Weekly News​

September 17, 2019
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Dear Friends,​      
 
Antagonists in the Church: How to identify and deal with destructive conduct by Kenneth Haugk was the topic of a clergy book group I was part of at the beginning of my career. It was a helpful study that guided pastors in their efforts to prevent, confront, and eliminate toxic behaviors in their congregations. Over the years I have sent numerous copies of the books to colleagues facing challenging times in their congregations.

My copy has been sitting on my shelf, untouched, for years. Thanks be to God that I just haven't needed it. (I'm knocking on wood as I type this.) This doesn't mean our church has been without conflict or disagreement. We don't always agree nor should we because healthy conflict offers opportunities for learning, growth, and perspective-gaining. I have certainly learned that the "still, small voice of God" sometimes speaks to me through the voice of someone with whom I disagree. The constructive engagement of disagreement is a good and essential part of any faith community that wishes to grow and thrive.

The kind of destructive behavior discussed in Antagonists in the Church is not constructive conflict. It is willful and toxic behavior committed by those who are bent on disrupting the mission and ministries of the church. I give thanks to God that we do not deal with any such antagonists here at SBCC. Indeed, it has been my experience that every person here is deeply committed to our vision and mission. I don't take that for granted and I'm writing this article on this topic today because I don't want you to, either.

Thank you for being part of our faith family. You are so welcome and wanted here. If there are ways in which the church could better meet your spiritual needs, please give me a call or send me an email. Or, if you would like to be more involved in helping the church live out its vision and mission, let me know and we'll get you in touch with the folks who can help you find a place where your light can shine.

It is my honor and joy to serve as your pastor. That's something else I don't take for granted. Thank you.

Yours in Christ,
Pastor Robin​​

 

​​​​​​Thank you, Linda Miller, for providing the weekly reflection and prayer.
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Dear friends,

After the way yesterday started – grey, cloudy, the air heavy with moisture – we were certainly blessed with a hum-dinger of a day. We had the pleasure of taking some visitors from Colorado to Sleeping Bear Dunes, where we were able to view Big Blue and the Manitou Islands in all their sun-drenched glory. Today looks to be a bit different. The fog has shrouded the landscape, lending a muffled peace to the changing foliage. But who knows what the rest of the day will bring? After all, this is Michigan! In a single day we have the opportunity to revel in the multi-faceted diversity of God’s creation. Aren’t we just so lucky?! So blessed!

A few Sundays ago, the comic “Hi and Lois” caught my eye. Little baby Trixie, with her signature three tufts of golden hair, was looking out the window, entranced by a sunbeam. Here’s what she said in her silent communication with this bright natural wonder:

“You are known all around the world, Sunbeam. People everywhere look up to you…some even worship you. I’ll never be as great as you, but I’ll bask in your glory, not live in your shadow.” And in the final picture, with that final phrase, the cartoonist included the iconic white spire of a church. In the simple pictures of a cartoon, with words thought by a tiny child, we are broadsided by the love of God. Not a God who wants us to tremble under the dark clouds of His wrath, or hide in the shadows of His mighty radiance, but a God who shines on us with love. Just like being on the beach on a summer day, we can bask in His glory, no matter what the weather. Clouds, fog, rain, sunshine, it’s just like Pastor Robin said to the children on Sunday: God’s love is like fruit flies. It’s everywhere.

Dear God,
Thank you for the infinite variety of your blessings.
Thank you for sunshine and shadow,
for sunbeams and raindrops.
May we be filled with wonder at them all,
And praise you, no matter what the weather.
Amen.
      
​​*****
​Linda
This past Sunday's video is below: