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Showing posts from February, 2019

Sermon, "A Way Forward: Which Way?" Acts 15:1-31

Sermon 2/24/19 Acts 15:1-31
A Way Forward: Which Way?*

This morning, as we gather for worship, delegates from the United Methodist Church around the world are gathered in St. Louis for the Special Session of General Conference. The Conference officially began yesterday, with delegates and bishops and visitors coming together for a day of prayer. Today, the legislative session will begin. They will do their work from today through Tuesday, the 26th. The Special Session is meeting to hear the report of a body that the last General Conference, General Conference 2016 created: The Commission on a Way Forward. Delegates who gathered in 2016 expressed to the Council of Bishops their desire to find some way to move forward as a denomination in light of our enduring disagreements over same-sex relationships and church practices. And the Council of Bishops, in turn, created the Commission to present possible plans for action to this specially called General Conference. Here’s what the Commission…

Sermon, "A Way Forward: Essentials and Non-Essentials," Roman 14:4-12

Sermon 2/17/19 Romans 14:4-12
A Way Forward: Essentials and Non-Essentials*
I’ve known for a while that we would need to spend some time preparing together for the Special Session of General Conference this February - we’d have to find a way to talk about complicated, difficult, things that are close to our hearts, that impact people we love, and that can sometimes cause pain and division in the community of faith. I was blessed, then, to come across a sermon series preached by one of my colleagues in ministry last year. Katie Z. Dawson preached a beautiful sermon series on A Way Forward for The United Methodist Church, and I’m thankful for her permission to use her work to help me shape this sermon series. The Special Session of General Conference begins on Saturday. Delegates from United Methodist Churches around the world will meet for four days to look at different proposals for structuring our denomination based on our significant ongoing disagreements when it comes to lesbian, gay,…

Sermon, "A Way Forward: A Quadrilateral," Philippians 4:8-9, Matthew 22:34-40

Sermon 2/10/19 Philippians 4:8-9, Matthew 22:34-40
A Way Forward: A Quadrilateral*
Some of us have been gathering each week to read and reflect together on a book called, Holy Contradictions: What’s Next for the People Called United Methodists (editor: Brian K. Milford.) The book is a collection of seventeen essays, all written in response to this question: “How might United Methodists bear witness to graceful and mutually respectful ways of living in the Wesleyan tradition amid the enduring disagreements about same-gender relationships and related church practices?” As part of our time together, we started by going over some guidelines for having holy conversations. After all, we see “unholy” conversations at work in the world all the time. We live in a world right now where we feel like we can’t talk to each other. We assume things like “if you believe this, then you must also believe that,” and that means you must be such and such kind of person, and I can’t possibly be friends with t…

Sermon, "Disney and the Gospels: Beauty and the Beast," Acts 9:1-22

Sermon 2/3/19 Acts 9:1-22
Disney and the Gospels: Beauty and the Beast
Today, we’re wrapping up our sermon series on Disney and the Gospels with a look at a classic - Beauty and the Beast. Ok, so, Acts isn’t one of the Gospels, but we’re talking about the literal meaning of gospel here today - good news - so I figure it’s ok. I’ll admit: Beauty and the Beast isn’t one of my favorites. The animated version was released in the fall of 1991, when I had just started junior high, and I think in my head that meant that I was too old to really love cartoon movies. My childhood favorite was - is - The Little Mermaid, released just two years before when I apparently considered it still acceptable to enjoy a Disney film. But I still enjoy it - I took Sam to see it when it came back to theatres again some years ago. I really should have made Hannah Kingsley help me write my sermon today - she wrote her whole honors thesis for college on Beauty and the Beast, so if you’re a big fan, talk to Hannah a…