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Showing posts from July, 2004

Racism in the United Methodist Church

Check out this article from United Methodist News Service:

Delegates say racism affected Southeast jurisdictional elections

Some excerpts:

July 28, 2004

A UMNS News Feature
By Michael Wacht*

LAKE JUNALUSKA, N.C. — While delegates to the 2004 Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference celebrated the historic election of two women bishops to the jurisdiction, some were also left hurt, angry and empty by proceedings they felt were unjust and racist.

The Rev. Geraldine McClellan, a member of the Florida delegation to the July 14-17 session, said racism was blatant at the conference, both in the balloting and in the way delegates interacted with each other.

Referring to the record 34 ballots taken to elect the slate of six bishops, McClellan said the balloting went on so long “for one reason—the SEJ refuses to elect a qualified, visionary African-American woman."

"In 1984, Bishop Leontine Kelly was an episcopal nominee in the Southeastern Jurisdiction. She left the jurisdictional con…

Youth, Church and Society, and a Ticket

Just recovering from a busy week.
Friday-Sunday was one of our conference youth events at Casowasco Camp/Retreat Center, and I am the Conference Youth Coordinator. This is a position I've had for a year now, and I still often feel like I'm learning the ropes, and this weekend was no exception, with plenty of glitches in things to keep me a little crazed all weekend. But, to me, the things that makes it worth doing for me are the youth and the faith they can sometimes express so eloquently when not keeping the chaperones running around after them. For example, the chair of our CCYM (Conference Council on Youth Ministries) is so often good enough to quote, and I wouldn't be surprised to see him head into ordained ministry, though he currently has other ideas. In one of his witnesses at our event he said, "It doesn't really matter to God when [our faith journey] starts, just that it does. All faith journeys start in the same place: with God." As  much as the yo…

Bishop Solomon preaches at NEJurisdictional Conference

I wanted to share a few quotes I jotted down from Bishop Solomon's sermon at Northeastern Jursidictional Conference last week.

He said, "Love is not a possession; it's an expression."
And his major points throughout:
1) "Rules are out. Relationships are in." What he had to say on this was most moving, I thought:
"Jesus was more concerned with relationships than rules . . . There is no shortage of people who are quick to remind you of the rules . . . At this last General Conference, time was spent solidifying the rules at the expense of sanctifying the relationships.Any community that is bound by legalism is not free to love."

2)"Individualism is out. Neighbors are in."
3) "Indifference is out. Responsibility is in."
4) "Literalism is out and truth is in." "Jesus is the plumb line for truth." "If you put the Apostle Paul up against that truth, even he is a little ragged around the edges."
5)…

Sudarshana Devadhar elected a bishop of the United Methodist Church

Congrats to Suda Devadhar, a D.S. from my NCNY annual conference, who was elected bishop last week. Suda is a good man, has a great passion for youth work, and will be accompanying our jurisdictional youth on their mission trip to India this December. Good stuff!


Sudarshana Devadhar elected a bishop of the United Methodist Church:

The Rev. Sudarshana Devadhar
July 14, 2004

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (UMNS) -- The Rev. Sudarshana Devadhar of the North Central New York Annual Conference has been elected a bishop by the Northeastern Jurisdictional Conference of the United Methodist Church.

Devadhar, the superintendent of the Ontario District, was elected Wednesday, July 14. He will fill one of the vacancies created in the denomination�s Northeastern Jurisdictional College of Bishops by the retirements of six bishops. The new bishops are being elected by 288 delegates attending the July 12-17 conference.
Devadhar, a native of India, will be one of 50 active U. S. bishops leading the United Meth…

Affirmation of Faith

I’m currently at NEJ conference, and at our service of retirement for 6(!) of our bishops, we read this affirmation of faith (no source cited, I think Bishop Susan Morrison may have written it herself):
We believe in God
Who loves us as a parent
Searching for us when we are lost,
Embracing us in our hurt,
Always looking for any reason to throw a party.
We believe in the risen Christ,
Who gathers all the lost and forgotten
Into a new community and tells them,
And us
We are forgiven, blessed and loved.
We believe in the Holy Spirit,
Who empowered the new community of followers
To share bread,
Tell stories of God’s love
And turn the world upside down.
We are a faith-filled
Spirit-empowered
Blessed community.


I’m not usually an affirmation-of-faith person, at least not the ones commonly recited in our congregations, because I usually end up questioning one or two of the theological positions said affirmations put forward. But this one really caught my attention, and so I post i…

Silk

Silk Soy Milk

So, back at the start of Lent, I began a half-hearted attempt to go vegan. While not successful in any strict sense, one thing I have managed is to give up milk at home, and switch to soy. Silk Soy milk has been my overwhelming favorite, particularly chocolate silk!
Finally, after starring at their carton while making a chocolate-soy-vegan-shake, I popped onto their website, and was pretty impressed with the advocacy they do - 100% wind renewable energy, soy beans grown on sustainable farms only, etc. The whole package. Check them out!

Ask Dr. Cobb!

Ask Dr. Cobb!

Did you know you can submit questions about process theology to the Dr. John Cobb at the Center for Process Studies?

I've mentioned, too often?, that John Cobb is one of my favorite theologians - and here's an illustration of why. I feel drawn to process theology in many ways - when I first was introduced to it in systematic theology in seminary
with this reader: Process Theology, I felt like I was finally reading something that answered, or at least addressed, a lot of questions that kept resurfacing in my faith journey. But process was like learning a whole new language, too, talking about God's 'lure', comparing eternity with everlastingness, simplicity/complexity, etc. What I like about John Cobb, though, is that despite what I perceive to be his great intellect, it seems so important to him that process theology does not get lost by becoming an inaccessible, unreadable essays and books. Keeping process theology a practical, applicable theology.�…

beliefnet: interview with william sloane coffin

Check out this story from beliefnet, an interview with William Sloane Coffin -I was drawn to it by a link from the textweek blog, and I really found it meaningful. Some excerpts:

"My own feeling is you have to be as pastoral as you can be without surrendering one single iota of ethical initiative. Nothing ever stops a minister from saying, in the middle of the sermon: 'What I now want to say it’s hard for me to say, so I can imagine how painful it’s going to be for some of you to hear. Let us remember that in the church, our unity is based not on agreement, but on mutual concern. So let me tell you what’s on my heart and mind and then you be good enough to tell me where you think I went wrong.'"

Yes! This is precisely the dilemma that I constantly have in ministry - prophetic/pastoral conflicts. How do I work for the social justice causes about which I am passionate without alienating the congregation I am serving, the congregation that trusts me but that is not at t…

Reflections on Luke 10:25-37 - Wesley White/Richard Fairchild quotes

On his site, Wesley White asks this question: "How many different ways can you speak about the importance of neighbors?"

He's talking about the Amos text for the lectionary on the 11th (7:7-17), but I think the question is more pervasive than that. How many times can Jesus speak about the importance of neighbors? How many times can God try to shake it into us that our concerns are few but overwhelming in their importance: love God, love neighbor.

I also really like Rev. Richard Fairchild's take on this Luke text in one of his sermons. He writes:

"It has been suggested - and I think rightly so given some of the teachings of the time and the reality of human nature at all times, that the lawyer
is really asking Jesus:

"Who is NOT my neighbour? Who is that I am allowed to ignore or to neglect? Perhaps even to hate? What is the minimal thing that I need to do to keep God's law of love - and what can I safely get away with not doing...

That is a horrify…

SojoNet - Claiming Religion Again for the Democrats

Check out this article from Sojourner's editor, Jim Wallis. In it, he urges Democrats to stop leaving religion, morals, and values, to the claim of Republicans.
I think this is a great and essentail issue for the elections. Why are the only 'morals' conservative morals? Why are the only values those that of the Republican party and the Bush administration? Here's a quote from the article:
"Some of us feel that our faith has been stolen; and it is time to take it back. In particular, an enormous misrepresentation of my Christian tradition has taken place. And because of an almost uniform media misperception, many people think Christian faith stands for political commitments that are almost the opposite of its true meaning. How did the faith of Jesus come to be known as pro-rich, pro-war, and only pro-American? It's time for a rescue operation-to get back to the historic, biblical, and a genuinely evangelical faith rescued from contemporary distortions. The g…

new bible translation?

Check out this article about a new bible translation, from a group of British Christians called The One.
The group, whose site I only briefly checked out, looks pretty interesting. Their members, says their site:
(1) Promote harmony between Christians.
(2) Participate with others in prayerful activity to establish peace, justice, dignity and rights for all.
(3) Live in a manner that supports sustainable use of the earth's resources.
(4) Challenge oppression, injustice, exclusion and discrimination.
(5) Accept one another, valuing their diversity and experience.

Seem like good value to me.

Anyway, their bible translation aims to make the text accessible for the unchurched. Obviously, liberties are taken with the text (aren't all translations this way?) Predictably, many Christians groups have already condemned it saying it "promotes fornication," which doesn't exactly seem to be the case from the quotes I've read! But definitely some fun and a good discussio…

thoughts on Luke 10:1-11, 16-20 from Preaching Peace

Found this at one of my favorite sites, Preaching Peace, by Michael Hardin and Jeff Krantz:

"This [sermon time] is one of those moments when we might be most effective modeling for our congregations the behavior commended by Jesus to his disciples, giving our hearers something to imitate rather than speaking to them of their mission."

Yes! Truthfully, in fact, we are probably always most effective when we model instead of just preaching. The adage that actions speak louder than words is certainly one that holds true. In fact, isn't that why Jesus' message is so powerful? He did as well as taught.