Let’s Dance.... Read More
In the 1930’s and 40’s Swing music was all the rage. The great Benny Goodman had as his theme song, “Let’s Dance.” As the saying goes, “It takes two to Tango.” That is the very essence of interdependence! You can’t tango alone. It is extremely difficult for those in our society to function if they do not understand the concept of interdependence. I recently read the autobiography of John Robison, “Look Me in the Eye.” Robison suffers from Aspergers Syndrome. In his book he describes the extreme difficulty he had learning to associate with other people. He couldn’t read expressions, he didn’t get sarcasm, he could not relate to others. His life was very difficult because he didn’t “get” interdependence.
Quoting "Interdependence" by Ernie Dunn posted on the Southwest Conference UCC website: "I believe the task before us is to cope with, better yet, celebrate our interdependence. We should not seek to escape the necessity for beneficial care of each other. We should see ourselves reflected in every other person and to respect and honor our differences." Read More
by Ernie Dunn
As I survey and reflect on conditions in our country, in our world today, I have an uneasy feeling that the interdependence inferred in the statement above is becoming a lost art. Any time you turn on the evening news or tune into social/political/economic commentaries, you will find little evidence of leaders and nations being guided by a sense of the need for interdependent living. Rather you are exposed to the consequences of the lack thereof: wide-spread political and social unrest and upheaval. In many countries, topics such as immigration, equal pay for equal work, religious freedom, to cite just a few, have caused proponents and opponents to draw lines in the sand and engage in verbal and, at times, physical confrontation. It is us against them. Read More
by Rev. Sharon S Littrell, Ph.D.
Recently we have all had our heart strings plucked by photos of refugees escaping Syria in life boats designed to hold dozens loaded to over-flowing with hundreds of men, women and children. The desire for freedom is so strong they are willing to risk death to reach countries where they are welcomed. We all look at those photos and speak out to help. Read More
Interdependence in Advent
by Rev. James I. Meadows, Jr.,
Interim Sr. Minister, Church of the Palms UCC
I first came to the Southwest Conference in 1993, and have served churches here (except for a 7-yr. stint in the Iowa Conference) ever since. I have been a settled pastor, an Acting Conference Minister, and twice an Interim minister in our conference and have seen lots of changes among our clergy and in our congregations. Currently I am Interim Sr. Pastor at the Church of the Palms in Sun City. Read More
by Cindy Walley
Recently I was listening to an episode of This American Life that told the story of a "car plant in Fremont, California, that might have saved the U.S. car industry. In 1984, General Motors and Toyota opened NUMMI (New United Motor Manufacturing, Inc.) as a joint venture. Toyota showed GM the secrets of its production system: How it made cars of much higher quality and much lower cost than GM achieved." Read More
Stirring Things Up in the Southwest Conference
by Rev. Ken McIntosh
“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works.” Hebrews 10:24, ESV Read More
“Stirring things up “doesn’t always have a good connotation, but I like the Bible verse printed above. Stirring up good change…that’s something we can all get excited about. The Greek word “stir up” is translated KATANAO. Various translations capture it different ways, “spur one another on,” “stimulate one another,” and “encourage each other.” However we translate this idea, what matters is doing it. And that’s what Triad initiatives in the Southwest Conference are about.
The Kindness of Strangers (and Strangers No More)
by Rev. Tyler Connoley
One afternoon a few months ago, I received a call from a local pastor. Her church had helped a woman we'll call Maria with some food and shelter, before Maria got on a bus and left town for the southeast. A few weeks later, Maria called our local pastor with a desperate need. She had a court appointment to further her case for asylum, and the person she had gone to stay with was sick and couldn't take her. She remembered our local church as a place of safety and help, so she called. I contacted a UCC church in Maria's new hometown, and was able to connect her with a social worker and immigration lawyer, who were members of that church. Read More
"If we want to move the needle, we need to push the envelope of connectivity by leveraging the low hanging fruit, which at the end of the day will synergize the next great thing." You are right if you think the preceding sentence is vapid jargon. I usually count "interconnectedness" among similar empty verbiage because the term frequently travels without the company of any meaning. The concept of interconnectedness, however, is full of deep meaning. It is a foundational precept our our spiritual tradition - the lens through which Jesus viewed our existence. Read More
My seven years here as your Conference Minister have proven to me the value of living in an interdependent, we-need-each-other kind of way. I have spent a good deal of time over the last weeks reflecting on all that you made happen while I was here as a witness to those good works. What is so amazing is how you find a way to build those partnerships across such great distances.
One pastor holds up a sign in front of a New Mexico Court House that says that she will perform same sex marriages, and a year later Arizona becomes a marriage equality state and 150 clergy are seen holding the same signs and in one day do over 200 marriages. Read More