AiR_E001 – Casualties (Ben Williams)

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CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO THE PODCAST 

The first episode of my new podcast is now up and ready for your listening pleasure.  TodayBen Williams I talk with the Rev. Ben Williams.  Ben is the senior pastor of St. Mark’s UMC in Raleigh, NC.  He was my roommate for two years at Duke Divinity school and one of the best men at my wedding.  He is a dear friend and does amazing work at St. Mark’s.  This is a great combination to be my first guest on this inaugural episode on this new podcast.

Ben is a graduate of Wake Forrest University and Duke Divinity School.  He has been appointed to St. Mark’s UMC in Raleigh, NC for well over a decade now.  He is married to Anna and has two children Stuart and Maggie.  Besides always looking dapper, Ben enjoys sailing, soccer and cycling.  You can follow him on Facebook HERE or on Twitter HERE.

Show notes: Here are some links to some of the things Ben and I talked about.

St. Mark’s UMC Website

Royce and Jane Reynolds Program in Church Leadership

Academy of Spiritual Formation

Please subscribe to this podcast and please leave a review.  If you know someone who is on a wonderful and unique adventure in ministry, please let me know.  I am always looking for more guests for this podcast so leave a comment with your email and we can connect.  (I won’t publish those comments but use them to contact you via email)

The next episode will be with Rob Hill, the state director of the Human Rights Campaign in Mississippi.  It is a great conversation about his work in Mississippi but also how he left the ministry to live authentically as a gay man.  It will be up on September 19th.

Until then, enjoy your Adventure in Revland and peace be with you.

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North Carolina’s House Bill 2

When I learned that the state I live in, love and adore worked in a called session and in the dark of the night to pass House Bill 2 I was embarrassed, disappointed and frustrated.  I have not been thrilled with the legislator in Raleigh because it seems from my place, in Union County, we have stepped backwards and have been for a while.  When it comes to our educational system, the rhetoric towards the poor and how minorities are being treated we seem to be going backwards and progress is stopping in the Old North State.

I have been thinking about what to write about HB2 but I have been too caught up in disappointment.  Then Lory Beth Huffman wrote an excellent article on it in her blog.  She completely sums up my thoughts and feelings on this manner.  I realized after reading it she basically took the words out of my mouth.  Thank you Lory Beth for your wisdom and insights in this matter.

PLEASE VISIT HER BLOG AND READ HER POST ON House Bill 2.

As I read the bill and then her post, I agree with her it this bill doesn’t make sense and seems only as a dirty political ploy.

I will send with her two closing paragraphs which sums it up nicely.  I pray for my state and for the people who will be harmed by this bill.

So to me, this feels like so much more than a safety issue concerning transgender people and which bathroom they can use. It feels like pretext.  It feels like a step backwards in public discourse, policy making and statesmanship.  It appears to me that this is going to hurt our state economically. Consider the national reaction to boycotting the Furniture Market- an already struggling industry that could negatively impact High Point’s and the Triad’s economy. Some scoff as large, multi-national companies and organizations like Bank of America, Facebook, Apple, Google, Wells Fargo, American Airlines, Starbucks, the NBA and the NCAA are condemning HB2.  But sometimes an outsider needs to hold  the mirror up to your face and show you things you don’t like or don’t want to admit.

And as a spiritual leader, I am struggling to discern where Jesus would land in the midst of this mess.  I don’t see a lot of love in play.  How we treat one another matters.  How we solve problems matters.  How we disagree with one another matters.  How we balance safety and protection of all people – women, children and transgender people matters.  How we get along in the cities and in the rural communities matters.  Surely we could have done a better job than this.  I speak as a Christian, not as a Republican, Democrat or Independent.  And because I am a Jesus follower, my heart is heavy over this.