Reformation 2017

500 years after Luther tacked his 95 theses on the church door, Seattle has its own reformer.

Well over a year ago, University Congregational United Church of Christ member, Rock Moulton first talked to me about his conviction that as we prepare for a historical commemoration of the Reformation that we need a New 95 Theses focused on injustice and the failure of compassion.

Like Luther’s 95 theses, Rock believes we need to post on the doors of our churches and the doors of our hearts issues of injustice.  Issues that I often fail to see or know how to respond to.  Issues like racial inequity, the criminal justice system and incarceration society, gender equity and environmental justice.  As Rock puts it, “The New 95 seeks to provide resources to empower people to take action, and to expand our justice ministry to the wider community.”

I will leave it to Rock to speak more about the specifics of the project and I know he welcomes your engagement and imagination on how and where this idea could take root.  I’ve included here some pictures from the display at University Congregational UCC on Rock’s project and you can link in to find out more at his website at

What I want to testify to today is the difference it has made to me when someone like Rock has an idea and makes the commitment to say that it matters and shares it with others.  What a difference it makes when someone invests in an audacious and grand idea in the hope that it might catch on and catch fire in others imaginations.

Perhaps the tending of the ideas and imagination we have been given is the very heart of reformation.  It’s the conviction to believe that the story is not over yet, that there is somewhere wider and deeper that we are called to go.  It’s the conviction that we don’t need only to remember what was happening in the church 500 years ago but must wrestle with naming where we stand today and how we hope to step into tomorrow.

Rock has taken his little idea and grand vision to share in Germany at Kirchentag – a biennial meeting/convention/festival for the German reformed church.  Rock set up at booth in the “Marketplace of Possibilities” (which filled four huge exhibition rooms!)  As he put it, “My goal was to encourage others to take up a similar project in their own countries and post their own thesis.”  He took his idea to the General Synod of the United Church of Christ in Baltimore last summer as well.

I know it must be discouraging that these little ideas we are given sometimes don’t seem to take root and catch fire as we hoped they might.  And yet, I for one want to testify that the sharing of these ideas make a difference.

This Reformation Sunday I won’t so much remember all that Martin Luther and the reformers did (most of which I have forgotten since divinity school!) but see and celebrate what Rock is doing today – calling the church to wrestle with where we stand and who we stand with and for.  His call and challenge for us to step forth into a deeper love and wider justice for all.

After attending Kirchentag, Rock wrote, “I had no idea that something like this was possible. I might go to the next one to see everything else.”

Thank you Rock for inspiring this pastor to see beyond what I thought was possible to what might yet be.  Thanks for reminding me that the work of reformation keeps on.