Dear Friends in Christ:
Yesterday I was sitting in a coffee shop in downtown Portland having a conversation with a priest of the diocese. We were near 23rd street. We did not hear the explosion but many rapid responder trucks came flying by the window in quick succession. I remember wondering what had occurred and noting that it must have been big to occasion so many emergency vehicles. Later I learned that it was a gas leak explosion and while no one died, several individuals were injured.
I imagined it to have been a big automobile crash. Others close to the scene initially wondered if it might have been a terrorist attack. What times we live in when the sound of sirens evoke such imaginings. We live in a time when our political rhetoric is anything but civil. It is a time when personal attacks by the candidates fill the headlines and overshadow the deep and critical issues we face as a community.
As Christians we are called to a more holy civil discourse, not that we as Americans agree with each other but that we respect the dignity of every person as we carry on our discussions and deliberations. Whether we are talking to friends in a restaurant, discussing things within a family or arguing on Facebook or Twitter, we are reminded by our scriptures to bear one another in love and to love God and neighbor alike.
As leaders in Convocation meetings, during Sunday morning coffee hours and our own Diocesan Convention let us model civil discourse and pray that by own our modeling we might reflect the world we wish to live in.