Senior Pastor Jeff Hoffmeyer thinks now, more than ever, community members might best be served by viewing political issues through a spiritual lens.
Many believe matters of state and religion should remain separate and distinct, but La Cañada Presbyterian Church Pastor Jeff Hoffmeyer thinks now, more than ever, community members might best be served by viewing political issues through a spiritual lens.
That’s why he recently embarked on a six-week sermon series, “Faith in the Public Square,” that explores how Christian beliefs intersect with the political sphere. Given that this year is an election year, the timing seemed appropriate, he said.
“Like anyone, I note the divisiveness and the rise of anxiety whenever politics come up,” Hoffmeyer said. “Rather than ignore it, I was hoping we could step into it in a way that brings unity rather than disunity.”
In conjunction with the sermon series the church will host three speaker forums that aim to examine how people of divergent backgrounds and beliefs might come together in the spirit of civility to address problems affecting wider society.
The public talks begin Tuesday at 6:45 p.m., when former Fuller Theological Seminar President Richard Mouw presents “Convicted Civility.” Hoffmeyer said the talk will provide participants with tools that will allow them to broach tough subjects with people whose viewpoints may differ.
“There is a lot from the life and teaching of Jesus that commands a certain kind of civility,” he said. “It’s about empathy, the desire and ability to step into the shoes of another and to be interested, and curious even, in another perspective.”
In a second talk on Jan. 28, “Creation, Care and Climate Change,” LCPC member and JPL climate scientist Kevin Bowman joins psychotherapist Rick Lyon to discuss the fundamental scientific underpinnings of climate change and how individuals can help restore the balance of life.
“There’s always been this command, from the point of Genesis, that we should take care of this world we live in,” Bowman said. “In order to maintain that balance, we have to have a wholesale change about how we use energy. A new infrastructure based on renewable energy would give us a new path forward.”
A third talk on Feb. 18, “Race and Reconciliation,” will feature current Fuller President Mark Labberton and Presbyterian pastor John Williams, a former attorney who founded Fellowship Monrovia’s Center for Racial Reconciliation.
Hoffmeyer hopes participants walk away from the series and talks understanding how to speak civilly on matter that often divide people.
“I hope to carve a different path and show there’s a way you can practice your faith through your political engagement,” he said. “Part of that is offering the gifts our faith brings.”
FYI: “Faith in the Public Square” forums are free and take place Jan. 21, Jan. 28 and Feb. 18, at 6:45 p.m., at La Cañada Presbyterian Church, 626 Foothill Blvd. For more, visit lacanadapc.org or call (818) 790-6708.