I usually cringe whenever I turn on the cable news and see someone offering political commentary from a “Christian perspective.” While I do occasionally share the same beliefs as the talking head, it troubles me that someone can offer a “Christian perspective” as Christianity is as diverse as the snowflakes on a windowpane.
I do not, however, cringe whenever I see that our church is holding conversations about hot topics (politically and otherwise). Conversations through forums or panel discussions are the best way to talk about hot topics as it invites a variety of perspectives into conversation with one another. Even a forum that has only one perspective usually involves a first-hand account of the topic.
So to that end, buckle your seatbelts because May and June have somehow become “Hot Topics” month at First United Methodist Church.
- Sunday, May 5th, there will be a Water Fluoridation Forum after church in the Fireside Room. We have invited Dr. Kurt Ferre, DDS from Healthy Kids Healthy Portland (who is advocating for the May 21st ballot measure), and Rick North from Clean Water (who is advocating against the ballot measure) to give presentations and have Q&A time with our congregation. While we know there are advocates who are passionate about this topic outside our congregation, this will be a congregation-centered conversation for us to discern how to vote in a few short weeks.
- Sunday, June 2nd, there will be a Palestine Forum after church in the Fireside Room by our own Dee Poujade who has recently spent three months with the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel. She has eye-opening experiences and will share of her thoughts on the troubled Holy Land. This is sponsored by the Global Missions committee.
- Sunday, June 9th, there will be a Death Penalty Forum after church in the Fireside Room with a guest speaker Frank Thompson, who was a penitentiary Superintendent from 1994-1998. He will be here to speak as well as show a 13 minute film documentary about the death penalty. This is sponsored by the Church and Society committee.
- Sunday, June 23rd, there will be a Marriage Equality Forum after church in the Fireside Room with panelists from Basic Rights Oregon, who are advocating for a 2014 ballot measure to change Oregon’s constitution. This is sponsored by the Reconciling committee.
For some, these will be hot topics. For others, these are settled issues. But the great thing about our church is our willingness to discuss these topics openly and in ways that lead to life for all who participate. We hope you can attend.