Justice flows from God’s heart and character. As true and good, God seeks to make the object of his holy love whole. This is what motivates God throughout the Old and New Testaments in his judgments on sin and injustice. These judgments are both individual and corporate in scope.
At 10:45 on Tuesday mornings, Paul Louis Metzger shrugs on his jacket, grabs a stack of papers, leaves the quiet of his book-lined office and heads down the stairs to his classroom.
Often there’s work to do before students begin filing in. The chairs and tables, filling the narrow room in double rows, need to be rearranged. As latecomers arrive, Metzger takes his chair, in the hot seat, where the circle of theology students comes together.
“Let’s begin with a word of prayer,” he says. Eighteen students from Portland’s Multnomah Biblical Seminary bow their heads. “Lord,” Metzger begins, “you call us to engage the world as Christ engaged the world. Please help us to do that. Amen.”
That prayer, which sounds so simple, is a challenge for Metzger, despite his doctoral degree with a focus on Christ and culture from a London university, despite his book on the theology of Karl Barth and despite five years of teaching at Multnomah…
Click here to read the rest of this article by Nancy Haught of the Oregonian (Mind-set/Beliefs: Divinity and Diversity), which gives an overview of some of the efforts Dr. Metzger has been involved in to bring issues of diversity to the center of Evangelical discussion.
In early April, Drs. John M. Perkins and Paul Louis Metzger will be teaming up to speak at a handful of events in the Portland area.
Friday, April 9th An Evening of Inspiration: Breaking Down Barriers
Location: Emmanuel Temple Church
Drs. Perkins and Metzger will speak in this introductory event for the Saturday New Wine New Wineskins conference.
Link: Go here for more information
Saturday, April 10th New Wine New Wineskins Conference – Owning the Pond Together: Developing Communities through Entrepreneurship
Location: Eastside Foursquare Church
The New Wine spring conference will feature keynote addresses from Dr. John M. Perkins, Dr. Paul Louis Metzger and Pastor Eric Bahme and and idea party hosted by Tony Kriz. Drs. Perkins and Metzger and Pastor Eric Bahme will assist us in understanding the key role of entrepreneurship and micro-enterprise as it relates to community development.
Link: For more information and to register, click here
Sunday, April 11th An Evening of Prayerful Repentance and Reconciliation
Location: Allen Temple CME Church
As a part of their Drum Majors for Love, Truth and Justice partnership, Drs. Perkins and Metzger will join Dr. Leroy Haynes Jr. to lead a focused time of seeking God’s transformation of the broken relational structures that have erected barriers between the white church and African-American church.
Link: Invitation from Dr. Metzger
We’re excited to tell you about the 2010 Duke Divinity School Summer Institute (presented by the Duke Center for Reconciliation), “The Ministry of Reconciliation in a Divided World” will be held May 31 – June 5th. It will be five days of reflection, formation, renewal and going deep for Christian leaders.
The Duke Summer Institute is not a conference for the many but a learning space limited to 200 Christian leaders to go deep. Over five days of renewal and learning with Christian leaders from across the U.S. and world – through worship, shared meals, plenary sessions, and in-depth cohorts – you will be led by world-class theologians and practitioners of reconciliation and justice ministry. In 2009 there were participants from 23 states and 7 countries. Your fellow participants this summer will include a cohort from east Africa, senior leadership teams from national organizations, several groups from cities and Christian colleges and universities, and leaders from the grassroots to churches to national and international organizations as well as lay Christians concerned about their families, communities and places of worship, work, and life. Scholarships are available through April 9th. Applications will be accepted online through May 7th. Click here for more information and to apply.
Our post for in the trenches comes from Curtis May. Curtis is Director of the Office of Reconciliation Ministries for Grace Communion International. We’re excited to be able to have Curtis share about what he does with the Office of Reconciliation Ministries (from here on referred to as ORM). Below is Curtis’ description of his involvement with ORM.
At ORM I counsel Christians and non-Christians alike on issues of conflict, disputes and broken relationships in general. We have 27 chapters in 5 countries – the U.S., Canada, Ireland, England and Scotland. Our work has extended into Africa and the Philippines as well. Our Vision is: ‘To put the teachings of Jesus Christ into action by advancing relationships between people of different beliefs and points of view.” Our Mission: “To respond to situations of racial or ethnic tension and to help build lasting, harmonious and accepting relationships.
Our Core Values are guided by Scripture:
1. Reconciliation as a ministry given to us by God (II Corinthians 5:18-19)
2. All humans made from one blood (Acts 17:26)
3. The inclusive mission/vision of Jesus (Luke 4:18)
4. Neither Jew, Greek, male nor female, but all one in Christ (Galatians 3:28)
5. Practical demonstrations of love and faith, including literature resources such as our book, Mending Broken Relationships (James 2:16)
In fulfilling our mission we conduct workshops, seminars and give presentations on the topics of reconciliation and conflict resolution throughout the United States and occasionally overseas. We see the need to stand in the gaps that divide people.
ORM has worked with police departments, city halls, schools and other organizations to participate in the mandate of Jesus “that they may be one” (John 17:20-23). We specifically emphasize this message of oneness as we work among churches in the spirit of interdenominationalism. As Dr. Paul Metzger points out so poignantly in his book Consuming Jesus, the church has a huge problem of race, class and consumerism.
We have received a number of awards and certificates for our work, including the key to the city of Memphis. (Please see “Awards” on our website at www.ATimeToReconcile.org.) We also work in inter-faith settings with Jews, Muslims, Hindus and Ba’hai.
Dr. Metzger recently had an article posted on the Out of Ur blog examining and contrasting the types of community formed around the coffee bar and the Lord’s Table. It is a helpful reflection on the type of communities we are seeking to raise up in our churches, and well worth the read. You can read the article here.
What do you think about the difference in the sort of communities created around the coffee bar or the Lord’s Table?
Do you have any thoughts or ideas on how we use space to represent the values of our communities? Share your ideas in the comments here.
There is an upcoming Drum Majors for Love, Truth and Justice event in the Portland area, on November 20-21. Dr. Paul Louis Metzger and nationally acclaimed civil rights leader Dr. John M. Perkins will be leading this event, offering a biblically rooted message about the theology of engagement for running a marathon race of holistic gospel service. This conference is open to anyone interested in developing a theology of engagement for a lifetime of service.Check out the Drum Majors Event Details for more information on this event!
We would like to highlight this article about some folks involved in Compassion Connect, a ministry program in Portland that is helping to mobilize area churches to serve their community. Also if you live in the Portland area, be sure to go to the Compassion Connect website to find out about the Home For the Holidays program.
We are adding a new section to the Consuming Jesus blog. This section is titled Consuming Cyberspace, which will serve to draw attention to online articles and other blogs’ entries related to the themes discussed in Consuming Jesus. Check out our link to a recently posted article on “mystery worshippers” and don’t miss Dr. Metzger’s quote at the end of the article.