by Rev. Justin Cox, First Baptist Statesville
from www.blacksheepbaptist.com, May 25, 2018
This week I began serving full time at my church in Statesville. As much as I love sitting in a classroom during the academic year, I look forward to the summer months for the experience of truly being able to practice presence with the congregation God has called me to serve. For example, so much can happen between Monday and Wednesday that I feel I have to play catch-up when I come back after being away for just a couple of days. When attending classes, I feel as if I exist in a perpetual “half-life” state of not being able to give myself fully to either the church or academia. While I might have become proficient at this it’s not a desired state. Doing life with people is a day in day out commitment and the summer months allow me to flesh out what this actually means in a practical sense. This past Tuesday, I got to observe and participate first hand in what this looks like.
In the two years I’ve served in Statesville I have seen the community come together and express concern about a number of issues. Be it the opinions on the removal of Confederate statutes or the issue of gun violence, local news sources have shown the people of Statesville are ready to discuss these hard issues. Simultaneously, this community wants to celebrate who they are (as seen in this UNC-TV spotlight) while looking to the future with a hopeful vision of who they could be. The “Longest Table” event put on by the United Way of Iredell was a step in helping facilitate conversation around these topics. … read more