Imitating Donaldina Cameron (and other saints)

I am not writing this to make you ashamed, but to admonish you as my beloved children. For though you might have ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers. Indeed, in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel. I appeal to you, then, be imitators of me. – 1 Corinthians 4:14-16

Who do we strive to imitate, and why?  Ms. Donaldina Cameron, Presbyterian mission worker, is one of my heroic saints in the faith for many reasons, one being that I can almost credit her for my existence, because exactly 100 years ago today she successfully advocated for my grandmother’s release from immigration detention on Angel Island. Reuniting with her husband, grandma gave birth to my Mom and, well, the rest is history…at least my little history. For this, I am forever indebted. Continue reading

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Believing That We Need Each Other

To those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, together with all those who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ..in every way you have been enriched in him, in speech and knowledge of every kind…so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift…God is faithful; by him you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. – The apostle Paul to the congregation in 1st century Corinth (1 Corinthians 1:2-9).

In the opening of Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, he sings the praises of God’s abundant grace upon His people, reminding them that they, along with everyone who calls upon the name of Christ, belong to one fellowship and therefore have been given everything they need. The problem is that the Corinthian believers were acting as if the opposite were true: they divided by factions based on favored human leaders Continue reading

I Appeal to You, Brothers and Sisters…

I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ…all of you should be in agreement and there should be no divisions among you!  – The apostle Paul to the congregation in 1st century Corinth (1 Cor. 1:10)

As I write, my congregation in San Francisco is about a month into the book of 1st Corinthians, a remarkable Pauline text that just seems ripe for such a time as this. I believe there are many ways this will bear true, but let me begin with this one: the apostle Paul is vexed about a divided Church in a divided world. Continue reading

For Such a Time as This

What does it mean to be the Church in such a time as this?  Many are asking. I am too. However, it’s a question that’s weighed heavy long before the inauguration of our nations’ 45th president.  As one of my theological heroes recently said, “It behooves the Church to pay more attention to the continuities, not the discontinuities, between the past and previous administration.”  So while this may be a kairos moment, it didn’t start with the precipitous power-plays of a new regime but, rather, the enduring powers of a struggling, insecure empire. Continue reading