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When Hate is the Motive- We Are All Targets

When Hate Is The Motive We Are All Targets
by Ed Chasteen

He hated Jews. So he killed two Methodists and a Catholic. Sounds like a sick joke. But it happened. Right here in Greater Kansas City.

On a pleasant Sunday afternoon, April 13, 2014, a man's whose website rants against Jews went to the Jewish Community of Greater Kansas City and used a shotgun to kill a 69 year old grandfather and his 14 year old grandson as they sat in their car. He then went to Shalom Village a short distance away where he shot and killed a 54 year old woman making her weekly visit to her mother. The man with the gun in his hand and hate in his heart targeted two Jewish sites and killed three Christians.

The grandfather and grandson were members of a Methodist church, coming to the Jewish Community Center so the grandson could audition for a singing contest. The woman was a member of a Catholic church, visiting her mother who lives at Shalom Village.

Among us everyday in everyplace live those whose hearts and heads have been given over to a hatred of some group they despise so much that no reason can penetrate. And when they act on that hate, as some always will, they, in their blind fury, strike down whoever comes in sight.

We all are potential victims. So let us come together now to mourn these three persons who were killed. On an ordinary day when they were doing oirdinary things, blind hatred ended their lives and forever changed the lives of those who loved them.

Let us also draw close to these two Jewish sites. They are precious places whose presence among us elevates us all, giving us all a glimpse of how we might better live together and treat each other.

Posted by Kelsey Adams at Tuesday, April 22, 2014
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Don't Skip Friday


“Yes, Jackson?”

“Is it Sunday yet?”

“No Jackson, it’s not Sunday.”

*Slightly agitated* “Yes, Daddy, it’s Sunday. It IS Sunday!”

“Huh?” *processing* Oh. I guess I made a mistake.

It happened only a day before. In an attempt to give our 5 year old something to look forward to, I informed him that after only 3 more Sundays, we’d be taking a trip to visit his grandparents in Texas. That was a mistake. It was a mistake to give our 5 year old that much advanced notice. We are trying to teach delayed gratification, but 3 weeks of at ease grandparent anticipation may be pushing it.

“May” may be a slight understatement.

Because instead of Sunday becoming a nice benchmark for each waiting week, Sunday became every day. My wife loved me for that. Loved me because almost every day between mentioning the promised land of grandparents and the day we left to see them, Jackson asked hopefully (assertively?) if today was Sunday. And if it wasn't, disappointment ensued.

Because Jackson only wanted it to be Sunday.

Because Jackson only wanted it to be THE Sunday.

And Because Jackson didn’t understand why we couldn’t simply skip every other day to get there.

We’re like this too. We’d like to skip the waiting, skip the wanting, skip struggling; skip the suffering. If it were up to us, we’d skip through life, stopping only when the ground beneath our feet feels immediately strong enough to hold our hopes and support our dreams.

But life’s not like that. And, by the way, the gospel isn't like that either.

This sometimes gets masked by the way we choose to worship. I often hear people tell me that they come to church to “feel better” or “uplifted.” “I want to hear or experience something that helps me get through the week ahead,” they say. And I get that. I want that too.


When I hear that it’s almost always from someone who’s looking for their weekly injection of joy. There’s a large place for this. As a rule, we should practice praise more often than we do.


There’s also a large need for places where we can gather together and be real. Places where we live our waiting, intentionally. Places where we name our wanting, honestly. Places where sit with our struggles, corporately. Places where we acknowledge that in between promise and fulfillment there is suffering.

Denying our need for these places denies the nuances of our humanity. Denying our need for these places in worship makes the church into a place that cannot hold the nuances of our humanity.


If a community of faith cannot handle the nuances of our humanity, then how will any of us ever find something (or someone) there that can truly help us get through the week? And not just some weeks. All of them.

I’m reminded of these applicable words on friendship from Henri Nouwen:

When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.” 

At her best, the Church ought to offer us this kind of friendship.

Most churches ought to be at their best this week. This week ought to hold all of that nuance together. This is Holy Week, and there is much more hiding in Holy Week than the eggs we hope to find on Sunday.

Holy Week is full of dark drama. If you were in a worship service last Sunday, you've already marched into this week Palms waving. Jesus, sitting atop his low horse has moved into Jerusalem with triumphant shouts ringing in his ears. If you were looking for an injection or two of joy this week you probably got one Sunday. It might have even been enough to get you through the week.

It might. But given the week ahead that would be a little strange. Because it wasn't enough for Jesus.

No, Jesus also had this strange and memorable meal with his closest friends on Thursday, punctuated by him washing their feet like a lowly slave. In the midst of it all, one of his best friends betrayed him. On this side of things that may seem almost trivial.

Of course it was. The betrayal of good friends is always trivial.

After that he prayed himself into a sweaty mess, was taken away by the authorities, put on trial, convicted, beaten to a pulp, executed like a common criminal, stuck with a spear to make sure he was dead, and finally, tucked away in a tomb so that he and his legacy could complete the process of decay.

All of this happened before Sunday.

All of this needed to happen before Sunday.

And, I think, all of us still need this to happen before Sunday.

We need a gospel that can hold our unrealistic expectations on Palm Sunday, and our feelings of fear and betrayal on Thursday. We need a gospel that sits honestly with us in our suffering on Friday, and silently with us in our depression on Saturday. We need a gospel full of hope for our living, breathing humanity, a gospel that understands that try as we might, none us has figured out how to successfully skip from Sunday to Sunday.

We can’t skip over the difficult relationships. We can’t skip over the unexpected diagnosis. We can’t skip over the pain, the poverty, the professional disappointments, the miscarriages, the misunderstandings, the despair, the depression, the trials or the tragedies. We can’t skip over them. On a week when hate has claimed three loving lives in Overland Park Kansas it has become all too clear that we cannot skip over them. We can’t, and it’s dishonest and dishonoring to pretend like we can. We can’t skip from Sunday to Sunday.

And neither could Jesus.

To be sure, without the hope of Sunday, Friday would mean nothing. Without the hope of Sunday the gospel would have decayed into the dusty corners of Jesus’ borrowed tomb. But with Sunday coming, there’s gospel in Friday too.

The writer of Hebrews tells us that we have a high priest in Jesus who can more than handle our suffering, more than heal our suffering; he can empathize with it. And he can because he has fully experienced the frail and fragile nuances of our humanity. This is good news. This is the gospel too.

So, of course, if you want, you can easily move straight on from palm waving to Jesus raising. But if you do, you may miss part of the gospel. And right now, it may be the part you need the most.

“May” may be a slight understatement.

So please, don’t skip Friday.

Senior Pastor
Taken from
Posted by Kelsey Adams at Thursday, April 17, 2014
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Sharing Our Stories : The Bridge

Belong. Believe. Become. These words have come to symbolize so much what we’re after as we attempt life together as an ever-growing community of faith. And we hope that they are happening among us simultaneously and sequentially. 

There is purpose in the sequence. We led with belong for a reason. We want folks at every level of church life, from newcomer to life timer, to experience belonging. But, of course, we realize there are different levels of belonging. 

Our goal is that all of us will come to experience the deepest level of belonging possible. This happens when we move from the sequential experience of that first feeling of belonging to the place where belong, believe, and become are happening simultaneously. This is what we mean in our mission statement when we say that Second Baptist Church is committed to fostering meaningful, Christ-centered community.  Meaningful Christ-centered community is a place where true belonging nurtures deep transformation. In us. Through us. All around us. 

But how do we get there? How do we become that kind of community? 

One of the most powerful tools we have in this endeavor is Story. We have to learn to find ourselves in the larger story of God. And we have to learn to find each other in that Story as well. 

We do this by learning and sharing. By learning and sharing God’s story. By learning and sharing our stories. 

At Second Baptist we have many mediums for this: worship, small groups, classes, fun events and shared mission opportunities are a few of the ways we pursue this. But they are not the only ways. We need to share our stories, and in this busy, on-the-go world, we’re always looking for new ways to do that. 

This is one of those ways. This thing you’re holding in your hand is the first edition of “The Bridge.” It will come out 3 times annually. When you see it, I hope you’ll grab it, open it, and spend some time with it. Because it’s filled with stories. Your stories. Our stories. Stories that unveil and inspire our life together. Stories that may serve as a bridge between us and others.  Stories that are meant to celebrate and foster true belonging, so that deep transformation is continually being nurtured in us, through us, and all around us. 

We hope you enjoy this first step onto the Bridge. May it be one of many each of us takes toward meaningful, Christ-centered community… 

Stepping forward,

Posted by Kelsey Adams at Wednesday, April 16, 2014
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