Wednesday, May 28, 2008

2008 Minnesota Annual Conference: "Change is Strange"

The 2008 conference opened last night with Bishop Sally Dyck's Episcopal Address. As usual it was a wonderful address that was both challenging and uplifting simultaneously. Change is strange! It is something that is different. Change takes out of what we know ias comfortable and introduces us to a different way of being or thinking.

It hit me as I was reflecting today that I haven't created an avenue for many at Chatfield UMC to express their anxieties, fears, or hopes that may be e result of the pastoral change when I was appointed last year. The change was probably drastic. Going from a retiring pastor who had been in the ministry over 30 years to a probationary pastor who was just beginning his ministry had to be a system shock to a certain extent.

It is my hope that the change has brought some strange things, but hopefully the strange things have brought about new perspectives and have challenged us to a deeper sense of discipleship.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Word of God Spoken

Since Monday, I have been up in Minneapolis at The Festival of Homiletics (i.e. festival of preaching) So far it has been moving but very challenging. It has been challenging because so far the speakers have been speaking to the areas of preaching that challenge me the most. Areas such as preaching a sermon that speaks the word of God even though in the end the people might not like you for it. The whole idea that the Word of God should make us uneasy because it should speak to our shortcomings and should call us to the way God would have us live. I would write more but I am typing this on my phone as I ride the MetroTransit rail up to downtown Minneapolis.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

General Conference Reflection: Fear and Hesitation

Just a quick reflection upon the live feed I have been watching from General Conference in Ft. Worth, Texas. The morning session has mainly been focusing on name changes of central conferences and the possibilities of new structures for the United Methodist Church worldwide.

The theme has been this: We are afraid of change, We want to spend years studying and studying and studying, we are in hesitation to make a leap of faith.

What if the Trinity worked in the way that General Conference? Can you imagine God have an inner debate and the Son saying to the Spirit, we should refer this to a study. I am not sure the United States is ready for a revival and I am not sure that this is the right time for it to occur. Yes let us wait and make sure that we can have a committee help us by studying the impact and coming back to us with a proposal.

Ridiculous. Let us take a leap. Let us surrender control over to God and trust that God will provide for us. We are being to dependent upon our own devices. I kept hearing words of "fear" and having "comfort" in referring it to further study. And the church wonders why young people are growing disallusioned with the Methodist Church. (As a side note: The two people who spoke against the referral were two young woman of my age or younger. The last young lady t0 speak basically said what I had just typed, that only God knows the future.)

All I can do is continue to pray for us as a body of disciples. Pray that God will open our hearts and minds to let God work.

**Addendum: The motion to refer was rejected. Perhaps there is hope (although the vote was about 60% against referral to 40% for referral)