A Theory on How to Fix the World

Allow me to be Captain Obvious for a moment: the world is messed up. You may have noticed.

Seems like most of the mess revolves around people being divided. I don’t mean diverse. I mean divided. Ideologically divided. Racially divided. Ethnically divided. Sexually divided. Economically divided. Religiously divided. A bunch of us, on any side of any of these divides, no doubt, believe in some version of living which Jesus described as “loving your neighbor as yourself.” But you may have also noticed that the starker the divides become, the less lovable everyone seems, and the harder this is to accomplish in the real world.

I have a suspicion that there’s a fix, and it isn’t “becoming a moderate.” It isn’t finding the middle ground. It isn’t turning a blind eye or canceling or legislating or tolerating or even, initially, the return to earth of Jesus Christ (although that’s the final fix, and the sooner the better, I say. Even, pray).

I think the fix is loving God.

There’s this story in the Gospels about Jesus going to the Temple at Jerusalem and getting really angry at the commerce He sees there. Table-flipping and small-animal stampedes ensue. Often this account gets interpreted as a story about justice, and it is, but I don’t think the starting point for Jesus was loving His neighbor as Himself. I believe Jesus’ impulse to justice was His love for God His Father.

The reason I think that is that that’s how the Gospels describe it. Jesus had such a great, unsullied, unhindered, uncomplicated relationship of love with God His Father that that is what fueled and motivated His love for other humans and the rest of creation. The love Jesus and the Father have for each other was the starting point for creation’s coming into being in the first place, and for the continued love of God for the world ever since.

When Jesus said that the Greatest Commandment was to “love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul and all your mind and all your strength,” He was inviting us into godlikeness. Loving God is the starting point. But even though He wasn’t asked for a runner-up commandment, He threw that one in, too–“Love your neighbor as yourself.” It’s an inevitable follow-on: the more we love the God who is love, the more we will know ourselves loved by that God, and the freer we will be to receive God’s love for the others around us, discovering that we love them, too.

This Way Up (Part 5): The Kingdom of the Heavens is HERE


Matthew 28:1-10; 16-20

Now that Jesus has changed the rules, how do we live right-side-up?


Scripture Reading: Bernice Rivera

Mini Message: Rev Barbara Jernigan

Main Message: Pastor Jenn (Rev Jennifer A G Layte)


This Way Up (Part 5): Am I Right orAm I Right…eous?


Matthew 27:11-14, 27-31, 38-54

How important is it to you to be right or make sure other people are doing/believing/expressing the right things? Why? What’s at stake? Is it possible that the “need to be right” is more an impulse of Empire than a way of the Kingdom? 


Scripture Reading: Bernice Rivera

Mini Message: Rev Barbara Jernigan (03:27)

Main Message: Pastor Jenn (Rev Jennifer A G Layte) (08:51)

This Way Up (Part 5): Priorities


Matthew 26:1-41

Are you playing Empire’s game or living Kingdom’s life? 



Scripture Reading: Bernice Rivera

Mini Message: Rev Barbara Jernigan

Main Message: Pastor Jenn (Rev Jennifer A G Layte)

Communion Song: Tim and Sandi Gunderman

Meet the Guides for Your Weekend “Away”

Rev. Bernard Smith is a native of Holyoke, MA. He is a Christian, a husband to his beautiful wife Antoinette Smith, proud father of Dyanna, Derrick, and Caleb and godfather of 7 more. He is a Preacher, Teacher, and Praise and Worship leader.
Bernard has been involved in the leadership of Bethlehem Baptist Community Church (BBCC) of Holyoke MA, since 1994. He has served as Director of Music, Passionate Worship Ministry Leader, Vacation Bible School teacher, Bible Study teacher as well as a Minister of Music for Zion Community Baptist Church. He served as an instructor of Old Testament History Books and Systematic Theology at Colegio Biblico Camino de Eamus (Emmaus Road College of the Bible in Holyoke MA). In 2014 Bernard was elevated to be the first Youth Minister at Bethlehem and continues to operate in that role.
Connect with Bernard:
facebook: facebook.com/bernard.smith.33
Jeff Campbell is a contemplative, father, husband, Special Education Administrator, and Christ Centered mystic. He fell in love with spiritual practice and committed himself to making meditation available to everyone. Jeff has planned spiritual retreats, facilitated discussion and formation groups, and written several books on spiritual practice, transition, and deconstruction. 
Connect with Jeff
website: https://thecontemplace.wordpress.com/
books: on Amazon and at Anamchara Books
facebook: https://www.facebook.com/faithingproject
Pastor Trey Ferguson is an avid indoorsman in Miami-Dade County, Florida. He serves on the pastoral staff at the Refuge Church in Homestead, Florida where he helps provide direction in the areas of communication and discipleship. Additionally, he is the co-host of the podcast Three Black Men: Theology, Culture, and the World Around Us and the host of The New Living Treyslation: Bona Fide Bible Talk with Pastor Trey. A graduate of the University of Miami and the Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology at Virginia Union University, he is most proud of his wife Jessica and their children: Jasmyne, RJ, and Kylie.
Connect with Trey:
podcasts: https://anchor.fm/threeblackmen; https://anchor.fm/treyslation
twitter: @PastorTrey05; @3BlackMen
insta: @PastorTrey05
patreon: https://www.patreon.com/threeblackmen
Rev. Jennifer A. G. Layte (Or Pastor Jenn. Or just Jenn) is a pastor, spiritual director, and founder of the Pilgrimage. She provides spiritual mentoring, formation, and direction for any seeking to deepen their relationship with God–or encountering God for the first time–facilitating movement toward wholeness in Christ and participation in local churches. A writer, teacher, and spiritual caregiver at heart, Jenn loves team building, introducing people to Jesus, and teaching the things she is also learning. 
Jenn married Paul in the last possible moment of her 30’s, and enjoys being his wife, as well as a stepmom, pet-mom, and auntie.
Connect with Jenn:
website: the-pilgrimage.org 
books: Trees in the PavementFavored One
twitter: @JenniferAGLayte; @PilgrimageOSF
instagram: @thejennstagram; @onpilgrimage
facebook: facebook.com/thepilgrimageOSF; facebook.com/CBCsouthbridge
support: The Sanctuary at Woodville
Lisa Colón DeLay is the author of The Wild Land Within (Broadleaf Books | 1517 MEDIA) and specializes in spiritual growth, transformation, and spiritual practices. She is a weekly broadcaster of a top-rate religion and spiritual program called Spark My Muse and she provides spiritual companionship and retreat events.
Connect with Lisa
website: lisadelay.com
book: The Wild Land Within
podcast: sparkmymuse.com
twitter: @lisadelay; @sparkmymuse
insta: @lisacolondelay
facebook: facebook.com/lisacolondelay; facebook.com/sparkmymuse
patreon: patreon.com/sparkmymuse — Support the work and find her writing, resources, news, and weekly episode companion pieces.
Anna E. Rosas serves as a Christian Educator at a PCUSA church in Miami, Florida. She is studying Spiritual Direction at North Park Seminary in Chicago. In her free time, she is wandering aimlessly on purpose taking pictures of architecture while sipping a cortado. Feel free to ask her about her literal pilgrimage on el Camino de Santiago. 
Kate Lee is a spiritual director in training, and also a yoga teacher, practicing through a Christian lens. Her personal yoga practice began in 2009 as a way to catch her breath and wrestle with God during a traumatic season. Kate accepted Christ in 2017, nearly 10 years later, after being led to church by her curious 4 year old daughter. Her relationship with Christ has brought tremendous and miraculous healing in many forms, including freedom from autoimmune disease. In 2020, her walk with God led her in a loop, full circle back to her yoga mat where she leads a barefooted ministry that’s rooted and grounded in Love and combines both yoga and spiritual direction. 
Connect with Kate
insta: @numa.yoga 
website: www.numa.yoga
Rev. Dr. Laurel G. Coolbaugh is the cofounder, codirector, and pastor of the Sanctuary at Woodville, a spiritual formation center in southern New England. Laurel offers individual spiritual direction to many directees, and has experience leading group spiritual direction and retreats. Laurel graduated from a Doctor of Ministry program where she developed a project on Contemplative Gaze, combining the arts with Lectio Divina to help people lean in and listen to God’s voice, drawing them into deeper intimacy with the Community of the Triune God. Eugene Peterson’s model of Pastor as Preacher and Spiritual Director is integral to who Laurel feels God is calling her to be in service of God’s Kingdom.
Laurel is graced to be married to Bill Coolbaugh, Director of the Boston International Students’ Ministry under Emmanuel Gospel Center’s Multiethnic Ministries, and mother to a wonderful adult son, who works as a sports journalist and is part of the leadership team at The Sanctuary.
Connect with Laurel:
website: sanctuaryatwoodville.org
podcast: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/sanctuary-at-woodville-podcast/id1531924971
twitter: @lcoolbaugh
insta: @laurelcoolbaugh; @sancatwoodville
facebook: facebook.com/laurelcoolbaugh; facebook.com/SanctuaryAtWoodville
support: The Sanctuary at Woodville

Winter Solace

What if instead of New Year’s Resolutions, you could start your year in community with people who are longing to live whole-person lives and are taking steps in that direction? 

In 2022, the Pilgrimage Online Spiritual Formation Ministry is offering our first virtual retreat. According to the liturgical church year, the first two Sundays of the calendar year are the Feasts of Epiphany (or The Three Kings—celebrating the freedom which all nations and cultures have, to bring their distinct gifts to Jesus the Messiah) and the Feast of the Baptism of Jesus (recognizing the full presence of the Trinity in affirming Jesus’ identity and mission to the world). Our retreat will be held over the second of these two weekends (January 7-9) and present a variety of spiritual practices and insights which celebrate both the “glory of the nations” dedicated to Christ, and the person of Christ Himself. 

The retreat is structured to engage what Jesus said is the Great Commandment: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. We will seek Jesus and His illumination of each of those areas, so that we can walk with hope into the coming year, fulfilling the Second Commandment to love our neighbors as ourselves.

Practices and teaching will be presented by a selection of pastors and spiritual directors excited and hopeful about affirming your own journey with and to God by sharing the ways we have found that help us interact with Jesus. We really hope you’ll join us!

This Way Up (Part 5): But Not Those Expectations


Matthew 24

What will be the sign of the end of the age and Jesus’ coming into His Kingdom? (A few reminders about biblical prophecy…and the Temple.)


Scripture Reading: Bernice Rivera

Mini-Message: Rev Barbara Jernigan

Main Message: Pastor Jenn (Rev Jennifer A G Layte)

This Way Up (Part 5): Great Expectations


Matthew 21:1-17

You’ve heard of Christmas in July? Welcome to Palm Sunday in October, or something like that.


Scripture Reading: Bernice Rivera

Mini Message: Rev. Barbara Jernigan

Main Message: Pastor Jenn (Rev. Jennifer A. G. Layte)

This Way Up (Part 4): Do You Know What You Are Asking?


Matthew 20:17-28

Have the disciples been getting the point? Has Central Baptist Church? Do any of us ever really know for sure what we are asking Jesus?


Scripture Reading: Ms. Bernice Rivera

Mini Message: Rev. Barbara Jernigan

Main Message: Pastor Jenn (Rev. Jennifer A G Layte)

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