Archive for the ‘By Bill Winn’ Category

BEing.

I like to play golf. I’m not very good at it. I’m fairly good at it, just not very good. My best friend is very good at it. I, however, just enjoy being outside, fellowshipping with others, and the occasional score under 90.

Last summer I began to believe that I possessed the physical, mental, and emotional abilities necessary to improve my game. One of the things I have done is take golf lessons. I have a coach named Adam who is very knowledgeable and helpful.

A few Saturdays ago, in lieu of a lesson, we went out and played a few holes together. The idea was for Adam to be able to take a look at my whole game. Instead of just working on short irons, driver, chipping, or putting he was going to evaluate a variety of my shots on every hole.

When I arrived that day on the course Adam said, “Hey do you want a lesson today or do you want to go play a few?” “No contest.”, I thought. So we headed over to the first tee. When we stepped onto the tee box Adam informed me that he was going to hit all of my shots for me. I would just stand by and watch.

Ha ha! No, that last bit isn’t true at all. Adam did not hit all my shots for me. What kind of instructor would he be if he just did it all for me? I had to participate in my learning to be

Par 3 11th

Brookwoods G.C.  Hole 11, Par 3, 173 yards. (yep… I made the birdie putt)

a golfer. While it is very exciting to see a good golfer hit the ball a foot from the cup from 180 yards away, it is even more exciting when, through hours of practice and thousands of range balls, you do it yourself. (See pic)

The Father, Son, and Spirit have included the human race in their life of love, fellowship, goodness, mercy, justice, laughter, dancing, and mutual other-centeredness and love us so much that we are called to believe and respond to that inclusion. Peter said, that because our sins have been forgiven we are called to respond.

The whole of humanity are the children of God and we are called to believe that we are the children of God and so grow into the fullness of what it means to be His children. We are called to participate, not in any way that creates our reconciliation or redemption, but we are called to participate as children of God so that (as Dr. C. Baxter Kruger says), “the way of our being aligns with the truth of our being.”

Every analogy concocted fails the greatness and profound mystery of the Gospel of Jesus Christ but in my limited capacity let me say this. Jesus is the great I AM who believes perfectly on our behalf so that in him we might have our own true personhood and distinction. This is why he sends the Spirit. We are not him and he is not us, but by the Spirit we get to participate in His humanity! We are really us! We matter and God will have us truly be his children in love, in laughter, in relationships, in giving, in sharing, in altruistic action, in faithfulness, and in every aspect of our lives!

In the very Person and Being of Jesus, your humanity is saved, adopted, included, and you are God’s beloved child. Therefor; in his grace, and by the Spirit, will you be His saved, adopted and included child, responding in relationship to Him; responding to other human beings the way he does?

~Bill Winn

Wingnuts Must Be Wingnuts!

Wingnuts Must Be Wingnuts!

Last year a couple of close friends of ours told us about an anarchist’s house in Richmond called the Wingnut House. As one might imagine, I was curious. I had to see it. The more we learned about the house the more I wanted to see it.news30_wingnut

The Wingnut house was a large home in the Barton Heights area of Richmond. It was an anarchist collective. The folks there believed in a variety of things… such as mutual aid, anti-authoritarianism, and direct action. The house was generally open to the public, it was a drug-free/ alcohol-free place where food, live music, community,  and, I’m sure, spirited debate were in ample supply.

At the core of anarchism is the belief that the governments of mankind are illegitimate and bring mostly oppression, poverty, and violence. There are actually a few tenets of anarchism that, I think, have a ring of truth about them. But anyway on with the story… you’re gonna love this.

So our friends got in the church van with us and began showing us the way to the Wingnut House. I was excited! So as we pulled alongside the house what struck us was that large portions of the house were covered in expertly painted murals containing various themes and messages relating to the care of humanity and anti-authoritarianism. On the front of the house there was said to be a mural dedicated to people killed by the State and I wanted to see it but there was a one-way street in front of the house and I didn’t want to drive all the way around the block so… yep you guessed it.

I thought, “What the heck, it’s an anarchy house so we’ll “stick it to the man” and drive the wrong way down the one-way street. (Since there was nothing coming in this quiet neighborhood) So picture it, we’re in the Richmond Grace church van, going the wrong way down a one-way street just to see a mural painted on an Anarchist Collective house called- The Wingnut. It is one of my favorite memories.

What happened next shocked me. (No we didn’t get pulled over by the police, that would not have shocked me) There were about a dozen or so people sitting on the front porch and steps of the house and as we passed by some began to shout at us that we were going the wrong way!

Can you believe it? The anarchists were upset that we were going against the signs put up by man-made governments. I began to laugh and then it hit me and I thought, “Be what you are.”

I must confess as we passed by the house going against the designated flow of traffic I was eager to receive accolades from the anarchists. I awaited my fist pumps and upward turned thumbs but… it didn’t happen. I’m not sure why my “anarchy” wasn’t celebrated but it got me thinking.

Do we, as believers, sometimes find ourselves unwilling to celebrate the achievements and freedoms of those who might not think and believe as we do? I catch myself sometimes grumbling to the Father, Son, and Spirit about the blessings and successes of those around me who don’t give nearly as much time, energy, and resources to the life of the Church, who perhaps don’t give God a second thought, and maybe don’t even believe there is a God.

As a Gospel preacher I know that “Jesus gives life and breath and all things to all mortals” (Acts 17:25) Notice that Paul distinguishes life from breath. The Greek word for life is zoe, meaning spiritual life. Yes Trinity and Humanity reader… Jesus gives you life with His Father in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit and he gives it to your Buddhist, Atheist, Agnostic, or Muslim neighbor. The difference is, that when we begin to see and believe, our minds are transformed and we begin to recognize that Jesus is truly at the center of everything we do. It’s a Gospel fact, but much of the prevailing thought in our day would have us believe otherwise. Believing the Gospel in the world might just be a little like going the wrong way on a one-way street.

So our mission, as those who believe and especially at Trinity and Humanity, is to inform and educate every person in the world that they have been included in the Triune Life of the Father, Son, and Spirit. Whether that message is popular or widely accepted is only an indication of how much work there is for us to do as “Gospel educators.” Sometimes, to get the message out, it’s okay to go against the flow of traffic or be called a nut… I’ve been called worse.

 

~Bill Winn

Colorblind? How Do We See?

I recently watched a short video about a new product that allows people, who suffer with the most common form of colorblindness to see a fuller color spectrum.  There are a good many “sciencey” words that describe what’s gone wrong in a person’s eyes to cause colorblindness and I don’t understand them but the problem is very real for almost 8% of humanity.ebu_colorbars-768x576

What if there were a new set of lenses through which a colorblind person could see  in full color HD like the other 92%? Would you want the colorblind to know? Wouldn’t we tell anyone in our lives who suffers from colorblindness about this amazing way to see? Of course we would.

So how do we see God? How do we see ourselves? How do we see each other? I would venture to say that way more than 8% of us see God, each other, and ourselves in unhealthy ways.

Can we be honest and confess that we see… oh… how shall I put it… “dimly”? I certainly can tell you I am no different than the Apostle Paul. I, too, see through the glass dimly. None of us are immune to this condition. I am a GCI Pastor preaching Trinitarian theology as clearly as I can, I am mentored by some of the finest theologians alive today, and I even write for a blog called Trinity and Humanity but I still see through the glass dimly. I still struggle with the latent mythologies about God that hold over from my youth.

In spite of what I know about the Father, Son, and Spirit I sometimes catch myself fearing the wrath of an angry judge instead of resting in the embrace of a loving Father.

So what do we do about it? We simply change the lens through which we see God. Easier said than done, I know, but this is where prayer enters in. So what’s the cure? What lens are we looking for? We need only ask John who (not what) that lens is… John the beloved disciple recorded for us these words of Jesus, “If you have seen me you have seen my Father.” ( Jn 14:9) Saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay what? Yes, Jesus- the totally chill, inviting, accepting, forgiving, providing, and healing God/Man is exactly like his Papa.

Jesus is the only lens through which we accurately see God. He is the only lens through which we best see others and the only lens through which we see our true selves.  Seeing is believing, so they say, and when we join the saints and the great cloud of witnesses and begin to look at everything through Jesus we will see our fellow man as ones worthy of love, we will see ourselves worthy of love, and we will will see the Father, Son, and Spirit as the source of worth and love.

The new EnChroma (TM) lenses allow the colorblind to see a more colorful world but the lens of Jesus Christ helps us see Love as we could only dare to dream!

Let’s pray, “Father, we want to see you through the eyes of Jesus, we want to see others the way he does, and we want to see ourselves with the same love and acceptance that is made known to us only in our Savior! In Jesus’ name… Amen.”

you may view the EnChroma video here

video used under Fair Use for educational purposes.

~Bill Winn

Fixing Our Eyes on Jesus

Recently my daughter, Abby, and I have been golfing together. She’s eleven and very new to the game so I am careful not to give her much instruction or set her expectations too high. Right now she just starts each hole at 50 yards and works her way in. She is making par on some holes already and seems to enjoy going with me.golf-course

For Abby and I, the chance to be together outdoors is what makes our golf outings most enjoyable. But… there is another thing that excites her. Once we get out to a flat area of the course I move over and let her drive the cart. Now I know what Harvey Penick said, “In my opinion, no young player can develop his or her game to its highest potential if he or she rides around the course in a golf cart.” But… renting a cart and letting her drive it is another way to keep my younger daughter interested in the game and, if all goes well, maybe she’ll fall in love with golf and go to college on an athletic scholarship.

So the first time Abby ever drove the cart she made me seasick!! She was literally swerving from one edge of the cart path to the other. Thankfully she wasn’t going very fast but in any case we were driving twice as far as we were going, if you catch my drift. (see what I did there)

Finally, I asked her a question, “Abby, are you looking at the cart path right in front of the cart or are you looking out ahead a few yards?” She responded by telling me that, indeed, she was focused on what was immediately in front of her.

I made the recommendation that she keep her focus a short distance ahead of the cart and after that she did well. She drove the whole back 9 and only bumped the curb once. I was highly impressed with her hand-eye coordination, timing, and skill… and that was just in handling the cart, not to mention the half dozen times she made bogey or par.

Arriving home, I told my wife that there was surely a spiritual lesson in the cart driving experience Abby had that day. Well, I think there is and I think this is it:

Too often in our walk with the Father, Son, and Spirit we are tempted to focus too much on what is right in front of us. We get focused on our doubts, our financial situation, our politics, or the latest “ism” or “schism” the Christian Church is talking about. What we may find helpful is to keep our eye on the Big Picture… his name is Jesus. Sure we must keep watch for what is right in front of us but our main focus should always be on Jesus, as he relates to our Father, in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, and our inclusion in that life of love.

Yes, rather than bump and weave our way through life from one side of things to another, perhaps we’d be a lot better off paying heed to these words found in Hebrews 12:

Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, (emphasis mine) the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

FORE!!!

~Bill Winn

Personhood, Distinction, and Our Union with the Blessed Trinity

When my older daughter Faith was about 4 years old we all sat down to watch a movie together as a family. It was probably a Disney, Barbie, or a My Little Pony cartoon but I can’t recall. What I do remember is an event that bowled me over theologically. You see, at the time I was only one year into my “Trinitarian transformation” and the Father, Son, and Spirit seemed to have me on such a fast track that nearly everything around me appeared to shout some aspect of the Gospel of our Inclusion in Jesus.

As we prepared the movie, Faith asked if I would make some popcorn popcorn-stovewith “extra, extra, extra butter”. I agreed and off I went to make real old fashioned stove top popcorn like my grandma Mary Ethel Winn used to make for us on her magic stove.

As the movie began Faith and I sat close so that we could share our bowl of popcorn. Just moments into the movie I found myself staring, jaw dropped, and wide-eyed at my 4-year old daughter. She wasn’t levitating or quoting Shakespeare, she was eating popcorn. Yep, I can guess that right now you might be thinking, “That Bill Winn sure is a weirdo.” Well, you might be right. You wouldn’t be the first person to ever tell me they wonder how my brain works and frankly I don’t know either except to say that more and more, in the past 10 years I have tried to make my brain more available to the Holy Spirit.

What I had a front seat to that night on the couch with Faith was her personhood, she’d always had it but in her development as a child it was becoming more obvious.  You see I was eating the popcorn too, and the butter and salt content was perfect (if I do say so myself). I was enjoying the popcorn but Faith was too, why? She was enjoying the popcorn because it tasted good and, as a distinct person in the Cosmos, she liked it.

We are distinct persons given a place in the Triune God’s Universe. The great news of the Gospel is that we have been included in the life of Jesus with his Father in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit and we will never lose our personhood. We will never not be us. Our inclusion and union must never be thought of like a droplet that gets included in a bucket of water. If we put a droplet of water in a bucket of the same substance it become indistinguishable from the rest of the water.

Our inclusion, our union, did not cause humans to disappear into God. No, our inclusion and union highlight us as persons so that we are more brightly shining as the Image of God than ever!

Humanity has been included in the Shared Life of the Father, Son, and Spirit. Trinity and Humanity- in unity, but forever distinct persons.

Thank you Jesus that you love me and have included me and that you value me so much that you have ensured that I will always be me and someday… a more awesomely Christ-like me than I can imagine!

~Bill Winn

Primary Function: What the Father, Son, and Spirit are on about.

Recently our church family began serving a newly-opened retirement community and we  are just getting to know some of the residents there. So far we are conducting a worship service that the residents are free to attend (or not attend), collecting large print books for their library, and I am visiting to eat lunch once a week.

So yesterday I was eating lunch with Rick (not his real name). He’s a retired father of 4 with fascinating stories to tell about the dozen or so states he’s lived in while he was a career man.

I noticed Rick sitting alone and decided to introduce myself. “I’m Billscrabble-included.”, I said. “May I join you for lunch?” He looked at me quizzically and replied, “Suit yourself. I’m not much of a conversationalist.” I sat down. I ordered a salad and the broccoli soup. The soup never came but the salad was amazing and huge so I didn’t miss the soup anyway.

During our conversation Rick asked me a question that vexed me so powerfully that I sidelined my prepared blog for today and am writing this now. Rick, I think, was having trouble believing that I was there without an agenda -other than to just love on and serve the fine folks in that community. Then he asked me the question. I might, in fact, describe his query as the throwing of a dart. His question caught me off guard and penetrated my heart.

He asked, “What would you say your primary function as a Pastor is?”

I was stunned. I gave him an adequate answer I hope, but last night lying awake at 2 AM I thought of a better answer. Isn’t that just the way it often happens?

My ministry as a Christian and as a Christ-centered Pastor is simply to participate in what the Father, Son, and Spirit are on about.

The Blessed Trinity has, as I see it, one primary goal and that is to see to it that the entire human race comes to know the Father with the Son in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit. In the finished work of Jesus Christ humanity has been brought into eternal objective Union with God. The primary function of the Church is now to educate the human race, to declare their identity in Christ, and to work alongside the Holy Spirit to break the chains of brokenness and bondage.

So when Rick (again, not his real name) asked, “What would you say your primary responsibility as a Pastor is?”- a better answer would have been, “The spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me; he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives…” Isaiah 61

~Bill Winn

The Father Loves And Likes You Fest 2016!

nlf-good-news-festival-2016-5

Thursday, October 13, 2016 – Beginning

Message One: GCI Norfolk Pastor Calvin Simon “May I Have This Dance?”https://trinityandhumanity.files.wordpress.com/2016/11/16-10-13_sermon1_calvin-simon_may-i-have-this-dance_john-14-15.mp3”

Message Two: GCI National Ministry Coordinator Jeff McSwain “Slaying Grace”  https://trinityandhumanity.files.wordpress.com/2016/11/16-10-13_sermon2_jeff-mcswain_slaying-grace_john15.mp3”

Friday, October 14, 2016 – Morning Seminars

Seminar One: GCI National Ministry Coordinator Jeff McSwain                                  “Reading Scripture With Jesus As Your Lens”

https://trinityandhumanity.files.wordpress.com/2016/11/16-10-14_seminar1_jeff-mcswain_reading-scripture-with-jesus-as-your-lens.mp3”

Seminar Two: GCI Baltimore Timothy J. Brassell                                                       “Proclaiming The God Revealed In Jesus”

https://trinityandhumanity.files.wordpress.com/2016/11/16-10-14_seminar2_timothy-brassell_proclaiming-the-god-revealed-in-jesus.mp3”

Seminar Three: GCI Richmond Pastor Bill Winn                                                               “Spiritual Versus Secular?”

https://trinityandhumanity.files.wordpress.com/2016/11/16-10-14_seminar3_bill-winn_spiritual-versus-secular.wav”

Friday, October 14, 2016 – Evening Messages

Message Three: GCI Regional Pastor Paul David Kurts “You Will Do Greater Things”https://trinityandhumanity.files.wordpress.com/2016/11/16-10-14_sermon3_paul-david-kurts_you-will-do-greater-things_john14.mp3”

Message Four: GCI Richmond Pastor Bill Winn “I Am In You”https://trinityandhumanity.files.wordpress.com/2016/11/16-10-14_sermon4_bill-winn_i-am-in-you_john14.mp3”

Saturday, October 15, 2016 – GCI Intern 15 Min. Messages

Message Five: GCI Intern Cory O’Neal “The Way, The Truth, and The Life”  “https://trinityandhumanity.files.wordpress.com/2016/11/16-10-15_sermon5_cory-oneal_the-waythe-truth-and-the-life_john14.mp3”

Message Six: GCI Intern Cara Garrity “Sitting In Broken Places With Christ”  “https://trinityandhumanity.files.wordpress.com/2016/11/16-10-15_sermon6_cara-garrity_sitting-in-broken-places-with-christ_john14.mp3”

Message Seven: GCI Intern Corey Lewis “Bearing Witness To God In The World”  “https://trinityandhumanity.files.wordpress.com/2016/11/16-10-15_sermon7_corey-lewis_bearing-witness-to-god-in-the-world_john17.mp3”

Message Eight: GCI Intern Eddie Lowe “Do Not Let Your Hearts Be Troubled”  “https://trinityandhumanity.files.wordpress.com/2016/11/16-10-15_sermon8_eddie-lowe_do-not-let-your-hearts-be-troubled_john14.mp3”

 

Sunday, October 15, 2016 – Conclusion

Message Nine: GCI Baltimore Timothy J. Brassell  “God Speaks And Acts In A Trinitarian Way”                                                   https://trinityandhumanity.files.wordpress.com/2016/11/16-10-16_sermon9_timothy-brassell_god-speaks-and-acts-in-a-trinitarian-way_john16-17.mp3”

I Already Got 5 Dollars

In the Wendell Berry book, Jayber Crow, the main character (Jayber) tells a lie as a young man in order to disguise his aimlessness. He is hitchhiking and a man he knows from his childhood gives him a lift. Jayber is now about 19-20 and he knows the man does not recognize him. Jayber never intended to rob the man but he made up an elaborate lie about a sick mother and hungry brothers and sisters and that he had to go to the city to find work to support them. The truth was, he was lost emotionally and did not know what to do with his life.

When the man dropped him off at his destination he shoved a 5-dollar bill into Jayber’s jacket pocket. Jayber took the money, he needed it, but it was a liar’s wage and he knew it. The 5 dollars became a shameful burden for Jayber.

Well, by and by Jayber made his way back to his home town and became the town’s only barber. The memory of his lie and his “liar’s wage” would not leave him, nor would its shame. One day the man who’d given him the 5 dollars, so many years ago, came and sat in Jayber’s barber chair. Seeing that he was the only customer in the shop Jayber took the opportunity to confess his crime and offered to repay the 5 dollar5vers. The man refused the money by saying, “I already got 5 dollars.”

Do you see it?

Forgiveness, true forgiveness does not require repayment. Since the man had forgiven Jayber he was no longer in a place where he had to have the money back in order for their relationship to be whole. It was not easy for Jayber to accept such free and honest forgiveness but he did and he and the man never spoke of the 5 dollars again.

In the Atonement the Father, Son, and Spirit forgave humanity’s Sin and sins, we were no longer under any obligation to repay a debt. Most amazingly the Father, Son, and Spirit do not even want our attempted repayments. There is no need for penance, no need to try and balance the scales, no need to try and make up for our sins. It may be necessary and beneficial to try to make restitution to a person we have wronged. It may be helpful for us and for them but it will never improve the unconditional forgiveness we have all received in Jesus.

The statement from Jesus on the Cross: “Father forgive them…” is a done deal for us. Trust me there is nothing you can ever give back to triune God that you perceive you have taken. I can almost hear Jesus now, when I let guilt creep into my life over wrongs I’ve done, “Hey Bill, I already got 5 dollars!”

~Bill Winn

How God As Trinity Defines All

So what does all mean when we read the word all in the Bible as it relates to salvation? This is a question with which I wrestled for a long time in 2006. I literally spent months reading, praying, and seeking advice from more learned people than me to try and understand what the Bible means when it says things like, “…for as all die in Adam, so all will be made alive in Christ.”?

In the past I had great difficulty with these passages. Confession time… there was a part of me that still functioned out of a sense of wanting to belong to an elite group. I wanted to be in the clique. I wanted to feel superior to others… special perhaps. Well I was right and wrong at the same time. More on that later.

humanity

                   Photo courtesy of Microsoft Office Clip Art

So what about all? How do the Father, Son, and Spirit define all in the Bible? Well a fellow pastor in North Carolina named Rick Stillwell once told me that, “All means all, and that’s all that all means!” But is he right? Yup! I believe he is just based on what the Book says.

Jesus said that it was the will of the Father that not one would remain lost. Jesus said that when he was lifted up from the earth he would draw all of humankind to himself. Paul wrote to Timothy that Jesus gave himself as a ransom for all and he told the church at Colossae that Jesus had reconciled all things to the Father through the blood of his cross. Again in I Corinthians 15 Paul says that in Adam all die, so all will be made alive in Christ. Acts 17 tells us that Jesus gives life and breath and all things to all mortals. These are just a few examples.

But does all really mean all? Well let’s just ask a couple of questions?

Based on what we read in Romans 3:23… who has sinned and fallen short of the glory of God? Answer: All! According to John the Beloved Disciple how many things were created by Jesus? The answer to both is a resounding all.

You see, if we accept the notion that all really doesn’t mean all, in our view of salvation, then we must accept that some people have not sinned, fallen short of the glory of God, and never needed a Savior.

If we accept that all really doesn’t mean all, in our view of salvation, then we must accept that there are some things in the Universe that came into being apart from the creative genius of God the Trinity.

The mission of the Church is not to get people in (although we may sometimes think it is) the mission of the Church is to declare that All means all… and that’s all that all means- and then teach people what it means to already be a child of the Father, through Jesus, in the Holy Spirit.

Bless you all, ~Bill Winn

I need air!

We seem more and more divided in the United States of America and in much of the world. We tend to identify as this religion or that religion, as this group or that group, or even as this color or that color. Growing up in rural eastern North Carolina the group I most identified with was Southern. I was proud to be a Southerner. I was proud of our Southern charm and good manners. I loved how we pulled over and stopped the car when a funeral passed us on the road. I loved standing up when a lady entered the room or giving up my chair to a lady when seating was limited. As a young adult I traveled from N.C. to Texas, to Washington state, and Montana. Each place I lived brought new joys of meeting people and seeing their delight at the charm, colloquialisms, and good manners that I had learned in the South. But… I was wrong and did not know it. I was right to be proud of all of those things… don’t get me wrong, but my identity is not in being born a Southerner. My identity was, and is, in Jesus.

Recently the Black Lives Matter movement has thrust into our national conversation issues that we can no longer ignore. It is incumbent upon us in all walks to engage and seek the honest truth whether it pleases us to hear it or not. A couple of months ago I finally realized the proper way to even say “Black Lives Matter”. Our tendency is to allow the national media to tell us what to think and by cherry-picking what we are allowed to see on television it is not a difficult task for them to manipulate the American public. We are led to believe that the emphasis is on the word Black… this is why some well-meaning folks have said, “All lives matter”. It is true that all lives matter and that statement is valid in certain contexts.  Imagine 12 people sitting around a table and one person has a plastic bag over their head with their hands tied behind their back… now imagine that person manages

Hands

Union

to eek out the words, “I need air!” and the other 11 say, “Yeah, we all need air.” The true emphasis in saying “Black Lives Matter” is on the word Matter. Think of it in short form as “Black Lives Matter Too!” Or “Hey, have we in America forgotten that black lives do matter?”

As necessary as this conversation is, and I would submit that it is crucial, we must also never forget who we truly are. Dr. Jeff McSwain wrote our Generations Ministries Summer Camp curriculum this year and on the T-shirts that were given to the campers is the axiom, “You don’t know who you are until you know whose you are.” You see I am not a Southerner, I am not white, I am not a male, I am not a son, father, husband, or pastor- not in the first instance. In the first instance I am a child of the Father.

I am trying to understand, I am not trying to judge, I am trying to love, I am not trying to exclude, I am trying to empathize, I am not trying to pigeon-hole others into some collective which I can dismiss. We are individuals with personhood and distinction… yes we are all in union with the Father, Son, and Spirit, but we never lose our personhood and distinction. Evil tries to label us and press us into collectivism… it is a trap, it divides, and leads to hatred and fear.

Imagine a world where we all knew that we belonged to the Father, Son, and Spirit and that we are indeed all brothers and sisters because of the finished work of Jesus… what would that look like? Would we mistreat others so readily if we saw them as they truly are… fellow children of the Father?… I think not… I hope not. In Jesus all of humanity is in union with the Triune God of Love! Therefor, it follows that we are all in union with one another. Let us then love fully as the distinct persons in Christ that we are.

I am distinct in the Cosmos, in union with the blessed Trinity and in union with all of you. LOVE!

~Bill Winn

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