Wednesday, October 29, 2008

If Jesus Ran For President...

I'm disappointed in the jab at the end (could have kept it nonpartisan), but this has some good stuff in it.

I noted to J how "socialist" Jesus sounds, with all his talk of the "redistribution of wealth." And J pointed out that, in fact, Jesus is worse than a socialist, because rather than wanting all things to be equal, he wants his followers to be sacrificial - to give MORE of themselves to others than others give to them. Not that if you have an extra coat you give it away to someone with none, but you give your extra coat and your other coat too! Jesus' ethic puts us lower than means we are the last (who shall be first...).

It's just so un-American, isn't it?

Some random thoughts

Watching Obama's infomercial tonight kind of reminded me of watching The West Wing. I even got teary at the end. The joke in our house was that John cried at every episode - there was always this moment (in the first season at least) when it just got so heart-tugging, and I'd look over and he was wiping his eyes and trying to be inconspicuous, and I'd mock him relentlessly.

Anyway, bless the man, he read Michael Pollan's open letter to the next president. Here's what he said about it:

“I was just reading an article in the New York Times by MichaelPollan about food and the fact that our entire agricultural system isbuilt on cheap oil. As a consequence, our agriculture sector actually iscontributing more greenhouse gases than our transportation sector. Andin the mean time, it’s creating monocultures that are vulnerable tonational security threats, are now vulnerable to sky-high food pricesor crashes in food prices, huge swings in commodity prices, and arepartly responsible for the explosion in our healthcare costs becausethey’re contributing to type 2 diabetes, stroke and heart disease,obesity, all the things that are driving our huge explosion inhealthcare costs. That’s just one sector of the economy. You thinkabout the same thing is true on transportation. The same thing is trueon how we construct our buildings. The same is true across the board.For us to say we are just going to completely revamp how we use energyin a way that deals with climate change, deals with national securityand drives our economy, that’s going to be my number one priority whenI get into office, assuming, obviously, that we have done enough tojust stabilize the immediate economic situation.”

(The full interview is here)

I'm about to head out to AAR, yay. Mostly very happy to see my family who are coming to watch Maggie while I attend my session.

I got to lunch today with a new prof at GTU who is teaching a class on (drum roll please) food and faith. Well that worked out pretty darn well. Turns out, she knows a lot more about the food side (and the socio-cultural aspects) than the faith (this she readily admits), so it's going to be a fun class to take because I'll get to learn about those aspects I don't know much about, and add to the discussion when it comes to the religion stuff. Plus it will be multi-faith, and looking at everything from gender issues to holidays, and there will be field trips...I mean, this is sounding like something that might even be worth stepping away from Maggie for. Just for three hours a week, that is!!

As for me I continue in my rather confused state, but I can't say much about where I'm at because life is just up in the air right now. Suffice to say that some days I'm a bit miserable, many days I'm OK, mostly I'm happy because mostly I'm with my daughter, and she's the light of my life. Thank God for the other moms I've met, who are getting my through all this, and for my breaks with family, which are more frequent these days. And I'm also really enjoying our church, so that is a blessing. (the ordination thing even came up recently...but I don't know how anxious I am to start down that road again)

Anyway I'm just praying John will be able to finish his degree soon and find a good job, so we can have good insurance again and he can be back teaching, which I know he misses. Though I do love having a great personal chef!

OK I'm going to get on with watching some hard-earned TV. Thank goodness Maggie went down easy tonight. Ha ha - she's like a fine wine - goes down easy, mellows with age. (or a cheese? more likely, with my genes)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Questions from an Undecided Voter

So I've been chatting with a close friend who's still undecided about who to vote for. I thought it might be interesting to post her questions here, in the hopes that you all might help me answer them. This is a long-time Republican (who admits she previously voted "blindly") who is really trying to make her own decision this time, and based on all her values, not just a single issue or two. So, here are the things still holding her up from voting for Obama - help me convert her! :)

1. Taxes: the concern is with Obama's plan which, according to what she's read, will cause her husband's employer (a small business that makes $7 mil a year) to pay so much more in taxes that the husband will likely be laid off (otherwise the owners would have to take a pay cut - which they estimated at $90,000 - and they won't like that). Now apart from the gross injustice of this situation (and what small business owner makes so much that they would have $90k CUT??), does anybody know enough about the tax plan to say whether this is actually the case? It sounds like crazy troll logic to me. But she claims that whenever Democrats are in the White House, his kind of job tends to be laid off (she admits this is partly due to the fact that they have contracts related to wars, and Republicans make more war...but when you're struggling to feed your family, keeping your job does come higher in your mind than worrying about war - and probably rightly so).

2. Abortion: apparently Obama has voted against banning partial birth abortion. Furthermore, he voted for some situation in which the end result was taxpayers funding abortions (I don't know the details on either of these - maybe you know what she's talking about?). She doesn't want her tax money paying for partial-birth abortions. She's also disturbed by this comment he apparently made about not wanting to "punish" his daughters with a baby (which I can't find in any reputable news sources but if you google that phrase, it's all over the conservative blogverse). Can anyone shed light on any of these tales? True, false, or what were the subtleties and details?

Thanks so much. I have hope! Yes, we can - get one more vote!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Serious Sustainability

Michael Pollan holds forth on how food is the link between many of the contemporary crises facing the country, and proposes some ideas for fixing the problem (goes with his letter to the next President).

Saturday, October 18, 2008

I gots no time fer bloggin'

Because I'm happily spending my free time this week (it's "Reading Week" aka fall break) going out of town. So I have to get going on the homework. Instead of doing a real post I'll point you to some ones I've liked lately: - Thoughts on prop 8, politics, and tax exemption by John McAteer - thoughts on McCain's negative campaigning by Craig Detweiler - thoughts on the broadening of the abortion debate by Jim Wallis

Don't forget to vote! I'm voting early by mail! And for my baby's sake (and because I always listen to her wisdom), I have to...

Friday, October 10, 2008

Food agenda for next potus

A note from Michael Pollan:

This Sunday's New York Times Magazine will carry my open letter to the next president, outlining a new food and farming agenda. It's called "Farmer-in-Chief" and it was just posted on the New York Times website at:

My intent is to inject these issues into the public debate, especially during the transition, by demonstrating that it will be impossible for the next Administration to make progress on energy independence, health care costs, or climate change without comprehensively addressing the problems of the food system.

I hope you'll take a look at the piece (as well as the rest of the issue, which is terrific) and share your reactions.

[I concur! - Stasi]

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Are we our brother's keeper or not?

I am concerned and upset by an attitude I’ve been hearing from many Christians about politics. Maybe this is an old problem, but I just feel like lately I’ve been noticing it more. The basic complaint is that there are all these lazy people living off the government – which means they are living off of taxpayer money. The way that many people vocalize it is something along the lines of: they should not be expecting me to pay for their [fill in the blank: food, healthcare, too many kids, retirement, etc.] with MY hard-earned money.

This distresses me for many reasons. First, I think it reveals a basic insecurity about money (which we’re all coming by honestly these days) which is based on, frankly, loving money more than God. Jesus said you can only serve God OR money, not both, and if one is this obsessed with somebody else getting to use their money (as if any of it was ours to begin with), then one seems to have chosen the side of mammon. Jesus said do not worry about what you will eat, or wear, or how you’ll get by, because your heavenly father will take care of you. Now of course I recognize that we live in a world that requires us to have some means in order to at least put a roof over our heads. But then again, I wonder…there are people who manage these things without turning money into an idol. Then there are people who DON’T manage them, and still are content.

I’m not saying we have to be ascetics or stop buying things (though we should probably stop buying so many things), I’m just saying that the basic idea that it’s “MY” money is the root of all evil. When I got married I had to stop thinking of my finances and J’s – it became “our” money. Now I feel compelled to take it a step further – to admit that, in fact, since all good gifts come from God, I must be willing to return them all back to God. I must be willing to allow what I think is “mine” to belong to the whole world.

Another issue is believing that we don’t somehow hold responsibility for our neighbor, that we’re not our brother’s keeper. I heartily disagree – I believe we are absolutely called to take care of others, particularly the poor, as Christians. Sometimes I think of paying my taxes like giving alms – as part of my support of the poor and oppressed, done on a massive scale that I couldn’t accomplish alone (nor could my church). I believe that when Jesus says if we are asked for our coat we should give our shirt also, he’s specifically saying don’t hoard, don’t take more than you need, and give generously to all those in need. There are ways that the government can actually help in this (there are lots of ways they hurt too, of course). And there are ways to vote with our dollars – such as buying fair trade and supporting local farmers – that reflect this ethic.

This is also why I believe so strongly in universal healthcare. It’s not a perfect system – nothing is. But it’s the only way I can see that ensures everyone at least has a shot at getting medical help when needed. As a Christian I believe that healing is one of God’s gifts, and I absolutely believe God performs that work through medicine and doctors, not just through prayer (though God answers only prayer sometimes too, but more often I think it’s all these things working together). Because I want to live in a society that cares for its elderly and children equally with those who are healthy and wealthy, I have to be for universal healthcare. I have to go with the option that will cover the most people and will always be there for those who need it most. Market-based healthcare denies coverage to sick people, plain and simple. That’s backwards. And when healthy people use it (if they have a job that offers it), they often get screwed too. So it’s really bad to leave it in the hands of corporations and the free market. It’s simply not a commodity. And it’s not a responsibility or privilege. It’s a right. Because I believe in making this world as close to God’s ideal as possible, I believe it’s a right. Because in God’s world, everybody gets healed, whether they can afford it or not.

And whether they deserve it or not. This is another of my pet peeves. I hate this attitude that everybody who is poor is lazy, or everybody who needs some form of government assistance could get off it if they’d just work harder. First of all, that’s a joke in this economy. Second, you don’t know anybody’s life except your own; how dare you judge? (I believe Jesus has stuff to say about judging others too) Third, even if someone is ripping off the system, how is that any of your business? Vengeance is mine, saith the Lord. More than that, God makes the rain fall on the just and the unjust. God gives generously to everyone, whether they deserve it or not! So if we want to emulate our heavenly father, we have to allow “our” money to be given just as generously and, yes, wastefully.

God’s grace is pretty darn wasteful. He wastes it on all sorts of undeserving people, most especially me. I don’t deserve a thing I’ve gotten from God – and neither do you. So how can we complain when the master forgives the debt of another? Or when he pays the same wage to someone who worked a fraction of the time we did? We can’t. (and if we don’t think of the money as our own, none of this will bother us anyway)

So maybe you think that all this economic stuff isn’t really in the Bible – that these are all spiritual metaphors. Maybe, but I am pretty sure at LEAST the stuff about loving God more than money is about money, and the rain falling on all equally is about farming which was their currency, and giving the coat and shirt is about generosity and sounds pretty darn practical, not just spiritual.

Many Christians only see one thing about money in the Bible – the place where Paul says that those who don’t work shouldn’t eat. Well it’s pretty silly to take that one literally and all the rest not. But even if you do, that verse is about people in the church, not the general public. Once people are in the church, yes, discipline can happen. We seem to have it backwards. We seem to think it’s our job to discipline the culture, and care only for those in the church. That’s not what the Bible teaches, it’s the opposite.

So, I don’t want to hear any more complaining from Christians about where their money goes – unless it’s complaining about it going to clearly non-Christian things, like war or oppression or environmental degradation or even, I would say, a big corporate bail-out (capitalism is not a Christian system). Just get over it, people. Your money is not your own, and when it’s used to help people, for crying out loud, get up and cheer, don’t bitch about it!! As Christians we are GLAD when something happens that helps others! It means God’s kingdom is making inroads on this sorry little planet. And if that something is not deserved or appreciated, well, that just makes it all the more like God’s greatest gift: his son. Does it not?

One final point to address: there’s the libertarian idea that the government shouldn’t be taking care of the poor because that’s the job of the churches. The government should, I guess, just be for defense (isn’t McCain’s spending freeze essentially going to do just this? Huh). But stop and think about this: if the general attitude of Christians is that poor people are lazy and don’t deserve financial help from those who are better off (however they got better off), then how in the world would that change if the churches suddenly took over? If Christians truly believe that it’s not “their job” to provide food, shelter, healing, education, and the like to others, then they church will be the LAST place people will find help and relief. The government HAS to pick up the slack, because as near as I can tell, there aren’t too many Christians who’ll be stepping up to take its place.

Christians like to give money to their pastors because their pastor’s “job” is to teach them and take care of them. Essentially, they see the church as a business in which they pay for a product – namely, the salvation of their soul – and receive benefits such as fellowship, counseling, programs for the kids, status in the community, good feelings, some nice entertainment on Sunday morning, and so forth. (ok that’s pretty cynical, but somewhere in that list there are at least a few things that everybody wants to get out of church) So, if you only want to give to the church because of what you get out of it, then your basic attitude about money has not changed. Your money is still in the service of YOU, and you alone. It has not been given over to God.

I think if the government took Christians up on their pleas to let charity become entirely privatized, the poverty in this country would dramatically increase, more children would go to bed hungry (it’s a travesty that so many already do), way more people would die or be ill because of lack of healing, and generally the idealized notion that the church would take over would be proven utterly false. Because the fact is, the attitude is not going to change overnight. And if you don’t believe the government should help the poor, then why would you believe the church should? The same issues will come up: who deserves it? Who’s not using it for drugs? Who’s got too many kids and thus doesn’t qualify? Who’s not living up to our standard of looking for work? And so forth.

We cannot forget: the rain falls on the just and the unjust. God gives without distinction. God doesn’t require drug testing, or limits on children, or proof that you’ll use your life well. And Jesus didn’t say to check and make sure the person really needs the coat – he said just give to whoever asks of you, and give MORE than they ask for. That’s a really hard calling. I’m not great at it. In fact, I really struggle with it. But I know that it means we can’t complain about these things.

It kind of boils down to what you think government is for, or what its potential is. If you believe the government’s only job is to make war (i.e. “defend” you – which usually actually means defending your way of life, i.e. your possessions), then you want it out of the public assistance business (and you probably make fun of “community service”). But if you believe the government can be used as an instrument of justice, then you try to vote and spend in ways that promote public good, even – perhaps especially – at taxpayer expense.

The final thing I have to say is that this is all, entirely, faith-based politics. I would never expect someone who does not have my faith to agree with this ethic. They might, because it can be arrived at through other means. But this, for me, is based on the teachings of Jesus, and I only hold Christians to his standards (and I do believe these are his standards – but if you are a follower of Jesus and disagree, let me know!). So please realize that this comes from a place of faith and is not universally applicable. But for you Christians out there – shape up!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008


Unfortunately I don't have time to see this film right now, but I encourage you to check out the thoughtful review from Craig Detweiler.

I did catch a bit of Maher on The Daily Show. He was whining about how God always comes through a prophet - always speaks to somebody in a cave or on a mountain, but never comes in person to talk to humans and tell them about himself, to say "hi" and show us the way to live and all that.

Apparently, Maher hasn't heard of Jesus. Or if he has, he talked to Christians who didn't explain that in Jesus, Christians believe that is exactly what God did.

Oh, well.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Ever increasing separation

I forgot in yesterday's post to mention one other thing that someone said to me at church, and I really resonated with it and I think it's at the root of a lot of what I'm feeling.

She said that for moms, when you are pregnant, the baby is so close to you that she is quite literally a part of your body (or a parasite, if you prefer!). The moment you give birth, that baby starts a lifelong process of ever increasing separation from you.

At the moment of birth, dads meet their babies and begin connecting with them. Moms, on the other hand, instead begin losing connection.

It's why each little separation hurts ... and why I am so reluctant to stop co-sleeping (though we mostly have, but I miss that little body next to me so much, even though she wiggled so much I couldn't sleep most nights) ... and why even having her out of my arms feels strange.

And what really sucks for us mommies is that it just has to keep growing, this separation. In order to send a healthy human being out into the world, we must continue to allow her to be ripped from us in myriad ways as she explores and becomes her own person.

This is a hard thing. And it taps into deeply primal feelings, hard-wire stuff that many of us didn't know we had in us.

But, on a positive note, we found a support group of other parents that's starting up at church. That should help a lot.

And speaking of issues around babies, check out the Film Philosopher's (aka my baby Daddy) review of Lake of Fire. Now THAT was a seriously hard film to watch, and I wound up always watching it when nursing, which was all the more traumatic.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Screaming Inside

"how's it going?"
"how are you liking school?"
"are you enjoying your classes?"
"don't you just love the bay area?"

I get asked questions like these nearly every day. Usually the first two. And I never know exactly how I'm supposed to respond. Am I supposed to be honest and tell this person that I'm dying inside? I highly doubt they want to hear that. Especially the people from my school. How do I nicely explain that it's absolutely nothing personal, nothing against the school itself or the program or faculty, I simply experienced an existential crisis and suddenly discovered that I'm really a stay at home mom and I'm fighting that identity with everything in me and it's making me miserable? How can I explain to a person without kids - or even a working mother - that every moment I am away from my child I am being eaten up inside...I hurt every second of it. It's not a relief. It's an ache. I am sorry every moment that I'm not with her. And not guilt-sorry, but regret-sorry.

Absence doesn't make my heart grow fonder. Presence does. I don't know why or how, but I honestly don't get tired of her. Maybe one day I will...but on that day, maybe I'll be ready for my own life again. At the moment, I really wasn't. Oh, I'm still doing it - I'm still out there doin' the career thing. But it's not fulfilling or fun. Yes, I sit there and have adult conversations. I find them boring. Yes, I am ridiculously obsessed with my baby. But it's my truth right now.

And I know it's all me - it's not anybody else's problem or fault. I blame nothing but myself. Still, it's hard to live with. I so wish I'd not taken any classes. I wish I'd listened to my heart and been good to myself. I'm still taking lots of time with Maggie, but selfishly, it's not enough. I'd rather play with her or read parenting books than do homework. I mean, I didn't know it would be like this - not when I applied or when I accepted or when I enrolled or when I decided to stick it out with one class. I keep testing the waters, but it keeps coming back Maggie, Maggie, Maggie.

I think I'm getting depressed. I'm having trouble sleeping, and getting obsessive & anxious, and getting mad at everybody over dumb things. I feel so rootless. I have no home. No safe place. I can't even think of one that I have access to (and I've tried - when I meditate, I have no "happy place" to go to). Yes, that's a bad situation I put myself in. Naughty me. But I have to live with it now, and find a way forward.

I mean, don't think I'm all crazy sad and crying all the time. In fact, I'm quite good, most of the time -because I'm with Maggie most of the time. And that's why I wonder if there isn't something to this staying at home thing, because the only time I'm sad is when I'm not with her. I don't need time away. I simply don't right now. I really do just hate sitting there in class, or when I have to send her away with Daddy so I can read. I really hate being away from her.

And yes, I know I have to cut her loose to be her own person one day. But for God's sake, she's four months old. I don't think I'm smothering her yet!

It's funny...people kept telling me I'd feel different.
Oh, you're just pregnant.
Oh, you're just postpartum.
Oh, you've just moved.
Oh, you just have a newborn.
Oh, this that and the other.

Ummmm...Or maybe, I actually feel this way. Maybe it's not to be blamed on hormones or stress. Maybe I'm genuinely at a place in my life where the best thing for me is to just be a Mommy.

Well there's not much I can do about it. I'm sticking out the year at least, to make sure I don't screw up this golden opportunity at the phd. I can always do a phd later, it's true (and I wish I had), but I won't necessarily have the deal I have right now, which is pretty ideal. So I'm giving it a good fair shot. And who knows? I couldn't have predicted not liking it, so maybe one day I'll surprise myself and love it again.

Or maybe I'll just remain so deeply in love with my child that I will let the screaming out of my insides, into the world, and then it can be quiet in there. I'd so love that. To just be real and honest and me. Even if the me is really a disappointment to the academic world, and the feminists, and whoever else thinks I'd be wasting my life.

OK, I'm going back to my baby now. I'm not wasting any more of these precious moments on you people. Ha ha -just kidding! I would be lost without this blog. I need the venting space, and I need your support. But I also need to change a diaper, so bye!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Rebirth of my inner preacher

So I signed up to preach at the episcopal seminary's chapel. I wound up getting one of the hardest texts to preach, esp for a universalist/liberal/interfaith person like me. I wrote three wildly different sermons before settling on the one you'll read below. It was really hard to get back into the mode, after a year away from the pulpit. It took a while to find my voice again (had to go reread some old sermons - which is a bit depressing because some are really good & I always wonder if I'll ever hit those heights again).

The first draft was actually a very nice, adequate, liberal, touchy-feely sermon that would have been quite forgettable and would have been very comfortable for me to give. By the final draft, I was writing words that even I wasn't sure I agreed with - but somehow I felt that they were what God wanted to say. I was really nervous about it, but in the end, actually giving it was just kind of a blur because I have a horrible cold and I'm all stuffed up, so I feel like I haven't slept in days and I'm kind of in a fog. I mostly just wanted it to be over so I could sleep. So I hope the spirit did something with it, because this clay jar was pretty broken.

But in the end, J liked it, and he's my toughest critic, so usually I can figure it's not too bad if it gets his seal of approval. Apparently I didn't deliver it with my usual flair, but again, I was barely able to stand up, so I'm giving myself a pass. [it's funny - I remembered that my last sermon before a congregation I was running a temp of 102...what is it with the preaching and the illness?]

Anyway, here it is.

Owning the Way

“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”






I am a Christian. A Christ-follower. For me, Jesus must be the way, the truth, and the life. Otherwise, what am I doing here?

And yet. And yet.

My friends are not all Episcopalians. They are not all Christians. They are Muslims and Jews, who respect Jesus but do not worship him. They are Hindus, who may see him as one of many gods. They are Buddhists, who resonate with some of his teachings but do not get the point of a personal god.

How do I share this gospel with them?

And what of us, the Christ-followers? Is Jesus “the” way or merely “a” way? Can we even agree on what the word “Christ” means? Has the name Jesus become an embarrassment?

Can we own these words – this scandalous statement of Christ?

Well. One thing I know is that we always must put scenes like this into their whole context.
So let's back up a little.

Peter has asked Jesus where he is going, and Jesus says Peter can’t follow him now, but he will follow him later. Many believe Jesus means he is going to the cross, where one day Peter too will be martyred. Despite his proud boasts, Peter cannot follow Jesus in this way…yet.

But Jesus has another destination: his Father’s house, where there are many rooms. He goes to prepare a place for his disciples. He tells them that they already know the way to this place.

But how, Thomas asks, can they know the way to the place, when they don’t even know where it is he is going?

Now Jesus has already told them that he’s going to return for them, to personally bring them to himself. So really, it doesn’t matter all that much if they know the way to the place or not. Still, he indulges the question, giving one of those beautiful answers that is extremely pointed and contextual, yet very easy to pull out and place on a bumper sticker.

“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

Who speaks this? It is the Logos. The one who was there, in the beginning, with God. The Word that was spoken to create the universe. The Word that came out of the burning bush. The Word that tickled the prophets’ ears and soothed the fears of boy kings.

This is the Word by which God reaches into the world, how he communicates with us, so it makes perfect sense that, incarnate or otherwise, this Word is the Way back to the Father.

No one comes to the Father except through Jesus because Jesus is, simply, the self-revelation of God. “All truth is God’s truth, as all life is God’s life; but God’s truth and God’s life are incarnate in Jesus.” (FF Bruce)

And what of the destination: the Father’s house? It has many rooms, or “dwelling places.” There are many different places to dwell, to be, and still be in God's house.

But the way to the house is Jesus.

The way isn’t a set of propositions, or a particular denomination, or even a certain religion. The way is a person, who opened the doors to God’s house and stands ready to receive everyone into many rooms.

Should we wish to follow Jesus, we already know the way…it is the way of the cross – with all the love, sacrifice, humility, weakness, and faith that requires.

How do we explain this? How can we make it make sense to others?

1 John 4:6: “We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us, and whoever is not from God does not listen to us.”

When someone truly knows God, he or she will recognize God in Jesus.

Many people see God shining from the lives of Mohandas Gandhi or Sojourner Truth or Cesar Chavez. If you honestly look at Jesus – at what he said and most importantly, how he acted – you simply know he’s from God.

Our calling is to present Jesus in such a way that he is obviously Godlike. Tell the truth about Jesus, and it will point unequivocally to God – to the God whose way is the way of the cross.

That is not exclusive; it is simply the reality of who Jesus is. And it is not forcing belief in Jesus on others; it is simply revealing the way God reached into the world through the Logos.

My hope for each of us here in this Christian seminary is that we are able to say that, at least for us, Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. The journey of others to God is their own; but for we who claim the title “Christian,” these challenging words are our statement of faith.

May we, with all grace, own them.