Monthly Archives

January 2022


Dear Gatherers,

In a former life as a marketing exec, I spent a chunk of time doing pro bono work for non-profits. That put me in touch with a lot of very rich people and clogged my calendar when gala season ran full throttle. Every other week found me suiting up for another long evening of silent auctions, fancy food, and congratulatory speeches about how the charity worked wonders for folks who couldn’t possibly afford to go to these events. I began to notice, other than the speakers, nobody talked much about the plight of the poor between sips of Champagne. Guests spent their time bragging about pricey vacations, kids in private schools, high-end purchases, and so on. (It really is like in the movies, only quieter.) Then there was always the uneasy moment when someone who’d been helped by the charity spoke. The audience would well up with tears, a standing ovation would follow, and the poor person would be invited to stay for a little bit—but not too long. So often I left these shindigs with F. Scott Fitzgerald’s quote in my ears: “The rich are different from you and me.”

The deeper we get into Job’s story, the easier it is to forget Job started out as a very rich man and much of what he goes through is a life of unlearning. Last week’s study pointed out how his buddies kept tossing theology at him, explaining his problem in theory, while he pushed back, saying, “That’s not how it works.” And while Job might have been a gala regular in his heyday, concrete experience has reordered his thinking. His struggle has forced him to regard the suffering of others in very real, concrete, lived-in ways.

This week’s discussion is all about one of the age-old questions of justice: How can a loving God allow suffering? But Job complicates the issue by moving us away from an objective understanding of grief and poverty into their actualities. Are there ways we can get closer to the suffering of others? Hopefully, we’ll end our time together with a few ideas about that. Join us at 7:30p CST via Zoom by clicking the link below.

I look forward to what you all will bring to the conversation!

Peace, with gratitude,
Pastor Tim




As we announced in last week’s newsletter and Bible study, I’m asking everyone to set aside this coming Saturday from 10a-11:30a CST for an important vision meeting. During this time, we’ll get updated on last year’s activities and business, as well as prayerfully consider what our next steps should be going forward. Obviously, the pandemic through a wrench in several projects we were just beginning to undertake. Despite that, we have been faithful and continued to grow in a variety of ways.


There are several questions before us at this juncture:

  • How do we build on the community we’ve created during the pandemic to expand our reach in communities we’re called to serve?
  • What kinds of relationships should we consider forging from a denominational standpoint?
  • What connections have we made in social justice and activist circles and how do we strengthen or secure them?
  • What kinds of additional support do we need to draw more people, talent, and resources into our community?


We also have some ideas we want to discuss about our next phases as a worshiping and learning community. How can we expand our reach, amplify our voice, and increase our frequency of engagement? What talents and ideas might you have to create new channels and outlets to help Gather usher in its new life after the pandemic? There’s plenty of room and opportunity for everyone to bring their best!


God has been so good to us. And we couldn’t have come this far without your faithful participation, creativity, prayer, and giving. It’s time to get ready for the next phase, when we throw our doors open and welcome many more into this great group of people!


I look forward to seeing you all at 10a CST on Saturday






Our weekly discussions from the Book of Job have been enlightening and, rather surprisingly, uplifting! This week we get to know Job’s buddies a little better—the three neighbors who drop by to console him and accompany him in his troubles. What they’ve got to say will sound very familiar to our postmodern ears, because they’re traditionalists to a fault. (One of them actually says, “You need to be more like the old folks!”) So this week, we uncover tensions between what’s always worked and what needs to work now. It’s an age-old problem in religion, where the compulsion to get things settled once and for all clashes with honest confession that sometimes long-accepted notions about God and suffering and justice don’t work. Read Job 8-17 (it flies by) and come ready to have another lively conversation this Thursday evening at 7:30 CST.



Teach me, and I will be silent;
make me understand how I have gone wrong.
How forceful are honest words!
But your reproof, what does it reprove?”

Job 6:24-25


Dear Gatherers,
Every now and then I find myself working away, when for no apparent reason, I get an incomprehensible ERROR message—something like “The operation can’t be completed because an unexpected error occurred (error code = 50).” Talk about overstating the obvious! Clearly, there’s a problem. But what have I done to cause it and how can it be fixed? That’s when things get frustrating, because now I’m searching for answers from people who clearly don’t think or talk like me. My impatience skyrockets. I feel stupid and helpless and, frankly, disrespected. If someone would simply explain what’s gone wrong in layman’s terms, I’d know how to rectify my predicament. But how do I fix my situation if I can’t make any sense of the message?
That’s where we find Job this week. After he’s lost everything except his life, three friends drop by to sit with him. They wait for him to start the conversation, which begins with something we can all relate to: I wish I’d never been born! The first of his friends, Eliphaz, jumps in, no doubt feeling good about the advice he’s offering. Yet it only frustrates Job more. All of Eliphaz’s talk about God’s supreme wisdom and power and human inadequacy doesn’t compute. It’s like those ERROR messages, only worse, because Job’s life crashed, not his laptop.
Not all God-talk is good talk. Sometimes people get so busy defending God they miss what’s really needed: a shoulder to lean on or an honest friend who says, “I don’t get it either.” This week’s look at Job’s dilemma continues with what will be a very long and complicated chat. As we eavesdrop on Job and his buddies, I believe we’ll also find tools for dealing with ERROR messages that frustrate our own faith—as well as wisdom about how to avoid the kind of God-talk that isn’t good talk.
The conversation starts this Thursday at 7:30p CST on Zoom. Click below to join in. I look forward to seeing everyone there!

Peace and blessings,
Pastor Tim




Happy New Year Gatherers!

We start 2022 with a wallop, looking into one of the Bible’s oldest (maybe the oldest) and most difficult books—the Book of Job. Nearly everybody knows a little bit about Job. He’s the good guy who loses everything for no good reason. (Actually, he’s the unwitting pawn in a macabre wager between God and God’s adversary.) The Book of Job, then, is often characterized an ancient take on When Bad Things Happen to Good People. That’s one way of looking at it, since Job suffers unbearable hardship yet remains unable to explain why. Presumed laws of cause-and-effect don’t seem to apply here, although his friends think they know better. (Spoiler alert: they don’t.)

Still, what’s the point, if this Bible book can’t offer any real solace or solution to our quandaries about loss and grief, pain and injustice? The great Latin American theologian Gustavo Gutiérrez has a very interesting take that will serve as the starting point for our two-month study of Job. He says the book’s driving theme is something he calls “disinterested religion”—a faith that isn’t tethered to fear of retribution or hope of reward, a belief that simply stands on its own as a right and just way to be.

It’s an intriguing and timely idea at time when so much of our lives is framed by WIIFM (What’s In It for Me?), especially religion that too often coerces people into conformity through threats and promises. What would it be like to live faithful and just lives with no expectation of divine reward and completely without fear of God’s wrath? It’s hard to imagine a more liberating idea!  As we’ll see, it’s such a radical thought it challenges nearly everything we thought we knew about faith, God, life, and ourselves. (To get a head start, you should read Job chapters 1 and 2.)

Make sure you’re with us from the first discussion in Job. It’s going to be a thrilling time! We meet every Thursday evening at 7:30 CST via Zoom. Click the button below to access the study. I look forward to seeing everyone there!


Peace and blessings,

Pastor Tim






During our study of Job, we want to learn how closely his story reflects our own experiences. Each week we’ll ask a question and invite you to dash off a quick reply to Chris White, who’ll facilitate a group discussion about our own Job Moments. You don’t need to be eloquent or profound. Just a few sentences he can refer to as he leads the conversation. This week’s question is (drum roll):


Have you ever felt like a pawn in a cosmic game of good and evil?

 What happened and what made you feel that way?


Email your replies to Chris White at