Before I close this portion of my thoughts, I'd like to share a story. At the Penn Central Conference Annual Meeting in mid-June, I shared a 3-bedroom suite with two other UCC folk - one was a man. We had one bathroom, and I did not bring a robe, so any time I left my bedroom, I had to be fully dressed, just in case I met him (my only sighting was as he went from bathroom into his bedroom wearing walking shorts). When I returned home, I emailed the seminary to see if I would again share a suite/bathroom with a man. They said no, so I did not bring a robe only to be awakened at 6:10AM on Monday morning by a real fire alarm. In place of the robe I left home, I grabbed a sheet and left my room (with purse, but no clothes or room key). Gosh darn, that robe would have been more security than the sheet.
Serious business: Several weeks ago I wrote about a meeting that was held in our community where 84 people gathered to take back the US for God. Several days later, we received a mass mailing at church from the organizers of the take back America for the church group. In it they say "we are no longer a Christian nation." To bring us back to being a Christian nation, they ask that we preach this coming Sunday (July 5) calling "people to take America back to God." I could never preach on that; rather, my sermon will be on inclusion, reminding each of us that while we worship a Christian God, others worship the same God, though called by other names (H'Shem or Mohamed). The letterhead is "Kingdom Communities," headquartered in Mansfield PA. Historically, the United States really has never been a Christian nation - it has always been a nation that valued a government not tied to religion as well as the ability to have religion without government interference or regulation. I do not want to be contrary - just remind us on this day after our nation's birthday that we value separation of church and state as we value diversity and inclusion of all in our communities.
A personal note: yesterday on my way back from swimming, I thought that those who could not find things to do in this community are not looking. I swam to get in shape for my portion of a triathlon in August, went to band practice to march in the Rinky Dink band and chair brigade on July 4th. This morning I joined several women and went to the Bath National Cemetery in Bath NY, then finally after I returned from NY, I went to a friend's garden (he is out of town) and picked Romain lettuce that threatened to go to seed. I picked enough heads to thin out the garden and give several heads to every neighbor I know by name. When I left Colorado, I wanted church and community (and other things) but these two mostly. I have them in abundance! God is indeed good