Your Following

“To follow Jesus means to follow Jesus into a society where justice rules, where love shapes everything. To follow Jesus means to take up his dream and work for it.”

— Scot McKnight

Dear Friends:

Where are you being called to follow?

The concept of “following” holds unique meaning in this era of social media. When you “follow” someone, it means you sign up to receive notifications or you at least agree to “see” when they post something on Facebook, Twitter, etc. And, as you probably know, who you follow and the content they post matter. Soon enough, you start to scroll. And you see different content–such content that is curated for you based on who you follow.

Illustration of social media terms

Following, before the internet and social media, was looked at quite differently. If you followed someone, it was because you would otherwise get lost and needed directions to your destination. So you walked behind or beside them, or followed them in your car or bike. You followed them to arrive safely and well.
Also, people followed teachers and spiritual leaders. They chose to follow them because they felt that what they said and taught resonated or helped them in some way, or inspired them. Thus, people might say: “I follow the teachings of…”

So when you think about Jesus of Nazareth and following, consider that for those Jesus encountered, they were invited to both follow physically and spiritually. They would actually walk with Jesus, travel with him, eat with him, live with him. They would follow by tangibly caring for the marginalized. They followed by healing. Likewise, they followed Jesus’ teachings and his call to justice and love work that began in the mind and heart and was lived out in actions.

So friends, at this moment, how are you being called to follow this love and justice? How are you following physically with your hands and feet, skills, and gifts? How are you following spiritually, with your mind, spirit, and attention?

By the way, Ramadan Mubarak to all my Muslim friends and colleagues! Here are some pictures from the Ramadan Breaking of the Fast with our dear friends at the Islamic Cultural Society of the Delaware Valley.

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Josh grew up in the Midwest before completing a B.A. in Theatre at Northwestern College [IA] and a Masters of Divinity [M.Div.] at Princeton Theological Seminary [NJ]. An ordained minister in the United Church of Christ [UCC], Josh has lived and worked in the Midwest, East Coast, Hawai’i, and Mexico. He is the co-founder and Executive Director of The Welcome Project PA, host of the Bucks-Mont PRIDE Festival, and he is Pastor of Love In Action UCC, an open and affirming congregation featured in a Vox Media episode of Divided States of Women with Liz Plank and in the Philadelphia Inquirer. Josh has 20+ years of nonprofit experience, including leading workshops and training in corporate, medical, and academic settings, focused on diversity & inclusion, grant writing, fund raising, and program management. Josh is a fellow of Interfaith Philadelphia, and designs and coordinates HS and University student groups for interfaith immersion service-learning weeks. Josh also co-facilitates Ally trainings for LGBTQIA+ inclusion and interfaith cooperation. He is a founding member of The Society for Faith & Justice, and a Collaborator for Nurturing Justice, and a member of the Driving PA Forward team via New Sanctuary Movement. He also performs regularly with the dinner theatre company, Without a Cue Productions, and has developed theatre arts curriculum for use in religious and secular settings. Josh also enjoys running, singing, traveling, learning languages, or making strange and funny faces. He lives in Center City Philly.

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