Ebola: Pastoral Statement on the Virus and Our Response

If there was ever a time for the Christian Church to step up and step out, now is the time.  The Church has historically been not only slow but hesitant to stand up for justice and mercy.  It was too slow in responding to the Civil Rights Movement, the Women’s Liberation Movement, the genocides in Europe, Asia and Africa and certainly still struggles mightily with the LGBTQI community and HIV/Aids.  As a people of faith we cannot allow the institutional church to be slow again.  As a people of faith we  call on our church leaders and congregations to take social responsibility for being a people of healing and hope in this fragmented world.

Over 4,000 gentle souls have already died from the ravages of Ebola.  This is an echo when another disease (HIV/Aids) was killing people at a grotesque rate and very little was said or done during the early 1980’s.  We must speak out because we are connected with those who have died, their families and friends because we not on an island but are apart of the world community.  We are apart of this because we live in Atlanta, which resides in the spotlight.  Emory University Hospital is just up the street from where we worship.  Emory’s administration welcome any and all people who are ill, including those with Ebola.  The center for Disease Control is based here; the whole world is watching, and learning from what we do and say.

With all that said this is what we must do:

1) Pray for our neighbors in Africa,  Atlanta and anywhere in the world that a soul is stricken by Ebola.  We need to remember prayer has the power to overcome isolation, despair, evil intent, demonic behavior, separation, disease and yes even death.  Prayer binds us one to another through the power of unconditional love.  We must pray for healing, pray for stronger backs to bear this heavy burden.

2)  We must advocate for resources and help to be sent overseas to Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Ghana and wherever our help is most needed.  We are the richest country in the world, therefore we have no excuse for not adding a full measure of our resources.

3) Our African neighbors “need more money, more health-care workers, more troops to help coordinate relief efforts. In the short term, the only way to halt the epidemic is with better infection-control measures.” (Michael Spector, “The New Yorker”, October 20, 2014)

4) We must not panic!

5) We must not be afraid!  We will not give into fear.

6) We must not participate in hysteria or hyperbole, nor attempt to use this tragic disease and suffering for political gain or judgments about race, culture and socioeconomic status.

Now is the time for  all of us to come together, to work and serve on a united front, to set aside petty differences and find a common ground so that we might save human lives and build healthier communities.

We cannot, we must not forget that with the help of God we will overcome this challenge “for such a time as this!”

Rev. Paul M. Turner, Senior Pastor of Gentle Spirit Christian Church

Rev. Dr. James L. Brewer-Calvert, Senior Pastor of First Christian Church of Decatur

Why We’ll Never Have a Stewardship Campaign

The gospel passage where the Pharisees try to play a trick on Jesus by asking him if it’s right to pay taxes to Caesar has been used in the context of church stewardship campaigns for years. Here’s why we believe it means the opposite: That tithing is a spiritual discipline that is solely between you and God.

www.gentlespirit.org

Sermon from October 19, 2014
Gentle Spirit Christian Church
Rev. Paul M. Turner, Senior Pastor
Atlanta, Georgia

This Week’s Message

Do you want to be counted wise, to build a reputation for wisdom? Here’s what you do: Live well, live wisely, live humbly. It’s the way you live, not the way you talk, that counts. Mean-spirited ambition isn’t wisdom. Boasting that you are wise isn’t wisdom. Twisting the truth to make yourselves sound wise isn’t wisdom. It’s the furthest thing from wisdom — it’s animal cunning, devilish conniving. Whenever you’re trying to look better than others or get the better of others, things fall apart and everyone ends up at the others’ throats.
(James 3:13-16)

This Week’s Message

Never walk away from someone who deserves help;
your hand is God’s hand for that person.

Don’t tell your neighbor “Maybe some other time”
or “Try me tomorrow”
when the money’s right there in your pocket.

Don’t figure ways of taking advantage of your neighbor
when they are sitting there trusting and unsuspecting.

Don’t walk around with a chip on your shoulder,
always spoiling for a fight.

Don’t try to be like those who shoulder their way through life.
Why be a bully?

“Why not?” you say. Because God can’t stand twisted souls.
It’s the straightforward who get God’s respect.
(Proverbs 3:29-32)

The Exact Number of Things God Wants You Focused On

It’s not hard to get conflicting messages about what God supposedly wants us focused on at any given moment — but if we listen closely to the Gospel, that exact number of things is actually quite small.

www.gentlespirit.org

Sermon from September 14, 2014
Rev. Paul M. Turner, Senior Pastor
Gentle Spirit Christian Church
Atlanta, Georgia

490 Reasons You Aren’t Going to Hell

It’s not unusual to have times when you don’t feel as close to God. But God is always on the lookout for you.

www.gentlespirit.org

Sermon from September 7, 2014
Rev. Paul M. Turner, Senior Pastor
Gentle Spirit Christian Church
Atlanta, Georgia

How to Make the Ordinary Extraordinary

In the course of doing the everyday, ordinary things in life, there’s one little thing you can do to transform the ordinary into something truly extraordinary. Watch to find out.

www.gentlespirit.org

Sermon from August 24, 2014
By Vicar Alyce Keener
Gentle Spirit Christian Church
Rev. Paul M. Turner, Senior Pastor
Atlanta, Georgia

An independent, affirming and progressive church serving metro Atlanta. We are open, positive and inclusive.