Archive for Saturday, December 26, 2009

Faith Forum: What are your faith wishes for the new year?

December 26, 2009


Have the courage to live fully in our faith

The Rev. Peter A. Luckey, senior pastor, Plymouth Congregational Church, 925 Vt.:

Like the lion in “The Wizard of Oz,” my wish is for courage.

The early Christian martyrs were willing to be marched into a coliseum infested with hungry lions, if the alternative meant denying their faith.

Our Congregationalist ancestors would rather uproot themselves from a life of comfort in New England and come out here to Bleeding Kansas than turn their back on the evil of slavery.

How committed are we to our principles? How important to us is our own comfort and ease?

Pointing out the fecklessness of politicians, more attuned to their chances for re election than the dictates of conscience, is easy. What’s harder is looking oneself in the mirror.

Ask yourself: if you were arrested for being a person of faith, would there be enough evidence to convict you?

Recently, at Plymouth Church, in a small way we have had our own test of conscience.

The Lawrence Community Shelter has asked the downtown churches whether there might be overflow space available on frigid nights when their own small building reaches a maximum capacity of 76 persons.

Not an easy decision. These days especially when governments and social service providers are so strapped, when LCS has itself been treated like the unwanted neighbor.

Here in Lawrence we have, according to LCS director Loring Henderson, up to 400 persons experiencing homelessness, half of these families.

As the temperature plunges, and we tell again the story of Mary and Joseph searching for a place to have their baby, we ask ourselves, “Who will step up?”

Discomfort comes in many forms, one of which is an uneasy conscience.

So, my wish is for courage, I take strength in these words from Joshua, who said “be strong and be of good courage, and fear not the Lord thy God is with you wherever you go.”

— Send e-mail to Peter Luckey at

Meet the needs of others rather than sports

The Rev. Kent Winters-Hazelton, pastor, First Presbyterian Church, 2415 Clinton Parkway:

The Christian story of Christmas tells of a teenage unwed mother, forced from her home by a political edict, a refugee who gave birth in the most unsanitary conditions. Her child entered a world controlled by a superpower at the heights of its hegemony, with little prospects for life, health and education. At the core of this narrative is today’s reality for hundreds of millions of people worldwide.

We gather at this holiday season in the light of recent stories in the Journal-World, such as our governor stating he will not support any more cuts in education for our schools and universities; sharp cut-backs and lay-offs at Bert Nash Community Mental Health service because of decreasing state funds; the Lawrence Community Shelter scrambling for emergency space for homeless in the bitter winter cold because there is “no room in the inn” for the number of vulnerable people in our city. At the same time, we read that KU Athletics is on track to raise $34 million dollars for luxury box seats, which will sell for as much as $105,000 per seat!

My Christmas wish for Lawrence would be for civic leaders to say, “Enough.” We need to take care of our most at risk citizens, we need to build our life as a community. KU Athletics has already siphoned too many valuable resources from our arts, music and library programs, and from our synagogues and churches. Meanwhile our social service, such as ECKAN, Salvation Army, and the Women’s Transitional Shelter, struggle each month to meet the needs of people who are hungry, homeless and threatened.

My wish is to take seriously the words of Mary’s son, “When I was hungry, you fed me; naked, you clothed me.”

— Send e-mail to Kent Winters-Hazelton at


John Kyle 8 years, 4 months ago

How is KU Athletics siphoning money from local civic organizations?

Paul R Getto 8 years, 4 months ago

Huh? I understand sports is the new religion, but it certainly has nothing to do with taking away money from those who still follow ancient myths. Compassion, moderation and humility are goals for us all. Pursuing them has little to do with which philosophy we follow and a lot about our self-discipline.

Leslie Swearingen 8 years, 4 months ago

I object to Mary being portrayed as an unwed teen mom. I believe in the Immaculate Conception and that Mary and Joseph were betrothed when she told him about the visit of the angel. Joseph married her and they lived as a family though they did not have martial relations. My wish would be for compassion for others who may be living a lifestyle that we could not. I would wish that people do not think that because they have a good income it is because they deserve it and that it somehow makes them better than someone who does not have a lot of material goods. I would wish that people not be judgmental toward those who have lived long enough to get Social Security. Toward those who have a mental illness.

brujablanco 8 years, 4 months ago

Oh, irish, I truly pity your ignorance and diminished mental capacity as it applies to religion.

Tom McCune 8 years, 4 months ago


The Bible says Jesus had at least 3 brothers. How do you suppose that happened? BTW, it doesn't say "half brothers from Joseph's first marriage." Your clergy made that one up.

Leslie Swearingen 8 years, 4 months ago

I am proud to be a Roman Catholic. Deal with it. It means brothers in the same sense that blacks use the term. What is with all this anger and name calling? Do you think you are making an impression when you do that?

brujablanco 8 years, 4 months ago

Name calling? No, dear, just pity. I think you should be proud to be a catholic, however, your judgment of non-catholics is not very "christian". My wish would be that christians really acted like christians, in the sense that they live as jesus suggested. My wish would also be that every religion would be considered viable, when all religions teach tolerance, love, and kindness to others. You have no tolerance for anything but catholicism, Irish, you make that perfectly clear.

Paul R Getto 8 years, 4 months ago

"I object to Mary being portrayed as an unwed teen mom. I believe...." Fair enough; she was married, just not to the father. Key phrase here, --I believe---Beliefs are based on faith, not rationality. Not a problem, unless beliefs are used to bludgeon others.

Paul R Getto 8 years, 4 months ago

Good point, Marion. We are story-telling apes and have brought some of the old ones into modern times--with mixed results. The newest stories are being told by the Hubble telescope as we look to the edges of the universe and the beginnings of time. Now that is a spiritual experience. I still retain hope. As we mature as a species there is room for spirituality and science and they don't necessarily conflict. The conflict comes when the ancient myths are used to distort modern reality.

Leslie Swearingen 8 years, 4 months ago

I have wrote on here time and time again that I have great respect for all faiths. I have written positive blogs about different faiths.

Leslie Swearingen 8 years, 4 months ago

I wish that people be non-judgmental about those whose faith is different than theirs and that they take some time and effort to at least learn the basics of the great world religions.

Leslie Swearingen 8 years, 4 months ago

I don't understand them, I don't want to be friends with them, I am acknowledging their right to exist. Mock me if you choose, Multi. I suppose I am going to have to have compassion for those who make fun of me no matter what I write.

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