The Unexpected Gifts of Advent

Kindred in Christ,

During this season of gratitude, I give thanks for each of you, and for the unfolding journey we walk together accompanied by the Spirit.

A few years ago with a former church I used to serve, I attended an anti-racist training with Crossroads, which was very eye opening. They challenged us to think critically regarding how decisions were made, where power was consolidated, and how white institutional values still drove decision making even with a diverse church staff and leadership.

The four white institutional values they outlined were either/or thinking, a scarcity world view, the practice of secrecy, and competitive individualism. Of course, these are not the only white institutional values, but these are the ones that have been identified as showing up again and again in organizational systems—including churches.

Yet, as it turns out, the opposite of these four white institutional values, correspond well with what God was enacting in this world through the coming of Jesus. Unexpected values, that God gifted to us, by arriving in our midst in human form. Values that run counter to the systems of privilege and exclusion and empower us to live in the fullness and freedom of God’s love.

Join us this Sunday as we light the Hope candle, and begin our new Advent worship series, The Unexpected Gifts of Advent. This first week we will explore what it might look like to trust and practice a both/and way of being in the face of either/or systems.

Alongside you,

Rev. Paul Ortiz