As I Do …

“We’re almost there!”

Right. That’s what parents say. It’s as accurate as this line: “I’ll only be a minute.” Twenty minutes later my mother would emerge from the store. And “almost there” could mean anything from five minutes to an hour, depending on how long the trip was.

“I won’t go.” But then he went – out to do a day’s hard work in the vineyard. “I’ll go.” But he never showed up. Jesus asked: Which of the sons did the will of his father? (Matthew 21:28ff.)

President Trump has rescinded his predecessor’s instructions that “all federally funded schools allow students to use facilities that correspond with their gender identity.” President Obama had gone so far as to have such a gender-neutral marked restroom in the White House. Mr. Trump rescinded the order – but, according to Time Magazine, has kept the White House bathroom.

We endure some interesting contortions in order to hold conflicting realities in our mind. And, like St. Paul, we often find ourselves saying (or desiring) one thing while going after its opposite.

Will increased military spending yield increased national security? We already spend more on our military in the US than the next seven countries combined. What are we afraid of that those other nations aren’t? And how afraid of us do we need them to be?

Our Youth Ministry at First UMC Burlington strives to create and inspire “A New Generation of Peacemakers.” We are attempting this feat in the most heavily armed nation on the planet. Why should anyone outside the US believe us at our church, given the tension between our youth ministry and our apparent national priorities?

Maybe we could adopt a new discipline for what is left of Lent – to bring our words and our actions more in line with each other. As for me, I pray that Mr. Trump will reconsider the rescinded order. I want him to ask our federally funded schools to honor each student’s identity, individuality and safety – just as he seems intent on doing for those who need to relieve themselves at the White House.

Mark Demers

Want to talk about sex, politics, spirituality? So do I. I grew up in a religious home in the 1950’s and 1960’s. Our country was reeling from assassinations and the devastation of the Viet Nam War. Looking for something beautiful, I got a degree in music, married the love of my life and had children. Looking for God, I then went to seminary. Looking for something that might transform the world, I became a local church pastor. Now, I’m always looking for people who want to talk about important things. I cherish conversations with emerging leaders, people who are antsy to try an idea they believe would change the world for the better. I’d would love to hear from you.