From the Pastor
	This is a good month to do something very simple:  spread kindness!  Perhaps you will agree with me that there’s not enough kindness in the world.  When you start looking for them, examples of unkindness stand out more than anything else.  From careless and thoughtless actions to comments left for others on Instagram and Twitter, unkindness runs rampant.  It’s not as though you can’t find any kindness at all; just that the opposite becomes so noticeable.
	When I was first getting started in ministry, I was asked to write for a column in the local, small-town newspaper on the topic of “tolerance.”  Another pastor had been asked to share his views, as well.  Honestly, I don’t even remember what I wrote about.  Knowing me, it probably had something to do with the mercy of God being experienced in the life of believers, and how believers were called to share that same mercy with others.   What I do remember, though, is something of what the other pastor wrote.  He wrote from a perspective of superiority, so sure that his own church was the only correct one, while all the other bumbling and stumbling churches around could only just be “tolerated” by those who were in the right.  I remember getting aggravated over this and calling the editor of the newspaper to complain.  I received a sympathetic response, with the promise that the instructions that were sent out to the pastors who were contributing to the column would be altered to stipulate less-judgy columns.  There was even a kind of eye-roll (over the phone):  you know how these pastors can sometimes get!
	But that was a good reminder for me to try to stay humble.  You never know how your own attitudes are going to be received by those around you.  And it seems to me that kindness goes hand in hand with humility.
	There may be people in your life right now that irritate you.  Perhaps they’re not doing anything intentionally, but the things they do or say really get under your skin.  Perhaps “tolerate” is a good word to describe how you act around them.  But I’m going to suggest that you replace tolerance with kindness.  Have a little humility—or, at least enough to realize that the people around you aren’t perfect, and you certainly aren’t, either.  Try not to judge them too harshly, and remember that someone could well be judging you for something that you’ve said or done, too.  And try your best to find something in the people around you that is worth loving.  Around the middle of this month, we’re going to be sharing a scripture from Paul’s letter to the Colossians that speaks about Christ as the head of the body, the church.  It also includes this amazing, but sometimes overlooked line:  in him, all things hold together.
	Sometimes, we really are a motley crew—in the church, and in our own lives.  But Christ holds us together.  And he is the one who makes it possible for us to love one another.
	So, be sure and spread some kindness this month.  It’s a very hospitable thing to do!
	Blessings to you this July!
	Peace and love,
	Pastor Jim

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