The Contrast

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Sermon on the Mount by Laura James

This morning I was reminded that throughout the stories of Jesus (the Gospels) there is a contrast between those who are well-integrated in society but are too busy and those who are excluded from society and have too much time. (Thank you Jean Vanier.)

Maybe Jesus knew that those whose lives were deeply connected to the norms of society–good jobs, well educated, a measure of influence and privilege–would be too invested in the lives they’ve already built than to consider rebuilding. No wonder he didn’t travel to cities like Tiberias, a wealthy city on the western shore of Galilee, or spend much time networking in other centers of power. Maybe Jesus knew that they were too preoccupied with the promises made by the Roman Dream.

Instead Jesus travels to the cities where the poor and marginalized are found. He spends time with those society called “sinners.” Their dreams were up for negotiation because their standing in society offered them little power and privilege to pursue them. The only government willing to let them dream again and welcome them to the center of blessing was the one Jesus called the Kingdom of God.

It makes me stop and ask, who will I become and what kind of life am I building?

About Fred

Fred came to serve greater Williamsburg and WCC as lead pastor in October of 2010 and is grateful to be a part of the family. He is a husband, father, certified trauma professional, S.T.A.R. (strategies for trauma awareness & resilience) practitioner, community organizer, TEDx alum, founder of 3e Restoration, Inc. and co-owner of Philoxenia Culture LLC. He received his B.S. in Ministry/Bible at Amridge University and his Master’s of Religious Education in Missional Leadership from Rochester University. Currently he is a candidate for a Doctorate of Ministry in Contextual Theology in at Northern Seminary in Chicago. Fred has also served as an adjunct professor for Rochester University and Regent University where taught courses in philosophy, ethics, leadership, pastoral care, intro to Christianity, and ethnography. He has also served as a guest lecturer on the subjects of racialized cultural systems, poverty, and missiology at various universities, such as William & Mary and Oklahoma Christian University. Fred has authored on book (Racialized Cultural Systems, Social Displacement and Christian Hospitality) and several curriculum offerings, including The FloorPlan: Living Toward Restoration & Resilience. Fred enjoys hanging out with his family anytime, anywhere. He is deeply grateful for how God graciously works through the Church in all her various forms, despite our brokenness. He is passionate about seeing the last, least, and lonely of every neighborhood, city and nation experience God’s in-breaking kingdom, and come to know Jesus as King. Oh, and his favorite season is Advent and Christmas. Fred is a founding member of the board of directors for Virginia Racial Healing Institute, a member of the leadership team for Williamsburg's local chapter of Coming to the Table, and a member of Greater Williamsburg Trauma-Informed Community Network's Racial Trauma Committee and Training Committee.
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