Showing posts from March, 2010

Facebook Tips for Ministers

One of the biggest questions ministers have about Facebook is "should I friend my congregants"?  Both a "yes" and a "no" answer are reasonable answers.  I do friend congregants, although not minors in my congregation, and here are some tips to keep in mind if you do:
Create friend groups.  This can be done by clicking on "Friends" in the left hand column from your Home page, and then clicking "Create List" at the top of the page.  Create a group called something like "Church" or "Congregants" and then put all your congregants in it.  Nobody knows what groups you have but you.  Unless you post it on your blog like this!  Remember that each new friend will have to be immediately put into the groups, and this can be done when you're friending them directly.  Now that you have a group, you can do some important things with it.  First, you can click on this group (again in the left hand column, under friends--click &q…

More on Anti-Racism & Jackson

I forgot last week that I was going to put up the words I said at the Unity Rally.  So here they are:

Last week people came into our community to spread  a message of hate.  They came here thinking that we would be fertile ground on which to sow to seeds of racism, anti-semitism, xenophobia, and homophobia.

They don't know Jack--son.

I've been here only 5 1/2 years, but I know this is a community that was the birthplace of the Republican party, founded on ideals of equality and freedom for all races.  I know this is a community which has been home to one of the oldest Jewish communities in the state.  I know the Jackson that was a stop on the Underground Railroad.  And I know the Jackson that has been a home for members of my little religious community, a church that represents God's universal love for all people, for over 150 years.  I've seen a Jackson with dozens of non-profit agencies working altruistically to better people's lives.  I've seen a Jackson whe…

The Jackson Pledge

The Unity Rally was today. People attending were asked to sign the Jackson Pledge.

The Jackson Pledge
Jackson, Michigan
Sign It - Live It
I believe that every person has worth as an individual.I believe that every person is entitled to dignity and respect, regardless of race or color.I believe that every thought and every act of racial prejudice is harmful; if it is my thought or act, then it is harmful to me as well as to others.Therefore, from this day forward I will strive daily to eliminate racial prejudice from my thoughts and actions.I will discourage racial prejudice by others at every opportunity.I will treat all people with dignity and respect; and I will strive daily to honor this pledge, knowing that the world will be a better place because of my effort.Taken from
There is also a new Facebook page for the pledge:

The Jackson Pledge

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A familiar sign in Michigan is the signs, overt or more subtle, of a foreclosed house.  No neighborhood is immune.  Yahoo! Real Estate found me 267 foreclosures in Jackson, Michigan today.  And it found 365 in Ann Arbor, a city we think of as more immune to the economic problems of Michigan, because of the presence of the University of Michigan.  Even there, and even in upscale neighborhoods, the signs of foreclosure are evident. says, "RealtyTrac reported that Michigan posted the fifth highest number of foreclosures among states in January, with 17,574 properties receiving a foreclosure filing."  Foreclosure might be a more workable option in many cases, except that most people facing foreclosure in Michigan are in the situation where they owe more on their mortgage than the home is worth.  Therefore, if you go into foreclosure you not only lose your home, you can still be pursued by the bank for the balance of the money. 

I recently had the opportunity to work…

On the Recent Actions of Catholic Organizations and Leaders

The Catholic church and its representatives have taken some reprehensible actions as of late.  A sampling:
A Catholic school in Colorado is refusing students of gay and lesbian parents.  (See here.)The Catholic archdiocese of Washington is cancelling all health insurances for spouses of employees to avoid paying benefits for same-sex couples.  (See here.)A Dutch Catholic priest has refused to give communion to openly homosexual people.  (See here.) Freedom of religion?  Yes.  Absolutely they have the right to do these things.  I'm not arguing about that.  But these things are not right to do.  And I would argue that even if you believe homosexuality is immoral, these actions are still not right.

First of all, the Catholic school situation:  While I have to wonder at people who differ with  the Catholic church's teachings and yet choose to put their children in a Catholic school anyway, numerous people do.  And not all these people live in ways that are consistent with the Catho…