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Showing posts from January, 2008

A Tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr.

Congregation Mishkan Israel, Hamden, CT
Annual Service in Tribute to Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Jan. 18, 2008

“Seek the shalom of the city where I have sent you, and pray to the Lord in its behalf, for in it’s shalom, you will find your shalom.” –Jeremiah 29:7

As the National Director of the Shalom Initiative at Drew University, I come to offer a Methodist interpretation of Jeremiah 29:1-12 in light of Dr. King’s vision of the “beloved community” as an inclusive, integrated, interdependent, kinship of love, joy, peace, liberty and justice for all.

I want thank Rabbi Brockman for the invitation to be here, and John Lang for his friendship and facilitation. Indeed, it is a joy to participate in your Shabbat service in honor of MLK. Rabbi Brockman, as I have come to know, is an adjunct professor at Yale Divinity School from where I graduated, and is active in interfaith education and justice work at Hartford Seminary.

Mishkan Israel, I’ve learned, is 167 years old, the oldest co…

Richmond--A City of Shalom

Richmond, VA

Thirty members of the Council for Creative Urban Ministries of Richmond met today at Ginter UMC to review the vision, goals, principles and strategies of the shalom model of community development see www.communitiesofshalom.org and committed themselves to work together to build a City of Shalom in Richmond, requiring bold initiatives in health care, affordable housing, job development, mentoring and racial reconciliation.

Representatives from multiple sectors of the city—business, academic, government, non-profit, and faith traditions—each shared their institutional affiliation and strategic role in working with the Council to advise the staff and board of directors of United Methodist Urban Ministries of Richmond, Inc. (UMUMR) and serve as a stable, diverse, and well-connected platform from which to guide Communities of Shalom.

About four years ago, Marc Brown, District Superintendent of Richmond, called for the revival of earlier “shalom zones” in the city, and supporte…

On the Road with Shalom

I’m ‘shaloming’ on the road during this my third week on the job as National Director of the Communities of Shalom Initiative. Four Stops in five days leading up to the 40th anniversary observance of the life and death of Martin Luther King Jr.

First stop: Washington D.C. to meet with Bishop John Schol, Bishop of The Baltimore-Washington Conference, which is comprised of about 200,000 members in nearly 700 United Methodist churches in Maryland, Washington, D.C., the eastern panhandle of West Virginia and Bermuda. Their strategic goal: We seek to become like Christ as we call, equip, send and support spiritual leaders to make disciples and grow at least 600 Acts 2 congregations by 2012.

I visited the Bishop in his Washington office today. The United Methodist Building in Washington stands tall on Capital Hill, directly across the street from United States Congress and Justice Department. Bishop Schol’s fifth floor office has large bay view windows overlooking the Capital and Washington …

Noosphere

From Wikipedia:

The noosphere can be seen as the "sphere of human thought" being derived from the Greek νους ("nous") meaning "mind" in the style of "atmosphere" and "biosphere". In the original theory of Vernadsky, the noosphere is the third in a succession of phases of development of the Earth, after the geosphere (inanimate matter) and the biosphere (biological life). Just as the emergence of life fundamentally transformed the geosphere, the emergence of human cognition fundamentally transforms the biosphere. In contrast to the conceptions of the Gaia theorists, or the promoters of cyberspace, Vernadsky's noosphere emerges at the point where humankind, through the mastery of nuclear processes, begins to create resources through the transmutation of elements.

The word is also sometimes used to refer to a transhuman consciousness emerging from the interactions of human minds. This is the view proposed by the theologian Pierre Teil…

Epiphany and the Noosphere

"After 12 days of Christmas, the season of Epiphany has started...and the light of Christ has fully dawned.

Two thousand years ago, an unusual astral phenomenon (‘star in the East’) around the time of Jesus’ birth was interpreted by the Magi (astrologers from Persia, modern Iran) as the herald of a new born king of peace. The current age of darkness and strife was ending, and a new age of light and justice was dawning.

Though the cosmic tale has been somewhat “watered down” into a Christmas story of 'three kings of the Orient bearing gifts’ for the baby in the manger, we still celebrate the dawning of the light on Epiphany Sunday each year, which is today.

The star that rose and the light that dawned about 6 B.C., signaling to the Magi that the new age of Pisces had begun, may have a correlative today in 'new light' shed on an old conception--'worldsoul'--and the dawning of something new on the horizon.

Roger Nelson, Director of the Global Consciousness P…

My new job at Drew

As you may know, I've been the Director of the Doctor of Ministry program at Drew since 1996. I take great delight in knowing that over 350 pastors and community leaders completed the program and received their doctorate on my watch. And that the DMIN program developed from a standard 'one size fits all' program to a program with six concentrations, including pastoral care and counseling, ecological ministries and an online program in postmodern leadership development. And that this year has the highest number of incoming students in the DMIN program in recent years: 45

But, after 12 years, its time for something new.

Announced in October but beginning yesterday, I'm now National Director of the Shalom Initiative at Drew University that will offer community development training, consultation, relational support, seed grants, and student internships in support of the growing international network of shalom sites, also known as "shalom zones>". See www.com…

Sponsors Needed

I traveled to Malawi for the first time in August 2005 with my 16 year-old daughter, Rachel. I spent my 2006-07 sabbatical working with CitiHope International in launching its Malawi Mission. I plan to return in March. Currently, I'm trying to find sponsors for 20 Village Well projects in Malawi. I'm a man on a mission to help save the lives of 10,000 AIDS orphans in Malawi through food security, medical aid, AIDS education, and fresh water, and I need some help.

If interested, contact me at mchriste@drew.edu

Happy New Year 2008

Sunset in Malawi, 2007

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow;
The year is going, let it go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.

Ring out a slowly dying cause,
And ancient forms of party strife,
Ring in the nobler modes of life,
With sweet manners, purer laws.

Ring of old shapes of foul disease;
Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
Ring out the thousand wars of old,
Ring in the thousand years of peace…
--Alfred Tennyson

Timeless God, who can make all things new,
We humbly bring before you the record of our lives
in the year just ending.
Where life has been good to us,
do not let us take more credit than we deserve.
Where we have been good to others,
help us to forget thoughts of honor and reward.
Where we have fallen short, forgive us,
and free us from brooding over what is past.
Cleanse, guide, fill and lead us forward
in your all-conquering hope. AMEN.
--Central Presbyterian Church last Sunday