Thursday, January 6, 2011

Building a Better World

The day “in between” is often a gift for me. The day before returning to work and the day after returning home from vacation are filled with thoughts of the blessings of the Christmas holidays, New Years’ Eve birthday celebration and the anticipated opportunities and challenges of a new year.

Goals and decisions and requests and requirements are now front and center. Even so, the “in between” days will keep coming along the way, often in a schedule that more frequently honors the church more than God.

I am entering this New Year with attention to words that call me to be my authentic self as I invite others to build a better world.

Words are conduits of our path and purpose. When our words are in concert with our actions, they can inspire. I can be inspired to be a better spouse, leader, parent, friend and yes, a more faithful Christian.

Aspire, a book by author Kevin Hall, focuses on discovering the power of words. Inspire means to breathe life into another’s dreams.

As a Bishop of the church, I certainly want to use words, and invoke actions, that breathe life into our dreams and common mission. Too often Christians pass on the hundreds of opportunities we are given to inspire.

One of our Iowa Conference pastors was sharing with me her experience growing up in her church as a child. She remembers, to this day, serving as an acolyte when the Bishop was visiting her church. As she lit the altar candle, Bishop Jordan leaned over to her and said, “I see the light of Christ in you.” Her commitment today to preach and live out the good news of the Gospel for all of God’s children is testimony that affirmation matters.

I invite you to join me in embracing a few new words in 2011. If not new words, maybe taking a longer time to examine and live with some familiar words: peace as shalom; justice as restorative; journey as in your life; building a better world that may hinge on looking at the woman or man in the mirror.

What does it mean to be authentic?

Authentic comes from two words: “autos” which means self and “hentes” which means being. Authentic means being yourself.

Kevin Hall suggests there are some words that should be exported from the East to the West because they are so rich in meaning: the greeting, “Namaste” (pronounced nah-mah-Stay) - I honor the divine in you, the place in you that light, love and peace abide; and “Genshai” which means, “we should never treat another person in a manner that would make them feel small.

What would happen in the State of Iowa if every United Methodist were determined to greet every person, acknowledging the divine handprint of love and peace in them, making a commitment to never treat others as though they were less than the beloved of God?

The day between will come
I pray you pause and think
No other life than this
Vast changes in a blink.

The day between will come
I dare not miss the best
Authentic self, true shalom
The blessed Sabbath rest.

Be encouraged,

Bishop Julius C. Trimble


  1. I'm so glad I read this blog post. It was thought provoking. What if all UM's in every state did the things you asked of Iowa? What if it spread throughout the world and denominations? A lofty goal, but one worth thinking about. Ted Williams, homeless man to employed, is in the news now and it makes you grateful that someone took the time to greet him, see his God-given talent and treated him as a fellow beloved of God.

    Thank you for your encouragement.

  2. Perhaps that which is "in between" always exposes the authentic self.
    Like the marrow of the thing, the "in between" may offer life in the fullest.