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Rarely do I yield this column to another, but my colleague Rev. Billy Echols-Richter (Grace Ave. UMC, Frisco) speaks my mind better than I would have so I quote him fully from a recent Facebook post:

Over the years I have discovered that the Church can and will be a place of disagreement. Many times in our particular church I have had people disagree with me, what I said, what I believe or a stance or policy our church has supported. These disagreements often come with a great deal of pain and anxiety. I have never, however, thought to say to someone: “Well if you don’t like it, you ought to just go back to where you came from.” I have never thought to say, “If you don’t like it here, you ought to go back to ...

New England

The Pacific Northwest

Florida

Ohio

Mexico

North Carolina

South Carolina

Wisconsin

Venezuela

California

Iran

Louisiana

Kenya

Great Britain

Kansas

Saudi Arabia

Nebraska

Tanzania

Japan

India

Indiana

Iraq

Arkansas

Guatemala

Michigan

Egypt

Norway

Czech Republic

Korea

Georgia (both of them)

Colorado

Ghana

Australia

Oklahoma

Argentina

Alaska

Afghanistan

Utah

Germany

Mississippi

Syria

Alabama

China

Illinois

Italy

Ireland

South Africa

West Texas

East Texas

South Texas

Central Texas

South Dallas

East Dallas

West Dallas

North Dallas

Ft. Worth...

Just to name a few.

To do that diminishes everything and reduces all of us to the zero sum game of insiders and outsiders.

Ephesians ‭2:17-19‬ reminds us:

“So Christ came and proclaimed peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near; for through him both of us have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God,”

So maybe we should ALL go back to where we came from. I believe very deeply that we come from God, we return to God, and in between we have been given this precious gift of an earthly life. Why should we waste this gift on exclusion, hate and demagoguery?

Let us choose to remember the Doxology so many of us sing every week:

“For from God and through God and to God are all things. To God be the glory forever. Amen.” ‭‭Romans ‭11:36‬ ‭

Thank you Billy for being a leader who speaks difficult truths.

Connecting God and Grace to Self and Community,

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