Comings and Goings is a blog written by Theology, Worship and Education Director Charles B. "Chip" Hardwick as he travels throughout the church. God is on the move out and about in the world, working to redeem all things in Jesus Christ. As we join this mission, by the power of the Spirit we see God on the move. This blog contains glimpses of how Chip finds this to be true in his comings and goings.
You can follow Chip on twitter (@chiphardwick) or find him on Facebook (Chip Hardwick).
Yesterday morning’s Bible study was on the parable of the workers in the vineyard (Matthew 20:1-16). This passage is one of my favorites, and I opened the study the same way I have before: share your name and a time that you have been treated unfairly.
As soon as the first one or two people began to share, I realized that this would be going in a very different direction than my earlier studies, where all of the participants have been upper-middle class whites. Here, God brought together an amazing array of people: immigrants from Haiti and several African countries, a Latina pastor from the northeast, a couple of African Americans, and less than a handful of whites.
My colleague Michelle wanted to encourage the women at the Presbyterian Women's Conference to do some theology—that is, to write something they like about God on a beach ball, with a sharpie. The globe was getting filled up with statements like “God keeps me SANE!” to “God loves the whole world, even me,” from “God sees everyone as equals” to “God sent Jesus to save us.” It was really inspiring to see what these dedicated churchwomen appreciated about God’s love for us. One woman, however, had nothing to write.
This past weekend I visited the Presbytery of Palo Duro, which extends from the panhandle down to north central Texas. They invited me to preach and to lead a conversation about the proposed new translation to the Heidelberg Catechism, one of the many statements of faith in the PC(USA)’s Book of Confessions. (This book would be more salacious but a lot less helpful if it were actually a collection of confessions of what Presbyterians have done wrong over the years, rather than this compilations of what we believe.)