With Justice for All ©

The words are emblazoned on the founding document of the nascent American independence movement. They form the aspirational template for what we as a nation seek to be when at our best.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men [and women] are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

As citizens of the United States, we have been repeatedly seared by the sin of racism and racial injustice. Individually, our experience and awareness of this sin differs greatly. Within this wide spectrum of understanding, the agonizing visage of a murder on the streets of Minneapolis haunts us both collectively and individually. Now, with the conclusion of the Derek Chauvin trial, the rule of law has prevailed, and appropriate judicial accountability has been taken.
In our catharsis, may the family of George Floyd find some small measure of comfort. However, let this not become an excuse to unfairly denigrate the work of police and other public servants, nor should we allow this to become a triumphant celebration. Unjustly, a man has been murdered. Unfairly, a family has been pierced with grief. The people of Minneapolis and all our nation, including the police, are still wrestling with the impact of lives disrupted, destroyed and ended by this tragedy. This includes Derek Chauvin, for he too is a child of God just as George Floyd was and still is a child of God.

End Racism in Our Lifetime

The result of this trial is not, cannot, and should not be the end our collective pursuit of justice for all. The battle to defeat the sin of racism in our lifetime is not over. The need is far greater and the aspirational intent of the United States of America’s founding is far better. For us as Americans, may the tragic death of George Floyd and the resulting struggle over appropriate accountability lead us to higher resolve, deeper understanding and greater healing.
Our pledge of allegiance contains the soaring commitment “with liberty and justice for all.”  Someone has written “For all. No small print. No exclusions. For all. Regardless of race, gender, social class, sexual orientation, national residence, citizenship status, or geographical location. Every human personal has equal human dignity. All means all.”
For Christians, we take “justice for all” a step further. We are a people governed by the teaching of Jesus Christ to love God and love the neighbor, every accessible human being we may reach. 

One of the scribes came near and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, he asked him, ‘Which commandment is the first of all?’ Jesus answered, ‘The first is, ‘Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one; you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:28-31)

We wear the prophetic mantel as a guide to holy living.

He has told you, O mortal, what is good;
    and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
    and to walk humbly with your God?
(Micah 6:8)

What shall we now do? We should do what George Floyd so desperately longed to do at the tragic end of his life. Breathe deep. And, as we breathe, remember that Jesus is Lord. He is our guide and ruler. Evil may have its day, but it does not sit on the throne of Grace. Let us link prayer and action in the greater pursuit of love, justice and mercy in the name of the holy and reigning Lord of the universe.

Previous Posts

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Forward Towards a New Spring: A Different Church for a Different World Part 1 ©

A Different World Struggling to Be Born A heartwarming event took place at the close of the 11 a.m. traditional worship on Sunday, April 11, Michael and Sue Beaton joined Arborlawn United Methodist Church. Their story is a tale of the WIG – the ...

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On the Edge of Eternity ©

Moderators Note: Bishop Lowry's video message to the conference for Easter is available for viewing or downloading at the end of this post. The day opens simply, while teetering on the edge of eternity. The Evangelist Luke records the story.  “But on...

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Journey to the Cross ©

Moderators Note: Bishop Lowry's video message to the conference for Palm Sunday and Holy Week is available for viewing or downloading at the end of this post. As we begin the week that we Christians call “Holy,” I invite you to step back with me into...

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A Green Response to Injustice ©

Imagine the following true story and place yourself in it.   You are kidnapped sometime in your teenage years. Hauled in chains to a different country, you are sent to work in hard and dangerous labor – slave labor. Much of your time is spent alone,...

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A Map for Emerging from the Pandemic ©

  As we move through Lent, we are all struggling with issues of re-opening. The WIG remains our mission with an emphasis in discipleship formation through small group ministry, outreach to the community/mission field, and professions of ...

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Building a Post-Pandemic Church ©

Last week, I had the privilege of sharing with many of you in a webinar featuring Dr. Thom Rainer and produced by the Texas Conference UMC. Dr. Rainer is the head of a highly respected Christian “think-tank” and coaching platform called Church ...

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Recovery, Renewal and Recommitment ©

The Sunday after the great winter storm of 2021, many members of the Cabinet and Conference staff leadership team dispersed across the Central Texas Conference to visit various churches and communities damaged by the cold, snow, bursting pipes and ...

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The Central Texas Conference Offering Disaster Relief ©

As I write this blog (Friday afternoon, Feb. 19), we are working as a Conference Team with District Superintendents (DS) and members of the District Discipleship Teams to provide assistance and disaster relief across the Central Texas Conference. ...

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The Church Being the Church ©

Moderators Note: As the temperatures finally begin to climb above freezing in Texas and frozen pipes begin to thaw, pipes that burst during the deep freeze will begin to leak and could cause damage quickly. Authorities suggest that you locate the ...

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A Message for Lent 2021

In this time of chaos and confusion caused by COVID-19 and, most recently, by the dangerous winter weather conditions throughout Texas that have left many without power, heat and/or water, many find it difficult to know how to best move, much less ...

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Revised WIG Reporting ©

At our 2020 Annual Conference meeting, we passed an initiative called Forward to a New Spring. In most aspects, this initiative is nothing new at all. Our mission still remains our Wildly Important Goal (WIG) – “to make disciples of Jesus Christ for...

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On the Move to a New Spring ©

In C. S. Lewis’ epic tale, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe , one of the first creatures the children encounter is Mr. Beaver. Beaver has great wisdom and insight even in a time of the land frozen and in the grip of the White Witch. Quite soon ...

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Ending Racism In Our Lifetime – Moving From Awareness to Action © (A Guest Blog)

In the turmoil surrounding us and the uncertainty of the church’s future (both coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic and a possible General Conference vote on the Protocol), I do not want us to lose sight of our need and commitment to work on ending ...

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A Different Kind of Walk ©

As I did four years ago (and four year prior to that, and…), I ask the Christians of the Central Texas Conference of the United Methodist Church to pray for our newly inaugurated President and Vice-President, our Senators and Representatives in the ...

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A Statement of the Storming of the U.S. Capitol ©

Please see below for Bishop Lowry's message regarding today's mob protests at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.   With you, I have watched today’s mob assault on the U.S. Capitol with horror and revulsion. We are a country built on the rule of ...

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Entering a New Year ©

Bishop Lowry states it succinctly and well when he opens his New Year’s message to the conference with “Thank God 2020 is over!” With our sigh of relief that we have begun a New Year, it is good to remember that we have hope and joy in the coming ...

A Birth Announcement: God with Us! ©

“Joy to the world, the Lord is come!”  May this great birth announcement ring out in homes, be twittered and tweeted in our communities, blogged about on websites, sent in our emails, and zoomed around our nation and world! Click on the video below ...

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Joy to the World ©

In my life, Christmas isn’t really Christmas until we sing two hymns as a part of Christmas Eve worship – “Silent Night” and “Joy to the World.”  The words of “Joy to the World” sweep me away. “Joy to the world! The Lord is come; Let earth receive ...

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Standing on the Promises ©

The first United Methodist Church to which I was appointed as a pastor on my own was St. Paul’s UMC in Kerrville, Texas. Just out of seminary, and not even married a year, I was excited and full of ideas. Practical reality landed on my desk in week ...

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The Spirit of the Lord ©

During my senior year in High School, I took a choral class to finish out my requirements for graduation. I recall spending most of the time sitting in the back, laughing and goofing off but then as Christmas came near something unusual happened. ...

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An Advent Calm ©

There is something about the Advent time of year that evokes our interior longings and quiet reflection. Perhaps it is the music. Charles Wesley’s “Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus” settles over me. The lyrics, combined with the melody, reach deep ...

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Do Not Ignore This One Fact ©

The signs and sounds of Christmas are all around. This year, the decorations came early. Locked down by COVID-19, we collectively, Christians and non-Christians alike, longed for a season of hope, joy and peace. Driving through our neighborhood, I ...

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Light in the Darkness: An Advent Invitation ©

An Advent video message from Bishop Lowry is available for viewing and sharing at the end of this post.  The people walking in darkness have seen a great light.     On those living in a pitch-dark land, light has dawned. (Isaiah 9:2 CEB) I love ...

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Moving Forward ©

A video message from Bishop Lowry is available at the end of this post.   So then, let’s work for the good of all whenever we have an opportunity, and especially for those in the household of faith. Let’s not get tired of doing good, because in time...

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A Commitment to Love Our Neighbors While Battling COVID-19 ©

A video message from Bishop Lowry on the CTC's response to the latest spike in COVID-19 across our conference, state and nation can be found at the end of this blog post. To download the video to share with your church or small group, go to the CTC's...

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The WIG – Narratives: Keep the Main Thing the Main Thing! ©

The famous idiom recalled in the title above sticks in the mind and immediately raises forth the question, “what is the main thing?” For well more than two decades in the Central Texas Conference, the main thing has been our mission of “making ...

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A Time for Patience, Prayer and Grace ©

As I write this, the results of the election for President of the United States are not yet known. In many of what political pundits term “battleground states,” there exists a razor thin margin between the two major party candidates. And, at last ...

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An Election Witness of Faith, Hope and Love ©

This Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020 is election day in the United States. This Tuesday, the citizens of the U.S. – at least those age 18 and up – have the opportunity (some would say “duty”) to participate in the democratic processes of selecting those ...

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An Important Message from an Historic Connection ©

Recently, I read a message from Mr. Barclay Berdan, CEO of Texas Health Resources (THR), which I believe merits a wider reading. The Central Texas Conference has an historic and continuing faith connection with THR. Many of you will recall that THR ...

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Christ and Culture Revisited #2 ©

The Martyrdom of Polycarp is a famous story in early Christian literature and lore. Polycarp was an early Christian bishop and probably had a close (student to teacher) relationship with John the Apostle. As a revered older figure of leadership in ...

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Christ and Culture Revisited No.1 ©

We look back with a mixture of scorn, dismay, and amazement. It was Nov. 27, a.d. 1095, when Pope Urban II launched the first Crusade to “retake the Holy Land.”  At the time, when Pope Urban finished his sermon calling for the First Crusade, there ...

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Calling Clergy to Bridge Building ©

The response to COVID-19 varies throughout the conference – from district to district, county to county, family unit to family unit. The Be the Bridge Racial Reconciliation Training Seminar is an important and excellent opportunity for us to come ...

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Looking Beyond Division ©

Bipartisanship is seemingly rare these days, but it does happen. Our daughter, Sarah Elizabeth Lowry Meek, works for The American Network of Community Options and Resources (known simply as ANCOR). ANCOR is a national trade group representing both ...

(continue to) Pray for the End of COVID-19 ©

I ask that we continue to pray for the end of COVID-19 and to specifically pray for President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump. It is my expectation that we as Christians have been praying for the end of COVID-19 and the healing of those who are ...

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Theologizing in a Time of Turmoil ©

I open the writing of this blog on Tuesday, June 29.  The first presidential debate between President Donald Trump and former Vice-President Joe Biden of 2020 looms in the background. (One of my brothers says that he will listen to the debate to ...

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A Time for Prayer ©

About 25 years ago, when I was pastor of Asbury United Methodist Church in Corpus Christi, Texas, I made the rounds of some of the rapidly growing, missionally committed, very large regional churches in our denomination. I was seeking to gain ...

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Following the Lion and the Lamb ©

Recently I found myself watching a national news program on the election debate taking place.  There were interviews from representatives of both the Trump/Pence and Biden/Harris campaigns. When the report was over and the rhetoric began to cool, I ...

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Supporting Hurricane Laura Relief and Recovery Efforts ©

We are living in a time where we seem to be continually facing societal struggles that come at us at an almost blistering pace. Of course, there are all the ongoing and ever changing (yet seemingly never-changing) issues related to the COVID-19 ...

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To the Laity of the United Methodist Church – A Guest Blog ©

The Association of Annual Conference Lay Leaders has published the following letter to the Laity of the United Methodist Church (please see below). Mike Ford, the current Lay Leader of the Central Texas Conference, supports the release of this ...

Anguish and Witness in Troubled Times ©

As I write this blog today, I am, along with so many of you, in anguish. The shooting of Jacob Blake by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin, followed by the gunning down of Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber pierces the heart. Stunned incredulity at ...

Focus in a Time of Chaos ©

These are wild times. The COVID-19 Pandemic continues to slam us all. International news around the world reports seemingly continual conflicts. Here in the United States, one political party’s convention has just ended, and the other major party is...

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A Statement Regarding a Virtual Meeting of AC20 ©

After His resurrection, Jesus met with his disciples and, just before being lifted up to heaven, gave them the instructions found in Acts 1:8 “…8  you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” These ...

Bishop John Yambasu ©

Bishop John K. Yambasu, the Resident Bishop of the Sierra Leone, shown above preaching at the 2016 General Conference of The United Methodist Church. Earlier today, we learned of the tragic death of Bishop John Yambasu, the Resident Bishop of the ...

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Words of Thanks, Admiration and Perseverance ©

In his latest video message to the CTC, Bishop Lowry, having recently returned to Lone Star State after taking a few weeks to go and play the role of Papa with his grandkids, shares words of admiration and thanks to the clergy and lay leadership who...

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Coming Back to a Funeral ©

Retired Central Texas Conference Pastor Richard Chaffin read an unusual line from Scripture as we listened intently around the grave of Pastor Tom Wood.   “There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.” (John 1:6, NRSV) Pastor Tom Wood...

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Passion and Wisdom ©

While “sheltering in place,” Jolynn and I have enjoyed a return to “Sunday night at the Movies.” A few weeks ago, we watched the great old action flick “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.” Early this week, I came across an arresting reflection on ...