Monday, June 29, 2009

Utah faith leaders unite to lament SB81

There will be an interfaith service:
When: Tuesday, June 30th, at 7:30 p.m.
Where: Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church, 1070 S. Foothill Drive
More information: 801-582-2321

I plan to go.

Comment from Pastor Steve Klemz's press release:
A Service of Lament
On the eve of the implementation of SB81, Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church hosts an interfaith service of lament. SB81, an omnibus anti-immigration bill, is symptomatic of a broken community and serves as a call to prayer among people of faith. Public lament is a way people of faith confess their trust in God above all else, especially as this bill further creates a climate of fear and diminish the fullness of life in Utah.
Here's the article from the Salt Lake Tribune:
Utah faith leaders unite to lament SB81
By Peggy Fletcher Stack

The Rev. Steve Klemz felt an overwhelming sadness at the passage of Utah's new immigration law, SB81, due to take effect Wednesday.

He mourned for all Utahns who live in the shadows, he said, without documents for themselves or a loved one. He agonized for those whose families will be severed by the law.

Klemz, pastor of Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church in Salt Lake City, sought solace in his faith, where he found numerous biblical passages that lament the world's injustice.

He then organized an interfaith service, scheduled for the eve before the bill is implemented, where people from every faith can read passages from the Psalms and other Bible verses. Catholic, Episcopal and Muslim leaders already have accepted his invitation.

"The bill is symptomatic of a broken community and serves as a call to prayer among people of faith," he said. "Public lament is a way people of faith confess their trust in God above all else, especially as this bill further creates a climate of fear and diminishes the fullness of life in Utah."

For Klemz, immigration is a moral issue -- and a personal one.

In 2002, he married Norma Gonzalez, who had come to the United States from Mexico to care for her ailing father and stayed -- without permission.

He joined her in the bureaucratic black hole that was her effort to become a legal resident. The couple prepared a petition to the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services, now part of Homeland Security. The federal government wanted to know if theirs was a marriage of convenience or a real union. They assembled scores of photos showing their family life and hundreds of letters from friends attesting to the genuineness of their marriage.

Finally, last November, supporters filled the immigration courtroom as the couple faced their future.

"They put us on administrative hold and encouraged us to go to Juarez [Mexico] and get Norma a visa," Klemz said, "but they are not actively pursuing us."

Though not conclusive, it was a relief.

"You have no idea how good it feels not to have a court date hanging over our heads as we did for five years," he said. "Now we are basically waiting and praying for immigration reform."

It's the feast day for Sts. Peter and Paul

A couple of interesting things. Did you hear that the Vatican may have exhumed the bones of the actual St. Paul. That would be kind of cool... if it's true. You can read a little more about it here, here, and here.

And here's an interesting thought I found surfing today: "Peter and Paul were of course not always the best of friends (at least from Paul’s perspective!). But celebrating them together is important: in many ways, they are the Catholic apostle and the Protestant apostle. (Ecumenical) hope springs eternal." (From Cross Talk)

Monday, June 22, 2009

Meeting: This Wednesday, June 24th

This is a reminder about our upcoming get together this week:

The usual time: 7pm, June 24th
The usual place: High Point Coffee, 1735 W 7800 S, West Jordan

I thought we might be able to discuss the idea of pilgrimage. I’ve been seeing the topic all over the place lately, and going on one seems to be making a comeback… even in evangelical circles. Here’s is an article in the recent Christianity Today on the topic, He Talked to Us on the Road; more information and articles here. Religion & Ethics Newsweekly had a spot on young conservative Catholics revitalizing the ancient practice, Pilgrimage to Chartres (video and transcript). And not all pilgrimages are ancient, here’s one being made with more post-modern views in mind, The Abraham Path (lots of interesting things to see here).

Saturday, June 13, 2009

In the Salt Lake Tribune - Transitions: The Mormon Migration from Religion to Relationship

What looks to be an interesting new program is mentioned in a Salt Lake Tribune article this morning, produced by WIIS (who appear to be inheriting the legacy of the now defunct Salt Lake Theological Seminary).

I commented on the article:

I just finished watching their 14-minute infomercial. This looks to be a good program. The fact is there are a lot of people immigrating out of Mormonism and this looks like it will be good resource to help them adjust to the transition, and with a lot less of the bitterness that generally goes along with that transition.

And I noted that this film isn't so much about trying to convert Mormons to Evangelicalism, but rather trying to help those already moving out of Mormonism (for whatever of various reasons) to adjust to their new Christian setting, if that is the route they choose. The makers of this film are taking advantage of a fact that has recently been given some press lately and that is that many people do not stay with the same religion, or religious institutions, they grew up with; Catholics are becoming Protestant, Evangelicals are joining the Catholic or Orthodox Churches, some Christians are converting to Islam, and Mormons are also a part of this fluidity in our culture. I myself have been a part of this journey, having been raised a Mormon I am now an Episcopalian.

Here's the infomercial:

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Just wanted to encourage you all - St Barnabas' tomb in Cyprus

Since it’s the feast day of St Barnabas (June 11th) I thought I’d post the one relic I have of his. This is a picture of me at his tomb (purported) in Cyprus, back in 1998, when I was working to plant a church in Nicosia. Wow! That was over ten years ago. I’ll have to scan the very few pictures I have of my time out there and post them somewhere one of these days.