In Whom Have You Experienced Jesus

Jen Houser is a student at Duke Divinity School serving On Earth Peace as her field placement. She is a pre-licensing candidate for ministry in the Church of the Brethren. Below is a recent reflection on her work with On Earth Peace in response to a school assignment.

Question: In whom have you experienced Jesus this summer?

Last week, I had the exciting experience of attending my first Church of the Brethren Annual Conference while interning with On Earth Peace. I was excited to meet new people, but nervous as to what the week would hold. This year’s conference was different from others in that no new business was brought forward. Instead, we gathered around tables and discussed questions that guided us to remember why we all loved each other. Though we did not always agree on the issues at hand, we still built relationships with one another. In our commonalities, we found reasons to love one another.

Read more
Add your reaction Share

Power to the POOR People

A couple weeks ago, hundreds gathered in Washington, DC at the Poor People's Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival's Congress. This event was hosted and broadcasted by MSNBC. Day one consisted of a forum where a number of democratic presidential candidates were questioned regarding the interlocking injustices of the campaign. Later in the evening, the campaign also introduced a moral budget, which they plan to present to the House. Day two was full of fellowship, information, workshops, and organizing. Day three concluded the event with a prominent focus on the Budget Hearing, in which representatives from the campaign would share their stories of poverty and introduce the moral budget to combat poverty.

"God did not make us poor. Greed, abuse, and power made us poor."

- Rev. Dr. William Barber II testifying before the House Budget Committee

- Photo courtesy of "The Action Network"

Read more
Add your reaction Share

Field Placement with On Earth Peace

Jen Houser is a student at Duke Divinity School serving On Earth Peace as her field placement. She is a pre-licensing candidate for ministry in the Church of the Brethren. Below is a recent reflection on her work with On Earth Peace in response to a school assignment.

Questions for reflection:

For what in this placement do I have joy? For what in this placement might I be over cynical?

Overall, I have enjoyed my time interning with On Earth Peace for the last six months. I enjoy the work I do that involves initiatives towards peace and justice. It brings me joy to be involved with a denomination and an organization that is generally more inclusive than others I have witnessed. I find joy knowing that my denomination is focused on serving our neighbors with the love of Christ. In my placement, I find joy as I connect with more people from the Church of the Brethren, despite being stuck in Methodist land during the school year at Duke Divinity School. I find joy working for an organization that is completely focused on working towards justice and inclusion of others in our denomination. It brings me joy to know that the future of our denomination will be more inclusive, welcoming, and focused on being the Church set out by Jesus.

However, as a naturally cynical person, I still have my doubts. I am cynical that my fellow young adults in the Church of the Brethren will want to stay in this denomination, or the church as a whole, depending on future conversations and actions that take place at various conferences. I am cynical that the Church of the Brethren will actually move to be fully affirming and inclusive of the LGBTQ+ community. I am cynical that I will find a pastoral job come graduation next year. I am cynical of the people On Earth Peace is reaching - that we are not doing enough to bring actual change to our denomination and the world. I pray that as my internship and my time in the Church of the Brethren continues, I find more hope in the people I serve.

- Jen Houser, Church and Community Groups Organizing Intern

 

 

 

Add your reaction Share

Jesus' Mission: A Personal Confession

"The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor."

- Luke 4:18-19 (NIV)

Jesus had a mission: to proclaim freedom to the prisoners, recover sight for the bling, release the oppressed, and proclaim the year of the Lord's favor. Wow, what a huge mission! Jesus could do this. I mean, Jesus was divine, right? He could do anything.

Somehow, the Church of the Brethren instilled in me that we are to follow Jesus, to be his hands an feet, to continue his work - simply, peacefully, together. Wait a minute... do I actually have a responsibility here? To continue the work of Jesus? What did Jesus actually do while he was alive? What IS my faithful responsibility? Let's look at that. What comes to your mind?

The first thing that came to me was that he brought wholeness to people - healing them both physically and mentally. Even miraculously! I can help with that. He really looked at people and saw their need, loving them like God loves us. I can help with that. I visit friends when they are sick, I send cards to those who have lost loved ones, I have been on workcamps, I have sent money to support missions.

What else did Jesus do?

He was committed to doing God's will. I like that. I pray for God's will to be done. Well, if I am truthful I have to admit that I don't like the end result of the submission to God's will being death on a cross. Violence doesn't sit well with me.

Jesus also got angry. This is the part I struggle with. Is my own anger ever justified? John reports in his gospel (John 2:13-16 NIV):

"When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple courts he found men selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple! How dare you turn my Father’s house into a market.”

So Jesus got angry and upset and took some serious action. Why was Jesus so angry? This prophet of peace. This radiance of God's love. Isn't love gentle, kind, caring?

Read more
Add your reaction Share

An Afternoon of Love, Peace, Unity, and Inclusion

In response to a KKK-affiliated rally in Dayton, Ohio on Memorial Day weekend, the local NAACP organized a family-friendly alternative event to affirm positive values and vision for the community. The outdoor event was held at McIntosh Park, about a mile from the courthouse where the KKK group was gathering. Around 24 Brethren, including several On Earth Peace Board Members, joined hundreds of others who gathered to give witness to a better way. 

Read more
Add your reaction Share