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Showing posts from November, 2007

Review: Reclaiming the Church by John B. Cobb, Jr.

I recently finished reading John Cobb'sReclaiming the Church: Where the Mainline Church Went Wrong and What to Do about It. John Cobb is my favorite theologian - I was introduced to his work in Systematic Theology in seminary, and I felt like I'd finally found something who was writing about the theological thoughts of my own mind. (My personal favorite is his Grace and Responsibility), a process-oriented look at the theology of John Wesley, perfect for this United Methodist-nerd.) Reclaiming the Church is a short little book - it took me forever to read though since I kept getting distracted from it.

Cobb starts out in his introduction by talking about the state of the mainline/oldline church: it has become lukewarm. He says, "As a group and on the whole we are lukewarm. We do good things. We serve the needs of real people. But we inspire no passion. We no longer even call for primary commitment to the gospel that we purport to serve. We are quite content if, among the pr…

My Work Week

I've written a bit about pastors and work-week schedules before, though not in much detail. But I just finished reading Coffeepastor's post about his schedule, and like Cheesehead, who responded with her own post, I thought I'd do the same. (By the way, Cheesehead mentions 'sleeping in' until 7:30 in her post, and I feel I need to have a serious talk with her about the meaning of sleeping in.)

My schedule has changed a bit since moving to a new appointment in New Jersey, although not drastically. And my schedule has never been very particularly structured. But here it is:

1) Days off: This is something I struggle with a lot. I try very hard to take Fridays off, and if Friday doesn't work, I take Wednesday off. The truth is, I almost never take an entire day off. Inevitably, I find myself doing some ministry-related work, reading, emailing, sermon preparation, etc. I think this is in part because as a single pastor, I have a great deal of control over my time. Whe…

Rev Gals Friday Five: Post Thanksgiving Day

Since I'm not doing anything particularly productive on my vacation (I guess that's how vacation is supposed to be, but I feel like I should be doing work), I may as well play the Rev Gals Friday Five instead of striving for a more theologically-trying post. (I replaced the RevGals pic with a Tofurky pic to better represent my Thanksgiving experience)

So here it is:

1. Did you go elsewhere for the day, or did you have visitors at your place instead? How was it?

This year we went to my aunt's house. For the past four years, we had Thanksgiving dinner at my parsonage, but now that I live in New Jersey, I couldn't get everyone to come to my new parsonage! We had 18 people altogether, including four generations of the extended Mudge Family. We had a good time. Now that my cousins are mostly grown (the youngest is 13, most of us are in our 20s and 30s), we seem to have rekindled our interest in getting together and keeping in touch/keeping close. We've always had a close e…

General Conference: Delegation Meeting Reflections

Last weekend I headed up to NCNY for a General Conference Delegation meeting. We had the pleasure of having a conference call with retired Bishop Joseph Yeakel, who served as bishop of the New York West Area before I knew what a bishop was. Bishop Yeakel is known around the connection for his exceptional knowledge of UMC polity and order. If you've been to General Conference, you've likely seen him sitting behind the presiding bishop, acting as the fount of knowledge he is when it comes to questions of decoding the Robert's Rules, etc. Bishop Yeakel spoke to us, and especially to first time delegates, about what to expect and how to prepare for General Conference. He also answered our questions about what big issues to expect (besides the usual suspects), etc. I really enjoyed his conversation and insight.

Some notes I made on the conversation:

Bishop Yeakel reminded us that there's a difference between being a member and a delegate. We are members of Annual Conference, …

The Methoblog, NCNY Bloggers

The Methoblog has been having some stressful times. If you joined the blogroll in the last few months, make sure to resubmit your site for inclusion.

I think I will soon be making a small blogroll with the growing number of NCNY bloggers.
We've got:

-Aaron Bouwens, one of my fellow ordinands, blogging at Lord If I Know.

-Andrew Glos, another pastor from NCNY serving here in GNJ. I think he's still officially in NCNY, so I'll claim him for the bloggers - he blogs at Cadences of God.

-Kurt Karandy, a CCYM alum, freshman at American University, future pastor, blogging at Curt Comments from Kurt.

-My pastor friend Richelle, who is actually a pastor younger than me (by 9 days), newly blogging at Work in Progress.

-Wes Sanders, a student at Binghamton University, who attended Exploration with me in November, blogging at Imparted Righteousness.

-**My friend Richelle just let me know that Alan Howe, another elder in NCNY, is blogging at Nexus Notes.

-**Also just found BJ Norrix's new b…

from jockeystreet: inch by inch

My brother, as I mentioned, has started blogging again, and I really like his most recent post, here. He lifts a quote from a book (that I got him, by the way...) that says: "Tiny, hesitant improvements are a terrific way of perpetuating a broken system . . ."

In the book Jim references, the excerpt refers mostly to ecological/sustainability issues, but it struck me as an apt metaphor for a life of discipleship in general. How often do we try to do the very least we think God might be asking of us, to avoid the real call from Jesus - "Take up your cross and follow me." I think we're hoping that doing a million little things somehow equals the commitment Jesus asks for in taking up the cross.

My brother goes on to talk about Destiny, the new massive mall/complex eventually opening in Syracuse, NY. Jim writes, "A green mall is more of the same. A perpetuation of the real problems, covered up with green technology. Instead of driving toward that 1000 foot drop…

Review: American Gangster

Last weekend my mother and I went to see American Gangster, starring Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe. We made the mistake of going to see it at the theatres at Garden State Plaza, which is a HUGE mall in Northern New Jersey. I've been there before, during the day on a weekday and late at night for an after-store hours movie, but I've never gone on a Saturday at what was apparently the start of the shopping season. It was a zoo, an absolute zoo. But, nevertheless, we made it to the movie, a packed early afternoon showing.

The film is really excellent. I try never to give away major plot points in my reviews, but if you don't want any details, it's probably best to stop reading now. Washington and Crowe are both excellent actors. They're such personalities that they never seem to completely disappear into their parts, but maybe that's something that can't be helped giving their celebrity status. But Washington in particular has such a charisma about him th…

All Saints Sunday

*Today, as in many churches, we celebrated All Saints Sunday at Franklin Lakes. I appreciated Michelle's post at 33 Names of Grace about celebrating All Saints for the first time in a new appointment. Michelle talks about how you are thinking about those you lost in your previous appointment while not yet knowing the saints who are being grieved in your new appointment. Today at FLUMC, we in particular remembered two saints who passed away since last All Saints - and for good and for bad, both of these women died after my arrival here in September. Of course, I didn't have long to get to know these two women. But I got to have a small part in their lives.

We also took a moment to remember other saints - people had time to come forward and light a tea light candle in memory of other loved ones, and write their name on a record of sorts of the day. I would estimate that about half of the congregation came forward to light a candle for someone, and it is a time I always find very …