Feb 17, 2022
DEAR MENLO CHURCH,
I’m giving away my age… I got my driver’s license right in the middle of the Chicago riots of 1968, at the height of progress against the Vietnam War. You might remember that the Democratic National Convention was in Chicago that summer, so a group of us decided we’d go downtown and join the protests… probably the A+W was closed:). We got about halfway there, taking the local streets rather than the Expressway, when we were stopped at the the city boundaries by a policeman with a big stick and a bigger gut. “Where you kids going?” “Well downtown, officer." “Turn around and get back to the suburbs! Get the @#$% out of here!” And there went my career as a protestor. Not a very heroic tale, is it, whatever you thought of that conflict?
But it made me think of "making a difference" while we walk through Black History Month as a divided country. I went to hear Sidney Poitier speak, and wanted to be like him for years afterward… who could be that cool and faithful at the same time? I went to college as a Black Studies minor, but only learned about race as I was mentored by John Perkins and former gang leader Tom Skinner. Deep in faith linked to justice, John would entrance me with stories (‘Cwozby, my nose like dis cuz dey stuck a fork into it and turned… and that was in jail’… ‘I could either learn to hate ‘em or forgive ‘em, not both”). He sponsored me to the World Vision board, and we went to South Africa. I prayed in a room with the Deputy Prime Minister and our Black guide drove off saying, “That’s the first time I ever prayed with a white man before.”
It’s not all about skin. My deepest leader in race is Wayne Gordon, a roommate in college and captain of the football team. Born in Fort Dodge, Iowa, somehow God called him to the inner city of Chicago, where he pastors Lawndale Church and leads the nationwide Christian Community Development Agency. You just SEE the world differently when you’re the only white person in the restaurant or when your friend asks you to cross the street so you won’t pass the policeman. Gordy has led me to claim Amos as our favorite prophet: “I hate your fasts and feasts because you oppress the poor… But let Justice roll down like a mighty river…"
We have come so far, as a church and as a nation, but this last cycle shows how far we have yet to go. I keep coming back to my small part, to our small duties as Christians of power and privilege, thinking how we must risk in faith. Like Bishop Tutu said to the guards surrounding him as he was released from jail and went immediately into church to celebrate; he began to dance his little jig and turned, calling out to the suspicious guards, “Come on over, come on in! You’re on the wrong side, but come over to the winning side!” May we, too, brothers and sisters, find ourselves on the "winning side," where wait the heroes of the faith and the Lord of grace and justice. Let’s take steps at Menlo Church, small steps with grace and humility, toward what John Lewis called "good trouble. Keep getting in Good trouble.”
John Crosby, Transitional Pastor
PICK UP YOUR LENT DEVOTIONAL THIS MONTH
The church journeys to Easter in a season called Lent, which begins March 2, Ash Wednesday. To take this journey together, we are providing a devotional guide with readings, reflection questions, and weekly activities. Look for the guide online and at your campus in mid-February, and invite your friends and Life Group to journey with you.
WALK OR RUN TO HELP FIRST RESPONDERS
Join us on your own schedule the weekend of March 19-20 to run, walk, or stroll a mile or two for our third annual Run For Hope. For every mile you run or walk, Menlo Church will commit $25 toward supporting first responders in the Bay Area, up to a total of $125k. REGISTER for your miles to count.
ARE YOU GOING THROUGH A HARD TIME?
There is no need to struggle alone. Stephen Ministry provides Christian, one-to-one care to anyone going through a difficult time, a transition, or crisis and needs encouragement and support. This is not therapy but a listening ear and a prayer partner from a trained congregant. Learn more.
SENIOR PASTOR SEARCH UPDATE POSTED
Check our website to stay up to date with the Senior Pastor search. We recently posted an update from the search committee, as well as an update to the search timeline. We make updates approximately once a month, so check back periodically to avoid missing news.