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Showing posts from April, 2008

General Conference Reflections

It has become clear to me that I probably will be unable to write any orderly General Conference reflections until I come home or at least until later this week when we move from Legislative Committees to all day full group plenary sessions. Sorry about that! Here are some unorganized reflections again instead :) : I am in the legislative committee called Church and Society, section 1. We deal mostly with items related to the Social Principles and their related resolutions. I am chairing the subcommittee called Environmental Justice, which is my particular passion area. I've never had to chair a committee before in a setting that requires me to lead using parliamentary procedure. It doesn't come naturally to me to do. I prefer a more conversational style of working together, especially in a small group. But the reality is that we have hundreds of petitions to address, and to act on them, the procedure is necessary to move things along in a 'timely fashion'. It has been

General Conference Blogging

Ok friends - I am trying to get a quick post up before my battery dies! Things have gotten off to a crazy start for me personally - I had a flat tire on the way, and then I couldn't check into the hotel for hours, and ultimately they told me they didn't have a room for me at all - they'd overbooked. Ugh! Very long story very short, I've finally gotten my hotel room today. So far: We've had opening worship, approved the rules, heard the episcopal address, the young people's address, some reports, and the laity address. This afternoon we'll break into legislative committees for the first time. I have a lot of notes I'd like to type up, but here are some first thoughts: There are crickets in the convention center that seem very attracted to my delegations' section of seat. One presentation (sensitivity training) used clips from NBC's The Office rather effectively. The awesome music team, led by Mark Miller (from Drew), led us in singing "Sanctu

General Conference: I'm on the Way

I'm checking in from the road, on my way to Texas. That's right, I'm driving from New Jersey to Fort Worth. I hate flying. I don't need the added anxiety on top of 10 totally packed days of conference. So one of my colleagues and I are driving out together. Tonight we're staying in Walton, KY. Tomorrow, for the first time, I will be in the state of Arkansas! So far, I can't think of anything I've left behind. I'll be trying to post as much as possible while I'm there. With days starting at 8am and ending at 11pm, we'll see how we do...

Review: Eden's Outcasts: The Story of Louisa May Alcott and Her Father by John Matteson

I recently finished reading Eden's Outcasts: The Story of Louisa May Alcott and Her Father by John Matteson, a biography of Louisa May and Bronson Alcott. I have long been a huge fan of Louisa May Alcott. Like many young girls, I read and fell in love with Little Women when I was young. In fact, I was named after the character Beth in the book. I've reread Little Women countless times, and I have read most all of LMA's other fiction as well (except her earlier 'thriller' works), especially liking and rereading (practically yearly) Eight Cousins and Rose in Bloom . Louisa May Alcott's father, Bronson, was part of the transcendentalist movement in New England in the early and mid 1800s. Transcendentalism was an idealist, sometimes utopian movement, springing out of disagreement with the Unitarian church, and drawing on the Romantics, and even Hindu and Buddhist thought. Transcendentalism believed strongly in the divinity of the individual, the power of the indiv

from St. Casserole: Older Members of the Congregation

I really do have a post of my own coming up soon, but I had to link to this post from St. Casserole about older members of the congregation. With her usual mix of humor and eloquence, she writes: "A colleague north of here says he is hurt by the older people in his congregation who get in his way, criticise him and overall, make his work difficult. I suggested that he think through his feelings, identify his goals for his congregation, then move in closer to those who get on his nerves. Not easy to do, of course. You get your feelings hurt by people who dismiss you and let you know they think you aren't capable of the work you feel called to do. Now, read that sentence as how the older people feel about how they are treated. We preach the importance of being involved with the Church. We want people to do the work of the church, attend often and give of themselves to the Body. What happens when people feel that they are no longer welcome to participate? For many older people,

Children and Communion

**Update: I had to postpone the class until next month, so feel free to keep adding your thoughts!** Tomorrow, I'm teaching a class to children about communion. What would you want children to know about communion? What would you share with them? I don't ever remember *not* taking communion. My grandmother made the communion bread, and I loved receiving communion just to have a piece of that bread! My little brother , at about age 4, when having some of her bread at a non-communion time, remarked happily, "These are the bones of Jesus!" Young eucharistic theology. Part of our United Methodist theology of communion is calling it a Mystery. Like many parts of our theology, whether it makes us comfortable or not, we've decided it is best to admit we don't know exactly, don't have exact answers. What happens in communion is a holy mystery. Maybe children are more comfortable with mystery than adults are sometimes!