The Rev. Casey dunsworth

serves as Associate Campus Pastor to the Belfry, the Lutheran-Episcopal Campus Ministry to UC Davis

and as Program Director for LEVN, the Lutheran Episcopal Volunteer Network.

A bunch of stuff I wrote on my bulletin this morning.

This morning, Margot preached about love, and how "they'll know we are Christians by our love" is less and less representative of what we display to the wider world. It's more that they won't know we're Christians or they know us by our hate. That's devastating, to say the least. At PLTS, we have a group called Lutherans in the Public Sphere; each week, as we discussed how our Lutheranism called us to respond to the world around us, we'd post on Facebook "I'm a Lutheran Christian, and therefore I support/etc...." This was our way of making known the love we had in Christ that compelled us to share the Gospel with the world--standing up for those brothers and sisters whose voices in the public sphere are not as loud as ours. It's a tough time to be a Christian in the world today, unless you espouse a prosperity gospel or a theology of glory. This is a time to be a servant of all. They'll know we are Christians by our service to God and our fervent love toward one another. 

In related news, I spent the education hour with the high school youth, talking about how we talk about politics at church. Pastor Julie asked Pastor Dave to facilitate this with the high school kids, because we live in a battleground state and campaign ads are everywhere. The kids present said that either their friends don't talk about politics or they think their friends just parrot their parents. That's pretty close to how I remember high school. My fellow liberal high school friends [those who also had seriously liberal parent(s)] and I wore Kerry/Edwards t-shirts Hannah's dad had made us for Freedom of Speech Day during homecoming week '04. So good:

Rachel Hannah Me Anna
It was right after the debate where GWB had winked (a lot) and been asked about some lumber company his family apparently owned. His response was "Need some wood?" which was so ludicrous we couldn't not put it on our t-shirts. Which, as you can see, were awesome. We were 16. Couldn't vote. Each homeroom, I think, had a faux election and Kerry won by like a zillion. Hippy high school is a cool place to grow up.

We're so far from where I intended to be.

We talked with the high school kids, then, about how we safely talk about hard stuff at church. Because church should be the place where we're safe to be who we are. In our clergy text study the other week, one of my colleagues said, "We’re anthropological realists, here. If we downplay sin and evil, we tell people that their deepest, darkest, wake-up-at-3am shit has no place at church. We bring our whole person to church." I wrote it down I loved it so much. That understanding is so so so critical. We have to be able to talk to each other at church in a way that honors entire people.

We were talking with these high school kids about how to peacefully talk to one another about deep-seated truth-claims because THERE'S NOWHERE ELSE MODELING THAT FOR THEM. We don't have respectful conversations anywhere. 

In our public sphere, we can't even agree to disagree anymore! We're against against against. No one is safe.

With the first Presidential debate coming up this week, how can we display the love of God in the words we say to each other and in the ways we say them? If God's not your thing, how can we love and respect one another's humanity? Where's our anthropological realism?

If you have an answer, let me know.

All other ground is sinking sand.

The West Wing, mostly.