Our churches often avoid topics that might be controversial. Yet, the Jesus I have grown to know and to love is the Jesus who was not scared of conflict. Jesus broke the rules when he asked the Samaritan woman for a drink at the well (see John 4:1-26). He paid no mind to the gossip when he shared a meal with a tax collector (see Luke 19:1-10). He did not remain silent when the Pharisees introduced the woman caught in the act of adultery; neither did he condemn her (see John 8:1-11). As we follow the example that Jesus has set, we learn how to enter more bravely into these sometimes uncomfortable or even contentious conversations. We learn how to love and to wholly embrace people and all the stories they carry.
—Elizabeth Hagan, Brave Church: Tackling Tough Topics Together (Upper Room Books, 2021)
How does the example of Jesus guide you during moments of controversy? Join the conversation.
Have nothing to do with stupid and senseless controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kindly to everyone, an apt teacher, patient, correcting opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant that they will repent and come to know the truth.
—2 Timothy 2:23-25 (NRSV)
Prayer for the Week
Lord, grant me the patience and grace to listen, the courage and wisdom to question and speak; and the bravery to create safe space for tough topics.
Submit your prayer to The Upper Room.
Churches are not immune to violence, as we have seen from shootings at houses of worship across the nation. The challenge for faith communities is how to prepare for and respond to potential violence. In Whom Shall I Fear? Urgent Questions for Christians in an Age of Violence, author Rosalind Hughes asks congregational leaders to examine whether their operational and security policies are consistent with gospel values. Learn more here.
(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)
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