Tag: Peace

12 Years Later – Remembering 9/11 and the Missing Towers

It is hard to believe that it has been 12 years since I woke up from my college dorm, walked out to see everyone glued to the television and watched the 9/11 attack live on television.  Months later, in an airplane landing in New Jersey’s Newark airport, I remember watching the plumes of smoke still rising and realized that this was something I would never forget.  It is not because my safety was shattered, or because our national ego needed avenging, but because people, loved by God and their family, were angrily and forcefully destroyed. Many suffered physically and today many are mourning fathers, mothers and children who were made into weapons.  For myself, I’m reminded that there will always be some form of conflict in the world and that some will try to enforce their own views by force.  I’ll be praying for those who consider me their enemy today.  We all have choices to make about how we live life.  We can live in anger and seek revenge, or we can look to God and see a way towards peace.  I’m praying that every person will get the opportunity to consider their actions, and choose not to destroy but rather, to build.  A scripture that comes to mind comes from Luke’s gospel:

Luke 1:78-79 NIV

 “because of the tender mercy of our God,
by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven
to shine on those living in darkness
and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the path of peace.”

As the world expands and millions are added to our growing number of cities, war is becoming more catastrophic, more destructive, and displacing more each time it occurs.  I’m praying for all those who are in war zones today.  All the families, all the soldiers, and all the people who sent them there – may God give each person wisdom and the heart to make decisions that make the world a better place, rather than a smoldering, desolate black hole.  Let us seek peace.

Ingredients to a Happy Marriage Might Include Bacon (Pastor’s Corner)

Ingredients to a Happy Marriage Might Include Bacon

Published Monday, June 4, 2012
As I write this article, I am celebrating nine years of marriage to my wife. To mark the occasion we took a few moments this morning to enjoy a raspberry white chocolate latte at The Corner Perk and then went next door to The Sugaree, where I saw something marvelous: the Homer.It is an enormous doughnut covered in maple frosting and sprinkled with thick chunks of bacon. Yes, bacon. It was truly amazing. I was nearly in a sugar coma when I went to work for a meeting. I even wrote a blog about the doughnut and cited it as a symbol of the goodness of the nine years of marriage we have shared. I’ve gotten a lot of “likes” on this blog — especially from guys who like bacon and totally understand.It may be a silly way to say it, but my marriage has been sweet and fulfilling. So much so that we have developed our own inside jokes. Every anniversary, my wife and I laugh about the short-lived MTV show “Newlyweds,” which starred Jessica Simpson and her then-husband Nick Lachey. At the end of their first season, which was also their first year of marriage, they were eating a meal together at a restaurant. Jessica candidly said, “We’ve been married one year? Feels like seven years.” Amanda and I feel the exact opposite. It has been nine years? It feels like three minutes.

It actually came up this morning as an affirmation of how fast time flies when you are having fun — and working hard.

In contrast to the fleeting nature of celebrity weddings and relationships, I recall the romance and love in the Scriptures: “How delightful is your love, my sister, my bride! How much more pleasing is your love than wine, and the fragrance of your perfume more than any spice!” (Song of Songs 4:10).

There is a deep appreciation for the “other” in the relationship and a delight that can last throughout the years. I see those who have been together 50 years or more as the heroes and heroines of marriage. Often they say that they had some “best years,” but there were also some very hard years. They continued to invest in their love through the years, though, and found deep happiness in each other’s presence. That is the everlasting love, a love we can emulate. It continues to ride strong through the storms of life and builds a stronger unity.

As a husband, I hope to live out the biblical ideal that Paul spoke of: “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself” (Ephesians 5:25-28).

To fall deeper and deeper in love each and every day is not a fairy tale, but rather a choice, an honor and a great adventure. Christ gave himself for the church and gave it all, certainly, so we can emulate that great and sacrificial love that gives and gives and gives in our marriages.

A heart filled with the love of the spirit will always overflow.

Columnist Daniel Griswold is the director of youth at St. Andrew By-the-Sea United Methodist Church.  Follow him at twitter.com/dannonhill. Read his blog at http://www.danielgriswold.wordpress.com.

Holy Conferencing – UMC Ministers Speaking on Holding Ourselves to a High Standard as Christians in Debate

The United Methodist Church is gathering in Tampa, Florida (which is done once every four years in different locations) to talk about the issues that challenge or encourage the church.  Below is a video, in which ministers speak on what Holy Conferencing will mean in 2012 as hot topics such as Human Sexuality and Church Organization and Restructuring come up.  One thing that impresses me is the commitment of Methodists to “Holy Conferencing,” which basically boils down to recognizing the headship of Jesus Christ, and seeing other Christians as worthy of learning and exchanging perspectives from.  It allows the heart to temper the head in debate, and I believe helps people see all points on a perspective.  This scripture, from a pdf on Guidelines for Holy Conferencing, says a lot:

Colossians 3:12-16a,17
As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion,
kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another and, if anyone has
a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so
you also must forgive. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything
together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which
indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ
dwell in you richly…And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the
name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

The video is over an hour, which may be long, but the first 25 minutes are worth it.  Check it out:

Pray for the UMC during this season of General Conferencing.  To learn more, click here.

If you are a interested in Church Governance like me, visit and see more videos of General Conference here at their Youtube Channel.

Sacrificial Love Wins

Genuine love of others a key ingredient to stronger


Published Monday, September 5, 2011

Why do we love and care for others? Some would say that love is just part of the process of evolution: Someone once killed his neighbor, and because others did not want to be killed as well, they banded together and punished the murderer. People saw this punishment and deduced that killing is wrong and that the tribe is a stronger unit when people look out for each other.

This is a hypothetical but plausible scenario if we look at how things work today and use our intellect to explain what happened eons ago in human history. The problem is, though, we weren’t there.

As a person who studies religion and is a follower of Jesus Christ — which, believe it or not, is a choice I made after rational inquiry and finding satisfying evidence that God is acting in the world even today — I have spent much time reading through the many millennia-old written document of humanity’s interactions with God.

There are two strands that I always make light of when learning about the history of love as recorded in Scripture. First, I look at what humans were doing, and second, I look at what God is doing. The two are often very different. Human morality, even in the Bible, is very relative and focused on the self — and, in this view, the account of morality as hypothesized in evolution is probably true.

In fact, in Canaan, when the Hebrews began moving into the promised land, the cities were independent states, engaged in trade, alliance or war.

The city-states had kings. Codes of laws were variously applied so that each person did what he or she thought was right, and when that infringed on another it was up to the king and his governmental officials to bring balance and fairness. It was an imperfect system, however, so long as people continued to look out only for themselves.

God’s interaction with this economy was devastating to the local way. At Mount Sinai, Moses received the Commandments. These 10 precepts shifted focus from the human self to two others. First, love of God; second, love of others. It was more than just tolerant refrain from stepping on toes. It was a way to change the human heart toward a more divine economy. God’s words united the Hebrews, and God’s strength helped them as they left Egypt and assimilated the warring city-states.

Humanity constantly has to relearn this basic principle, and it is something each of us has to grapple with every day. Will we love ourselves and only contract with others toward a peaceful truce? Or will we give up our rights and give ourselves 100 percent for God and for others?

Christians look to Christ and see this sacrifice made completely real. The cross is a symbol of God showing us the way. Reclaiming the world by inserting light into the darkness and showing that selfishness will not prevail.

John says: “The word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only son, who came from the father, full of grace and truth.”

In the four gospels we see the son of God give up a stable life, devote himself to healing the sick and feeding the hungry, become betrayed by a close friend for money and then willingly accept an undeserved punishment to turn the tables of justice toward grace and forgiveness rather than legality and containment.

For those with and without faith, God’s economy has huge lessons with an efficiency that can only come when people genuinely love.

Daniel Griswold is the director of youth at St. Andrew By-the-Sea United Methodist Church. Read his blog at http://www.danielgriswold.wordpress.com. Follow him on Twitter @dannonhill.com.

Read more: http://www.islandpacket.com/2011/09/05/1781273/genuine-love-of-others-a-key-ingredient.html#ixzz1Yhgf3lbu

I <3 My Wife

It has almost been 8 years being with my wife Amanda and I am still madly in love.  We don’t have any kids but we have a few hundred youth from different times and places.  We have spend 2 years together at Flagler college, 4 years in seminary in MA, and almost 2 years in Hilton Head Island, SC.  That time includes the meshing of our lives so her friends have become my friends and mine have become hers.  We have prayed for each other and have seen God’s good work in different congregations and have found the good people of God’s Kingdom in all of them.  I believe we are blessed beyond comprehension, because this year we bought our first home.  Amanda has her craft and workout room, I have my office and we spend a lot of time watching Smallville in our cozy living room on the big brown couch.  I am completely in love and despite it being my birthday today – I may let it also be Valentine’s day too.

I love you Amanda. -Dan