” seminar about churches at in Lackey Chapel at 4:30 p.m. on the main campus of Coastal Carolina University in Conway Monday, April 1.
Retired First Presbyterian pastor Bobby Wilkes and Bailey will be working with the Jackson Family Center for Ethics & Values at Coastal Carolina University on that day.
Bailey said another event at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 4 by visiting ethicist, Russ Shafer-Landau, a professor of philosophy at the University of Wisconsin–Madison who will be speaking “On Marriage Equality,” taking a dive into gay marriage and related issues from a Biblical perspective.
Bailey said the Wisconsin professor is expected to get into the “nuts-and-bolts” of one of the issues causing churches to fracture and some to doubt their faith beliefs.
“The April 1 event in Lackey Chapel is largely in response to what’s going on in Christian churches....that have reached a number of churches throughout the Grand Strand,” Bailey said.
“But at the heart of the stress is the kind of balancing act everyone of every faith has to manage--trying to determine where personal perspective should give way to a higher wisdom, and how to know the difference,” he concluded.
Bailey has authored a book about the complexity of growing up black in the South and why the region's haunted history shouldn't diminish the pride black Southerners have about the area. “Proud, Black, Southern---But I Still Don't Eat Watermelon in Front of White People.”
Bailey said the book represents a new approach to dealing with race the South found in other works. “Because those other works often focus on the pathologies of being black in a region,” he said. “For too long dark skin was considered inferior and hostile.”
“Most published materials don't often enough reflect upon the beauty, pride and complexity that can be found here as well,” he said. “I don’t shy away from exploring the region's ugly past and still unequal present and would be a thorn in the side of any Southern apologist who attempts to paper over that reality.” http://www.amazon.com/Proud-Black-Southern-Watermelon-People/dp/1933466898Grand Strand 'Brothers, Sisters in Christ’--Where Are We Going?
All people have an equal opportunity to love God. He loves us back. Even with God’s grace in play, faith is a balancing act for church people. http://thesunnews.typepad.com/a_different_world/2013/02/police-officials-republicans-clash-on-assault-weapon-ban.html